BY SY SCHRECKINGER
THROUGHOUT THE AGES, music and dance have not only served as a means of maintaining cultural identity, but as a respite from the realities of oppression and tyranny. One such example is that of the African slaves brought to foreign shores.
In America during the mid to late nineteenth century newly emancipated former attempted to establish a culture integrating their soul-stirring African melodies with music enjoyed by the non-black populace. Minstrel shows were created, and these became an integral part of the then popular Vaudeville entertainment. This unique and “fresh” approach to music and dance captured the attention of not only an enthusiastic public, but enterprising manufacturers of children’s
Both hand-operated and key-wind toys were created in the image of the Minstrel show dance entertainer, referred to as
the black “Jigger”. The Louis Marx Company, located at 200 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY, was one of the foremost producers and distributors of “animated” tin-plate toys of the early twentieth century.
“Dapper Dan” Bank, subject of this article, was one of the company’s creations. “Dapper Dan” was a toy mechanical bank representing a black Minstrel performer of the aforementioned Vaudeville shows.