As of the time of this post, many parts of the world will see the Frankie Manning Google Doodle on the front page of Google.com. (Our sources tell us that it is visible on the front of Google in at least 15 regions, including the US and the UK. Tell us if you can see it where you live!)
Here's what Google posted on their Google Doodle page about it:
One morning in 1929, Frankie Manning--then only fifteen--was walking through Harlem on his way to Sunday school. Passing the Alhambra Ballroom, he made a decision to take dance classes that would change swing forever. Known as the Ambassador of the Lindy Hop--the exuberant style born in Harlem--Frankie Manning is remembered as the first person to take swing from the dancefloor to the air above it. Today’s doodle by Nate Swinehart celebrates Frankie Manning’s acrobatic, powerful style, in which his partners were flipped and spun to the emphatic horns of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and others.
The Lindy Hop and Manning’s aerial flourishes became wildly popular, and Manning himself performed the dance in several 40’s era movies. He also served in WWII, toured South America and the UK with his troupe, The Congaroos, performed the Lindy for King George VI, and won a Tony Award for his choreographic work on the Broadway musical Black and Blue.
Frankie Manning often described the dance as a “series of three-minute romances.” Here’s to the Ambassador on what would have been his 102nd birthday, and his role in creating for countless people--even if it lasted only three minutes--a moment that transcended the world around them.
While we don’t know exactly how this Google Doodle came about, we know that there have been plots and petitions to get Frankie a Doodle for years. At Frankie 100 there was a concerted campaign to get one in time for that 2014 event. So it’s gratifying to finally see it come to fruition.
Our friends at the Frankie Manning Foundation tell us that they were consulted about this as far back as January. They are over the moon that this has become a reality.
We encourage you, on what would have been Frankie Manning’s 102nd birthday, to share this Google Doodle with your friends and family and social networks, and more importantly celebrate his life in whatever way that you can. The Frankie Manning Foundation site has a number of great suggestions.
It’s a wonderful gift to a truly remarkable individual, without whom we probably would not be doing this dance we all know and love. Happy Birthday, Musclehead!