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The Originals

Jul 28, 2022

Minds will be blown by this latest episode, with Toni Basil, a true show business Zelig. Sure, we all remember Basil’s 1981 hit, “Mickey.” But it turns out this might be the least interesting part of her long career as a dancer, singer, and choreographer. Hear Toni’s tales of: dancing with Frank Sinatra in 1964’s Rat Pack vehicle Robin and the Seven Hoods, boogying in and helping choreograph Elvis’ movie, Viva Las Vegas, that time she watched Mick Jagger nearly faint when he realized he had to follow James Brown on stage. She played a hooker in Easy Rider and sat across the diner booth from Jack Nicholson for his famous toast ordering scene in Five Easy Pieces. Oh, and did we mention that she taught Leonardo DiCaprio how to do the twist for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood? Plus, she basically introduced hip hop dance to America back in the Seventies when she founded the street dance troupe The Lockers. You'll never use the term "one hit wonder" again. 

Stuff to check out:

Toni Basil's House, on youtube, home to the mother lode of clips.

Toni, Sinatra, and Bing Crosby on set of Robin and The Seven Hoods, 1964

Toni does "the dog" for Elvis in Viva Las Vegas, 1964

Toni in Bruce Conner's "Breakaway" short

Peter Fonda (and Toni) in Easy Rider, 1969

Jack Nicholson (and Toni) in Five Easy Pieces, 1970

Toni and The Lockers on Soul Train, 1975

Toni dancing a few years ago (at 74)