Cha Cha Twist, The - Margaret Sierra as Cha Cha O'Brien, a Latin dancer in the "Boom Boom Room" on
the detective drama SURFSIDE 6/ABC/1960-62 inspired a Warner Brothers record
release "The Cha Cha Twist" in the early 1960s.
Margaret Sierra and the cast of
The Cha Cha Twist was a variation of popular dance craze championed by its
creator Chubby Checker (a.k.a. Ernest Evans rechristened "Chubby Checker" by
Dick Clark's wife) who performed his song "The Twist" and his accompanying
gyrations on a variety of television programs including the 10/22/61 installment
of the CBS variety program THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW.
The dance reportedly had its birth in New York City at the nightclub called
The Peppermint Lounge, where celebrities such as Zsa Zsa Gabor twisted the night
away. The lounge was located in the Knickerbocker Hotel on 128 West 45th Street.
The Peppermint Lounge house band, Joey Dee & the Starliters recorded the
"Peppermint Twist" and were featured in the "Hey, Let's Twist (1961) a minor
film about the rise of this popular nightspot.
TRIVIA NOTE: Hank Ballard wrote and first
recorded "The Twist" with the Midnighters in 1959 (the flip-side of "Teardrops
On Your Letter"). It wasn't until Chubby Checker's version included dance step
lyrics in the song that it became a hit.
The Ronettes regularly performed a song-and-dance "Twist" routine at the
Peppermint Lounge before they were discovered by Phil Spector.
In 1962, Clint Eastwood danced the Twist on the episode "Clint Eastwood Meets
Mister Ed" on the sitcom MISTER ED/CBS/1961-65.
Other dance crazes to follow included the Swim, the Frug, the Hully Gully,
the Boogaloo, the Hitchhike, the Hucklebuck, the Mouse, the Monkey, the Watusi,
the Pony and the Jerk.
Back to Top