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Capezio Tap Master Mat | Advertising Collectible, ca. 1930's

Tip Top Tapping | Simplified Lessons in Tap Dancing
Louis Shomer

Louis Shomer and Louellen Publishing Co. made a great team during the late 1930's and into the war years. He wrote and they published a series of books on a variety of topics, from our example here, Tip Top Tapping, Simplified lessons in Tap Dancing to books on ballroom dancing, swing dancing, police jiu-jitsu techniques and at least three books on the subject of being funny: How to Make Funny Gags, Breezy Puns and Humor, and that all time classic, Laughter for the millions: The drollest wit, the funniest gags, the gayest laughs, the merriest humor, the greatest hilarity. Someone on that team really liked subtitles. Mr. Shomer's Police jiu-jitsu books were apparently translated into several east European languages. Famous — or infamous — back then, real information about Louis Shomer is impossible to find on the Internet. There is nothing on Louellen Publishing either, but as this is written we wonder if Louis had a wife named Ellen. Tap wonderland would love to hear from anyone who can shed more light on the author or the publishing company.

Tip Top Tapping like all tap dance instruction books never taught a single person to actually dance, but like so many of the books and records, we've featured in out collection galleries, Tip Top Tapping does offer a glimpse back in time when everything did seem just a little bit simpler, a little more innocent. Small time dance entrepreneurs could set up publishing companies, or recording companies and put out product that, while not the most professionally produced, nonetheless addressed a need and a market at the time and that has become charming as time goes by. At Tap Wonderland, we appreciate the graphics style and the simple earnest display of individuals carving a living out of thin air. Surely, any dance teacher can relate to that.

Tap Wonderland's 1937 copy of Tip Top Tapping came with a mis-registered printing error on the dust jacket, just as seen in the picture above. What you see is what we got and this lends some weight to our theory that Louellen Publishing might not have been the biggest house in town despite the effort to address multiple markets. Inside, the instruction materials are fairly typical of books that purported to be able to teach tap through reading and personal practice.

These happy dancers represent more of the tapping characters used to illustrate the Tip Top Tapping 1937 edition. The Tap Wonderland team liked them so much that many have been colorized and enhanced for use on T-shirts and other tap dancing goodies that we sell in the Tap Wonderland Gift Shop. Stop by and check out all our retro tap images on T-shirts and all kinds of gifts for dancers. The gift shop really helps defray the cost of maintaining Tap Wonderland. Thanks!

— Shinichi Matsumoto