The build-up to Hairspray Live! is almost over. In just a few hours, NBC will say “Good Morning Baltimore” for its production. But those final hours can pass slowly, so reading up on the real history might help.
Smithsonian has a look back at 1962 Baltimore, the time when Hairspray was set.
“Though Tracy’s efforts to get “The Corny Collins Show” to allow black dancers on outside of its monthly “Negro Night” are ultimately successful and bring her community together, this would have been almost unthinkable in the real world of 1962,” Danny Lewis writes.
The real-life inspiration for the Corny Collins Show was the Buddy Deane show. In 1963, the show had its own moment of integration when black and white dancers stormed the stage together. But the show received many threats the next few months. Instead of being permanently integrated, the show was cancelled.