One of the clients of notorious '30s agent and manager Nat Nazarro, the dance duo of Buck and Bubbles were part of the amazingly talented cast of Blackbirds of 1930 along with piano virtuoso Eubie Blake and the magnificent vocalist Ethel Waters. While this revue is considered a landmark event in the history of black classical music, there is an awestruck need to be reminded that it only ran for a total of 26 performances, leaving Buck and Bubbles unemployed again. The pair fronted a group known as Buck and Bubbles and Their Bucket which was a regular attraction at New York City's Apollo Theatre in the '30s and '40s. But these performers received much more widespread exposure through special appearances in a dozen or so Hollywood films, as well as stage triumphs including Porgy and Bess.
Ford Lee Washington was known as Buck, while John W. Sublett was the one on the verge of popping his Bubbles. The former man was considered one of the best entertainers in vaudeville, a distinction that meant he could do just about any type of entertaining, from singing to tap dancing to comedy. Sublett was a pianist who began backing him, and the most remarkable thing about the team was how young they were when they began performing, let alone when they began working together. Each was something of a show biz pro when they teamed up in 1926: Buck was ten, Bubbles was only six! The team is credited with making major innovations to the art of tap dancing, both visually and rhythmically.