Harold "Stumpy "Cromer

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One half of a popular comedy and dance team called Stump & Stumpy, Harold Cromer first came to the public's attention doing a tap dancing routine on roller skates. While most individuals might wind…
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One half of a popular comedy and dance team called Stump & Stumpy, Harold Cromer first came to the public's attention doing a tap dancing routine on roller skates. While most individuals might wind up permanently walking on a stump as the result of such shenanigans, Cromer's superb sense of timing and apparently pristine coordination were protection enough, as well as the main forces behind a tap-dancing career that lasted more than half-a-century. His debuted on Broadway alongside talents such as Bert Lahr, Ethel Merman, Gypsy Rose Lee, and Betty Grable, then went on to form the aforementioned duo with James Cross

Stump & Stumpy performed in many major theaters and night clubs, often on bills with stars such as Duke Ellington, Frank Sinatra, and Billie Holiday. Only a small attempt seems to have been made to present the duo on recordings, part of the interesting '50s catalog of Jay-Dee records. A veteran classic and rhythm & blues performer, Irene Higginbotham, came up with a piece entitled "Two-Thirds Dead," as much of a comedy routine as it was a song, that was later amended by Cross before being altered further through on-the-spot improvisation by the duo.

Seemingly unable to get in on the new rock & roll craze as a recording artist, Cromer still got fairly close to the action by going on the road as an emcee during a series of package tours in the late '50s. He was responsible for introducing talent from Paul Anka to Chuck Berry. He revived his dance career to great effect two decades later, appearing on Broadway in 1978 as a guest soloist in a revue entitled The American Dance Machine. The show went on to tour internationally.