02n: Queen Latifah / Ms. Dynamite

Where Are They Now?

Darcell.....Maya Rudolph
Margie.....Queen Latifah
Barbara.....Amy Poehler



Voiceover: You knew their names, you loved their songs.. you watched them on TV.. but "Where Are They Now"?

The year was 1964, and there was only one name on everybody's list: "The Cherylettes. Just when it seemed like the dance craze fad had run its course, this bubbly trio breathed new life back into it, with the dance known as.. "The Wiggle".

[ cut to The Cherylettes, in black-and-white, on dance stage ]

The Cherylettes: [ singing ]
"Doin'!
Doin' the Wiggle!
Doin'!
Doin' the Wiggle!
Doin' doin' doin' doin'
Wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle
Doin' Wiggle, Doin' Wiggle, Doin' Wiggle
Doin' The Wiggle!
Hey!"


Voiceover: The pressure was on. Could The Cherylettes come up with another dance hit? At the advice of their managers, they released their next single two months later. Teenagers and critics thought the second song was.. a little rushed.

[ cut to The Cherylettes on "Hullabaloo" ]

The Cherylettes: [ singing ]
"Put your heel in your palm
Put your leg in the air
Hold it while you bounce
Then bounce it everywhere
Do the Heel-Up-Jerk-Bounce!
Do the Heel-Up-Jerk-Bounce!"


Voiceover: Response.. was tepid at best. Immediately, the girls went back into the studio to cut a new track. Two hours later, and $63 over budget, they thought they struck gold with their new dance single.. "Party".

The Cherylettes: [ singing ]
"Walkin' to a party!
Yeah yeah!
Put your hands in two fists
Yeah yeah!
Swing your arms around like a windmill
Close your eyes and roam around the room!
Close your eyes and roam around the room
Don't forget to swing your arms like a windmill!
Don't forget to swing your arms like a windmill
Don't forget to swing your arms like a windmill!"
Don't forget to-


[ teenagers in the studio attempt to duplicate the dance moves, but end up accidentally punching one another ]

Voiceover: "Party".. was not a hit. In the summer of 1965, Darcell - the creative force behind the group - had a nervous breakdown.

[ dissolve to Margie and Barbara reminiscing about those crazy days ]

Margie: Now, after "The Wiggle" came out, we bought wild, expensive stuff! I mean, I bought three Frigidaires! I mean, I bought each one of my cousins a house!

Barbara: Mmm. I bought a tiger.

Margie: Child, she bought a tiger!

Barbara: Mmm-hmm.

Margie: We was broke as hell. And I guess, Darcell.. she had snapped under the pressure.

Barbara: Mmm mmm mmm..

Margie: Started writing back checks and shooting at people.

Barbara: Mmm.

Margie: Oh!

Voiceover: The law caught up with Darcell in 1966. She spent a year in the state penitentiary.. for throwing a brick at Dick Clark. After her release in 1967, the girls took one more shot at dance craze mortality. But Darcell just wasn't the same.

[ The Cherylettes appear on "The Ed Sullivan Show" ]

The Cherylettes: [ singing ]
"Find yourselllllf
A piece of metal!
Then some wooooood
For the handle!
Elecrical taaaaaape
Hold them together!
Sharpennnnnn it
Into a point, now!
You've made yourself a shank!
I'll cut you with my shank!
Shank, baby, yeah!
I'll cut you with my shank!
Hooooo!"


Voiceover: It was a disastrous evening. Darcell tried to stab Ed Sullivan, live, on "The Ed Sullivan Show". and then The Cherylettes broke up forever.

Today, Darcell Chambers resides in the New Jersey State Penitentiary, where she continues to write music.

[ dissolve to dissolve behind bars of her prison cell ]

Darcell: I told those bitches I needed some time off! But I've been doin' real good since I bin in jail. See, I bin writin' songs, like.. mmm.. let's see, I don't know.. "Happy Birthday"? Or, uh.. "Thriller".. or, "The Theme to The Greatest American Hero".. or, how 'bout "The Robot National Anthem"? [ singing ] "Robot! Nally!" [ makes shooting sound effects ]

Voiceover: Margie and Barbara.. left the music business.

[ dissolve to Margie and Barbara reminsicing again ]

Margie: I don't miss it! I mean, The Cherylettes will always be a part of me. I keep it right here. [ puts hand over heart ] But I don't miss a thing about it.

Barbara: You know what I miss? The money and the sex!

Margie: [ laughing ] I do miss that, too! But you was always more of a ho than me!

[ they share the laugh ]

Voiceover: Barbara.. has a new career in the fitness industry. She works as an extra in "Sweatin' To The Oldies" videos with Richard Simmons.

[ show still photo of Margie on cover of Richard Simmons' video ]

And Margie went on to fame as the mother of Baby Jessica.

[ show Barbara standing in front of a well ]

Way to wither, ladies.. way to wither.

[ fade ]


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