From Pom-Poms To Vampires – Toni Basil

Although I occasionally write holiday-themed pieces, a lot of special days pretty much pass with minimal notice on the ol’ GMC. I guess I’m just enough of a contrarian to not follow what is a pretty universal practice in blogdom. Having said that, I thought maybe today I’d write a Halloween piece. I guess you could say I’m being a contrary contrarian.

About thirty years ago, an ex-cheerleader turned dancer and choreographer rocketed to the top of the pop charts with a song that played to her strengths. It was a catchy (if annoying) piece named “Mickey” that featured something resembling a cheerleader’s chant, and it was helped in its rise to popularity by a video that featured her dancing around in full cheerleader regalia.

Before her big break, Philadelphia-born Antonia Christina Basilotta — better known as Toni Basil — had already spent a number of years in the business. She had danced on TV shows like Shindig, had made spot appearances in a few movies, and had even made a forgettable record.

By the late 1970s she’d also spent some time as a movie choreographer and was heading up her own dancing ensemble. She eventually also moved into directing music videos, and her own effort on “Mickey” soon followed. Although a version of the song had been recorded by another group earlier, Basil’s video helped create a genuine pop phenomenon for the performer.

In the decades since, Basil’s career hasn’t reached the same heights musically but she has continued to find success as a choreographer and occasional actress. And that brings us to the Halloween tie-in. Below is a video of Toni Basil in the 1990 vampire-themed cult film, Rockula.


Toni Basil – “Mickey”


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