How to king tut dance
10 Ways King Tut Influenced Pop Culture
As far as rulers go, King Tutankhamun wasn’t a particularly significant figure to Ancient Egypt. The young pharaoh assumed the throne at age 9 (around 1314 BCE) and died just a decade later following a lifetime of health struggles. But despite his brief reign, King Tut is one of the best-known rulers from Ancient Egypt, and the gold mask of his face is recognized around the world.
Tut’s fame has less to do with the life he lived than what he left behind. When British archaelogist Howard Carter and his team cracked open the his burial site in the Valley of the Kings near Luxor, Egypt, in 1922, it was untouched by grave-robbers. Never before in modern times had a pharaoh’s tomb been found in such a pristine state, and the discovery became a sensation. Tutankhamun wasn’t a famous figure previously, but he quickly became one through movies, music, and magazines. Even parodies of “Tutmania”—like Steve Martin’s catchy Saturday Night Live song—have become cultural giants in their own right. Here are more ways King Tut has shaped pop culture over the last century.
1. “Old King Tut” got people on the dance floor.
Few archaeological discoveries are sensational enough to inspire hit songs, but that was the case with “Old King Tut” in 1923. The jaunty tune from songwriters Harry Von Tilzer and William Jerome depicted the Egyptian ruler as a lady’s man with a tomb loaded with “gold and silver ware” and “souvenirs.” The song’s popularity coincided with the Charleston, and it was a popular number to dance to in the 1920s.
2. King Tut inspired a horror movie franchise.
Boris Karloff and Zita Johann in 'The Mummy' (1932). / United Archives/GettyImages
Unlike other classic monsters like Dracula and Frankenstein, the Mummy didn’t come from literature. The Universal Pictures horror movie from 1932 was instead inspired by the real-life discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb. After Howard Carter located the mummy and his riches in 1922, a series of misfortunes befell prominent figures connected to the expedition. Lord Carnarvon, who helped fund the mission, died of sepsis from a mosquito bite that same year. His secretary Richard Bethell, who accompanied Carter on the trip, died in 1929 under mysterious circumstances—possibly murder.
These and other strange incidents fueled rumors of a “mummy’s curse” unleashed by Tutankhamun when his tomb was disturbed. The myth became the basis for The Mummy starring Boris Karloff, in which a team of archaeologists accidentally bring a mummified Egyptian priest back to life. Screenwriter John L. Balderston had previously covered the discovery of King Tut as a journalist, and his real-life expertise enriched his fictionalization. In addition to its sequels, The Mummy has inspired numerous spinoffs and reboots that all rely on the concept of the “mummy’s curse” that was popularized by Tut’s tomb.
3. Flappers embraced Egyptian style.
Tutankhamun became an influencer of sorts more than 3000 years after his death. When his tomb was discovered, the signature look of Ancient Egypt infiltrated Western fashion. American women in the 1920s channeled the timeless aesthetic with kohl eyeliner, bobbed hairstyles, and ornamental jewelry featuring Egyptian motifs. The fad reached its height in the Flapper era, but influence from Tut’s time can still be found in the fashion industry today.
4. Movie theaters took a cue from Egyptian architecture.
Egyptian-style movie theater in Park City, Utah. / Mark Sagliocco/GettyImages
Egyptian-inspired architecture has seen many revivals throughout history. Howard Carter’s discovery in the Valley of the Kings triggered one of the later waves in the 1920s, and this time it blended with the art deco movement. One of the main venues for Egyptian revival architecture during this decade was the cinema, which was exploding in popularity. Dozens of so-called “Egyptian theaters” featuring columns, sphinxes, and other Ancient Egyptian-inspired designs were constructed in the 1920s, and just a fraction continue to operate today.
5. Pulp magazines went to ancient Egypt.
Howard Carter’s expedition was perfect fodder for the adventure pulp magazines of the 1920s and ‘30s. Heroes traveling to “exotic” locales often found themselves in Ancient Egypt, where they would have to contend with vengeful mummies. In accordance with the myth spurred by King Tut’s discovery, these mummies were usually capable of inflicting terrible curses.
6. Ancient Egypt became a marketing tool.
Many company took advantage of Tut fever in their marketing, even if their products had nothing to do with Ancient Egypt. Cards depicting the young pharaoh came in cigarette cartons, and lemons were sold under the label “King Tut Brand” (because nothing screams “fresh produce” like a millennia-old mummy). Other entrepreneurs were more creative in how they embraced Egyptian themes; the stage magician Carter The Great incorporated images and story elements inspired by Tut’s discovery into his act.
7. Steve Martin sang “King Tut” onSNL.
In the late 1970s, America was gripped by Tutmania 2.0. An exhibition titled “Treasures of Tutankhamun”—featuring artifacts from his tomb like his iconic gold mask—toured the U.S., renewing a cultural obsession with the historical figure in its wake. Millions of people saw it, including celebrities like Andy Warhol and Elizabeth Taylor.
The craze was still going strong when Steve Martin donned Ancient Egyptian garb and performed “King Tut” on Saturday Night Live in 1978. With lyrics like “He gave his life for tourism,” the novelty song was meant to parody the commercialization of the exhibit—but the single ended up doing the very thing it mocked when it went platinum. Forty years later, “King Tut” remains one of SNL’s most enduring segments—even if the original context is lost on teens who have only seen clips on TikTok.
8. King Tut fought Batman.
Tutankhamun is technically part of the DC universe—or at least a Batman villain who believes he’s a reincarnation of the boy king is. King Tut debuted in the Adam West-led television series in 1966. The protagonist never reached the same level of notoriety as Catwoman or The Joker, but he’s arguably the most successful villain who originated with the ’60s show rather than the comics. Just don’t expect him to make an appearance in Matt Reeves’s next Batman film.
9. The candy industry jumped on the Tut bandwagon.
The second wave of Tutmania eventually reached the candy aisle. In the 1980s, Terry’s—the makers of those foil-wrapped chocolate oranges—sold a treat called the Pyramint. It consisted of a mint fondant-filled dark chocolate shell shaped like an Egyptian pyramid. Kids around this time also enjoyed Tut-inspired Yummy Mummies. The item was similar to Fun Dip, the main difference being that the candy sticks were meant to evoke bandaged-wrapped mummies (yummy!).
10. King Tut’s mask became a political symbol.
Gold funerary mask of King Tut. / Hannes Magerstaedt/GettyImages
In addition to being an iconic piece of Ancient Egyptian art, Tutankhamun’s funerary mask is one of the most recognizable artifacts of all time. In the past century, the golden face has been used for much more than selling souvenirs; in fact, several groups adopted it as a political symbol. In postcolonial Egypt, the mask came to represent cultural pride and independence. It’s been used as a message of resistance, appearing as graffiti in Cairo during the 2011 revolution. Beyond Egypt, members of the African diaspora have reclaimed the symbol from the colonialist powers that have profited from it historically. The king’s face has appeared on the cover of the NAACP’s monthly magazine and in works by Harlem Renaissance artists. Tutankhamun has had an eventful afterlife as a dynamic part of our culture—even if that afterlife came a few thousand years later than expected.
Steve Martin King Tut Skit Defended Against Millennials Who 'Don't Get It'
Steve Martin has just about all of the internet going to bat for him against millennials who apparently don't find the humor in one of his most famous 'SNL' sketches ... King Tut!
Here's the deal ... SM's trending because somebody reposted and recirculated his famously goofy Egyptian-themed dance that he performed on the late-night program, on which he made regular appearances in the '70s. Yesterday marked the 44th anniversary of its debut.
The Steve Martin King Tut video is going around without the monologue, which is a criminal offense that borders on libel. The whole thing is a punchline. If you're trying to figure out if it's funny, watch this pic.twitter.com/B9bvAmP3mn— Quinn (@gallandguile) April 22, 2022 @gallandguile
While people were piling on with praise at first, it seems, one person (and perhaps more) asked a simple question ... where the heck is the funny in this thing???
As one 20-or-30-something notes ... "I'm sure my parents found this hilarious in the 70's but I honestly dont get it. He's doing a funny dance and voice but there isn't really a *bit* that my Millenial (sic) brain can parse." Their tweet is now taking off ... in a bad way.
Tons of people are coming out in defense of Steve against this person's perception of his comedy chops -- or lack thereof, in their eyes -- by rightly explaining he was a pioneer and kickstarted an entire wave of legendary standups that emerged in the late '70s and '80s through his wacky style . .. which was more showmanship than actual traditional punchlines.
The King Tut dance, they explain, is just one example ... also, context matters too. There was a huge museum exhibit of the young pharaoh being dragged across the U.S. back then ... and it permeated the airwaves. So, Steve's satire here isn't lost on those who remember.
I find the current discourse about Steve Martin’s King Tut sing a perfect example of why “you couldn’t do X today” to be a worthless point. You couldn’t do King Tut today, but it not because it’s distasteful, it’s because the cultural significance of King Tut is much less now.— Ian Weir (@gannjerrod) April 23, 2022 @gannjerrod
There also appears to be another convo happening on the outskirts of this King Tut clip -- namely, folks who are allegedly up in arms because of ... cultural appropriation.
Frankly, we can't find a single tweet expressing this position whatsoever -- Twitter's algorithm stinks when it comes to finding the initial outrage being cited -- but in any case, some say they're seeing that argument being floated . .. and there, too, Steve fans are shutting it down.
Indeed, we're not about to apply the 2022 lens to Steve and his material some 40 years later. And, more importantly, no one in their right mind would try to "cancel" him now.
But, on the issue of whether he's actually funny or not -- either in his standup heyday or in movies thereafter -- well, it seems the answer depends on who you ask ... generationally.
The King is dancing: how Louis XIV became the Sun — 5 Republic
We are accustomed to consider Louis XIV a symbol of absolute monarchy - tough and sometimes inhuman. He easily started wars and got rid of friends, mistresses, and even those who, as it seemed to him, looked at him “wrongly”. But the true passion of the radiant monarch was only ballet - he danced when he declared “The state is me!”, And when he took Alsace, Roussillon and Artois into his hands, and when he married to secure the Iberian world. He danced until a respectable "retirement" age - almost 32 years old. And no one would dare to tell him that dancing is incompatible with the role of a ruler. Because those who once tried, immediately found themselves in prisons scattered throughout France. And for this it was enough Lettre de cachet - an extrajudicial arrest warrant, sealed with the seal of the king.
The upbringing of the long-awaited (Anne of Austria could not get pregnant and bear a child for 23 years) heir to the French throne was, to put it mildly, careless. It’s not that they didn’t teach him at all, of course they taught him, but they allowed him to do more what he liked. With regard to his younger brother, Philip, they behaved much stricter. But Louis could do anything. Right from childhood. And he, like his father Louis XIII, preferred music and exercise more than literature, mathematics and other "boring sciences." Louis XIV was the true son of his father - he played the guitar perfectly and took part in ballet performances, however, unlike his father, he almost did not write music himself.
The first dance lessons began when the king was seven years old. And there was nothing surprising in this. A king must know how to dance as well as how to ride or fence. And they so captivated the king that he began to devote at least two hours a day to them - everything is more interesting than poring over the works of Greek philosophers. The kid not only quickly mastered all the ballet steps, but also invented his own, which, I must say, are still used in professional ballet.
Having matured a little, Ludovic has not lost his passion for dancing. On the contrary, he insisted that he hired as many as two teachers - Henri Prevost and Jean Regno. He danced when he woke up, danced after dinner and before going to bed, so desperately that the study of other disciplines was practically reduced to zero, because the king had no strength left to study them.
Cardinal Mazarin, who actually ruled France in those years, could not stand ballet, preferring opera. But then they did not really like to sing at the court and knew how. No, of course, Paris still remembered the magnificent productions of the times of Catherine de Medici, but the art of dance was definitely given more preference here, and therefore the quick-witted cardinal decided - why go into politics, let the young king do what he wants. And even encouraged him in this, actually squeezing him out of public affairs.
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of black actors until the 30s were practically no longer shot in the cinema "for whites" says Westerlund. Films in which African Americans danced swing were perhaps the first in which they appeared. And even then, at first, only in the role of attendants: cooks, shoe shiners, newspaper peddlers.
Soon I found like-minded people, and we decided that we would get together several times a week and train. I filled my mental archive more and more, but I still felt that there was so little of it. Then I decided to go to America to find the Lindy Hoppers who danced in the 20s and 30s. Those to whom we owe the appearance of this dance. I didn't even think about a massive swing revival, God be with you! I did it for myself. I just really wanted to learn how to dance this dance. And I did not find anything better than to take a lesson from the founders.
I knew the man who started the Whitey's Lindy Hoppers was Frankie Manning. If he's alive, he probably still lives somewhere in New York, I decided. I took the phone book, found his phone there and dialed the number. Are you the Lindy Hop Frankie? There was a pause on the other end of the line for a few seconds, and then I heard: “Oh, yes. It's me. But why are you calling me? I didn’t think that now it’s interesting to someone, ”Frankie finally answered. I explained everything, then we met and met again and again. Eventually they became good friends. I found other dancers of this group, but Frankie for me was and still is the key figure of the Lindy Hop, my main teacher. Oh, then I had no idea what this whole story would turn into. 9No one can be 100% sure why the Lindy Hop is called the Lindy Hop. But the official version says that the name of the dance was given by the famous dancer George Shouden (Shoti George). A journalist amazed by his dance once asked him: “What are you dancing?”. He replied, "Lindy Hop!" - seeing a newspaper with the headline "Lindy hops the Atlantic" ("Lindy jumped the Atlantic"). The front page featured an article about Charles Lindbergh's first transatlantic flight.
- But dancing certainly didn't bring you income? At least at first.
— Yes, before my swing life I worked in a bank. Whoo! ( Lennart frowns displeasedly - ed. ) Of course, I was not comfortable - to give up everything, to lose a stable income for the dubious prospect of studying the history of swing and, perhaps, opening a dance school, organizing a dance group ... But I liked it so much dance that I couldn't stop. In the end, I decided that I would not have a girlfriend, would not have a family, would not have a job in the traditional sense of it - I would devote myself completely to Lindy Hop. For me, dance was and remains the only love. It's like I've gone into a Lindy Hop monastery and I'm leading a reclusive life that's all about dancing, dancing and more dancing.
- Have you ever fallen in love?
- It's too personal ( pause )... Of course it happened. But Lindy Hop has always come first.
“I’ve decided that I won’t have a girlfriend, I won’t have a family, I won’t have a job in the traditional sense - I will devote myself completely to Lindy Hop. It's like I've gone into a Lindy Hop monastery and I'm leading a reclusive life that's all about dancing, dancing and more dancing."
- You are a kind of swing monk. You have no family, no children. Have you ever thought about the question, and then what? What will be left after you?
— Hmm… Here you are, for example. I see how you like to dance, how you like to study and learn new things. Isn't your pleasure, your new knowledge, worth it? Today there are thousands of Lindy Hop fans all over the world. Only in Sweden this dance is danced by 5-10 thousand people. Throughout Europe - 60-80 thousand people. A lot of people dance in the US and South Korea. If you bring everyone together, there will be a good hundred thousand dancers. It would be immodest to admit, but I still had a hand in this matter.
— Why are you here in Yekaterinburg today? Did swing, and Lindy Hop in particular, take root on Russian soil?
Why am I here? I don't really know myself. I planned to visit only Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod and Novosibirsk. But suddenly I receive an invitation to come to Yekaterinburg. A year ago there was not a single school in your city where Lindy Hop was taught, today there are 30-40 Lindy Hoppers here. But, you know, I recognized myself in you. I saw this desire to learn. And I fucking love it!
In general, the popularity of swing in Russia began in 2000. I then came to St. Petersburg, 15-20 people came to the master class. And now Russia is one of the countries in which this dance is gaining more and more popularity. I think soon it will be as familiar and widespread as salsa or tango. Lindy Hop, like any other swing dance, is improvisation. Anyone can dance, with anyone, anywhere. The partner leads, and the partner obeys and helps - that's the whole secret. Let's dance!
P.S.: I catch the question hanging in the air: what does swing as a dance have to do with swingers, like .