If you know James Cagney only as the gangster saying "You dirty rat..." (which he didn't actually say), you're missing some of his greatest talents. He was a showman extraordinaire expert in acting, singing, and dancing. In fact he started as a "hoofer," dressed as a woman.
Friends Bob Hope and Jimmy Cagney give each other a few jabs and jibes as they dance on the table to the great American standard, "The Yankee Doodle Boy" and "Mary" in the 1955 movie, "The Seven Little Foys." Hope plays vaudevillian Eddie Foy and Cagney George M. Cohan.
Compare this clip to the amazing original Cagney number in the film "Yankee Doodle Dandy" in this Great Show Tunes Bonus. Cagney plays the great playwright, producer, songwriter, and more, George M. Cohan, who wrote The Yankee Doodle Boy for the 1904 play Little Johnnie Jones. This is followed by Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland doing the number in Babes on Broadway.
Cohan wrote over 500 songs and appeared in more than 30 plays. The 1968 Broadway musical, George M!, honored him. If you go to Times Square you'll find Cohan's statue at the corner of Broadway and 46th.
Cohan received the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1936 for his contributions in support of morale for the World War I troops. Bob Hope received the same honor in 1962 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1969. Cagney received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1984. A grand tradition of service to the troops.