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~ The Sand Man ~ (Fred Astaire Favorites)

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I think my first was either Top Hat or Daddy Long-Legs, and both have remained tippy-top favorites.


I recently learned that DLL was not a pleasant experience for Fred because sadly, his wife died during filming. You would never know it from his performance.


Miss G

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Hello, Ayres !

Thanks for the info. I will pass this on. Personally, I love it here !

My first FA film was "Story of Vernon and Irene Castle" and maybe that is why it holds a special place in my heart.

My favourite song is: "You're Easy To Dance With" (from "Holiday Inn").

My favourite quote: "He always looks that way, its something to do with his liver" ("Holiday Inn").

Love the last two photo's,especially the one where Vernon looks out of the train window ("SOV&ICS").

Kind regards,


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Thanks for the great welcome everybody!

Here's a list of my favorite Fred Astaire dances.



"I've Got My Eyes On You" from Broadway Melody of 1940

"Slap That Bass" from Shall We Dance

"Shine On Your Shoes" from Bandwagon (even though he dances with somebody for a bit)

"I'd Rather Lead a Band" from Follow the Fleet

The firecrackers dance from Holiday Inn

"Puttin' On the Ritz" from Blue Skies

"You're All the World to Me" from Royal Wedding (dancing on the ceiling)

The one with all the drums (can't remember song) from Damsel in Distress

"Top Hat, White Tie, and Tails" from Top Hat

"By the Light of the Silvery Moon" from Story of Vernon and Irene Castle

"Stepping Out With My Baby" from Easter Parade (could be either category though)


With Partner:

"Begin the Beguine" with Eleanor Powell in Broadway Melody of 1940 (both dances)

"Isn't This a Lovely Day?" with Ginger from Top Hat

"Night and Day" with Ginger in The Gay Divorcee

"Waltz in Swing Time" with Ginger in Swing Time

"They All Laughed" with Ginger in Shall We Dance

"I'll Be Hard to Handle" with Ginger in Roberta

"Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" with Ginger in Roberta

"Never Gonna Dance" with Ginger in Sing Time

Fred and Ginger's characters having a workout in Barkley's of Broadway

"All Aboard for Alabam'" with Judy Garland in Easter Parade

"Babbit's of Bromide" with Gene Kelly in Ziegfeld Follies

"I'm Old Fashioned" with Rita Hayworth in You Were Never Lovlier

The time he dances in the park with Cyd Charise (song name escapes me) in the Bandwagon

"You're Easy to Dance With" with Virginia Dale in Holiday Inn




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Wow, myfairlady ... You've seen alot more FA movies than I have! But with that said, so has everyone else here :(


So I have a question for anyone who can answer it ... I was doing a little factual searching on the imbd and found this little Astaire list of trivia. I should post it here (I might edit this post later when I find it again) but anyway, I thought it said FA never actually sang while acting ... That his voice was dubbed into the film. Is this true? If so, was this very common during that time period? Not just for FA ... Did Bing or Sinatra ever make this a practice? For some reason I always thought Bing sang while filming the movies. I'll be saddened to find he didn't ... But I have so many past misconceptions about classics I doubt my own judgement.


Thanks for any info in advance,




While all music and songs were known to be dubbed (recorded before filming), his tap dancing was dubbed also. He "over-dubbed" his taps - recording them live as he danced to the previously recorded taps.


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Hi !

This is an aside, but I need to know if FA gets the girl in "Royal Wedding" . I do not want to spoil it for those who have not seen the movie...a pm will be appreciated. Having never watched the said film, I have seen a trailor and Peter Lawford seems to be kissing her a lot ! She should know better...what has PL got that FA has not ? Silly girl....FA has buckets of charm, handsome and a million other pluses !

Kind regards,


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I think that I've counted 27 movies I've seen of his, including the 10 with Ginger. It's taken quite a while for me to get this far. There are still some I want to see that I haven't yet like Daddy Long Legs and The Skies the Limit.


I think just about everybody dubbed in their voice at a different time than the filming. It just made for better sound and probably was easier to get things right as well. Some people even had others dubbing for them. Rita Hayworth was dubbed by someone else in her movies with Fred which is funny because she's actually a pretty good singer. The one person I know who didn't dub was Rex Harrington in My Fair Lady (I think you can tell I like that movie). He had this way of sort of sing/talking that he refused to dub because he never did it the same way twice. So they put a microphone in his tie and he did it live. Audrey Hepburn was dubbed in that movie by a woman named Marni Nixon who also dubbed for Deborah Kerr in The King and I, and Natalie Wood in West Side Story. I remember it sort of ruined the magic a little bit for me when I found out Audrey didn't sing the parts. She did use her real voice for Funny Face with Fred which I think is beautiful, but it just wasn't strong enough for her role in MFL.

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I was always confused about this until I read something written on the Astaire discussion board on the Internet Movie Database that really explained it well:


For those interested, here's a technical question I wondered for a long time and finally figured out. In all those Hollywood musicals, how did they record the sound of tap dancing and singing? One might think that they just recorded it off the floor or near the singer as it was being performed, but that's not how movies work. This, as best I can tell, is the process:


1. Record the music and any vocals in a recording studio.


2. On the movie set, while the cameras roll, the actors must synchronize their singing or dancing to the audio playback of the recorded song (obviously over a loudspeaker so they can hear it). Because of the ambient music playback, none of the sound from the set can be used in the finished film.


3. During the film editing stage, the original studio recording must be synched to the cut film.


4. And here's the tricky part, after the music is added to the film, the actor/dancer must go to a Foley studio and record a tap track on a wooden floor and perfectly match the image on the screen for a clean sound. It's interesting to imagine a Fred Astaire or Gene Kelly or the Nicholas Brothers trying to recreate in sound what they see themselves doing on screen. Anyway, I hope a few of you find this info of interest.


Isn't that a great explanation? And someone else on the discussion board added this:


That is indeed the process. I have an interview with Eleanor Powell in which she explains how she would be in the pre-recording studio with the orchestra and perform her dance routines on mattresses so her dancing would not be picked up by the mikes, but she and the musician could perfect the timing and rhythms.


If you want to hear a movie in which all the singing and tapping, etc. was recorded live on the soundstage, that was the case for Roberta. Although the sound is slightly muddy, I love the naturalness of it, esp. during the dance to "I'll Be Hard to Handle," because you can hear Ginger giggling with joy as she is whirled around the floor. Compare that to "Bouncin' the Blues" from The Barkleys of Broadway, which has Fred making little sounds of approval, but looks a little phony because he dubbed them in later (hope I'm not ruining the number for anyone--I still think it's fabulous!).

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Thanks to everyone for answering my question so completely ... *face hangs in shame* Oh, well. Bing really wasn't singing those songs? I thought that was the case when I saw Roberta! Yeah, you can hear every little thing... Do you know of anymore musicals that were recorded in real time on the sound stage? Just curious ...

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Sometimes you'll see real-time recording in very early musicals (the ones spoofed in Singin' in the Rain), but the first thing you will notice is how spotty and tinny-thin the sound is. The dubbing they were trying out in Singin' proved to be the best method for all the musical sounds, as they could then be as rich and full as if you were present and listening to the performer live. I agree, however, that the dubbing is not always transparent, especially in 1950s and '60s musicals.


For more on this, read Richard Barrios' excellent book, "A Song in the Dark." It is a history of the pre-1933 musicals.

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Hi, FA fans !

Correct me if I am wrong: but was Hermes Pan dubbing most of Ginger's tapping ? I read an article way back that FA and Hermes Pan did most of the routines after the "takes".....so: was Ginger really such a great dancer ? Yes, is my answer. FA would not have rehearsed as much if the whole dance was not timed properly; it was just the tapping, I think that bothered Ginger. Anyway, does it matter ? We watch and admire the WHOLE dance and that is what entertainment is meant to be.

Gene Kelly did the same, the difference is that FA had STYLE as far as I am concerned and looked the real gentleman. Gene Kelly was balletic/acrobatic but lacked style.

Give me FA all the time.

BTW: I received Ginger's autobiography today and will I will go without another night's sleep reading this book.

Ah, forgot to say: I thought it petty that Ginger was not at the special Academy Award for FA ! Just read a letter from a friend and he tells me that he has the Video of the show. All FA got was a letteer from Ginger ! Would FA have been so impolite had it been the other way round ? If I am wrong about this, I apologize.

Kind regards,


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Julie, do you mean the American Film Institute's Salute to Astaire in 1981 (Life Achievement Award)? One biographer (Tim Satchell) claims that Astaire didn't want Rogers there because she tended to be effusive and it embarrassed him a bit. Now, I don't know whether that's true--just something I read.



Very respectfully, I would like to discourage "Gene Kelly-bashing" on this and other threads. These two men really HATED being compared all the time, and whether a viewer prefers one or the other is entirely subjective. I love both, but have always loved Fred best, so it similarly irks me when people who like Gene more start bashing Fred. It doesn't have to be "either-or;" one can treasure both of them!



Partly because Gene is more of a "hunk" and partly because there is something of a stereotype of Fred as aristocratic to Gene's "everyman," I think many who are unfamiliar with Astaire's work tend to assume that he is effeminate and snobbish. Nothing could be further from the truth--Astaire was forceful and masculine despite his slight frame and gentle demeanor, and despite the tails and top hat he usually played a regular guy.



So, as I say, if we don't want Astaire dismissed out of hand, let's not do that to Gene.



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A couple of goofballs...

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Oh--and about Ginger and the taps. You are right that Pan almost always dubbed for Ginger, but I think that had as much to do with her being off making other films as it did with whether she wanted to (or whether Astaire and Pan wanted her to). She really wanted to do non-musicals, and eventually, she did!

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I can't say I don't love Gene Kelly ... Especially more recently I have been watching some more of his movies. He was such a hunk, and did kind of have that "regular guy" type of charm. I like to watch him jump about and do acrobats on the set. Jackie Chan, that great martial arts guru, named Gene as one of his inspirations! :)

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I have to say you are quite wrong in your thoughts that Ginger was being "petty" because she didn't appear at the AFI tribute to Fred. She was unable to attend due to a prior scheduled commitment and she wasn't given enough notice by the AFI to reschedule.


She also didn't want to take anything away from his evening and that's why she wrote him the letter. He always knew of her affection and respect for him - it was something that really didn't need to be said in public between two friends.


If you saw the first Kennedy Center Honors, you would have seen Miss Rogers right there in the audience as well as at the Lincoln Center Tribute a few years earlier.


It is my recollection that Mr. Astaire only appeared at one tribute given to Miss Rogers.


As for the dubs of her taps, Hermes Pan did those because he had a stronger "foot tap sound" and as Ayres has rightly stated, Ginger was off making other films. She usually made two films a year when making one musical, so she was unavailable to do the post tapping.


Happy reading.

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Hi !

I apologize if anyone took offence at my remarks re: Gene Kelly and Ginger Rogers. My wording came across rather harsh and it was not meant in a derogatory way. With regards to Gene Kelly, I voiced my preference and you are quite right in saying that these two dancers had different styles and comparisons are not in order. As for Ginger Rogers, I should have asked the question rather than base it on heresay and I apologize for doing so.

Please accept my sincere apology and I am happy to retract any offensive remarks I made without reservations.

Kind regards,


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*lol* Aw... Mifty, you don't have to apologize! I think everyone understands what you were trying to say. :) No worries.


Warning: totally off topic! Mifty, there are some Hugh Laurie fans on this site, what do you think of him? Is there much talk of him over there anymore? Do his comedies come up on tv much? What do they think of his fake American accent?


*lol* I hope you don't mind, you don't know how long I have been wanting to ask that. :D

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Thanks for the kind words said about Gene Kelly and Ginger Rogers.


Both Gene and Fred contributed greatly to musical films and each has his own place in our entertainment history.


As for Ginger, she is #1 in my book and I always strive to give people the correct information when I have it. I hope you enjoy her autobiography. I know it was a labor of love.


(PS Fred is #1 in my book, too.)

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And I hope in turn that I didn't sound harsh--have just always wanted to avoid criticism of one individual in the midst of praising another, though I understand that sometimes that's just the feeling or opinion one has.

I'll be darned--it's SNOWING in Northern Virginia! Some pix to warm you:

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Am i wrong or is that Donald O'Connor with Gene and Fred? I could be wrong... He looks kinda young. The more I look at it the more he looks like him.


Love the pic! I love any pic with Fred and Gene together, they always look so pleasant. I loved the previous one as well where they were jumping in the air together!



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Hi,Danny !

Hugh Lauri....unfortunately, apart from re-runs of "Black Adder", he does seem rather quite of late. It may well be that I have missed something he has been in recently, but the last time I saw anything of his on television was "The Man In The Iron Mask" (1998) which is currently shown on Sky Cinema 1. I think he has done quite a bit of comedy writing and may also have appeared on stage, but I am not 100% sure that that is the case.

Being an Eton and Cambridge chap, his American accent was a bit 'iffy, but British actors generally have trouble with that anyway. Anthony Hopkins springs to mind ( "Nixon") ! I am sure you have info on Hugh, but just in case......


I will list his work as far as I can.


Blackadder's Christmas Carol (TV movie 1988)

Strapless (1988)

Pete's Friends (1992)

A Pin For The Butterfly (1994)

Sense and Sensibility (1995)

101 Dalmations (1996)

Cousin Bette (1997)

The Borrowers (1997)

The Man In The Iron Mask ( 1998)

Stuart Little (1999)

Maybe Baby (2000)

That Girl From Rio ((2001)


TV series:-

Black Adder (1984)

Blackadder II (1986)

Blackadder The Third (1987)

Blackadder Goes Forth (1989)

A Bit Of Fry And Laurie ( 1989-1992)

Jeeves and Wooster (1990-1993)


He did quite a lot of work with Stephen Fry in TV and adverts. They first came together in a Cambridge Footlights revue in 1981.

I did enjoy "Sense and Sensibility" and "The Borrowers", but did not really pay much heed to the rest of his work. Unfortunately, having somewhat of a dry sense of humour, the Blackadder series was not to my taste. Rowan Atkinson seemed to do better and went on to Mr.Bean etc with greater success than his co-star of that show. There again, Rowan has been pretty quite, too.

If I hear of anything concerning Hugh, I shall make sure you will get to know about it.

Lovely photo of Ginger.....love the dress. I am halfway into her autobiography and I am thoroughly engrossed by it.

I always liked O'Connor because he made me laugh and feel happy. What a pliable body ! The photo is much appreciated.

Thank you all for your kind words with regards to my faux pas. As I said, there was no malice behind my somewhat ill-phrased comments appertaining to Gene Kelly and Ginger Rogers. I appreciate your understanding.

Kind regards,

Julie :)

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