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~ The Sand Man ~ (Fred Astaire Favorites)


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Hi, folks ! :)

Great photos. I was wondering whether it is just me that thinks that FA looked even better without a wig. Another thing that dawned on me and it is this: I said I liked FA and Sir Alec Guinness, having looked at FA without his wig, he looked very much like a young Alec (who was also prematurely bald) ! Somehow, FA had more charisma than Guinness even though both had lovely smiles. ;)

Yep, I cannot wait to get my copy of "Royal Wedding" because it sounds a great film with all the scenes on the ship.

I liked reading about Fred being a family man and had close relatives and special friends ....nevermind the glitzy Hollywood parties which must have bored the poor man to tears. A very special gentleman, our FA. :)

Kind regards,

Mifty :)

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Like this photo, Queen Ayres. The little imp looks as if he has something on his mind !

I think that elegance is passe (more pate in certain quarters) and jeans,tee-shirts and general apathy to clothes is the order of our present times. Where are the lokes of these gentleman ? Their fans wanted to emulate them and that was a good thing. However, emulating rock stars does not sound the same to me ! :0

Had a treat watching "The Barkleys of Broadway" at a friend's house and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Please, if you have a chance, look at the scene in the countryside (Astaire, Rogers and Oscar) and notice the look on Ginger's face as she pulls Oscar towards her when the car drives past; FA seems very relaxed and unperturbed. It might have made a noise that was edited out to scare Ginger that much. Needless to say, I used slomo to see Ginger's reaction !

On the subject of kisses: the same film (as was mentioned before) has two good kisses. One at the beginning and one when the couple reconcile. Unusual for F and G because these were not planted on the chin ! ;)

Just noticed: the photo must be from "Top Hat" (the (in)famous feathered dress).

Hope to chat some more with you wonderful folks.

Kind regards,

Mifty :)

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[nobr]I found some photos of Fred today; some have probably seen them. I thought I would post some of my favorites...[/nobr]

 

[nobr]Astaire with wife Phyllis[/nobr]

 

[nobr]Fred%20&%20Phyllis%201933.jpg[/nobr]

 

[nobr]I believe this is with his sister, Adele[/nobr]

 

[nobr]Fred%20&%20Adele%202.jpg[/nobr]

 

[nobr]Cute. Period.[/nobr]

 

[nobr]fred1.jpg[/nobr]

 

[nobr]With Bing and costars from Holiday Inn[/nobr]

 

[nobr]Holiday%20Inn%20-%201942.jpg[/nobr]

 

[nobr]Fred and Ginger from Roberta... They look like they're having alot of fun![/nobr]

 

[nobr]Roberta%20-%201935.jpg[/nobr]

 

[nobr]Fred and Audrey[/nobr]

 

[nobr]Funny%20Face%20-%201957.jpg[/nobr]

 

[nobr]Adorable... but who's he with?[/nobr]

 

[nobr]A%20Damsel%20In%20Distress.jpg[/nobr]

 

[nobr]And last... Fred at 11 years.[/nobr]

 

[nobr]fred@age11.jpg[/nobr]

 

[nobr]Some of them are small, but you get the idea! ;) [/nobr]

 

[nobr]bhf1940[/nobr]

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Hi, Folks ! ;)

More photos....we are really being spoilt. Thanks BHF.

Mrs.Astaire was a beautiful woman. Now I can understand why FA did not have to look at other women ! What a lovely couple they made.

I wonder what he was like as a little boy ! That impish twinkle was there all the time. ;)

Who can answer this question for me: when did his parents die ? I hope that at least one of them got to see him in his fame and glory, appreciated for his unique talent by all his fans and peers alike.

Thanks again.

Kind regards,

Mifty

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Sorry, but I forgot to ask another question ! You must be getting fed up with me !

What was wrong with FA's middle fingers ? A friend of mine said he always tried both his middle fingers and that he had some sort of complex about them. Is this true ? :0

Thanks,

Mifty

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Mifty,

Glad you like the Barkleys of Broadway. It is one of my favorites and I love seeing them in COLOR.

 

I checked the scene at the train station where you say Ginger had a surprised look on her face when the car passed and Fred looked relaxed and unperturbed. I don't think the car made a noise that was edited out - Dinah was concerned that Ezra Millar was too close to the car - she is the first one to see it pass and pulls him aside. Josh sees this and he motions with his arm for the car to pass. I think Ginger was just being a good actress and concerned for her fellow actors.

 

I don't know much about Fred's parents but his mother lived with him for many years during his Hollywood days and long enough to see her son become very successful.

 

As for his hands, I have heard from several people, that he thought he had rather large hands and in order to minimize this look, he would purposely keep his two middle fingers together (not tied up or anything) to give this impression.

 

Also, the other people in the photo where they are in a large round tube are George Burns and Gracie Allen from Damsel in Distress.

 

Any my two cents: Fred much better than Gene.

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Astaire's father, Fred Austerlitz (who had also changed his name to Astaire by that time) died early in 1924. He actually had not been living with his family since his wife Ann took their two children from Omaha, Nebraska to New York in 1906 in hopes of building their show business careers. By the time their father died, Fred and Adele had long been a child act in vaudeville, and by their early twenties were international stage stars (in fact they were performing in London when Frederick died), so he did get to see their great fame.

 

Fred's mom Ann died in 1975 at the age of 96. Throughout her later years she had at times lived with her son in Beverly Hills.

 

Astaire was indeed most self-conscious about his disproportionately large hands, but I find it ironic, because I think they are beautifully expressive and I often find myself watching them. I bet they were helpful when it came to leading and lifting his partners, as well.

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Hi Bhf---in answer to your question of one of the photos, "Who's he with?"---they appear to be George Burns and Gracie Allen, with whom he co-starred in DAMSEL IN DISTRESS.

 

Great pix!

 

Miss G

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Thanks for all the answers to my questions, guys ! ;)

I think FA's hands looked very elegant and probably very useful to play the piano with (apart from holding ladies waists !). ;)

grassistant, you are right: Ginger was a very good actress and in the scene mentioned she was quick to spot the danger to Oscar. Nice one. I love that film because of the re-union and because it is in colour. I only wish they had made more films together. There is that magical chemistry between the two that is extremely rare to find.

I am glad that I was not the only one to to recognize George Burns in the "tube-tunnel" photo !

FA is so cute in the photo with his sister.....lovely smile and that impish look.

What a great age his mother reached. It is lovely that they remained close. She must have been very,very proud to have a son like him; a great talent and a good family man.

Here goes: what is "Yolanda and the Thief" about ? I wish TCM would put it on. I wish TCM put on ALL of FA's film !

Kind regards,

Mifty ;)

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From my records, I have Yolanda And the Thief airing on the 26th of this month, 1:15 AM. If you are looking for it in the schedule on this site, remember it will be under the 25th.

 

Your post reminded me of something... I remember Astaire playing the piano in Follow The Fleet, and he did it quite well. He was really playing, right? Did he play it very often in other films? I can't remember another time right now...

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Yolanda and the Thief is really a bizarre film, Mifty, but worth seeing for a number of reasons. It is about (I'm not kidding) a con man who convinces a naive girl that he is her guardian angel. Speaking of color, the colors in Yolanda are stupendous, and it really has its moments. So definitely check it out.

 

Danny, Astaire was an excellent jazz piano player and demonstrates this in I think four films: Roberta, Follow the Fleet, Broadway Melody of 1940, and Let's Dance. The piano numbers in BM of 1940 and Let's Dance are followed by two of my favorite of his dances. The one in Let's Dance used to be available on YouTube, but some of these things keep getting taken down.

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I wish TCM in GB had "Yolanda and the Thief" listed, but alas: not this month.

Thanks for the info. guys... you are all great. :)

Correct me if I am wrong on this, but I think FA did play piano on the Michael Parkinson show here in England round about about the early 70's.

OK, I am going to watch "Finians Rainbow" in a mo. I know it is not a very good film, but boy oh boy...FA did keep his figure ! ;) For a man of his age, he had the body of a twenty year old. Somehow, he looks much taller in this film; maybe it was because he had lost a bit of weight (as if that were possible, Mifty ! :0).

I am searching for "A Step In Time"..... if any of you can help me with this book, PLEASE ! It is driving me nuts !

Thanks again.

Kind regards,

Mifty :)

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No worries, BHF, I just hope that TCM in GB get to show the film. I hope all our cousins in the USA enjoy watching our beloved FA. :)

Well, I really enjoyed "Finian's Rainbow" much more than the last time I put it on ! FA was very nimble, but it is a pity the director "chopped" the bottom half of the screen....I wanted a whole FA not just his legs ! :0 That is what I call a bad job and wonder what Mr.Astaire thought about the director ! The first couple of scenes were OK, but then the rest went downhill. Also, I did not like the actress who played the deaf/mute character. There again...you cannot please all of the people all of the time.

A friend of mine (the one that watched "The Barkleys of Broadway" video with me) told me that FA played piano with Oscar Peterson on an album. Unfortunately she does not have the recording. Wow ! I would love to have that .

If any of you fantastic people read "A Step In Time", can you tell me what FA said about GR and what his favourite film was ?

Kind regards,

Mifty :)

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Dear Mif,

 

I don't know how prohibitive the postage prices may be, but try this:

 

Go to www.abebooks.com

 

Conduct an advanced search for Author: Astaire and Title: Steps in Time

 

You'll get a list of several copies of the book for about $7.

 

Similarly, if you go to ebay.com and conduct a search for "Oscar Peterson Astaire" you will find some inexpensive recordings of their sessions together.

 

Good luck!

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I have Steps in Time and it reads just as you would imagine it to, in Fred's "voice", which is ever modest, enthusiastic and courteous. He is too much of a gent to voice any criticisms of any co-stars, which I appreciate as an antidote to too many vulgar, kiss-and-tell autobiographies (not that I don't indulge in gossip sometimes, myself---unfortunately!) He has nothing but praise for Ginger as a person and a professional.

 

I recommend this breezy read for any fan of Astaire, and if you get a chance to buy or rent the recent dvd collection of Dick Cavett's interviews, don't miss Fred's appearance which is all you could desire---and it got the longest and loudest cheers from the audience of any of the other shows.

 

P.S. The only time I read that FA felt any irratation toward a costar was for Kay Thompson---I believe Stanley Donen talked a bit about that in his autobiography. Something about the woman just rubbed him the wrong way, but he was never rude about it.

 

Miss G

 

Message was edited by:

MissGoddess

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