Fred Astaire

//Fred Astaire
  • Danny O'Neill and Hank Taylor are friends and rival trumpeters with 'O'Neill's Perennials', a college band and they've managed to prolong their college careers by failing seven years in a row. Ellen Miller catches the eye of both Danny and Hank at a performance - and when she serves them a notice for her boss, a debt collector, the fast-talking guys soon have her working as their manager. Tired of losing gigs to the 'Perennials', Artie Shaw ( playing himself) steals the competent Ellen away to be his booking manager. And now the rivals begin to scheme to get themselves into Shaw's band - each determined to  out-play the other! Light musical comedy.
  • Dancer, choreographer and film star Fred Astaire (1899-1987) relates his life experiences from his 76 year-long career; from his vaudeville debut with his sister in 1905 to success on the highly-prized Orpheum Circuit; breaking into Broadway in 1917 and the musical stage comedies starring himself and sister Adele in New York and London. When his sister Adele married in 1932, Fred continued on his own, developing a loose-limbed dance style influenced by Bill 'Bojangles' Robinson. It was not instant success in Hollywood; the screen test report from RKO is alleged to have read: 'Can't sing. Can't act. Balding. Can dance.'  Yet David O. Selznick felt Fred had charm and his Hollywood debut (on loan from RKO to MGM) was with Joan Crawford in Dancing Lady, then with Ginger Rogers in Flying Down To Rio. He was reluctant be become part of a team again, yet the combination of Astaire and Rogers was wildly successful through nine films. Other partners followed, including Eleanor Powell, considered the most exceptional tap dancer of her generation. He also made his own innovations: Royal Wedding with Jane Powell was advertised as 'See Fred Astaire Dance On The Ceiling!' (Long before C.G.I.) He founded the Fred Astaire Dance Studios; and after retiring from dancing, took dramatic film roles (The Towering Inferno); even a guest appearance in Battlestar Galactica. He was an intensely private man: the Hollywood star who kept his feet on the ground and who never 'went Hollywood.' Illustrated with black and white archival photographs.