Showing posts with label Fred Astaire. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fred Astaire. Show all posts

Thursday, September 10, 2015

September 10: Happy Birthday, Adele Astaire

In 1898,three years before her brother, Fred Astaire, was born, Adele Astaire entered the world on Sept 10. A child raised in a New York boardinghouse and educated at the Alviene Master School of the Theatre and Academy of Cultural Arts, Adele began performing on the Vaudeville circuit with her sibling at the tender age of seven.

Astaire appeared on the sustaining program Magic Key on Jan. 12, 1936. The episode also showcased the Pickens Sisters.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

December 14: Happy Birthday, Dan Dailey

There's no business like show business. Like no business I know! Just ask Dan Dailey, who starred in the film by that name. Dailey was a song-and-dance man, a hoofer with a unique style, not quite Fred Astaire but an entertainer of millions nonetheless. He was twice nominated for an Oscar (Best Actor, When My Baby Smiles At Me and Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy for When Willie Comes Marching Home) and took home a Golden Globe for Best Actor (for the TV series The Governor & J.J.)

Dailey's prodigious career is also made distinctive because of the outstanding actors with whom he starred. These included Johnnie Ray, Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable and John Wayne.

Dan Dailey, like most big stars of the mid-century era, made many appearances on some of the most prestigious radio programs such as Lux Radio Theatre, Screen Directors Playhouse, and Philco Radio Time. On Lux  he reprised roles on his films Tomahawk, Mother Wore Tights, and Blue Heaven.

Dailey was born today in 1905, and we salute him and thank him for the memories!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

May 3: Happy Birthday, Bing Crosby


A stirrer of the imagination, a soother of souls, a gentle and loyal companion, Bing Crosby is a crooner for all-time, a superstar of the twentieth century. Known for his songs "White Christmas," "Surrender Dear," and "Sweet Leilani," the baritone was called "the most admired man alive" by Yank magazine.

From 1935-'43, Crosby appeared regularly on Kraft Music Hall. He also made many appearances on Command Performance and Philco Radio Time. These performances, in addition to showcasing his now-legendary vocal skills, allowed him to work with the biggest names of the day, including Peggy Lee, Boris Karloff, Al Jolson, Groucho Marx, and Fred Astaire.

The story has it that his nickname Bing (he was born Harry) came from his infatuation with the comic strip Bingville Bugle.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

July 16: Happy Birthday, Ginger Rogers


The Rogers of Astaire and Rogers was born July 16, 1911. The lovely Ginger Rogers was a  captivating dancer and actress would perform more than 10 movies with Fred Astaire and be a romantic focus of his as well. Born Virginia Katherine McMath in Independence Missouri, Ginger would grow up with her grandparents in Kansas City. During this time her mother worked in Hollywood writing scripts. Due to the fact one of her cousins could not properly pronounce her first name, she took on the nickname of “Ginga’.” “Ginga’” moved to Texas where where her mother was working as a theatre critic for a Fort Worth newspaper. During this time, Miss Rogers became fascinated with the stage and started to learn to sing and dance. She became involved vaudeville and the stage, performing in a number of productions. One of her most memorable was Girl Crazy, where she met the choreographer, Fred Astaire, for the first time. By 1929 she had moved onto Hollywood and became a film performer. During the years of 33-39 she made a number of films with Astaire as her dancing partner. Rogers made a number of guest appearances on radio. her academy award winning Kitty Foyle was a showpiece on Lux Radio Theatre. She also made appearances on Command Performance, Screen Guild Theatre, G.I. Journal and Suspense. Ginger Rogers had as much presence on-air as she did on the motion picture screen. She was married five times, but never to Fred Astaire. She loved to perform, be involved in civics and enjoyed people. She left this world in 1995 of a heart attack. She had danced her last earthly dance.

Monday, June 24, 2013

June 24: Happy Birthday, Phil Harris

On June 24 of 1904, Baloo...well the voice of Baloo...was born. Phil Harris (first name Wonga) was an actor, jazz musician, singer, comedian and so many other talents. Raised in Tennessee, Harris began his foray into entertainment as a drummer for a circus. 

He later formed a band that many runs at the St. Francis Hotel. Following a dissolution of the band, Harris formed a new band that still exists to this day. Through the 1930’s, Phil Harris made recordings for a variety of major labels, including Columbia, Decca and Victor. From the 30’s through the 50’s, Harris would be cast alongside some of the big names in the industry, like Walter Brennan. 

He also performed in a film that also created Flying Down to Rio, which set in motion a couple of top names in Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire. During the 1930’s, Harris made his radio debut by being the Musical Director and comic relief for the Jack Benny Program. The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show also spent time on the airwaves as a coast to coast favorite. 

His southern charm and accent played to the masses in this period of Americana. That was due in large part to the fact harris knew how to reach to the heart of people and not be stand-offish. Married to Alice Faye much of his adult life, Harris would go on to do television and host celebrity golf matches. Harris passed away in 1995 and his wife three years later. It was said that Harris loved his southern beginnings...well, America loved Phil Harris.

Monday, June 10, 2013

June 10: Happy Birthday Judy Garland


Somewhere over the rainbow can be found the face and voice of Judy Garland. Although hers was a sad end of life tale, her time entertaining people holds a mark as one of the most loved and cherished with fans. Judy Garland was born Frances Gumm in 1922 and was discovered as a teenager in vaudeville.

 Judy Garland had been performing with her two older sisters in musical acts in Minnesota, than California when Busby Berkley went to watch one of her performances with her sisters. She signed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios, where she met and performed with Andy Rooney in 9 films. in 1939, Miss Garland starred in the classic hit Wizard of Oz.

 Her fame continued to grow and saw her cast with the likes of Deanna Durbin and others. One of the highest accolades laid at her feet was that of Fred Astaire who described her as, “one of the finest entertainers to ever live”. Miss Garland was as adept a singer as she was an actress and proved it with many famous recordings, including her hit, Somewhere Over the Rainbow. Garland was as popular an adult star as she was in her teen years.

Playing opposite the likes of Frank Sinatra only grew her fame; especially when much of her music was hitting the radio airwaves to make Mr. and Mrs. America take notice of her contralto voice. Judy Garland was married five times and in those marriages had 3 children, two of which (Liza Minelli and Lorna Luft) became established stars. Miss Garland passed away in 1969 at the age of 47. She will be remembered for a long time.

Friday, May 10, 2013

May 10: Happy Birthday, Fred Astaire


"Can't act. Can't sing. Balding. Can dance a little." So read the RKO screen test of none other than...Lassie! No, not really. We're talking about today's birthday boy, Fred Astaire, who soft-shoed into the world today, 1899.

Astaire went into the world of dance with his older sister on the Vaudeville circuit. By 1917 the duo was appearing in big-time musicals on both sides of the Big Pond. Fortunately for all of us, his sister married a British aristocrat and decided there'd be no more professional dancing for her. This left the little brother to re-invent his career. He landed work in a Cole Porter musical, Gay Divorce. From there--failed screen test aside--it was on to celluloid.

As far as the world of radio, in 1936 he hosted the Packard Hour, whose colloquial name was "The Fred Astaire Show." He also graced Bing Crosby's variety program late in his career. Let's salute Fred Astaire!