Frater, Ave atque Vale

Kathleen Riley

in The Astaires

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199738410
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932955 | DOI:
Frater, Ave atque Vale

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The inaptly titled (as it proved to be) Smiles of 1930 is the subject of this chapter. Despite its promise as a Ziegfeld production and its glamorous cast, which included Marilyn Miller, it failed dismally. The show was blighted by production errors, financial problems in the wake of the 1929 financial Crash, a weak storyline produced by a less than sober writer, a co-star (Miller) with more beauty than talent, a composer (Vincent Youmans) who invariably arrived drunk for rehearsals, and frequent legal wrangling. After sixty-three performances, the show closed and the only members of the company who emerged from the disaster, with their professional reputations more or less intact, were the Astaires. It was during this period that Fred met his future screen partner, Ginger Rogers, when asked by producers Aarons and Freedley to review some dance routines for their current show, the Gershwins’ Girl Crazy. During the run of the unhappy Smiles Adele became engaged to Lord Charles Cavendish, who was then working in New York at J. P. Morgan.

Keywords: astaire; fred; adele; smiles; ziegfeld; marilyn Miller; vincent Youmans; ginger Rogers; lord Charles Cavendish; 1929 Crash

Chapter.  9085 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Dance

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