ANYONE who knows him will tell you that Fred’s the “worryingest” man in town. Although he is the acknowledged best male dancer in or out of captivity, Astaire always wonders whether or not he’s good. Even after seeing his picture, he isn’t quite convinced, nor does the critic’s unstinted praise reassure him too much. Probably the reason he’s so good is because he is so conscientious.
There were those long ago who claimed Fred would be strictly a “one picture guy.” Why, said they, he isn’t good-looking and he hasn’t any sex appeal and he isn’t tall enough, and on and on they went, while Fred went on and on adding to his already established fame and fortune.
The Astaires have a brand-new baby, named after his famous father, of course. Upon his arrival, Irving Berlin sent the youngster a gold miniature pair of his daddy’s dancing shoes, a very apropos and original gift, you’ll agree. Fred rather hopes though that his son won’t elect a theatrical career. Of course, he admits he’d do nothing to stifle the child’s ambition in this direction, should he evince such an ambition. But Fred knows too well the heartbreak and disappointment, in store for even the successful, to want anyone he loves dearly to tackle the theatre.
Astaire’s pet peeve is being photographed outside of the studio. He’s the first to admit he’s no Bob Taylor—and the candid camera doesn’t flatter! Even the handsomer gelatin gents and beauteous belles have found that out. Astaire is really adored by the supporting cast in his pictures, and you’ll notice that practically the same players appear in each of them. Eric Blore, Randolph Scott and Erik Rhodes are invariably set for a role, if there’s one that will suit them.
When you see “Shall We Dance,” you’ll meet a lovely dancer named Harriet Hoctor. You’ll see her in Fred’s next, “Damsel in Distress,” too, for the star claims that this girl is a positive joy as a partner. Carole Lombard will probably have the co-starring part, but Harriet will certainly be set cinematically now that Astaire has taken a definite professional interest in her.