On this day in 1899 Fred Astaire was born.
He and Ginger Rogers are known as classic Hollywood’s greatest dance team, but Astaire had another dance partner for 27 years: his older sister, Adele.
Four year old Fred followed Adele to ballet class one day and tried on some of the pointe shoes and started walking around the room in them.
With both kids showing plenty of potential as dancers, their parents (the family name was Austerlitz, by the way) decided to move from Nebraska to New York City so the kids could enroll at a performing arts school.
Just a few years later they began performing under the names Adele and Fred Astaire.
They would go on to be enormous stars onstage in the U.S. as well as overseas.
And, for much of their partnership, she was the bigger name, the one who got the most glowing reviews, the most attention from critics and artists, the one whose photo was most often in magazine ads.
So why is Fred the more famous Astaire today?
Because Adele left the act in 1932 to get married and move to Ireland.
Fred decided to move on from the stage too, but he went to Hollywood.
And at first, critics and producers weren’t sure the younger Astaire had quite the star quality as older sister had.
One reviewer said of Fred’s first solo performance: “Two Astaires are better than one.”
For Fred’s part, he wasn’t sure any partnership would measure up either: he once sent a telegram to his agent asking “What’s all this talk about me being teamed with Ginger Rogers?… I’ve just managed to live down one partnership and I don’t want to be bothered with any more.”
Film lovers are glad he reconsidered.
Some rock drummers have a policy of the more, the merrier when it comes to their kits.
In Essen, Germany, a music rental company teamed up with Ventor, the drummer from the band Kreator, to make a drum kit so big that it’s more like a drum fortress.
There are multiple tiers of cymbals – and yes, there are cowbells,
Two-Step (New York Times)
World’s Largest Drum Kit (The Awesomer)
Photo via Wikicommons