In reponse to this St Pete Times article, my brother Mack sent this in…
Dear Mr. Fleming,
Regarding Ginger Roger infamous line that ‘she did exactly what Fred
did for half the pay, backwards and in heels’, please consider that …
She only deserved half the pay since it was Fred that carried her.
He went on to dance very well with other leading ladies (Cyd Charisse, Audrey Hepburn, Barrie Chase) and even performed once with
with Gene Kelly. Meanwhile Ginger… did not. That is, Ginger really
never danced again in the same romantic fashion with another leading
man. No other man was an Astaire, not even Mr. Kelly.
For Ginger to have ever compared her dancing abilities with Fred
Astaire’s creative mastery is ridiculous at the very least. He made
memorable dance scenes all by himself in several movies and really
didn’t need Ginger at all.
Fred could also sing better than Ginger as demonstrated by all
those Gershwin and Cole Porter tunes he made so popular. Ginger had
one mediocre vocal with ‘Let yourself go’ in 1936.
In fairness, Ginger was a talented actress long before Fred came
along but it was still Fred who made the world notice her. Her acting
abilities were excellent and her success was very well deserved. Her
dance talent was also tremendous. She was so beautiful, so graceful
and all the while making Fred’s performance so much easier. She was
the perfect partner for him no doubt about it.
The reason for my addressing this issue today is only because I find
it annoying that the current musical ‘ Backwards in High Heels’ is so
offensive to the history of Fred Astaire, in my opinion. It’s like
listening to a Gloria Steinem rant about fish, men and bicycles.
One again history is being rewritten to accommodate women’s
interest. At no time was Ginger Rogers ever in the same dancing
league as Fred was. In fact Fred proved this issue perfectly all by
himself himself. Or, more specifically, he danced with a chair and
the chair looked very talented indeed.
Thanks for your time,