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Thursday, February 07, 2013

Fred Astaire, dancing, in full makeup as Alfred E. Neuman...

The temptation yesterday was to post this then. But it's something so offbeat and unique that I felt the original article at Ain't It Cool News deserved 24 hours to stand on its own. But I really could not possibly be more giddy about sharing this...

In 1959, dancing legend Fred Astaire had a televised special called... well, Another Evening With Fred Astaire. And during it he did a routine with Barrie Chase.

And for whatever reason, Astaire chose to perform as Alfred E. Neuman. Yup, the gap-toothed ever-grinning mascot of MAD Magazine.

Astaire went all-out. The costume was spot-on Neuman. And for good measure he brought aboard makeup and prosthetics genius John Chambers (who went on to create the ape makeup and appliances for Planet of the Apes a few years later) to bring Neuman to life.

How did it turn out? Here's Fred Astaire as Alfred E. Neuman...

"What, me worry?"

This was 1959. MAD Magazine hadn't been in existence for very long (and even less in its modern satirical format). It's fascinating to me that in that brief a time, Alfred E. Neuman had become a classic enough character for Astaire to pay homage(?) to.

But wait, there's more! Here's the clip from Another Evening With Fred Astaire of "Alfred" dancing with Barrie Chase!

My girlfriend is into ballroom dancing bigtime and she thinks Astaire and Chase gave a great performance. I'm not as good a dancer as she is but I have to concur. If for no other reason than because MAD influenced me so much while growing up.

Tip o' the hat to Eric Vespe - AKA "Quint" - of Ain't It Cool News for this amazing find!