15: Fred Astaire Autographed Shoes
Without doubt, Fred Astaire was the most prolific and influential dancer in cinema history. He constantly created new routines; one of his major objectives was to never repeat himself. In 1979, Fred Astaire played the lead role in a made-for-television movie entitled The Man in the Santa Claus Suit, for which Dick Clark was the executive producer. In it, Mr. Astaire plays many roles: costume shop owner, chauffeur, policeman, cab driver, jeweler, floor walker, choral director, and Santa Claus.
Dick Clark's friend Al Schwartz was hoping that Mr. Astaire would be able to perform for his 50th birthday party celebration on November 30, 1979. Unfortunately, Mr. Astaire was already booked for that day, so movie co-producer Al Schwartz secured a consolation prize for Mr. Clark-a pair of autographed Fred Astaire shoes-presented to him on his birthday. These black leather lace-up dress shoes were manufactured by the I. Miller Shoe Company, and sold by the now-defunct California department store I. Magnin. Miller was a famed chain of theatrical shoe stores founded by Israel Miller in the 20s; they produced high-end shoes until the 60s.
The left-inner sole of this Fred Astaire shoe is inscribed in black ink, "To Dick Fred Astaire '79." Also (faintly) notated in different handwriting, in black ink, on the inner lining of the each shoe: "F. Astaire Own 36601." On the right sole, Fred Astaire noted, "Fred A."
The leather on the uppers are deeply creased, and there are considerable scuffs on the leather soles, indicating that Mr. Astaire probably performed in these shoes on many occasions. The shoes are accompanied by a note card with Fred Astaire's image, dated November 30, 1979 that reads:Dick
I wanted to Give you Fred Astaire for your 50th Birthday- but he's booked- so here's a momento [sic] to add to your collection Best Wishes for the next 50
The note card was printed by Paper Moon Graphics, copyright dated 1978. No size indicated on shoe, Shoe Length: 11