Chapter 9

Chapter 9
Heartbreak and a Demanding Career

Ginger’s life is speeding by with little time for her and Lew.  Musicals are time consuming with all of the rehearsals for her duets with Fred.  She started rehearsing with Fred and Hermes Pan five to six weeks before production.  She found herself rising at 5:30 in the morning and returning home in the late evening hours.  When working on a musical with Fred it did not matter whether they were rehearsing or shooting a film holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas were working days just like any other day of the year.  There were seven days in the workweek.
No, matter how many hours Ginger spends dancing or working on the set, she accommodates publicity people whenever possible.  Elizabeth Wilson said she could always count on Ginger even after a hard day on the set.  When she needed Ginger to sign twenty photos for her magazine to distribute to her fans, Ginger willingly sits down and signs them immediately without complaint. 
Lew and Ginger very seldom find any time to be together except for a weekend here and there.  One evening they were entertaining the Andy Devines, Magaret Sullavan and her husband Leland Hayward.  After dessert, they moved into the living room and turned on the radio.  To Ginger and Lew’s dismay the radio announcer was telling their audience Ginger was in Reno getting divorced from her husband.  Ginger called the station and demanded to speak with the movie columnist so she could set him straight.  Ginger demanded that the columnist retract his statement before the broadcast ended or she would call her lawyer.  She wanted the people who heard the misinformation to hear what the truth was.  Just before the broadcast ended the columnist said, “I’ve just had Ginger Rogers on the wire.  She denies that she’s in Reno or getting a divorce.  Sorry, Ginger!”  There was always something in the gossip pages about Ginger doing this and Lew doing that which did not help their marriage.
Ginger went back East for the premiere of Follow the Fleet with her mother instead of Lew at the last minute.  Lew stayed home because he had to be within calling distance for retakes for his latest picture.  Travel between the coasts was not as accessible as it is today and took around a half of day to make the coast-to-coast flight.  Lew is not one who likes publicity for himself or his wife.  Maybe he stayed home to avoid the spotlight that is shining on his wife, the young and elegant Ginger Rogers.
Ginger’s career was rising fast and Lew’s is taking a temporary dip.  All of Ginger’s hard work, dedication, and long hours were finally paying off.  How could she turn her back on what she had been fighting her whole life for, a successful career in show business.  Ginger would never be one to sit idly by watching the parade go by, she had to be involve and inhaling the fumes of good hard work.  She always had to be busy working and partaking in life.  Lew wanted a wife at home.  Who does not but that was not in Ginger’s nature.  She had tried that when she was married to Jack Culpepper.  She wanted to keep her promise to herself that if her career interfered with her marriage she would give up her career.  She meant it when she said it but it was a promise she could not keep.  It is heartbreaking that Lew did not realize she would not have been the same woman he fell in love with if she gave up her career for him.  Ginger wanted a home with a husband and children but was that asking for too much?  Can she have a successful career and a family?  She had to concentrate on the here and now and worry about that later.  The only thing Ginger knew for sure is she has to be at the studio tomorrow.  One-step at a time with the hope that she might one day have her dream come true.
For whatever the reason, they separated in May of 1936.  Ginger wistfully states, “I just live each day as it comes, do the best I can with it, watch it die without regret, I put what is passed away.”  She was too alive and full of zest to live someone else’s life.  For as much as Ginger loved Lew, she could not give up her career for him in the end.
Harry Evans wrote for The Family Circle.  He had met Ginger during her Broadway days and connected again with her for the premiere of Follow the Fleet.  When he asked Ginger “who” made Fred, she replies to the inquiry by giving the credit to Fred.  She agrees with Fred that he got off on the wrong foot with Dancing Lady.  Fred went straight to the studio heads and told them of his success on Broadway and he was capable of holding an audience’s attention during a dance routine because it was part of the plot and meant something to the progression of the story.  He insisted on the camera remaining on him in full frame from head to toe during the duration of the dance or upon both Ginger and him when doing a duet.
Ginger explains, “what it means to stick in there and try to look graceful while thinking where your right hand should be, and how your head should be held, and which foot you end the next eight bars on, and whether you are near enough to the steps to leap up six of them backward without looking.  Not to mention those Astaire rhythms.  Did you ever try to count the different tempos he can think up in three minutes?”  Fred’s chorography was inspirational because he did not confine himself or Ginger to the rules of dance.  He invented his own style of dance and that is why he was so refreshing with Ginger.  Ginger was not a trained dancer and had been interpreting her own dance style before she wowed the judges in Texas doing the Charleston her own way.  This is one reason why Ginger complemented Fred’s innovative style so well.  Neither one of them felt compelled to adhere to the rules of dance.
At the end of the article, Mr. Evans poses this question, “What if Fred had chosen another partner?  What if he’d picked out a girl who didn’t have sufficient brains and talent to follow his suggestions and provide a foil for his great dancing and grand comedy?  Perhaps, Ginger has done a great deal for Fred-and I’m sure he’d be the first person to admit it.”  Ginger did more than just dance, she acted through the dances paying attention to every minuscule detail. These elements made those Astaire Rogers duets masterpieces.  The Gods of Music and Dance ordained their pairing.
In July of 1936 after filming for Swing Time was completed, Ginger found herself on her way to Texas to celebrate their centennial.  Even though she was born in Independence and spent time in Kansas City as a youngster, Ginger lived in Texas during her formative years.  Texas considered Ginger one of theirs as she acknowledge them also as a favorite daughter.  Governor Allred bestowed upon her the rank of admiral in the Texas Navy.  She gladly accepted the honor.

Swing Time August 27, 1936 New York City, New York

This is my favorite Ginger and Fred musical.  Lucky Garnett, (Fred) a gambler who dances, goes to the big city to raise $25,000 so he can return to his fiancée, Margaret, (Betty Furness) and marry her.  His sidekick, Pop, (Victor Moore) accompanies his friend to help him find his fortune.   The one flaw is Ginger does not appear soon enough.  I usually start my viewing with the scene where Pop is trying to buy cigarettes out of a machine with a button.  Penny (Ginger) emerges from the subway in time to inform Pop that he will need a needle and thread.  Lucky asks Penny to exchange his lucky quarter for change.  She complies only to have her packages knocked out of her arms by a passerby into the street crossing.  Lucky helps her pick them up while Pop retrieves his multiple packages of cigarettes and the change from the machine.  Pop tries to swap out the quarter and replace it with the change when Lucky takes Penny’s pocket book from him minus the quarter but without the replaced change to its rightful owner.  Penny notices the quarter is missing and demands its return to a policeman.  The policeman sides with Lucky and tells Penny to move on to which she calls him a Cossack in reference to a member of the Russian army.  Pop informs Lucky to what has transpired and Lucky runs after Penny to apologize and give her her money.  He follows her into a dancing academy where she is an instructor.
After getting on Penny’s good side, she precedes to teach Lucky a few simple steps, which finds Lucky on the floor.   Lucky and Penny delightfully sing Pick Yourself Up.   Penny and Lucky try the steps again and now both of them are on the floor.  She informs him to give it up that he could never learn to dance in a million years.  This gets Penny inadvertently fired as her boss (Eric Blore) over hears her.  Lucky drags a reluctant Penny onto the dance floor for a demonstration to show her boss what an excellent teacher she is. 
Lucky does a fast tap and Penny leans backward as her face reveals her relief and astonishment at Lucky’s footwork.  Lucky takes Penny into his arms and the dance starts with the steps that Penny had been teaching him.  Penny follows Lucky’s lead incredulously until she realizes he knows what he is doing.  They miraculously blend in step as one.  When you think of Ginger and Fred dancing on air, this routine comes to mind.  They seem to be floating up in the stratosphere as they tap, twirl, and leap effortlessly across and beyond the dance floor.  Their exhilaration in coming together in dance has no earthly limits.
Lucky sings The Way You Look Tonight to Penny as she is washing her hair and she goes over to Lucky and tenderly caresses his shoulder with her hand and he turns to gaze upon her with a giddy smile until he sees her head of suds and she runs out of the room when she looks into the mirror.   The song wins the Best Song Oscar for 1936.
Ginger and Fred’s duets are of a higher caliber than those Fred danced with other partners in the emotional impact they have on the story and the audience.  When Penny and Lucky perform in front of others for their tryout, you feel the enthusiasm of the couple consumed with the ecstasy of being deeply in love with each other, which is reflected through their dance.  They have eyes for no one else but each other as they dazzle everyone watching them move across the entire floor in pure jubilation of being in love to the Waltz in Swing Time.  Ginger remarked in her book that when she saw the dress she was to wear for Waltz in Swing Time, it made her want to turn and twirl in it.  Ginger felt the dresses she wore were made for dancing for her in them.
Ginger proves herself again as Fred’s equal.   Ginger keeps Fred’s numerous spins tight, controlled, and continues on to the next step with the grace of a gazelle.  When she arches her back and Fred vaults over her is extremely arousing as is the entire dance.  Ginger and Fred dances are narratives of their liaison.  Their romantic dances were far more sensual and erotic than watching two naked people going at it.
Lucky and Penny have become romantically involved with each other as they rehearse for their dance debut.  Lucky still does not want to commit to Penny and Penny is unsure of how Lucky really feels about her.  Off to the New Amsterdam with Pop and Mabel (Helen Broderick) and maybe some alone time.  Penny sings her verse of A Fine Romance to Lucky.  It describes her bewilderment as to what kind of romance they should have compared to what kind of romance they appear to have.
They sit on a bench while the snow lightly falls upon them.  Lucky firmly turns Penny towards him with reckless abandonment and goes in for a kiss full of promise when he receives a snowball squarely hitting him in the head by Pop whom he has asked to protect him from Penny.  When Lucky returns the snowball, its recipient is Mabel.  He runs off to apologize as the bumbling but good intentioned Pop spills the beans about Lucky’s agreement to return to Margret when he has earned $25,000.  When Lucky returns, Penny is miffed and turns a cold shoulder to Lucky’s advances.  Lucky then sings his verse about their romance with disappointment and confusion as Penny walks back to the car as he follows.
Lucky has promised Penny that he will not gamble anymore and therefore he will not be able to earn the money he needs in order to return to Margaret.  On the night of their performance, Penny goes to Lucky’s dressing room to settle a dare by Mabel to kiss him.  She moves forward and Lucky moves backward.  Penny tries again to no avail when she asks Lucky about her dress and cape.  Lucky admires her dress and cape as he backs Penny up into a corner behind the door.  The kiss is imminent, the door opens, and I miss the kiss.  The door closes to reveal Penny and Lucky and the looks on their faces say it all.  All of the giddy girlhood dreams of romance radiate from Penny’s face and Lucky’s lipstick smeared face shows the elation of a man in love.
Then the fiancée, Margaret, shows up and all seems lost.  Penny accepts Ricky’s (Georges Metaxa) proposal of marriage in order to escape the unhappiness of Lucky’s promise to marry Margaret.  
Lucky goes to leave the dance club and comes upon Penny and Ricky.  Lucky asks to speak to Penny and she asks Ricky to wait for her outside.  This next scene is one of the tenderest, loving, and heart wrenching put on film. 

Penny:  Bye.  Penny walks off.
Lucky:  Penny.  She stops and turns around.
   Oh, never mind.  I just want to wish you good luck and all 
Penny: And all what?
Lucky: Whatever you want.
Penny: Does she dance very beautifully?
Lucky: Who?
Penny: The girl you are in love with.
Lucky: Yes, very.
Penny: The girl you are engaged to. The girl you are going to
Lucky: Oh, I don’t know.  I have dance with you. I am never gonna   
        dance again.

Penny turns and starts to walk up the steps. Lucky starts to sing and she turns to listen.

Though, I’m left without a penny
The wolf was discreet
He left me my feet
And so, I put them down on anything
But the la belle
La perfectly swell romance

Never gonna dance
Never gonna dance
Only gonna love
Never gonna dance

Have I a heart that acts like a heart
Or is it a crazy drum
Beating the weird tattoos
Of the St. Louis Blues?

Have I two eyes to see your two eyes
Or see myself on my toes
Dancing to radios
Or Major Edward Bowes?

Though, I’m left without a penny
The wolf was discreet
He left me my feet
And so, I put them down on anything
But the la belle
La perfectly swell romance
Never gonna dance
Never gonna dance
Only gonna love

Never gonna dance

I’ll put my shoes on beautiful trees
I’ll give my rhythm back to the breeze
My dinner clothes may dine where they please
For all I really want is you
And to Groucho Marx I give my cravat
To Harpo goes my shiny silk hat
And to heaven, I give a vow
To adore you.  I’m starting now

To be much more positive

Though, I’m left without my Penny
The wolf was not smart
He left me my heart
And so, I cannot go for anything
But the la belle
La perfectly swell romance

Never gonna dance
Never gonna dance
Only gonna love you
Never gonna dance

Music Jerome Kern
Lyrics by Dorothy Fields

Penny walks back down to the dance floor and Lucky takes her hand.  Lucky and Penny somberly walk hand in hand around the dance floor and begin to sway and move in unison.  Penny starts to walk away when Lucky grabs her hand and spins her around while pleading with his body to make love one more time as they dance.  She accepts and they dance a sobering heartfelt romantic interlude and devastating breakup, which is dramatic and draining.  Penny and Lucky are reviewing their romance in dance starting with the first few steps Penny taught Lucky through an overpowering love affair climaxing with several spins at the top of the staircase.  Penny walks away and Lucky lowers his head heartbroken and dejected.
Naturally, all obstacles are finally out of their way by the end of the movie and they sing a duet in counterpoint.  Penny sings They Way You Look Tonight and Lucky sings A Fine Romance.   They turn to face each other and tease their audience with another hidden kiss.
Harry Evans tells of his evening with Ginger at the Radio City Music Hall’s premiere of Swing Time for his magazine.  I found this article very reassuring.  Ginger has not let celebrity change her into a self-important figure who has forgotten friends in the moment of her triumph.  You feel the authenticity of Ginger and Lela’s feelings about Fred as they express their honest admiration for his skill as a singer, dancer, and actor.  Ginger is in New York City for the premiere of Swing Time at Radio City Music Hall.  She has included in her entourage from the Coast her mother and Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Nobeles.  Mrs. Nobeles professional name is Louise Sloane and Ginger’s hairdresser and a very close friend.  Florence Lake, Bud Logan, and Earl Eby rounded out the group for a night on the town.
Mr. Evans first met Ginger when she was on Broadway in Girl Crazy a few years earlier.  She had told him of her aspiration to become a famous actress.  He lamented that if she became too important, she would not give him the time of day.  Ginger reassured him “if that sweet day ever does arrive, you’ll find me, in these important moments, surrounded by old friends.”  Mr. Evans knows she is in town because he saw her at the opening of Romeo and Juliet, but he never thought he would hear from Miss Rogers when the phone rings.  Good to her word Ginger invites her old and dear friend to dinner and the premiere.
As the evening proceeded, Ginger and Lela began to talk about Fred.  Ginger commented to Mr. Evans that Fred is a much better actor than most people give him credit.  “And his timing of lines, for instance,” she went on.  “And then consider his sense of dramatic values in dancing.  Only a great actor could get as much out of a dance routine as Fred can.”  Lela concurred with her daughter by stating, “Ginger is right but I’d go farther than that.  I’d even go so far as to predict that someday Fred Astaire will do a serious picture or play and then be recognized as a fine dramatic actor.”  Mr. Evans asks Mrs. Rogers if there is anything in Swing Time to indicate Fred’s dramatic potential.  Her reply was in the affirmative!   “Just watch him closely during the scene when he sings ‘Never Gonna Dance’.  He’s got great emotional depth and it shows every time a situation gives it the least chance.”
It was then back to Ginger’s hotel room and some game playing reminiscent of Pictionary.  Ginger puts on a black wig assisted by Louise.  Ginger dons her disguise in order to go to Harlem for some dancing and fun.  The description reminds of how Ginger looked as Carol Corliss in In Person minus the teeth.  The disguise radically changed Ginger’s appearance.  Mr. Evans states that the disguise even changed her facial features.  All had a good time, as no one was the wiser to who “the dark-haired girl with the lovely figure who danced so divinely” was in reality.
While filming Shall We Dance, Ginger has an unexpected visit from an old friend from her Broadway days.  Phillip Huston had just arrived in Hollywood to film The Big Game.  They met when Ginger and her mother had rented a beachfront home in Douglaston, New York on the Long Island Sound.  Everyone was eager with anticipation to see the girl who was in the big hit Top Speed.
Phillip noticed someone out on the float and he dove into the water and swam out to the float to investigate.  He found Ginger on the float and went on and on about how he had seen her in Top Speed and how wonderful she was and he could not wait to meet her.  Ginger listened politely to his rambling praise and said, “That was a good speech.  Let’s swim.”  Again, Ginger proves she is human first and a big star second.  Ginger spent the summer as her schedule allowed with Phillip and the younger crowd that summered there. 
Phillip had his first big crush on this fascinating young woman.  Ginger reciprocated with friendship.  Everyone soon learned that Ginger was not all about being a star but about whom she was like inside.  There was not an uppity bone in her body.
When Ginger went back to rehearsals for Girl Crazy Phillip was there in the wings.  He decided to try vaudeville.  When he had a job, he ran off to tell Ginger.  Ginger was supportive but explained that it was hard work.  If he were serious, he would need to be ready to break his heart for it.  When he returned he was able to snag a part in a play in Greenwich Village.  He had not called and told Ginger he was back in town because he thought he was horrible and did not want her to know.  Two women came into the theatre, sat down in the back, and watched.  When the rehearsal was over, they walked down the aisle and said hi to Phillip.  Phillip was in shock that Ginger and her mother knew he was even in town let alone where and what he was doing.  Ginger said he was not rotten.  This gave him hope because Ginger does not give empty compliments.  Phillip went on to a career on stage and Ginger went to Hollywood and became a movie star.
When Phillip found himself in Dennis, Massachusetts preparing to play Duke Mantee in The Petrified Forest, producer Raymond Moore mentioned that Ginger Rogers would be perfect for Gabrielle.  “Just the right combination-child of nature plus a certain spiritual quality.”   Phillip says he will call and see if she is interested.   Ginger said she would love to do it but check with Pan Berman who happened to be in New York City at the time.  Phillip rushes to New York and meets with Mr. Berman.  Ginger does not have the time but he offers Phillip a part in an upcoming film about a football player.  Phillip accepts and is on his way to Hollywood with all the misgivings any successful stage performer feels when leaving for the movies. 
Phillip did not let Ginger know he was coming so you can imagine how surprised he was when he disembarked from the airplane after midnight and saw Ginger and her mother there to meet him.  It did not matter to Ginger that she had to be at the studio at six o’clock that morning.  Ginger took time out of all of her commitments and gave Phillip advice after viewing the rushes with him.  She made it a point to go to the sneak preview of which Phillip was not aware of until she phoned him later that night to congratulate him on his performance.  Ginger was supporting and helping a friend.  She was just being Ginger not a star.  The kindhearted person who helps those she can quietly as one friend to another.  Broadway was kinder to Phillip than the movies in later years.  After completing a few movies he guest starred on some television shows.  He died in July 1980 at the age of 72 in New York City.
The Petrified Forest was a hit with Bette Davis as Gabrielle, Leslie Howard as Alan Squier, and Humphrey Bogart as Duke Mantee when it opened on February 8, 1936.  Ginger played Gabrielle on the radio show For the Boys on January 16, 1944, with host George Brent playing Alan Squier.  I have listened to Ginger’s portrayal of Gabrelle and thought that she would have given the character a softer side and would have meshed better with Leslie Howard’s Alan Squier.   His sacrifice would have been nobler.  I love Bette Davis and watch this and many of her other films often.  She was an excellent dramatic actress.

Shall We Dance May 7, 1936; 13 May, 1937 New York City, New York

Petrov (Fred) a supposed Russian ballet dancer sees and falls madly in love with dancing musical star Linda Keene (Ginger).   Linda is tired of her dancing partner kissing and pawing her on and off stage.  She decides to leave Paris and go back to New York City.  Petrov goes to her apartment using his phony Russian persona pretending he has heard that she wants to dance with him.   Linda is not impressed and leaves for the States.  Petrov overhears her plans and he too is on the next ship to the States with Linda aboard.
Petrov’s manager Jeffrey Baird (Edward Everett Horton) tells Lady Denise Tarrington that Petrov is sailing and that his wife is with him.  He does this because Denise was a dancer in the company and still has a crush on Petrov.  Jeffrey is a pompous elitist who dismisses Linda because she is a dancing musical star where as Petrov is a ballet dancer which is more highbrow.
Petrov is able to search out Linda and change her opinion of him.  They begin to spend time together.  Linda is found knitting a sweater for her little dog while sitting next to Petrov on deck.   Now, Linda is not only married to Petrov but also pregnant.  When Linda learns of the gossip, she is humiliated and leaves the ship via the mail plane.
There is a scene where Linda is speaking with her manager Arthur Miller (Jerome Cowan) about the gossip, wanting to quit, and accepting Jim Montgomery’s (William Brisbane) proposal of marriage. It is hilarious as the waiter listens and reacts while he is setting up their breakfast in Linda’s cabin suite.  The waiter misunderstands what is going on between them while Linda is complaining about being tired of being pawed for any amount of money.
In New York City, Arthur invites Linda and her fiancé Jim to the Roof dinner club for a farewell dinner.  He has also invited Petrov and Jeffrey because he has something up his sleeve in his desire to reunite Linda and Petrov in dance for an attraction at his dinner club.  Arthur has prearranged with the bandleader to ask Linda to sing and then dance with Petrov.  Linda sings They All Laughed and goes to retreat to her seat when the bandleader takes her hand and asks Petrov and Linda to dance together.  Linda is amazed that this toe dancer can tap and they dance cheerfully together.  Linda is beginning to wavier and sees something likable about Petrov as he courts her through dance.
     Linda and Petrov flee to Central Park incognito with dark glasses so they can avoid the press staked out at their hotel believing the two of them are married.  After spending the day together, they don roller skates and sing Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off to each other.  They declare their love for each other in song as they sing, “Let’s call the whole thing off!  But oh!  If we call the whole thing off, Then We must part, Then that might break my heart! ... For we know we need each other, So we better call the calling off off.  Let’s call the whole thing off!”   Petrov and Linda go straight into an amazing dance on skates after singing their duet.  They end the skating dance by landing with a resounding thud on a small hill with supposed lawn on it.
Linda and Petrov are discussing their situation when a policeman overhears them.  Linda is telling Petrov that he has to marry her after all he got her into this mess.  The policeman lets them know that they can get married in New Jersey.  They decide to be married and then they can be divorced since everyone thinks they are married already.   While on the Staten Island Ferry, Peter P. Peters sings They Can’t Take That Away from Me affectionately to his new wife, Linda Thompson Peters.  Linda realizes how much she loves Peter while being serenaded and tears come to her eyes.  You can tell exactly how Linda is feeling through her facial expressions.  Linda has let her guard down as she listens to Peter’s earnest feelings of how she has changed his life as I am as I watch.  This is why Ginger was so good for Fred.  She had the innate ability to act using her facial expressions as well as her body language as Fred sang to her.  When Linda’s eyes are filled with tears towards the end of the song is the decisive factor and breaks my heart when Linda realizes she has fallen for him.   Linda is uncertain as how to proceed with the relationship.  This song begged for their romance to be consummated in dance.  This omission will be rectified in Barkleys of Broadway.
Linda tries to let Petrov know how her feelings have changed by asking him into her apartment for a nightcap when they return after being married, but he refuses even though he really wants to accept.  Petrov goes to his next-door apartment hoping that Linda will come into his room through the adjoining door between their rooms.   Linda wants to go to Petrov but hesitates.  While Linda thinks, Denise shows up in Petrov’s apartment.   Linda boldly opens the adjoining door to find Petrov and Densie sitting on the sofa.   Petrov stands up and goes over to Linda.  Linda dispels any doubts about their marriage and declares she will never divorce Peter and goes back to her apartment hurt and humiliated because she now knows she loves him.
Linda lets her pride get in the way of her true feelings for Peter and leaves.  Peter is overjoyed to hear that Linda does not intend to divorce him and he hurriedly gets rid of Denise.  He gleefully rushes to Linda’s room to find she has vacated the premises.  The dialogue between Denise and Linda is choice.  You need to watch the scene.  Ginger’s delivery is faultless in manner and dialogue.
Petrov decides to dance with images of Linda if he cannot dance with her.  Linda is trying to have divorce papers served on Peter but he is able to avoid the process server.  On opening night, Linda shows up with her lawyer and the divorce papers.  She sits in the audience and watches the show.  She sees Peter dancing with women who have masks with her image on them.  Arthur tells Linda that if Peter could not dance with her he would dance with images of her.  Fred starts to dance with Harriet Hoctor and Linda leaves.  The dance is too long and very awkward looking.  In the meantime, Linda has gone backstage.  She replaces one of the girls with the genuine article.  Peter finds Linda amongst the girls and they dance an all too short duet.  They sing and get the last laugh as they are together in spite of it all as Mr. and Mrs. Peter P Peters.
Ginger tried to avoid confrontations if possible.  She usually did not disagree and fight over trivialities.  It had to be something significant.  Even as a child if one of the kids in the neighborhood took her doll Ginger would just get up and go into the house and get another doll.  To her the doll was not what was most important.  She was not a child that gave into temperament most of the time.  Her mother had cured her of that early in life.  Ginger is not a petulant, self-indulgent star running to the front office for every little thing that does not go her way.
One day Ginger went into the wardrobe department for a fitting and found a pink metallic dress for her.  Pink clashes with her red hair but instead of making trouble for the wardrobe people, she wore the dress without complaint.  Everyone from prop men to the producers on a Ginger Rogers’ set get along with and likes its star.  She does not snub the extras or tell the director how to direct his picture.  The warm-hearted Ginger looks after the newcomer on a Rogers’s film.  Everyone on the set likes Ginger because she is Ginger and not a star.
On the In Person set, Ginger came up missing just before shooting an emotional scene.  The scene was set up and ready to film but where was Ginger?  The director thought maybe she was in her dressing room pacing dramatically back and forth while listening to a recording of Tchaikovsky’s to help her get in the right mood for the scene when he heard a thump, thump, thump.  Ginger was behind the prop bar playing jacks with a couple of the little girls in the movie.  Ginger was always involved in some kind of activity.  Since she did not live a sedentary life, she never had to diet.  Ginger had a hardy appetite and was able to eat whatever she wanted.
Ginger built a house up in the hills with a stunning view overlooking the valley and the ocean.  She built a modest rambling one floor farm-styled home by Hollywood standards.  It had only nine rooms with a patio, pool, and a tennis court.  She did go all out with her playroom.  You could play any game from checkers to ping-pong.  Ginger loved ice cream so much she built a soda fountain with all the trimmings.  Another star who wanted to become the next Ginger Rogers as a child is Doris Day who also built a soda fountain in her home.  They will play convincing sisters in Storm Warning.
Once the filming of Shall We Dance was over Ginger and Alfred Vanderbilt threw a party at the Rollerdome, a roller skating rink.  Jimmy Stewart, Cary Grant, and Alfred Vanderbilt split their time up while squiring Ginger around town.  I thought Ginger and Jimmy Stewart would be a good love match but he did not marry someone in the business when he finally settled down.  Ginger and Jimmy had a certain charisma between them and might have made a good match.  After all, when he left for the service he gave her his pilot wings but she falls for another man in uniform.
Ginger did not want to be pigeon holed as a dancing musical star.  She desperately wanted to be a dramatic actor.  Ginger was getting a lot of print concerning her desire to be in a dramatic film.  Ginger went so far as to don the persona of Lady Ansley with the help of John Ford the producer.  Ginger wanted to play Queen Elizabeth I and the studio was planning on filming Mary of Scotland.  Katharine Hepburn would be playing Mary.  Katharine was in on the deception and participated in the test with Lady Ansley.  Ginger made the test and went unrecognized by any of the stage personnel.  One stagehand mention that there was something familiar about her but could not place her.  Pan Berman wanted another test with sound.  The ruse was exposed in Winchell’s column titled Why is Ginger Rogers being so coy?  Ginger goes to Pan so she can explain.  Pan was forgiving but he was not willing to gamble on Ginger playing Queen Elizabeth.  As it turns out the movie was not received well by the public.   Ginger might have been blamed for the failure if she was casted as Queen Elizabeth.  Pan understanding Ginger’s desire to play roles that are more challenging assigns her to Stage Door with Katharine Hepburn and Vivacious Lady with Jimmy Stewart.
Ginger’s films with Fred are considered musical comedies with poor writing.  If you really sit down, watch, listen and inhale those pictures you will see very creative writing which was executive with finesse.  The films cover the spectrum from the very lighthearted to the very dramatic.  Through dialogue, song, dance, and their body language Ginger and Fred accomplished this with ease, grace and eloquence.  Their movies were so much more than mere musicals.  When Ginger and Fred were together on the screen, it was awe-inspiring ecstasy.
Out of Ginger’s last nine movies, six of them had been musicals with Astaire.   Musicals take an enormous amount of time in rehearsals and cut into her time when she could have been performing in nonmusical movies.  Ginger was a young and vivacious woman at a high point in her career and was subjugated to just performing in musicals with Fred.  It is no wonder that after Shall We Dance Ginger went on to make three nonAstaire movies.
Ginger’s star continues to rise without Astaire.  It will be sixteen months before Ginger and Fred will be seen on the screen again in my second favorite Ginger and Fred movie, Carefree.

Stage Door October 8, 1937

Ginger is the consummate actor in this film and deserved top billing.  At least her billing was equal with Katharine’s name being first alphabetically.  Ginger proves herself with her adroit characterization of Jean Maitland.  Katharine plays the upper crust socialite who wants to make it big on the stage which is Katharine playing Katharine.   I savor every scene with Ginger and Katharine because they complement each other when their contrasting characters clash with each other.
Ginger taps a little with a very young Ann Miller.  Ann Miller asked to do a dance with Ginger and she obliges.  Adolphe Menjou, Andrea Leeds, Gail Patrick, Lucille Ball, and Eve Arden are among the supporting cast.  Andrea Leeds was nominated for best supporting actress and the movie for best picture.
The play Stage Door does not resemble the movie Stage Door other than they both deal with a girl’s theatrical boarding house.  The movie has almost nothing to do with the play, except in a few character names, such as Judith Canfield, Kay Hamilton, Jean Maitland, Terry Randall, and Linda Shaw. In the play, Terry Randall is from a rural family whose father is a country doctor, and Jean Maitland is a shallow girl who becomes a movie star. Kay Hamilton does commit suicide in the play but for completely different reasons and not on an opening night.
Ginger sets the stage for the movie in the opening scene as she gets down and dirty retrieving a pair of silk stockings from Linda Shaw (Gail Patrick) who has lifted them for her date with Broadway producer Anthony Powell (Aldophe Menjou) of whom she is his lady at the moment.  Jean is an aspiring dancer with a cynical view of the world.  She is quick witted and sarcastic outwardly but just as insecure and vulnerable as the other girls in the theatrical rooming house, The Footlights Club.  Terry Randall (Katharine Hepburn) comes looking for a place to stay.  At first glance because of her apparent high tone appearance and manner, Terry is not fully accepted and viewed with suspicion.  Jean takes an instant loathing to her new roomy because of her numerous trunks with expensive clothes accompanied by a photo of an elderly gentleman of whom Jean thinks is Terry’s “Grandfather” in the sense of being kept by him like Linda Shaw is by Powell.  The dialogue between Jean and Terry cannot be given the justice it deserves by writing it down.  You have to watch the movie.  Ginger and Katharine execute the dialogue perfectly with superlative timing.
The wolfish Powell wanders into a dance studio looking for a girl and finds an appealing dancer, Jean, to his liking.  Jean and her sidekick, Annie (Ann Miller) are practicing their dance routine.  Powell approach the girls and after a short conversation, Jean dances off and Powell gets his needed information about her from Annie.  Jean and Annie are now dancing at the Grotto of which Powell is part owner.
Jean sparkles all through the movie.  Her tipsy scene in Powell’s apartment is implemented with just the right amount of drunkenness naiveté.  Jean starts a romantic affair with Powell at first just to despite Linda but instead she finds herself falling for him.  Linda takes it in stride as there have been others before but Powell always comes back to her.
Terry has been offered the lead in Powell’s new play Enchanted April.  Kay (Andrea Leeds) feels this part was rightfully hers as it is taken right from her own life experiences.  She was a hit last year but has hit rock bottom this year.  Terry has no idea how important this part is to Kay.  Terry’s father has arranged the funds for putting the play on with the stipulation that Terry be the star.  He wants her to fail and come back home.  Terry is in Powell’s apartment one night when Jean comes by.  Terry makes it look like Powell was trying to seduce her so Jean will walk away from the philandering Powell.  This does not endear her to Jean but builds a greater wall between them.  Terry’s acting is dismal during the rehearsals and Powell desperately wants out of his deal with Mr. Sims.
On opening night, Kay gives Terry advice on how to hold the calla lilies and what they mean to the character she is playing in the opening scene.  The intensely emotional speech Terry gives about the calla lilies originated in the unsuccessful 1933 play The Lake in which Katharine starred. “The calla lilies are in bloom again” is the oft-quoted line from Katharine Hepburn eimpersonators comes from this scene.
Upon hearing of Kay’s suicide, Jean goes directly to Terry to confront her and harshly blames her for Kay’s death.  Jean tells Terry that every word she speaks and every motion she makes it will be Kay not her.  Terry is shaken to her very core by Jean’s accusation and Kay’s death that she cannot go on.  Her mentor (Catherine Collier) reminds her of what this play means to everyone who is involved with it and it is her duty to go out there and do her best job.  Terry reaches deep into her soul and wanders out onto the stage in a stupor.  Terry gives a remarkable performance to her father’s chagrin and Powell’s delight.  Terry tells the audience about Kay and without her, she would never been able to play her part.  It was as if Kay was inside of her using her voice and body.  Jean along and the other girls from the boarding house are brought to tears.  Jean reconciles with Terry and they leave the theatre to go to Kay arm in arm.
At the end of the movie, Judy (Lucille Ball) goes off to be married when Jean remarks apprehensively, “Well, at least she will have a couple of kids to keep her company in her old age.  And what will we have, some broken down memories and an old scrapbook, which nobody will look at."  Terry answers with, “We’re probably a different race of people.”   I wonder if they had an inkling how driven they will be by their careers and end their lives alone.  Whether they kept scrapbooks, I do not know.  At least Kate had Spencer for a time.  I have kept Ginger’s scrapbook for her and look at it often.  I have articles, original photos, lobby cards, postcards, stamps, plates, etc.
The closing scene has Ginger talking on the phone and Gail Patrick is coming down the stairs.  Ginger has trouble saying, “Hold it a minute-gangrene has set in!”  She kept saying for seven takes, “Gangarene has set in!”  On the eighth take, she nails it.  I know how cumbersome a select few words can leave you tongue-tied.

The Family Circle October 22, 1937 Review

      “Katharine Hepburn, who has what is really the central role, is fine.  Ginger Rogers is a Ginger you have never seen before.  There is but a fleeting glimpse or two of her dancing; the rest of the time she acting.   And I mean just that-acting as she has never acted before.  But as good as Katharine and Ginger are, they must split the applause three ways with Andrea Leeds, the disappointed girl who kills herself.  Hers is a gripping portrayal.  And Mr. Menjou gives a splendid performance.”
Katharine had the better part in the script.  Ginger had the better part on the screen.  Ginger stole the show because she made Jean come alive on the screen.  She was real and believable.  Ginger won the critics away from Katharine and gained a new following.  Ginger is now a star in her own right.  She brings out the best in the other actors as she shares scenes and does not dominate them so Ginger’s co-stars are able to show off their considerable talents.  Andrea Leeds and Lucille Ball are now looked upon as actresses of worth by the studios.  Katharine Hepburn also benefits as critics state that this is her best performance to date.  Ginger is now a force to be reckoned with and her desire for more dramatic roles over musical roles are a step closer.  The Academy missed the boat by not nominating Ginger for a Best Actress Oscar.
Ginger invites her cousin Phyllis Fraser, good friend Florence Lake, and columnist Virginia Lane to go on location with her at Bear Lake up in the San Bernardino Mountains.  Off they go with Ginger driving and pulling her trailer behind which is equipped with a small soda fountain.  Ginger loves her ice cream as I do.  They stop along the way and have scrambled eggs ala Rogers.  Phyllis, Florence, and Ann Miller have small parts as camp guests.  Lucille Ball and Eve Arden were there also and they had a fun reunion being on the same film together again.
Jimmy Stewart drove up one day to spend some time with Ginger and found her with Lee Bowman and Douglas Fairbanks Jr.  He spent a few hours with Ginger, Lee, and Doug.  She made them sodas and had them singing Remember Me?.
Maxine Jennings was a character actress.  She usually had small parts in movies without credit.   I found she was also in Robeta and Follow the Fleet but could not find any reference to Having Wonderful Time.   One day Maxine’s brother showed up with his bride to meet his sister.  Maxine went and introduced the new Mrs. Jennings to Ginger and her reply was, “But-I know you, don’t I?”  The new Mrs. Jennings turned out to be Babe Cowart.  She was the girl Ginger beat in the Charleston contest back in Texas eleven years ago.  The Jennings stayed and watched Ginger and Doug swim while pretending to enjoy it in freezing cold water.  Babe seem content with how things turned out as she said, “I guess I’d rather be just Mrs. Jennings!”  When the big storm was filmed Ginger said they had on, “Long union underwear!  And over that we have a cellophane union suit so we can’t possibly get wet even if our clothes do.  Studio orders to wear ‘em.”
Ginger enjoys the open spaces of the mountains.  She has been able to ride, golf, and learn a little archery from Doug.  She writes her friend Margaret Sullavan a post card with the words “Having Wonderful Time!” in big black letters.

Having Wonderful Time July 1, 1938

This is another of my favorite movies during this period in Ginger’s career.  Ginger is a bona fide star on her own.  The film is an enjoyable respite as I travel to the Catskill Mountains to find rest, relaxation, and a little romance with Teddy.  Thelma ‘Teddy’ Shaw (Ginger) plans a vacation at CAMP KARE-FREE in order to get away from the city and her secretarial job.  She values learning and is well read.  This is a characteristic that Ginger also had.  She more often than not had a book in her face.  Her mother once remarked that it was hopeless to read a book after Ginger had read it.  She marked it up with notes.  She was always trying to improve herself.  Again, that restless energy is at work.  I read in bed a lot and have a dictionary and note pad with me at all times.  Although, I am not the intellectual reader Ginger was.
Teddy arrives late and all the buses to the camp have left except for the one driven by Chick Kirkland (Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.).  Teddy puts on the sophisticated society girl act.  Chick tries to make small talk with Teddy as he carries her luggage to the bus.  Teddy’s suitcase inadvertently opens spilling her clothes everywhere.  Chick gets a tongue-lashing and gives it right back to Teddy.  Chick gives Teddy a sarcastic apology by saying, “Excuse me for living.”  Even during this quarrel and the ride to the camp, you can see a gleam in the participants’ eyes, as they seem to see something in the other to their liking but continue to dislike each other outwardly.
Love abounds everywhere and Teddy just wants to relax and get away from it all until she decides to come back to Earth and give Chick another look.  They dance and talk about the moon and the stars while the barriers between them start to melt.  There are all too brief scenes showing the progression of Teddy and Chick’s romance in short clips.  I view those clips in slow motion so I can see them swimming, hiking, horseback riding, and canoeing.  The major flaw in the movie is not showing various scenes of them falling in love with one another.  We do get to see them in one brief scene kissing and getting to know each other.
Chick and Teddy find themselves at Eagle Rock where these young adults go for alone time in the seclude surroundings.  Tomorrow is Teddy’s last day and she is looking for a proposal from the young lawyer who cannot find a job and has to work as a waiter when Chick gives her a proposition instead.  Humiliated and disappointed in the man she loves, Teddy gets up and runs to the safety of her friends.
Teddy runs into playboy extraordinaire, Buzzy (Lee Bowman).  She declines his invitation to go to his private cabin until she sees Chick approaching her cabin with a raging party going on inside.  Chick asks Miriam (Lucille Ball) who is ‘Screwball’ to Buzzy if she has seen Teddy.  Miriam says she has gone off with her love interest Buzzy to his cabin.  Chick runs off to save Teddy with Miriam in tow.  Chick heroically barges in upon the unsuspecting backgammon players.  Fully humiliated he retreats with Miriam back to the party.   Buzzy is not happy with his backgammon partner.  This is not how he imagined the evening playing out.  He tires of Teddy’s antics and goes to bed alone.  Chick watches Teddy’s charade from afar through Buzzy’s window, as she is the only one visible with a partially drawn curtain.   When the dawn comes, Teddy finds herself still in Buzzy’s cabin where she fell asleep playing her make believe games of backgammon.  As she sneaks out of his cabin at seven in the morning, Miriam witnesses her departure in the early morning hours.  Miriam picks up a rock and hurls it through an unsuspecting Buzzy’s bedroom window.
Teddy leaves her cabin for breakfast and runs into her mother’s ideal as the perfect man for her, Emil Beatty (Jack Carson).  He has driven up to get Teddy to save her from the long train ride home.  At first, she is upset he is there because he is not her idea of husband material when she really wants Chick.  Chick comes in, she makes nice, nice to Emil, and they sit down to eat.  Chick comes over to their table, as he is their waiter, to take their order.  Buzzy comes in and sits down followed by an outraged Miriam.  She accuses Buzzy of spending the night with Teddy.  He denies it.  Chick comes to Teddy’s defense but Teddy stands up and acknowledges the event in question as being truthful but it did not mean anything.  Emil leaves.  Chick chases Teddy to the porch and grabs her arm.  Chick proposes but Teddy feels the need to protest.  This ending scene with talk about attacks of uncontrollable backgammon playing and the cost of a backgammon board and marriage is engaging.
I am a hopeless romantic with a happy ever after affliction.  Hope springs eternal.  Eve Arden, of radio and television Our Miss Brooks and her television role in The Mother’s In-laws with Kaye Ballard, has a bit part as one of Ginger’s roomies.  It is noteworthy that the social director Itchy is Richard ‘Red’ Skelton.  This is his film debut.  Ginger will guest on his television show in the sixties.
My grandson and I play backgammon whenever we get together.  I take pleasure in the game as Teddy did and my grandson plays because he loves me.  I hope he enjoys the interaction more than Buzzy appeared too.
Ginger spent time filming an alternate escape route from Buzzy’s cabin in the not too warm lake.  The scene has Ginger donning a makeshift bathing suit out of Buzzy’s undershorts and a large bandana for a halter-top.  She then dives off the veranda out back into the lake and swims back to her cabin across the lake.  Lucy could still see Ginger flee at seven in the morning as she dives into the water in her swimsuit made of Buzzy’s clothes.  This would be a much more intriguing escape than just sneaking out the front door of Buzzy’s cabin and running to her cabin.  There were many scenes reshot for some reason after the supposed completion of the filming.  Ginger spends long hours learning new dialogue, filming the new scenes, and being photographed for publicity stills.  I have seen stills from the movie that never made the final cut and have wondered in what context they were shot.  Hollywood would make a mint off compiling deleted scenes for the public’s consumption.

Vivacious Lady May 10, 1938 Los Angeles, California; June 2, 1938 New York City, New York

Ginger and Jimmy Stewart have all of Hollywood abuzz with rumors of a romance between them.   Jimmy wanted to play Ginger’s love interest in her upcoming movie Vivacious Lady so desperately he lobbied for the part and Ginger did a screen test with him.  Grant it, it was just a coiffure test for Ginger but upon winning the part and MGM willing to loan him to RKO, Jimmy found himself in the hospital four days into filming in April of 1937.  Ginger visited Jimmy in the hospital and while he was convalescing.  Jimmy pleaded for the role and not to be replaced by RKO.  Ginger went to bat for him and the studio agreed to delay shooting until Jimmy recovered and fulfilled his obligations to MGM.  After Ginger and Jimmy both won Best Actor Oscars in 1941, Vivacious Lady was rereleased to capitalize on their wins.
Ginger’s legs were insured for several hundred thousand dollars.  The studio could not take a chance on those precious legs being injured or bruised during her fight scene with Frances Mercer.   Frances kicks Ginger not too “gingerly” in her shins.  Therefore, shin guards had to be strapped to her legs over Turkish towels for padding.  I have seen pictures of Ginger and her splinted legs.  They look cumbersome but Ginger does not seem to be affected by them.  Unfortunately, for Frances who has to kick Ginger several times with opened toed shoes suffers bruised toes.
Ginger engages in a slap fest with Frances and flips Frances over her shoulder with a forward body slam after being stuck with the pointy side of Helen’s unclasped barrette in her behind.  She challenges Frances to put up her dukes and swings missing Frances but slugs Charles Coburn square in the jaw.  It is a hoot.  No wonder the fight looked so realistic it was real.  The dialogue between Ginger and Frances is priceless.  Ginger and Frances did not hold back and vigorously slapped each other.  During one take, Ginger does not miss Frances but connects giving her a black eye, which sent Frances to the makeup person.  The scene took two days to film with 42 takes and 168 slaps.  Ginger is witty, charming, and has a genuine enthusiasm as Francey Brent.
Ginger reprises her role as Francey on the radio with Fred MacMurray on April 4, 1940 for the Gulf Screen Guild Front Line Theatre and again with Walter Pidgeon for the Armed Forces Radio Service March 27, 1944.  Grady Sutton is Professor Peter Morgan Jr.’s (Jimmy) assistant by the name of Culpepper, which was the last name of Ginger’s first husband.  It struck me as odd.  I wonder if it was by design or by accident.  Ginger’s cousin Phyllis Fraser has a minor uncredited role as does Vinton Hayworth who plays the druggist.  Vinton marries Ginger and Phyllis’ maternal Aunt Jean Owens.  He is Rita Hayworth’s uncle.  Beulah Bondi who will play Jimmy’s mother in several movies plays his mother.  Charles Coburn (Morgan Sr.), Frances Mercer (Peter’s unofficial fiancée, Helen), James Ellison (Peter’s cousin, Keith), and Franklin Pangborn (apartment building clerk) do an excellent job as they round out the cast in this most enchanting romantic comedy.  George Stevens produced and directed the movie.
Peter Morgan Jr. has gone to New York City to bring back his cousin Keith to Old Sharon where they are professors at the town’s university.  Keith is wayward and goes for floozy blonde-haired women.  Peter hunts him down in a nightclub.  Keith tells Peter of his newest love.  She is the most beautiful and exciting girl he has ever seen.  Keith refuses to leave and go back to Old Sharon until she marries him.  Peter goes to call his father to let him know he has found Keith when Keith tells Charlie (Jack Carson) to tell Peter he has gone back to the hotel to pack while he hides out so he can stay and woo Francey (Ginger).  When Peter goes back to Keith’s table Francey is singing You’ll Be Reminded of Me and Peter feels as if he has been hit by a truck and falls hook line and sinker for her.  Francey comes to the table and sparks begin to fly.  They decided to go out to see New York City.  As they talk, walk, ride an open double-decker bus and eat corn on the cob Francey starts to look at Peter with interest.   When they reach her apartment building, they discuss whether they think things out or just go with the flow.  Francey steals a kiss and goes into her apartment building.  Peter follows and grabs her arm and turns her around and kisses her forcefully.  Francey then flees to her room.  Peter goes across the street to the local drug store, calls Francey, and asks her out for breakfast.   Before you know it they are married and on their way to Old Sharon.
Peter asks Keith for his drawing room for the night.  When Peter and Francey find the room, she wants Peter to carry her over the threshold.  Peter hesitates but is convinced by the alluring kiss of his new wife.  Peter picks her up and opens the door.  He walks in, goes to put her on the bed, and finds the room occupied by a bickering older couple.  The couple refuses to vacate the premises.  Peter and Francey find themselves in the observation car.  Francey is reclining on the seat as Peter seductively removes her hat and gloves.  He then puts his overcoat over her and slides in besides her putting his arm around her.  Francey snuggles up to him and the conductor walks by and turns on the light.  There goes the mood.  All through this movie, I am on pins and needles as Francey and Peter’s pet up sexual tension is played out on the screen.
Peter’s father and Peter’s supposed fiancée Helen are at the train station to meet Peter and Keith.  Peter is a submissive son to an authoritarian father and a sickly mother at her convenience.  They are unaware of Peter’s marriage to Francey.  It is decided that Francey will go with Keith until Peter can tell his parents of their marriage.  Francey is leaving with Keith but decides to go over to Peter’s car to check out her husband’s fiancée as she cannot have her husband engaged to just anyone.  She lays a big one on him in gratitude of his attentions on the train.  Peter has lipstick smeared across his lips to which Helen gives him a handkerchief.
That evening there is a dance for the faculty and students.  Keith brings Francey as a new student and Peter plans to tell his parents of his marriage.  Francey and Martha Morgan meet in the ladies’ room lounge.  There is a nice exchange between the two women as they discuss nylons and share a cigarette.  Francey finds her husband in a clinch dance with Helen.  If Helen hugged Peter any tighter, he would be on the other side of Helen.
Francey and Peter go outside and sit on a bench.  Peter goes to fetch his father while Francey composes herself.  Helen finds Francey and tells her she is going to give her a piece of her mind to which Francey declares that she cannot take her last piece.  Then the women begin to slap one another in the face.  Helen takes out a long pin as Francey has her over her shoulder in a headlock.  Helen stabs Francey in her buttocks with her unclasped barrette.  Francey flips her over her shoulders and onto the ground.  Francey squares off as she puts up her dukes and challenges Helen.  Well, this does not impress Peter Sr. as Francey swings, misses Helen, and lays one straight across Peter Sr.’s jaw. 
Francey and Peter spend the movie trying to get together but run into roadblocks at every turn.  When Peter climbs a fire escape so he can spend some alone time with his wife is quite comical and lovable.  There is also some fun made when Peter tries to get the temperamental Murphy bed, named Walter, to fall with Francey’s help.  If Peter would not had yelled to the clerk at Francey’s door, he could have stayed.  I always tell him to shush and be quiet.   The sexual tension between Peter and Francey is undeniable from the moment Peter enters Francey’s room.  I want desperately for them to spend the night together.
Mrs. Morgan goes to visit Francey the next morning and is delighted to find out that Peter is married to her.  Keith shows up and the three of them dance the Big Apple to Mr. Morgan’s utter mortification.  He demands that Francey leave Peter or else he will fire him from the school’s faculty.  Francey reluctantly leaves on the afternoon train with Mrs. Morgan who is tired of her husband’s tyrannical rule.  Peter takes it upon himself to blacken the Morgan name if Francey is not good enough for the respectful Morgan clan.  He precedes to become blotto in front of his father’s visiting guests risking the endowment for the college.  Peter passes out and misses the train.
Peter and his father stop the train by leaving their car across the tracks.  The couples are reunited.  Peter forcefully takes matters into his own hands.  Peter proceeds with that long awaited honeymoon with his loving wife Francey by slamming their compartment door and shutting me out.  Nevertheless, I have a very satisfied smile on my face.
Jimmy’s career gathers some steam after this remarkable movie with Ginger.  He starts to get better offers and top starring roles.  Ginger’s career is soaring with the completion of her last three films without Astaire in straight roles, which demonstrates her aptitude as a dramatic and comedic actress.
Lew’s career is starting to pick up with his portrayal of the disillusioned alcoholic brother in Holiday and his renditions of the idealistic Young Dr. Kildare.  Hollywood hopes his successes might lead to reconciliation between Ginger and Lew because they felt Ginger’s success had split them up.  It has and always will be hard for a man to handle being married to a woman who is financially more successful than he is.  This is especially true if the wife is better known and is in the public eye.

Carefree September 2, 1938

This movie is my second favorite Ginger and Fred film.  When it was release in Europe, it was released as Amanda.  After all, the storyline is about Ginger’s role as a successful radio singer.  Ginger and Fred’s last movie had been Shall We Dance in May of 1936.  Audiences had not received Fred’s Damsel in Distress, November 19, 1937, very well.  It just was not an Astaire Rogers’s musical and it did not intend to be one.  I have seen the movie and it is not a bad movie.  It is just different from the Astaire Rogers type of movie.  George Burns and Gracie Allen are marvelous.  Gracie was such the expert standup comedian.  I watched George and Gracie’s television show Burns and Allen while growing up.  Those explanations sincerely stated with a straight face always broke me up.  Rose (Betty White) from Golden Girls had the same quality of naiveté.  I loved it when George would talk to me, the audience, directly.
The critics unfairly compare Joan Fontaine to Ginger.  Fred did not have a partner to dance with and that element was missing from the movie.  Joan Fontaine is a marvelous dramatic actress and gave Ginger a run for her money for the Oscar in 1941 with Rebecca.  Joan would receive her Oscar for Suspicion the next year from Ginger.  Joan was a dramatic actress not a dancer nor a comedian.
Ginger is gaining a reputation as an adroit comedian and dramatic actress while her career continued to soar without Fred.  The press begins to wonder if Ginger should dance Fred’s career out of a slump.  Carefree was intended to rejuvenate Fred’s career.  Screen Guide September 1938 Can Ginger Rogers Rescue Fred Astaire’s Career rehashes Fred’s partnerships with his sister Adele on Broadway and his film partnership with Ginger.  You can see why Fred wanted to break away from any kind of partnership and make it on his own.  Ginger’s popularity is growing without Fred.  Ginger is recognize as an entity of her own making and not tied to someone else whereas Fred is still tied to Ginger as a screen couple.
Carefree is the only time Ginger chases Fred and he needs to be convinced that he loves her.  The movie was well received and opened in New York City at Radio City Music Hall.  In Frank S. Nugent’s review for The New York Times, he states “Rogers and Astaire are back in town … In case you haven't heard, Rogers and Astaire dance, sing and have the knack—bred out of past necessity—of investing even ordinary lines and situations with extraordinary comedy.  Here, for a change, their task has been made easier by a quartet of writers with inventive humor and a lively turn of phrase… While it is not exactly a secret, we might confide that Miss Rogers has become one of the gayest of our comediennes, equally practiced with the verbal foil or the slapstick. She uses both here with devastating affect… as she spreads a one-woman reign of terror under the influence of an inhibition-freeing anesthetic.  Possibly the best of it all, though, is the way she brings down a Tyrolean hat in a skeet-shoot.”
Ginger’s reputation of being a deft comedian who performs with the agility of the proficient artiste is unmistakable in this film.  It tends to be on the slapstick side of comedy in some parts but she plays it with restraint and never over the top.  Subtly is the best form of comedy and Ginger oozes it.
The movie opens with Stephen Arden (Ralph Bellamy) who has been out on a drunk after his fiancée musical radio star Amanda Cooper, (Ginger) has broken her engagement once again seeking advice from his friend psychoanalyst Dr. Tony Flagg (Fred).  Under duress, Tony agrees to meet with Amanda to placate Stephen.  While Dr. Flagg is recording his notes on a previous patient his receptionist informs him of Miss Amanda Cooper’s arrival.  He makes a comment about her being just another dizzy maladjusted female aloud.  Tony goes out to his waiting room to an undistinguished older woman inquiring if she is Miss Cooper when you hear off camera, "I am Miss Cooper."  Tony turns and to his disconcerted pleasure, he escorts Amanda into his office.  Amanda is warm in her behavior towards Tony.  Tony leaves to consult with another doctor and tells Amanda he will return shortly.  Amanda tosses her purse on the doctor’s desk and knocks the hand of the record player onto a record.  Amanda listens as Dr. Flagg diagnoses of the previous patient and starts to turn it off when she hears his description of her.  Amanda goes to leave but Dr. Flagg returns.  She retreats to his chair and sits down with defiance in her manner.  Dr. Flagg is on the defense as he is relegated to the chair where his patients sit.  The ensuing scene is a masterpiece.  Ginger and Fred show what great actors they are by not hamming it up and giving it just the right cadence.
Their next encounter is at the club riding bicycles.  Once things are straighten out between Amanda and Tony, she begins to be attracted to him while they dance later that night at the club.  Since Amanda’s attitude towards Tony has changed, she agrees to his prescription to dream by eating the most ghastly food combinations.  For example, lobster with gobs of mayonnaise.
Amanda dreams of her doctor.  Tony sings I Used to be Color Blind to Amanda in the dreamy fairy tale land with castle and lily pads.  Amanda has a wispy white dress on which flows and entangles them in a slow motion dance of love.  Tony ends the dance by putting Amanda in a deep backbend.  Amanda reaches up to embrace Tony and initiates the kiss.  Finally, Ginger and Fred have an all too short but satisfying kiss as I watch them linger in slow motion.
Amanda goes to Tony’s office the next day full of anticipation and love for her doctor.  When Tony asks Amanda about her dream, she says she cannot tell him because she dreamed about him.  Tony feels there is nothing wrong with her and decides to refer her to someone else she would have more confidence in.  Amanda realizes if she still wants to see Tony, she needs to make up a dream full of all sort of neurosis.  This scene is hilarious as Ginger acts out her dream for the doctor’s benefit.  You have to see it.
Tony is elated with this untapped gold mine of psychosis.  Tony takes Amanda and puts her under some kind of gas that is supposed to release her inhibitions so he can talk with her.  Amanda is hesitant but allows him to do this.  Tony leaves and Stephen comes in and finds Amanda unconscious.  She has a radio show to do and Stephen gets her up.  Amanda’s first reaction is to hug Stephen, call him Tony, and kiss him.  When she realizes he is Stephen and not Tony she tells him to go away.  This is how I know Amanda truly and indisputably loves Tony and is not just infatuated with her doctor as this is the actions of a woman’s authentic and unguarded feelings for the man she loves.  On her way to the radio studio, Amanda leaves a trail of havoc everywhere she goes without saying hardly a word.  It is supreme genius!  I love it!
Amanda tries to tell Stephen later that evening at the club that she is in love with her doctor and not him.  He miss understands and announces their engagement.  Amanda is horrified and asks Tony to dance with her.  Tony accommodates Amanda and they start to dance.  Amanda admits to Tony that she loves him and not Stephen.  Amanda cannot marry Stephen and asks Tony for his help in telling Stephen.  This scene is tense and very poignant in tone.
Amanda goes to Tony’s office the next day with her Aunt Cora (Luella Gear).  Tony sees Amanda alone and proceeds to tell her that she does not really love him.  Tony does not understand that Amanda is crying because she loves him and is not confused because she dreamed of Tony and not Stephen.  This is a very dramatic and soulful scene and Ginger nails it.
Tony puts her under hypnosis and puts into her mind that she loves Stephen and men like Tony should be shot down like dogs.  Tony leaves the room and says he will be right back.  Amanda gets up and leaves still in the trance.  She goes down to her car and drives to the club and the fun begins.  Tony has realized that he is in love with Amanda and wants to takes back what he has put into her subconscious.  When he returns he finds Amanda gone and follows her to the club.
I like how they addressed Ginger’s hobby for skeet shooting in this movie.  She has won awards for her adeptness for shooting skeet.  She had several rifles but never killed any living thing.  Amanda is brought out of her trance after she has shot a bird and a Tyrolean hat out of the air and then goes after bigger game as she aims at Tony and shoots his hat out of his hand.  Amanda is abruptly brought out of her trance and runs to Stephen.
Tony is desperate to undo the false suggestion he has put unwittingly in Amanda’s subconscious so he has Stephen called away to a bogus phone call later that evening at the club.  Tony knows he is in love with Amanda and wants her to have her own mind back and she can think for herself.  Tony follows Amanda out to the pavilion.  She is waiting for Stephen when Tony starts to mesmerize her.  Tony wants to free Amanda from his hypnosis so she can again think for herself and realize how much he loves her.  He starts to plead with Amanda to remember that she loves him as he pulls her back to him with his hands.  She tries to resist him but she starts to regain her own consciousness and falls into his arms. Tony removes his spell and she arises to dance with the man she desperately loves. They unite in body and soul.  It is so sensual, especially when their faces are so close they almost touch and kiss.  They blend as one in an intimately tender and intensely sexual dance.  At the climax of the dance, Amanda falls back into Tony’s arms and he carries her over to the bench.  Stephen comes running to Amanda and awakes her before Tony can tell Amanda how much he loves her verbally.
Ginger’s dress is exquisite and I am enthralled by it.  Ginger and Fred dance to Change Partners with the same sensual intensity, which has become their trademark and I am irrevocably under its magical spell.
      The next day everyone gathers at the club for the wedding of Amanda and Stephen.  Amanda’s Aunt Cora has left a window open for Tony and his assistant Thomas Connors (Jack Carson) to come in, see Amanda before she makes the biggest mistake of her life, and marry someone who she does not actually love.  Connors suggests that he can get to Amanda’s unconscious mind by knocking her out cold.
Tony and Connors enter in the groom’s room and flee with Stephen in hot pursuit.  Tony and Connors find the bridal room with Stephen right behind them across the hall.  Tony raises his fist to slug Amanda and lowers it when he just cannot bring himself to hurt her even if it would benefit him.  Stephen comes storming in with fists flaying, goes to slug Tony, misses laying a good one on Amanda, and knocks her out cold.  She slumps to the ground.  Tony goes over to her saying lovingly, “Tony loves Amanda.”  A smile creases across Amanda’s face as this declaration of love reaches her subconscious and Amanda’s mind is now her own again.  Her love for Tony is fully realized once again.
In teInhe next scene, you see Tony walking out with Amanda on his arm.  When they turn to walk towards the judge to be married, Amanda is sporting a shiner, but they are so in love it does not matter as they smile at each other and me.
      When Ginger’s mother Lela was a young girl, she witnessed her father’s generosity towards the less fortunate when a tramp came to the back door of their home looking for some food.  Therefore, after giving the tramp some food the Owens had a visit from the minister who lived next door.  The minister said, “Mr. Owens your maid told my maid that you fed that tramp.  The man doesn’t deserve any food, Mr. Owens; he’s a lazy good-for-nothing who won’t work.”  Mr. Owens replied, “Maybe he is and maybe he isn’t but I would rather feed a hundred men who don’t deserve it, than to turn one away who does.  And another thing, anytime you feel you can’t afford to feed a man who comes to your back door-just send him over here.  I’ll manage if you can’t!”  I feel the same way and try to help those in need when I can.
My family was leaving the ballpark after a game one Sunday afternoon when I saw a man sitting under a tree with a sign asking for money.  I went over and gave him a few dollars.  My granddaughter said that he was probably faking it and did not deserve the money.  My grandson said that he was strung out and would spend the money on drugs.  He looked as if he was a bit high but I felt the need to help someone who appeared to be worse off than I was.   If he chose not to use the money for food that would be on his conscience not mine.  My mind was clear as I truly felt I was helping someone.
      Ginger has a kind heart and her generosity is founded in the Owens tradition.  Ginger took it upon herself to become her Aunt Billie’s young son Lee’s guardian without fanfare and publicity.  Billie is undeniably grateful to her sister Lela’s daughter Ginger for her son’s life.  It seems that two years ago when Lee was but seven years old he went to sleep early one evening and by midnight, he had a rattle in his chest.  The doctor diagnosed Lee with pneumonia and was immediately rushed to the hospital and put in an oxygen tent.  The crisis averted Lee regained his strength and he went home.
      Lee had a relapse and the doctor said if he made it through the night it would be a miracle.  Billie sat vigilantly at her son’s bedside.  She feels helpless watching his fever grow, his breathing labored, and his strength starting to ebb.  Then the phone rings and it is her niece Ginger calling from Hollywood.  She inquires about her cousin’s condition. Ginger asks to talk to Lee.  Lee takes the phone from his mother and listens to his cousin.
      “Hello, darling,” said Ginger as Lee’s lips turned up into a slight smile.
      “You’re not sick, dear, said Ginger.  How could you be?  God made all little boys perfect, in His image.  You’re no different than any of the rest of them. You’re going to get well.  You’re going to eat something pretty soon, aren’t you, darling?  And then you are going to go to sleep, and tomorrow morning you’ll feel fine, won’t you, Lee?” Lee nodded into the phone and gave it to his mother.  Ginger tells her aunt that Lee will get better but she needs to believe and have faith he will get better.  Ginger tells Billie that Lee will ask for some food in half an hour.  Ginger hangs up and promises to call every hour to check in on Lee.  Lee awakens and asks for a sandwich to eat and is on the road to recovery.
      Billie goes on to sing the praises of Ginger and Lela as she relates the time when her husband was very ill and had to be hospitalize.  Ginger and Lela provided the best doctors for him and paid all the expenses for his long drawn out hospital stay.  They not only provided monetary relief but called almost every day to give their moral support to Billie.  When her husband died, they paid the funeral expenses.  Billie tried to refuse their help but Ginger and Lela answered her by stating, “How can we refill our buckets if we don’t empty them?”  Ginger’s generosity is an Owens’ trait she has possessed since she was a little girl.  Ginger remembers birthdays at the studio, gives to many worthy causes, and is generous to a fault.
      Ginger’s grandfather lives in a small home close to Ginger.  He does his own gardening and lives very simply.  Billie and Lee have been invited to join Ginger in Hollywood where Lee could be chauffeured to school, spend days at the beach, and be served dinner by a butler.  Billie and Lee prefer their apartment in a resident hotel in Chicago.  Billie rolls out of bed at seven in the morning and works feverously in a beauty parlor.  Billie believes that what you work and earn for yourself tastes better.  This is the Owens motto and you can see why Ginger is relentless in her desire to make her own way in life.

The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle March 29, 1939

This movie is largely underrated.  Ginger and Fred go together like two peas in a pod.   Irene and Vernon Castle are immortalized today because Ginger and Fred’s depiction of them is a work of art.  Ginger and Fred play this loving couple so well it is hard to believe that there was nothing romantic between them.  This shows you what brilliant actors they are because I am convinced of their undying love for each other.  I became so absorbed in their characters and their struggles to make a life together I forgot they were Ginger and Fred.  Fred put his interpretation on the dances the Castles created as much as he could and still stay faithful to the original dances.  I wish they would have dance the tango longer.  This short clip left me wanting more.
When I viewed this movie for the first time, I did not know how it was going to end.  I started to fear for Vernon’s life as Irene waits for him in Paris at a café.  The time comes for Vernon to dance with Irene and he is not there.  Irene stands and starts to say that she will be unable to dance for them, as Vernon is not there when out of the darkness Vernon appears.  Irene goes to Vernon, he takes her into his arms, and they begin to dance.  Vernon acknowledges the audience but they dance for each other, love renewed in the warmth of their embrace as he leads her so affectionately around the dance floor.  They only have eyes for each other and dance as if the audience is not there.  The climax of this romantic bonding is when Vernon picks Irene up and she goes stiff while arching her body against his as he spins her slowly around in soft and loving circles.  This is a prime example of how Ginger and Fred made love by dancing together as one.  They were purely divine and sensually arousing.  This last waltz is emotionally gripping.  Irene and Vernon are in their own sublime world and allow the audience and me a glimpse into their heartfelt reunion.  Their love and happiness with being reunited is overwhelmingly evident.
The RKO set was inundated with on lookers to witness history in the making; the last waltz between Ginger and Fred.  Everyone gathered was aware of what a momentous moment in time it was as the show business world stood still.  This fact makes the waltz even more meaningful not only to Ginger and Fred’s characters but to them as a screen couple.  It was like the death of a close relative.  I am so grateful that they will never become a distance memory as I can watch their films repeatedly.  I cannot fathom why this waltz is not listed among their most romantic dances along with Change Partners.  They do not have the glamour of Cheek to Cheek, Lovely to Look At, or Never Gonna Dance but they have the same profound passion between two people deeply in love savoring a few precious moments together.
After Vernon and Irene leave the café, they spend the night in the same flat they rented when they first went to Paris.  When Irene walks out to the balcony arm and arm with Vernon she sweeps her robe behind her expressing her bravery knowing that Vernon is leaving tomorrow and she might not ever see him again.  The balcony scene is very heartfelt as these two lovers live for the moment and try to forget what tomorrow might bring.  Ginger and Fred convey the emotional uncertainty many couples felt with precision and exactness.  I cannot help but feel the urgency of their love for one another and the hopelessness of their situation.  I begin to fear for Vernon’s life as he goes back to the front.
Then the miracle occurs and Vernon is sent to Texas to help with the training of American pilots.  Vernon is safe and he calls Irene with the news.  They will at last be able to be together.  Irene leaves for Texas.
The last few scenes are sharply painful, a man in love with his wife planning a romantic rendezvous, a woman in love with her husband, anticipating the reunion of a lifetime.  When Irene realizes it is not to be the tears pour in the realization of what they once had is only an intangible memory.  Ginger never had to speak because you experience it with her.  I cry right along with her like it was my husband who had died.  Ginger had a way of conveying deep emotion by a gesture, a look, an expression, and without words.  She did not need words to put across her character’s feelings they only added to the sense of urgency articulated by her whole being.  Ginger is brilliant in her portrayal of Irene Castle.   She conveys her hurt, pain, and loss of the man that had meant so much to her superbly.  I always cry along with her as a chapter is closed on the most significant and noteworthy coupling in cinematic history. This closing scene rips my heart out.  Irene and Vernon’s spirits dancing away together in each other’s embrace is affecting because of its meaning not only to the Castles but also to Ginger and Fred.  This was to be their last picture together, their final swan song.  Now, they are both dead but they live on in their movies and I imagine them dancing on in the heavens together.
If you ever want to witness and experience deep emotional love and tenderness between two people, you need to watch Ginger and Fred. They knew how to tug on your heartstrings with glamour, grace, and eloquence as they spoke, danced, and sang with one another.  The collaboration of Ginger and Fred personified everything love, romance, and the struggles of falling in love encompass.  The difficulties of finding love and romance while wrestling with the joys and uncertainties that necessitates becoming a couple.  I for one am tickled pink, their films all had a happy conclusion except for when they portrayed the Castles.
Ginger and Fred proved to be equally enchanting as a married couple as when they were falling in love with each other for the first time.  It is a shame they did not make more movies as a married couple.  The forties’ musicals would have been a greater treat with Fred and Ginger as a couple.  At least I can watch them as a couple in The Barkleys of Broadway.
When I started my quest to find and own all of Ginger’s movies, her pairings with Fred were among the last for me to acquire.  After seeing Ginger in various roles and gaining a real respect for her ability I decided to buy them.  I was surprised and overwhelmed by how good they were.  This was a different Fred than I had experienced in his other films without Ginger.  Yes, the dance routines were exceptional in his other films but the emotional tie between the actors was missing.  The dance routines were more ostentatious and flamboyant not simple, sincere, amorous, and real.  The films lacked an intimacy between Fred and his female costars.  I could not connect with their plight or rejoice in their union.  For the most part the women Astaire was paired with after Ginger were not adequate actresses and fell short in convincing the audience of their love and affection for this older unattractive wimpy looking man.  I was especially disappointed in Easter Parade and You Were Never Lovelier because I am very fond of Judy Garland and Rita Hayworth as actresses.  Astaire’s style, eloquence, and grace did not meld with them, as they did not become one with him as Ginger did.  Astaire and his other partners walked along side one another and did not become entwined as a couple.  They stood apart.
Ginger’s movies with Fred would not still be the topic of so much discussion if they were only mere musicals of the 1930s and all they had to offer were their dance routines.  They were a tour de force.  They are the most exquisite musicals ever put on film because they encompass all facets of the performing arts.  They have drama, comedy, singing, and dancing all in one.  It is not an easy task.  Most movies are dramas, comedies, or musicals but not all of these aspects combined into one superbly neat package.  The scripts were witty and ahead of their time with the use of humor, drama, song, and dance all together.  No one has been able to duplicate their works of genius and will be the standard for centuries to come because Ginger and Fred were truly astonishing actors, dancers, and singers.
The plots reflected life between two people meeting and getting to know one another with all of the complexities of being in love.  Each movie was fresh and new because Ginger and Fred brought their characters to life and I feel the turmoil, happiness, tenderness, frustrations, and euphoria these two people feel for each other.  I become a part of what is happening on the screen.  I have become one with them.  What makes the movies works of art is that no matter how many times you view them, you still become a passionate participant while under Ginger and Fred’s magical enchantment.  Ginger and Fred still capture the public's attention and acquire new fans with each new viewing considering their first movie together was Flying Down to Rio was released on December 29, 1933, is quite a feat.
Ginger and Fred represent the ultimate coupling of any two people and are endlessly compared to any pairing trying to make their mark in any field or profession.
Ginger never looked as if she was dancing in Fred’s shadow but shed her own light because she was a professional and an exceptional actress.  She was never in competition with Fred or out to surpass him as some of his partners were.  Ginger and Fred worked hard to make those films the great art they are because they both were perfectionists.  Their films will be revered as the ultimate and decisive teaming of any two actors to the end of time.  They worked together as a team, helped each other, and were equally fantastic.
Ginger and Fred had great respect for each other and shared special warmth you can detect in their voices for one another.  Ginger and Fred always acknowledged that they had a partner.  Fred was a genius when it came to the choreography but Ginger complimented him with her interpretation of the dances so well they united in soul and being becoming one entity.  Fred's solos were marvelous but with Ginger, the duets were awe-inspiring.  Such elegance, tenderness, and desire danced so expressively together.  They have transcended the ages and will forever be the Gods of Song and Dance.
Ginger made the difference with Fred.  Without her great contribution to those films, there just might not have been a Fred Astaire and that would have been a travesty.  There still would have been a Ginger Rogers.  We are fortunate to have Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire together because they are phenomenal.  They are witty, comical, and tender together.  They are the perfect foil for each other.  Neither Ginger nor Fred ever found someone who completed them so well on the screen.  It is a unfortunate that Fred was not able to flex his dramatic talents more often.
Ginger has very little down time between pictures but when she is able to take a break Ginger does not slow down.  If anything, she is more driven to get everything she has had to put off compacted into a few days.
One time while vacationing in the town of Ojai in the mountains north of Hollywood, Ginger was up at four in the morning horseback riding.  She then played tennis for two hours and swam several hours before playing ping-pong and golf.  This is all in one day.  Of course Ginger was in bed by six that evening because of exhaustion.
Last year when Ginger went to Canada to do some fishing she was up by one and casting a line to the fish by two-except the fish were not biting.  Apparently, the fish were still asleep, as Ginger did not get a nibble.
While filming Follow the Fleet Ginger invited Harriet Hilliard to spend the night.  Harriet had filmed two scenes and she was tired and looking forward to a dinner tray and bed.  Ginger had been in every scene besides doing dance routines during lunch.  Harriet felt sure Ginger must be ready to stop for the day as they left the studio at 6:30 that evening.  Not Ginger, she played several sets of tennis before cooking the dinner for Harriet and herself.  Ginger threw a couple of steaks on her barbecue grill.
      Before filming for Bachelor Mother began, Ginger found she had two days to herself so she called her cousin Phyllis and invited her for a short trip to Palm Springs.  On the way there, they stopped and Ginger cooked up some bacon and eggs for breakfast.  I love a breakfast of bacon and eggs.  I would add some waffles smothered in butter and maple syrup.
Ginger and Phyllis reach Palm Springs about nine in the morning, an early hour for the residents so, Ginger and Phyllis went for a long horseback ride across the desert before returning to Palm Springs for lunch, a game of ping pong, and an afternoon swim topped off with six sets of tennis with the Racquet Club “pro”.
      The next morning Ginger was up at four and drove out to La Quinta for an early morning breakfast ride with guests from the hotel.  Ginger has the knack of fitting in no matter where she happens to go loafing.  When Ginger returned after breakfasting with the other guests cooked by the hotel, she ran into Spencer Tracy, his wife, and Bette Davis.  They played several sets of tennis before Ginger had to return home for work started in the morning.  Ginger is known as the hardest working woman in Hollywood and when she goes loafing.
      Last winter Ginger decided to try her hand at skiing while at Sun Valley.  She found two men following her on skis.  She politely asks them to leave as she has never been on skis before and did not want any publicity if she fell.  The men informed her that they were from the hotel and did not want Miss Rogers to fall and break a leg.  They were there to see that she landed on her feet.  Ginger being the natural athlete that she is did not need to worry.  She stayed on her feet as she always does.
      After returning from her vacation, Ginger is seen at the Tropical Garden Ice Rink.  Jimmy Stewart is a frequent escort and admits that he would rather be in his plane than on the skating rink.  Nevertheless, he cannot resist the company of Ginger Rogers.  Ginger is becoming quite the figure skater.  Jimmy says, “Why shouldn’t she be? She’s only had to learn how to skate.”  Again, Ginger proves she is up for the challenge and continues to live up to her nickname from her close friends, “The Champ” bestowed upon her with respectful affection.
      Ginger’s career has not been one that was planned out in detail.  She once explained by drawing a four sided box.  Once you plan and enclose your box, you have limited what you can accomplish.  If you draw your box with only two sides and have a general plan, you have left open your options, and you can choose a different path if something better comes along.  One fact is certain that when Ginger was on the vaudeville circuit she was concentrating on being the best vaudevillian she could be.  When Ginger found herself on the Broadway stage and she was concentrating on being the best musical comedy actress she could be.  This is not to say that Ginger does not look ahead, she does but she does not limit herself to plans set in stone and attends to the challenge at hand.   Ginger has said more than once, “I believe in living each day as it comes, to the best of my ability.  When it is done, I put it away, remembering there will be to-morrow to take its place.  If I have any philosophy, that’s it.  To me it is not a fatalistic attitude.”  She prepares herself for opportunities as they come her way and climbing up the next rung on her ladder to a successful career and beyond by working diligently at the task of the moment to the best of her utmost ability.  Ginger has attained stardom but she continues to work hard and do the best she can do today and the future will take care of itself.
      The one thing Ginger takes seriously is her friends.  She takes her friendships to heart.  Once you have become her friend you are one for life, and she will stick by you through thick and thin.  The only way you can lose her loyalty is by betraying her trust.  Betrayal is the one thing she cannot forgive.
      Ginger is not a duffer and she will not commit herself to anything she cannot give her full attention.  She bought herself a nice set of golf clubs but she will not set foot on the links until she can give the game her full attention and learn how to play the game properly.  Time is Ginger’s nemesis.   She is always moving at top speed trying to take in everything around her.  She is constantly improving herself by reading, learning, and inhaling life as time is her only limiting factor in what she can accomplish in any one day.  Ginger is not one to sit and watch the parade go by.  She is leading the parade.
      Perfection for the task at hand is the only goal Ginger has for that day.  When the day is done, it is put away and on to the next day.  She knows that perfection is the one goal you cannot achieve but that does not stop Ginger from trying and putting her best effort forward.
Ginger and Fred part because they do not want to wear out their welcome and want to pursue solo careers.  Ginger and Fred acknowledge that their teaming made them both stars.  They held onto that stardom by way of their movies together.  Ginger had ventured off into a solo career without Astaire and has some outstanding movies to her credit, such as, In Person, Star at Midnight, Having Wonderful Time, Stage Door, and Vivacious Lady.  Ginger wants to concentrate all of her energies honing her acting talents and give dancing a rest for a time.  Ginger’s star continues to rise without Astaire.