From the E-Mailbag…
I'm getting many messages about the Fred Astaire clip. Kevin Boury writes…
Loved the video of Alfred E. Neuman dancing. I wasn't sure if it was Fred Astaire or not, but now I am pretty convinced that it is him.
The clues are in the hands, which are the only real body part we can see. Often during this dance, you will see "Alfred" curling his inner fingers. Fred did this because he thought his hands were too long and that he could make them appear shorter in this way.
The other reason is that at about the 2m40s mark, you get a medium shot with "Alfred's" hands on Barrie's hips. It's a good shot of his hands and, after comparing them to photos online, I think these hands are far more long and elegant like Fred's hands than those of Hermes (which look more muscular and perhaps even slightly hairy).
Also, the body movements just look like Fred's body in motion. On the other hand, I am sure that he and Hermes could imitate each other pretty well after working together so often.
So am I sure? No, but the curled fingers are such a big giveaway that I would say I'm about 95% sure it's the elegant, swellegant Fred Astaire.
You have me half-convinced. In the meantime, someone named Carolyn — who does not seem to be the same Carolyn who's currently downstairs making me an omelet — sent me a photo of Mr. Astaire and the following…
FWIW, early in the clip, when "Alfred" is polishing a glass behind the bar, you can see a ring on his right hand pinky. Lots of photos of Fred Astaire show he usually wore a ring on his pinky. It's a little harder to find photos of Hermes Pan, but the few I found had no ring.
As proof goes, that ain't bad. As far as I'm concerned, unless someone comes up with hard evidence that it wasn't Fred Astaire, it was.