Fred Astaire's TV specials- Any news? Who has the rights?

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Charles Ellis, May 14, 2005.

  1. Charles Ellis

    Charles Ellis Screenwriter

    Jan 5, 2002
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    A few days ago was the 106th anniversary of Fred Astaire's birth, and that got me thinking- of coures most of his classic films have been or will soon be released. But what about his classic TV specials? He made four between 1958-68 and they have yet to see the light of day on DVD. For those who are not in the know, he did a series of four variety specials with a lot of dance routines (his partner for all four specials was the beautiful Barrie Chase, to whom it was said he was romatically linked) along with musical guests ranging from Count Basie to Simon and Garfunkel! They were all videotaped in color and are as follows:

    An Evening With Fred Astaire- (1958) Possibly the oldest existing TV show done in color videotape

    Another Evening With Fred Astaire- (1959)

    Astaire Time- (1960)

    The Fred Astaire Show- (1968)

    Mr. Astaire produced the shows, so I assume that his widow (who has become notorious in her tight grip as to the image rights and everything else with his name- remember how she refused to let the Kennedy Center Honors show any Astaire-Rogers film clips when Ms. Rogers was the recipient of one of the awards?) has the rights to the four specials.

    In the late 80s, the first three shows were restored and shown on the Disney Channel for a while, where I first saw them. The '68 special hasn't been shown in its entire form in decades! It would be great for the general public to see Hollywood's greatest dancer in possibly the final dance routines of his long career. And for new generations, to see him in more than just 'white tie and tails'! Does anyone out there have info on the mere possiblity of a DVD release of the Fred Astaire TV specials?
  2. Steve...O

    Steve...O Producer

    Dec 31, 2003
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    The widow wouldn't let the Kennedy Center properly pay tribute to Ginger Rogers but she lets her husband's image sell vacuum cleaners in commercials?? Incredible.

    I don't know who controls the specials, sorry. I thought it might by Paul Brownstein since he controls many other similar type properties, but a check of his website came up empty.


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