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Visit these other humorous sites by Marjorie Dorfman:

Eat, Drink and
Really Be Merry


Home Is Where
the Dirt Is


Middle Age
and Other Mistakes

Don't Tech Me In

What's New, Emu?

Laughing Matters Ink

I Was Absent



Copyright © 2001, 2002.
All rights reserved.
Fred AstaireCelebrity Endorsements: Some Dead Men Do Tell Tales
by Marjorie Dorfman

Have you noticed many famous dead people are still around and they are trying to sell us things? If you think they should stay dead and be left alone, please read on.


It's too cold out to be near Easter, isn't it? Well, be that as it may, resurrection time is closer than just around the corner; it's here. I speak not of religious miracles, but rather of the deluge of television commercials involving people who have, to the best of my knowledge, passed through to the other side of the sod. This resurgence has been motivated by a combination of corporate ambition, celebrity obsession and digital technology. Better not read on if you are in the entertainment or sports industry and frustrated by Madison Avenue's indifference to your endorsement potential. The only possibilities offered here require that you first be dead! If that isn't grounds for suicide or at least a claim for not being an equal opportunity employer, I'll eat my hat; that is, when I can afford to buy my next one!

What is going on here anyway? A while ago, I couldn't sleep and popped on the television. While channel surfing, I found Mr. Fred Astaire, not puttin' on the ritz as I love to see him, but prancing the light fantastic with a Dirt Devil vacuum cleaner. I don't know which movie featured this unique pas de deux, but I do remember the dance as one where his partner was neither the svelte Ginger Rogers nor the lovely Rita Hayworth. It was, alas, a rather long broom. Mr. Astaire could render a touch of class to anything, even a roll of toilet paper. He is a beloved icon of charm and grace, frozen in time and in our hearts. It is that which is at the heart of the problem. Something smells now about his image that's reminiscent of a fish in Denmark or relatives that stay more than three days, or something like that. Some quality has been tarnished and will never be the same again.

If Fred Astaire isn't an important enough icon to defile, consider the more recent commercial run by a French telecommunications company that features Lou Gehrig. (I will not mention the name because I have some stock in the company and one hundredth of one thousandth of a percent of shame is still shame, isn't it?) "Iron Man" Lou Gehrig's poignant departure from the world of baseball due to a fatal illness which would later bear his name is transformed before our very eyes into tawdry, commercial schlock! To quote Bob Garfield of NPR's On The Media, "while dead baseball players can no longer hit, they still can pitch." What's wrong with the baseball heroes of today that still live and breathe and walk our city streets? Why utilize the image of a man who hasn't even been breathing for many, many years?

John Wayne too has been seen again on this side the sod, or at least heard. In a Coors Light commercial his famous voice clears the question "whose beer is this?" "It's my beer, sergeant!" challenges the Duke. Well, I know for a fact that Mr. Wayne hasn't been drinking much of anything for more than two decades. No matter how much his estate may or may not be making, he should be able to rest in peace so that his fans can remember him wrapped in the sacred cellophane of his celebrity.

The voices of Marvin Gaye and Bobby Darin also sail above the airwaves of the dead and into the realm of the living. "Let's Get It On", Gaye's hit from the early 1970s, sells cheese to a bunch of school children opening their lunch boxes and Mr. Darin sings "More" to a crowd outside a linen store offering discounts. Don't living celebrities need work too? I've spotted many of them munching on doughnuts and even plugging some good causes. Why grave rob when there's still the William Morris agency?



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If so, don't miss this site!


Don't miss this excellent book

Steps In Time

Steps In Time
This autobiography is chock full of interesting tales about Hollywood in its golden years. A must for any Fred Astaire fan! The
story of his triumphs and tragedies.


and here's a great CD

Let's Face The Music and Dance

Let's Face The Music and Dance, CD
This is a CD to treasure. While Mr. Astaire did not possess the most golden pipes of his day, there is something really enjoyable about his approach to a song that makes his music endearing and enduring.



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