December 26, 1944: Carl Spaatz Teams Up with Fred Astaire in Impromptu Duet


By Margaret Leidy Harner from her book One Day at a Time: A Social History of Boyertown, PA.

December 26, 1944: World famous dancer and actor from the 1930’s to the 70’s, Fred Astaire, who usually partnered with Ginger Rogers in films, hooked up with Carl Spaatz and his guitar at a dinner party at General Eisenhower’s headquarters in London, celebrating the Christmas season. Of an impromptu duet the two performed, Astaire said, “I danced and he plinked. What a combo.”

Astaire had been entertaining the troops on a two-month USO trip through war-torn Europe and was so impressed with the Boyertown hero that he reported their antics to the press. “Spaatz came out with a guitar tucked under his arm and proceeded to give out with some hot licks. That guy had rhythm.”

(Looking back at the life of that country boy from Boyertown, it is amazing the internationally-known people Spaatz and met and worked with, including President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who became his great friend, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and the British King George VI.)

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