The movie the Band Wagon was one of my favorite as a kid. But as I researched it recently I discovered that it wasn’t a happy time for most of the actors when making it. Oscar Levant hid the fact he had had a heart attack, Fred Astaire’s wife was gravely ill, I think there were some other problems. This clip is iconic I think, and explains much about the entertainment industry.
I love Oscar Levant and not because be shares my name, or is that the other way around? No we are not related, but he was indeed a wit, and a very nervous unhappy man. Talented too, and here is him playing Brahms.
The problem for TV executives is that he was unpredictable and with live TV, that didn’t go very well. Here is the only taped segment of his TV program, him and Fred Astaire, Astaire’s first appearance on TV by the way. June (the lady) is Oscar Levant’s wife and mother to their 3 daughters. The picture quality is bad, but watching Fred Astaire, Oscar Levant, and June Levant together is entertaining.
and a scene from the Barkley’s of Broadway with Astaire, Rogers and Levant.