Remembering the Original Dancing With The Stars
Decades before there was a Dancing with the Stars, there was a network television show that ran for 11 years all about dance. It featured stars, music
and dancing in the very first network show that featured dance.
Arthur Murray and his wife Kathryn, starred from 1950 to 1961 on The Arthur Murray Party, which featured guests like movie idol Errol Flynn, Merv
Griffin, Eva Gabor, singer Connie Francis, comic genius Groucho Marx and first lady of the theater Helen Hayes. Celebrity winners received prizes like
a trip to Europe, a sports car, or a giant bottle of Arpege. And while the glitz and glamour of a weekly television show was being featured on camera,
Arthur and Kathryn's daughter Jane sat in the wings, a witness to the spectacle, and a passenger on the celebrity train that ran for that decade.
Now, daughter Jane Heimlich is reminiscing about those days in her memoir Out of Step (www.orangefrazer.com), and she is also collaborating with
her childhood friend, Dick Clark, to assemble some clips from the show in a TV documentary about the series.
"There are some amazing moments on those shows, and I don't think I'm being overly proud by saying that it was the type of show that paved the way
for shows like Dancing with the Stars," said Heimlich. "And even though I watched from the wings, I was able to get into the act as a writer. My mother
was given a segment on the show in which she would perform a pantomime skit, featuring a new character each week. On the show, she discovered
her gift for comedy, and I was able to help that along by writing some of her skits for her. The pay was handsome -- upwards of $250 per skit, which
was a month's salary for most women of that period -- and the reward was that each week I'd see the product of my imagination on the screen."
Jane, now an author and respected expert in homeopathy (having written two of the seminal books on the topic), had a second brush with fame when
her husband, a little-known chest surgeon named Henry Heiml