Dancing on a Large Piano

Jack Leach was not only Fred’s trainer and friend, but also something of a choreographer. This letter suggests that Fred’s ‘dancing on a piano’ scene in ‘Let’s Dance’ was an idea put forward by Jack 12 years previously. See it here.

Dance routines can be difficult at the best of times. ‘Damsel in Distress’ has the added obstacles of moving floors, funhouse mirrors and slides in the routine which put Fred’s dance skills to the test. Watch the routine here.

Dancing on a Large Piano

Jan 29th 1938

Dear Jack:-

Have just come back from Santa Anita where I was properly f****d. The animals gave me the business. I’ve only had two decent days since the meeting opened. Today they were all over the place – full of coffee – hops – scotch – etc. Horses that couldn’t walk in a seller the other day came back in better class and “doddled it” today – paying hat-fulls.

Your idea of my dancing on a large piano is a good one & I may be able to use it some day.

Strangely enough – I’ve had the idea before but never gave it much thought – now that you mention it, I’ll look into it again.

Thanks very much but can’t you send me a winner instead of a f*****g dance routine?

Was very glad to get your cable at Xmas. We went east for Xmas & I got the messages when we returned after New Year.

Glad you have a promising Figaro colt. Please put the enclosed fiver on him for me the first time he wins!

My golf is better – got a 75 the other day but it won’t last – I’ll soon be back in “sellers”.

Hope to get back to England within another year. I need to pick up a couple of grand and I can’t get it on these tracks.

I know what”ll happen though. I arrive and meet you and we’ll hop out to Kempton or someplace just in time to watch Bobby Jones “piss in” on a 20 to 1 shot when he hasn’t mentioned a word about it. Two years in succession that happened now – remember. Braemar – 10 to 1 – was one of ‘em – & don’t tell me that bastard didn’t know about that one. Good old Bobby – give him my best – but I could certainly have taken his ass plenty on the old links these past few months. As for you – well it would be no bloody contest old boy – no bloody contest.

Hope you are well Jack – we are all fine & the child is very forward. He’s nipping about all over the place. The photo you sent me of Jill is wonderful. She looks very well indeed.

Well so long – if we all don’t have to go to war or something I hope we make packets –

As ever –


PS I have some wonderful stories but I can’t think of ‘em now so will try next time.

Give the enclosed picture marked to Bobby Jones – to the old kid.

It was taken in one of those screwy mirrors from a scene in my last picture “Damsel in Distress”.