To dance with Eleanor Powell—the Golden Era of Hollywood star considered to be among the best tap dancers in the world—was a privilege afforded to few. None of her partners, however, were as decidedly talented and swoon-worthy as Buttons, the pup.
This charming dog had the honor of participating in one of the most original tap routines of all time, in this scene from the 1941 movie Lady Be Good. Described by the Pittsburgh Press as “better than Fred Astaire, nimbler than George Murphy, and can look more woebegone than Buddy Ebsen,” he clearly won over the hearts of the viewers.
Once the runt of the mill, the star was discovered by a prop boy named Jackie Ackerman, who trained him. The routine, full of jumps, flips, and taps, was learned over the course of six weeks, and gave the dog a chance to show his incredible potential and ability to pick things up quickly.
It is said that Ackerman, Powell, and Button’s 14-year-old owner constantly competed for his love and attention. After watching the last part of the scene, where Buttons jumps from a sofa to a table and straight into Powell’s arms and they both tumble down in perfect harmony, one is inclined to think his preference was given to his dancing partner.
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