Top Hat was the fourth movie Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers did together and is considered to be the most popular of their ten movies. It opened on August 29, 1935 and became the highest grossing movie of that year, bringing in $3.2 million - comparable to $110 million in today's inflation-adjusted dollars (back then the average ticket price was 24 cents). It included the Irving Berlin classic Cheek to Cheek.
Their refined style and the glamourous settings they danced in make it easy to see why Fred and Ginger have gay fans. I'm guessing this was true back then as well. Many gay men identify with Rogers being twirled around in her gown and it's been said that the older Rogers was the inspiration for many drag queens. And although I love to watch Astaire's effortless dancing, I find him oddly asexual and not sexy in the least. He was too Upper East Side/effete for my taste. (Gene Kelly was more to my liking.)
Watching Fred and Ginger was surely a great way to escape the grim reality of the Depression - as opposed to the glut of superhero movies during the Great Recession of the 21st century.