Tuesday 15 May 2012


over on the Dabbler I salute the genius of Fred Astaire.


  1. As a writer, I remember what another writer said when Astaire died: Let's end the twentieth century right now, time to move on, the perfected icon of an era is no more.

  2. That writer had a point. As has been said elsewhere, we shall not see his like again - and let's not forget Ginger Rogers' contribution. It takes two to make that kind of dance magic - I don't think Astaire ever quite recreated it with any other partner...

    1. Somebody said that Fred gave Ginger class and she gave him sex appeal. Whatever -- they were magic together.

      Fred hated that dress, however --he said the feathers kept drifting up into his nose.

  3. I wonder, Nige, about Adele Astaire, whom I've not seen dance. Have you seen film of her?:

    "She danced like a lilac flame: the other Astaire"


  4. When Mikhail Baryshnikov was asked to name his favourite dancer of all time, he said -- Fred Astaire.

    Thanks, Nigel, for giving me a chance to see that wonderful dancing again. It brought tears to my eyes and chills -- my skin wanted to leave my body. For all Astaire's suaveness, he wasn't safe. A couple times in that sequence, I had to catch my breath.

    Cigarette, indeed.

  5. Indeed. Any by the way, Barbara, all the Astaire-Rogers movies are on DVD, pretty cheap too - they never pall (though the plots do!)
    Dave - I wish there was footage of Adele dancing, but I don't know of any. The photos alone are pretty magical - they must have been amazing together.

  6. From Kathleen Riley's The Astaires: Fred & Adele (Oxford University Press, 2012):

    'As far as we know, no footage exists of Fred and Adele performing together on stage. All we have are a few tantalizing seconds from the end of a 1930 short entitled "Backstage on Broadway." The context is a mock rehearsal of the ill-fated production Smiles, presided over by producer Florenz Ziegfeld.'

    'Frustratingly, this footage has been shot from the side ofthe stage, and our view ofthe Astaires is partially obscured by [costar] Miss [Marilyn] Miller"


    'The twenty-second clip can be seen in the PBS [Public Broadcasting Service] documentary Fred Astaire: Puttin' on His Top Hat, first broadcast on 9 March 1980 and narrated by Joanne Woodward'--Notes: Introduction: note 6, page 218.

  7. Thanks, Dave - frustrating indeed! Adele and Nijinsky both (40 secs in his case?)...