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Besides Ginger who danced well with Fred?

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1 hour ago, Paul Smith said:

It's funny to notice in "Easter Parade" that Ann is wearing heels during the ensemble production number "Magazine Cover" on the Ziegfeld rooftop.  But she's in slippers right after when she brings Fred onstage for their dance together to "It Only Happens." She must have been slightly taller. Either way, she's an ace!

According to their stats on the IMDb, Ann Miller was 5'7 and Fred Astaire was 5'9.

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What, no votes for the hat rack? (Sorry about the video quality--no good ones on YouTube)

 

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35 minutes ago, KayeA said:

What, no votes for the hat rack? (Sorry about the video quality--no good ones on YouTube)

 

Did the hat rack have any other dance partners? That's what I want to know.

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1 hour ago, TopBilled said:

According to their stats on the IMDb, Ann Miller was 5'7 and Fred Astaire was 5'9.

Interesting. . .thanks for looking that up! 

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2 minutes ago, Paul Smith said:

Interesting. . .thanks for looking that up! 

Sure, no problem. Maybe it was just easier for her to do the scene in slippers.

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I know this wouldn't be seen necessarily as technically or aesthetically "the best", but this song and dance poking fun at beatniks in Funny Face always makes me smile!! Kay Thompson is just electric and Fred messing with the guitar and rolling around on the floor is a riot!
 

 

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Fred and Eleanor Powell, of course. The jukebox dance in Broadway of 1940, is spectacular. They claerly are having a great time while dancing.

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Rita Hayworth was, in addition to being a good dancer, a terrific actress and relatable presence.  I most value the expression of joy over primary technical excellence, which is why I enjoy the dances with Ginger so much.

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On 6/11/2018 at 6:49 PM, Marti Ann said:

Rita Hayworth was, in addition to being a good dancer, a terrific actress and relatable presence.  I most value the expression of joy over primary technical excellence, which is why I enjoy the dances with Ginger so much.

0FA46D59-5995-47C2-B306-BAAF8DF2DFAF.jpeg

Great photo. Love what you said about the joy they are experiencing while doing the routine.

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In my opinion, Cyd Charisse hands down. Then again she could dance with a one-legged bear & make him look good...LOL. Then I have to say Judy Garland in "Easter Parade." Judy could do it all & then share the stage with her fellow stars & make them look good with her.

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On 6/13/2018 at 1:23 PM, NeverGonnaDance said:

His sister, Adele ?

 

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Any idea what year the photo was taken?

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On 6/17/2018 at 7:08 PM, TopBilled said:

Any idea what year the photo was taken?

I remember this photo very well from Fred Astaire's autobiography, "Steps In Time".

I'd say around 1905 and I think it was from a dance school recital, but it could have been part of their first Vaudeville act because they started very young.

Fred and his sister only had a year of proper public school education. For the most part, they were "home-schooled" backstage, on trains and in hotels rooms by their mother, Ann Geilus Austerlitz, who had an eighth grade education. In 1905, an 8th grade education would be  considered to be equal to what we would today call a high school education.

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On 6/11/2018 at 6:05 PM, ashbashh117 said:

I know this wouldn't be seen necessarily as technically or aesthetically "the best", but this song and dance poking fun at beatniks in Funny Face always makes me smile!! Kay Thompson is just electric and Fred messing with the guitar and rolling around on the floor is a riot!
 

 

As far as I know this is the only featured musical performance in a movie done by Kay Thompson, who was also famous for the "Eloise" books.

Kay Thompson was the Dynamo of the Arthur Freed MGM musical unit.

She trained Judy Garland and Lena Horne in every aspect of their performing and public personalities. You might call her the Charm School teacher of MGM, but her Musical ablities went far beyond that.

Kay also was the mentor of Andy Williams who spent the late 40s under her tutelage at  MGM singing backup for a lot of those Musical movies. When Vegas started, Kay took Andy and his brothers into nightclub history by creating a legendary  act for them.

In "Funny Face", you finally get to see the ultimate MGM musical comedy teacher showing you exactly how it's done.

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7 hours ago, Princess of Tap said:

I remember this photo very well from Fred Astaire's autobiography, "Steps In Time".

I'd say around 1905 and I think it was from a dance school recital, but it could have been part of their first Vaudeville act because they started very young.

Fred and his sister only had a year of proper public school education. For the most part, they were "home-schooled" backstage, on trains and in hotels rooms by their mother, Ann Geilus Austerlitz, who had an eighth grade education. In 1905, an 8th grade education would be  considered to be equal to what we would today call a high school education.

Very interesting. Puts some things into perspective doesn't it.

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31 minutes ago, TopBilled said:

Very interesting. Puts some things into perspective doesn't it.

 I've done quite a study of professional tap dance movie stars in the 30s and 40s.

And I found primarily that they went into this business--

not just because they were good at dancing or they liked dancing --

But because they were trying to survive the Depression or some other economic problem that had caused their father to lose his livelihood. Or their father was not supporting them properly.

In the case of Bojangles, Bill Robinson, he was considered to be an orphan, being raised by a female relative. The others had fathers who were known, but who were not contributing or had lost their jobs during the Depression. I believe Fred Astaire's father was working in a brewery and he lost his job due to Prohibition.

So it came as a shock to me personally, because I learned tap dancing as an artistic sideline, which I just loved very much. But not really to make a living or anything like that.

But these people actually tap danced so they could survive. Maybe that's why they were so good.

And when you look at a great tap dancer like Sammy Davis jr., He never knew anything else. He was raised by his father and uncle in black Show Business and he never attended school and was illiterate. He never learned to read or write until he was drafted by the Army.

Doesn't this give you a whole different perspective on movie star tap dancers?

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36 minutes ago, Princess of Tap said:

 I've done quite a study of professional tap dance movie stars in the 30s and 40s.

And I found primarily that they went into this business--

not just because they were good at dancing or they liked dancing --

But because they were trying to survive the Depression or some other economic problem that had caused their father to lose his livelihood. Or their father was not supporting them properly.

In the case of Bojangles, Bill Robinson, he was considered to be an orphan, being raised by a female relative. The others had fathers who were known, but who were not contributing or had lost their jobs during the Depression. I believe Fred Astaire's father was working in a brewery and he lost his job due to Prohibition.

So it came as a shock to me personally, because I learned tap dancing as an artistic sideline, which I just loved very much. But not really to make a living or anything like that.

But these people actually tap danced so they could survive. Maybe that's why they were so good.

And when you look at a great tap dancer like Sammy Davis jr., He never knew anything else. He was raised by his father and uncle in black Show Business and he never attended school and was illiterate. He never learned to read or write until he was drafted by the Army.

Doesn't this give you a whole different perspective on movie star tap dancers?

Yes, it sure does. It also explains why their talent was so developed, refined, perfected. It had to be. Or else they couldn't survive. Nobody was going to pay to see dancers and singers who weren't spectacular.

I think I read a quote where Martha Raye said she was singing and dancing at age 3. It was the only life she knew. So by the time she was making Hollywood movies, in her 20s, she already had 25 years of show biz experience to her credit. We often don't think of that when we watch the performances on screen. And in her case she was still working in her 70s. So her whole life was devoted to putting on a show, the best show possible. And of course as you mentioned, there were so many others whose lives were this way. 

Not long ago I watched a mid- or late-70s episode of Donahue on YouTube. Betty Hutton was the special guest. She talked about how her mother ran a place that sold bootleg gin, and how Betty as a youngster would sing and dance to entertain her mother's customers. Betty and her sisters through their act became the breadwinners of the family. There was no father in the picture, the mother had become an alcoholic and to keep them afloat the responsibility of the household was placed on to the young girls. Like it's just mind blowing to think of the hardships these people faced and overcame, and how they still managed to entertain audiences successfully.

Betty also gets a bit exotic in her description of show biz where she says she learned to live for the audience's approval. If they loved her, the family could continue to make a living. So the pressure to be loved, to be successful on stage, was tremendous. They had to work extremely hard night and day to ensure they were successful then to maintain that level of success.

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I really wish Fred and Ann Miller made a movie with Ann in the lead. I would have loved to see them dance some more. Those two little numbers in Easter Parade are such a tease! I also really like him and Vera Ellen. Then again I don't think Vera Ellen gets enough credit, I think she compliments a lot of her partners, I mean she danced with Gene Kelly, Danny Kaye, Donald O'Connor too. I feel Vera brought out the playful side of Fred. I included some clips.

 

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I like all of Fred's partners as they were some of the best dancers in Hollywood and don't forget Rita Haworth in "You Were Never Lovelier".   I used to think there would be no way to see this kind of performance ever again now that the stars have passed but I was completely wrong.

In 2012 I spent a holiday in London and had forgotten that the British Theater in London still recognizes "triple threat"  performances.  I saw a stage production of "Top Hat" not knowing exactly what to expect.  It was spectacular!  It was the same as the Fred and Ginger movie but with a couple of songs added from other Fred and Ginger movies.  I thought the dancing skills were a lost art but the producers of the stage musical found many very skilled performers to pull this off.

I do not claim that Summer Strallen and Tom Chambers are equal to Fred and Ginger but they are closer to that very high quality than I would have thought was possible.  They were totally believable and the musical was a hit in London. I have seen a great many musicals in London over many years but this is one of the best and most memorable.

Toward the end of the course Mad About Musicals we see a number of movies (Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Lyon King and others) transition from a movie musical to a Broadway musical.  But I never expected that anyone would ever attempt to go back and stage one of the Fred and Ginger hits.  

 

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On 6/7/2018 at 7:30 PM, jawz63 said:

Check out Daddy Long Legs with Leslie Caron. He was much older than her but their dancing was so smooth and he was dancing out of his element. (He doesn’t start dancing until about 1:41. Be patient.)

 

 I have to admit, this is one of my favorite movies! I realize there’s a huge age difference between Fred and Leslie, but there was a sweetness and magic between the two of them.

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On 6/7/2018 at 2:49 PM, Dusty Cowboy said:

Who other than Ginger??  I won't take anything away from Ginger and all her years of hard and great work with Fred, but go watch the "Girl Hunt" number in Band Wagon and you will have your answer ..Cyd Chariss, hands down!

I agree. My favorite Astaire - Cyd number is not the Girl Hunt ballet but the elagent and simple Dancing in the Dark number in the Park.  

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On 6/19/2018 at 3:49 PM, Kristy26 said:

I really wish Fred and Ann Miller made a movie with Ann in the lead. I would have loved to see them dance some more. Those two little numbers in Easter Parade are such a tease! I also really like him and Vera Ellen. Then again I don't think Vera Ellen gets enough credit, I think she compliments a lot of her partners, I mean she danced with Gene Kelly, Danny Kaye, Donald O'Connor too. I feel Vera brought out the playful side of Fred. I included some clips.

 

I know I’m in the minority but I don’t like Vera-Ellen. Especially in White Christmas where she’s paired with Danny Kaye. Watch their first dance number together - why is she always looking at the camera?  Compared to the other three she’s unneeded. Not a great actress, not a singer... 

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