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Aloha.  My name is Lanning Lee.  Sorry I'm so late to the party.  Just watched the video for Week One. I was struck by the comment that it's always the woman who has to choose between love and career.  This being for the most part true, then Robert Preston plays a kind of groundbreaking role when he chooses love over "career" in The Music Man.
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Great point--I never thought of it that way. Still, The Music Man also fits another, less progressive pattern: "lovable but deceitful rogue gets saved/domesticated by the love of a good woman." Not that that ever bothers me while I'm watching, since Marian proves herself Harold's equal (and it's one of my favorite musicals ever)!

I'm watching Holiday Inn right now, where the Love v. Career debate sort of morphs into the Normal Life v. Showbiz Life debate. It's still the woman (Linda, played by Marjorie Reynolds) who has to make the most dramatic choice, but as far as the coupling goes, by the end of the story, each character gets matched up with a partner with similar values. And Crosby and Reynolds' characters manage to merge their "normal life" with a form of showbiz life by running Holiday Inn.

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You know those dancers--all show and no substance! At least that's how the film has it: that Bing's singing has all the meaning and emotion, so he deserves his first choice in love, but Astaire's dancing is all style and flash, so he doesn't. What's funny is that in that early number, which shows off their rivalry, I find Astaire's section, with its upbeat, playful tempo ("wait until you get a load of my dancing"), more interesting to look at AND to listen to than Bing's more languorous lyrics (which always strike me as too showy). Still, I have such a positive impression of both performers, I find it hard to root against either!

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Oh yeah, gotta love them both, one as singer, one as dancer -- although I believe it was Irving Berlin who said there was no better singer to introduce his new songs than Astaire, that Astaire had a natural feel for and understanding of anything Berlin or any other composer wrote.  They were both great actors too.  They had it all.

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On 6/15/2018 at 6:15 PM, Kate Mz said:

Other than Holiday Inn, I confess to having very little exposure to Fred Astaire. Then I watched Top Hat and came out with a ton of appreciation for both him and Irving Berlin!

My first exposure to Fred Astaire that I remember was in 1970 when I was 7 years old and saw the new stop-motion Christmas special (now classic) "Santa Claus is Comin' to Town." Fred, in doppleganger animated form, was the postman that narrated the show.

p.s. Mickey Rooney was Santa Claus, in Santa's younger and older age.

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