To Astaire, With Love
A Happy Birthday post for Fred Astaire.
I must admit it–I have a huge crush on Fred Astaire.
I was weened on Shirley Temple movies playing Saturday mornings when I was a little girl. We had all of the 3 channels, and PBS…Wow! I know… and old movies from the 20’s and 30’s would be played late, late at night.
I could keep the volume low in the dark quiet of my room, stay awake until 2 or 3, and fall in love with the stage and cinematic genius of telling stories.
Style, elocution and grace in those carefully tempered black and white films, with the Max-Factor-wide-screen-splendor of glamour and dreams.
Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff were the characters that tempted my teenage stirrings with their shadows and strengths…
then came along that Gay Divorcee, and I fell in love with dancing my heart away.
Last year, I was watching “Easter Parade” on Turner Classic Movies, and all of a sudden the woman in me noticed something the girl of me never had–
Astaire took Judy Garland in his arms while they rehearsed their first dance, and I watched him, for the first time, say to her as they danced,
“That’s better. That’s it now. But softer. More pliant. Keep your eyes fixed on mine. Your eyes. No, don’t stare at me like you’re ready to strike! Softly, with yearning; caressingly. Make every man in the audience wish he were in my shoes. That’s it. Now, your lips close to mine. Closer. Closer. More. More. “
WHAT???!!! How did I miss this before? Oh, right–what did I know of in my youth.
And then he breaks his delivery and says, “Lunch!” and drops her like a hot potato–and all of a sudden you are laughing with his comedic delivery.
He was so good at doing what he did.
At that moment, Fred Astaire just became the total fox of “To Astaire, With Love” hands down, and all bets in.
Gotta love that DVR, right?
Pause. Rewind. Play…Pause. Rewind. Play…and play, and play, and play, over and over again.
Ahh…to dance with Fred Astaire.
I read that “kissing scenes” were not Mr. Astaire’s aim nor preference to convey the intimacy of what happens between two people falling in love.
He preferred to “make love” with the dance. And oh, he did that so very, very well…
Here is a Happy Mother’s Day treat for you this 10 May 2015–and a Happy Birthday to Fred.
This makes me dance around the room with the soul and spirit of Astaire.
He was such a joy. This rendition of his singing “Cheek to Cheek” was 20-some years or so after he first ever originally sang it in his youth or middle age. And I like to listen closely to the well-weathered and loved man that sings this here, very intimately into the microphone. Astaire had so many rich memories to call upon, and so many of the roles he played were continued throughout the years — he mastered the art of the fairy tale and the romance.
But that is who he always was.
He was the Shakespeare of Dance, and he didn’t even know it. He just knew he was “dance”.
I didn’t think about it until I was through producing this video with these words being so perfect through and through, but Astaire really is in “heaven” singing for us on his birthday…a little crazy, I know.
But that’s the creative mind.
P.S. Thank you, Irving Berlin.
And don’t worry…this is MY email list of romance & poetry lovers. I would never disrespect you by selling your information, nor would I give it away. Poetry and romance lovers are indeed special, and you are MY friends. They can go get their own. 🙂