Monday, January 3, 2011

Looking for Fred Astaire!

Yesterday we had a lovely visit with our daughter and son-in-law. We sat around for hours chatting about everything from religion, parents texting, and favorite movies.

Our entire family has a very healthy obsession (or unhealthy depending on your view) with movies of every genre. Our three sons favorite movies range from action, military, and those lovely guy humor films. In fact there are whole parts of many movies they quote on a daily basis. The old chestnut that everything in life comes back to the Godfather is an adage they fully believe.

Our daughter on the other hand was an anomaly. Growing up she would rather watch movies from the thirties, forties, and fifties. Musicals were by far her favorite of all the genres, and I believe she has seen everyone on at least once in her short life. She loved nothing better on a gloomy Saturday then to pull out her favorite blanket, arrange her snacks, and watch one of her many musical follies. A few of her favorites are Singing in the Rain, Top Hat, and Oklahoma. She had fallen in love with stars of those long ago films like Audrey Hepburn, Gene Kelly, and of course Fred Astaire.

This post was prompted by her asking "why aren't there any fun and happy musicals anymore?" When I started thinking about that question it seems the answer is they are truly dead and buried. What a shame! Is there no longer an audience for such movies? This made me a little sad to realize that indeed a major part of the American experience, movie musicals, is no longer viewed as important.

So this post is for my daughter and everyone who remembers those days gone by! Tap your toe, sing a tune, and maybe take a whirl around the floor!

Further reading about Fred Astaire:

Fred Astaire Plots Out New Routines at his In-laws' Home in Aiken, S.C. - Life, December 30, 1940

Fred Astaire: he is the no. 1 exponent of America's only native and original dance form by Lincoln Barnett - Life, August 25, 1941

Astaire Dances with Hayworth - Life, November 9, 1942


  1. Fred Astaire and his dancing partner and sister, Adelle, grew up in Omaha. Recent movie musicals have included Mamma Mia, Hairspray, Moulin Rouge, Rent, Dreamgirls, Chicago, to name just a few. They're out there, just not as many as in years past.

  2. Thanks for the info Susan. Those musicals show up every now and again, but seems like not in recent years.

    Starr did love Hairspray. Done by our own Baltimorean John Waters!

    Guess I'm talking more about the feel good have fun musicals. Seems like most are very gritty & not approriate for my 3 year old granddaughter. Guess I'm just a dinosaur!

  3. Not at all ladies, and I guess our family has an anomaly too. We have collected as many of Fred Astaire and old musical from his era to the 60's. My children grew up on the musicals and now they are sharing with their children. Good healthy enjoyment and music is uplifting.

  4. Today's musicals are mostly remakes of the old ones, and not very good ones at that. They also seem to only want to put out the more vulgar musicals, showing just what our society has become. Lighthearted comedy, fun tap dancing scenes, and innocent romance are less desirable these days. It's gotta be sexy and dramatic to sell. That's not what the original musicals were about. Give me Oklahoma or Singin' in the Rain over Mamma Mia or Dream Girls any day.

  5. My girls also grew up loving old musicals; they watched the moves and we also went to local performances. We have to watch Singing in the Rain several times each year. It's so wonderful when you an share the things you grew up watching with your children!