Friday, May 10, 2013

Fred Astaire: born today 114 years ago in Omaha, among the grasshoppers

Fred Astaire's first home, still standing
in the 2300 block of South 10th St., in
Fred Astaire: Look, little lady, as they say in Brooklyn, I can't bat in your league. I'm a plain, ordinary guy from Omaha, Neeebraska. Just an old fashioned, everyday middle westerner. Why, my grandfather was a cattle raiser.
Rita Hayworth: So was mine!
Fred Astaire: But you're streamlined. You're today. Sister, I was raised amongst the grasshoppers. I am strictly from corn.

The dancing in the clip below, with Rita Hayworth in the Columbia Picture You Were never Lovelier starts at 2:30. In the second embedded scene, Hayworth gets up and helps Astaire perform the Shorty George about as well as one might have expected Ginger Rogers to do.

From the YouTube upload:
"The Shorty George": Required more rehearsal time than all other dances together. A synthesis of American Swing or Jive, and virtuoso tap dancing by Astaire and Hayworth, both in top form and exuding a sense of fun in an arrangement by Lyle "Spud" Murphy. The title refers to a popular dance step of the time, attributed to George "Shorty" Snowdon a champion African-American dancer at Harlem's Savoy Ballroom and reputed inventor of the Lindy Hop or Jitterbug dance styles. Here, as in the "Pick Yourself Up" and "Bojangles of Harlem" numbers from Swing Time, Kern belied his claim that he couldn't write in the Swing style.

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