No, they never can and never will

A while back I mused about the movie Casablanca with its outstanding cast and, more importantly, about the love song that will always be associated with it – “As Time Goes By”. With your forgiveness I want to carry that general topic forward for one more musing. I leave you to wonder for just a bit why I chose the title of this musing.

 

I have being viewing a few old movies starring that great dancing duo of Frederick Austerlitz and Virginia Katherine McMath. If you are old enough then you better know them as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. I have found that watching their movies, and especially their dance routines, is a perfect way to escape the hard movies and harsh realities we are faced with every day.

 

There appeared in several movies starting when they first were teamed (not top billing) in the 1933 movie The Road to Rio. All of those early movies were lighthearted stories about boy meets girl, boy woos girl, boy loses girl, girl finally returns boy‘s love and they live happily ever after (or so it is assumed).

 

Prior to 1933 Fred’s dancing partner was his sister Adele. It was with the Rio movie that Fred and Ginger began a great collaboration. Although no partner was truly his equal in dancing, it was the young and beautiful Ginger (who would be 103 this year) that I have become smitten with. Later, in Ginger’s absence Fred had George and Gracie Allen (yes, that George and Gracie who danced quite well), Rita Hayward, Joan Fontaine (not really a dance partner) and Louise Bremmer as dancing partners. Those partners also starred in enjoyable movies but my mind and heart keeps returning to the young Ginger.

 

It was said of Ginger that she danced equally well as Fred and did it backwards and in high heels. The backdrops for their early movies always were scenes of affluence. In a time of great poverty, they offered the viewers an hour or so of escape from the reality of their lives.

 

The common thread in all these movies was Fred tap dancing and ballroom dancing with flourishes you will not see on the dance floor. It is amazing to watch how Fred seamlessly integrated props such as a cane or a golf club into his routines and how agile he was to incorporate into his dances various jumps on and off furniture and over railings.

 

But my lead in to this musing is somewhat misleading in that it’s some of the songs in those movies that had me reminiscing about times long gone. There were some mediocre songs but there were some great songs that became standards for decades as well. Of course that the songs were written by such people as Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, and George and Ira Gershwin didn’t hurt. But it was having Fred sing them (not a great voice) and dancing with Ginger to them that gave them life, gave them a place in the annuals of great music.

 

So for those of you old enough to remember them, here are the titles to those great, old songs:

 

A Foggy Day (in London Town), Nice Work If You Can Get It, Things Are Looking Up, Change Partners, Flying Down to Rio, Let’s Face the Music and Dance, We Saw the Sea, Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off, Shall We Dance, They Can’t Take That Away From Me, A Fine Romance, Never Gon’na Dance, Pick Yourself Up, The Way You Look Tonight, Cheek to Cheek, Isn’t This a Lovely Day?, Top Hat, White Tie and Tails, Night and Day…

 

Finally, as I have done in the past I am going to end this musing with some lyrics. Personally I like them all; they all are great songs that have withstood the test of time. But that aside, I think I’ll go with “They Can’t Take That Away from Me” (see musing title), written in 1937 by George and Ira Gershwin and introduced by Fred in the film “Shall We Dance?” What is interesting about this song is that if you remember the story line from Casablanca then you might agree that this would have been just as appropriate for that movie’s theme song, “As Time Goes By”.

 

So for everyone who has lost a great love – and for those who love great music, I offer…

 

“They Can’t Take That Away From Me”

 

Our romance won’t end on a sorrowful note

Though by tomorrow you’re gone

The song has ended but as the song writer wrote

The melody lingers on

They may take you from me

I’ll miss your fond caress

But though they take you from me

I’ll still possess

 

The way you wear your hat

The way you sip your tea

The memory of all that

No no they can’t take that away from me

 

The way your smile just beams

The way you sing off key

The way you changed my life

No no they can’t take that away from me

 

We may never never meet again

On the bumpy read to love

Still I’ll always always keep the memory of

 

The way you hold your knife

The way we danced ’til three

The way you changed my life

No no they can’t take that away from me

No they can’t take that away from me

 

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