Character actor Michael Shannon has been nominated for his second Oscar for his role in the 2016 thriller Nocturnal Animals. "No Small Parts" takes a look at some of the other characters he's played in the past.
For a man with a thin, reedy, but pleasant voice it is astonishing that the best composers America ever produced wrote for this man on both stage and screen. When you've introduced songs by Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, George Gershwin and Vincent Youmans you are keeping step in some mighty good company. Which is the music Fred Astaire stepped to during his entire career.
This first of two specials with the Dancing Master himself has him singing and dancing with partner Barrie Chase, and trumpeter Jonah Jones and his jazz combo. Fred gets to do a number of his famous film and stage songs and the highlight for me was a new dance routine done to the old blues number, The Saint James Infirmary. Jonah Jones sings it and Astaire and Chase dance heavenly.
Frank Sinatra later patented this kind of special with only one or two guests, but Astaire was the one who did two of them first and if not best, different. As a dancer it was not an intimate saloon song that he used, but the full stage to practice his art.
If this is ever broadcast don't miss it. Or the succeeding special the following year.
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