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To give genius it's due, especially old genius, is it fair to criticize a seventy three year old artist, perhaps the greatest singer/dancer this country ever produced, for not having the heat, the spunk and energy he had fifty years before when he trod the boards with his sister, Adele? Television is a cool medium, and was there every anyone more cool, more contained than the great Astaire? The word "grace" has often been applied to him as well, and here in this 1972 TV special we have a perfect example of a great man growing old gracefully. He chooses not to dance, and why not? Isn't it better that we retain our memories of that perfection? But he did choose to sing however in the inimitable voice of his--every note perfectly in tune, every syllable enunciated immaculately, and every sentiment expressed. The songs are pure Gershwin as Gershwin first heard them sung, and in the simplicity of their presentation we can relish their wit and originality. In the archives of television, we have the embarrassing evidence of other old men of his generation making fools of themselves (Groucho, for instance), performing badly when they should have stayed home in bed. But Fred always knew exactly how much or how little to give. Never too much and never to little. The word is "class." Class like old cognac only gets better with age.
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