Looking back: Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers on this day 49



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Today we go back to “before your time” to remember the day that Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers appeared on the Life Magazine cover. The US was in the middle of The Great Depression with war winding up in Europe.  Astaire and Rogers were a little bit of light in a dark era.

The cover for which they are so famous was published on the 22nd August 1938 and was done so for their film which was playing at this time called Carefree in which Astaire danced The Yam.

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The Yam, according to all accounts was a dance and a song, written by Irving Berlin. It was featured in Carefree, a 1938 film that actually ended up being better known for the movie in which Fred laid a huge kiss on Ginger Rogers for the first time.  This apparently unprecedented event was supposedly meant to disprove the rumour that the two really didn’t like each other. Secondly, the movie included a dance sequence using the song “I Used To Be Color Blind” that included revolutionary slow-motion techniques. The producers thought that number was so special that only budget restraints kept them from following their initial plan to film it in colour.

Publicity for the movie included a cover story in Life magazine, and it appeared to be all about a new dance sensation called — you guessed it — the Yam. The cover even featured a big picture of Fred and Ginger dancing.  Enjoy today!


And below, the kiss!  In the Carefree dream scene


Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson is the founder and publisher of Starts at Sixty. The daughter of two baby boomers, she has built the online community for over 60s by listening carefully to the issues and seeking out answers, insights and information for over 60s throughout Australia. Rebecca is an experienced marketer, a trained journalist and has a degree in politics. A mother of 3, she passionately facilitates and leads our over 60s community, bringing the community opinions, needs and interests to the fore and making Starts at Sixty a fun place to be.

  1. They were a bit before before my time, they were not popular in the 60’s 🙂 however I did enjoy watching them dance, I never found Fred Astaire to be handsome but he could sure dance

    1 REPLY
  2. Moons ago our Father who was serving in Vietnam at the time sent home a package with goodies and copy of Life Magazine. On it was my first encounter of Barbie and Ken

  3. What a good start to the day , they are before my time but I have spent many a happy afternoon watching these two dance. How I miss the midday movies on a Sunday. Good old fashioned fun

  4. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Fred and Ginger movie.

    2 REPLY
    • There probably are, I don’t actually watch a lot of movies,except on planes!We didn’t have tv when I was a kid so I missed a lot of the golden oldies

    • It’s good entertaining good for the soul kind of movies no sex no violence no swearing so good for general viewing.

  5. Love watching these 2 dance and then Gene Kelly all amazing dancers. Fred Astaire just seems so light on his feet very grounded and Ginger Rogers is amazing in her own right. There were many fantastic dancers from this era and singers as well. Love old time movies.

  6. I loved them together their dancing was to die for l doubt if we will see anything as great again. She was beautiful as well

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