This is no novel statement, I know, but I believe that Fred Astaire was just the best dancer ever. Oh, he was, because even when compared with other highly-gifted, highly-skilled dancers, Astaire's skills were so off-the-charts as to be peerless. Why? All you have to do is spend a little time in observation. Astaire, with each and every routine he ever performed, wasn't just a brilliant and innovative choreographer or a tuned-in partner or a top technician. Watch, and you will see how all of him was at all times completely connected with the music. Not just his feet or legs or arms -- everything, down to the tiniest flip of a hand or dip of a shoulder, even his facial expressions. It is what made him appear so elegant and effortless. Everything in him was integrated, flowing, and near-flawless when he danced; when he moved at all, really. Even dancers with the strongest motivation, deep emotions, hardiest bodies, and most superior skills -- incredible, amazing performers -- can't quite get to Fred-level.

Fred Astaire was one-of-a-kind, and one of those extremely rare people who took their incredible natural gifts as far as it was possible to take them. For you today, I bring you the 1958 Emmy Award-winning NBC-TV special, "An Evening With Fred Astaire," in "living color." Spend an hour watching a artistic genius, nearly 60 years old at that time, and be very glad we had this guy around.

"An Evening With Fred Astaire," NBC-TV, October 17, 1958