Here and Now with Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Thursday, December 20, 2012

Who’s Greater: Fred Astaire Or Gene Kelly?

FredAstaire, left, and GeneKelly talk during MGM's musical extravaganza "That's Entertainment" Part II in this 1976 handout photo. (AP)

FredAstaire, left, and GeneKelly talk during MGM’s musical extravaganza “That’s Entertainment” Part II in this 1976 handout photo. (AP)

This year Gene Kelly would have turned 100. But of course he’ll always be young and vibrant and “Singin’ in the Rain.”

So we thought we’d spend a few minutes in appreciation. And we thought we’d ask the question: was Gene Kelly the greatest dancer and innovator in American movie musical history, or was Fred Astaire – who was 13 years older than Kelly?

Historian and theater and dance critic Iris Fanger told Here & Now, “They were both great… what makes us very lucky is that these are the only 2 major dance artists of the 20th century… that we have the greater body of their work on film.”

Let us know what you think in the comments below, or join the debate on our Facebook page.


  • Iris Fanger, dance and theater critic and historian.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

October 8 116 Comments

Michael Bloomberg Takes Climate Fight To Cities

New York's former mayor and Vancouver's mayor Gregor Robertson are pushing for climate change policies at the city level.

October 8 4 Comments

John Fogerty Talks Creedence, And Life After

He was the creative force behind one of the biggest bands in the world, Creedence Clearwater Revival.

October 7 222 Comments

Lawsuit Challenges Transgender Locker Room Access At Planet Fitness

We hear a counterargument to our conversation earlier this week about how to accommodate transgender people in gyms.

October 7 12 Comments

‘I Drive Your Truck’ Songwriter Now Drives Her Brother’s Truck

Like the real-life story that inspired her hit song, Connie Harrington now drives a pickup truck to remember a loved one who died.