A musical remake of Ninotchka: After three bumbling Soviet agents fail in their mission to retrieve a straying Soviet composer from Paris, the beautiful, ultra-serious Ninotchka is sent to ... See full summary »
This NBC special, from the fall of 1958, was the first full-fledged special program to be produced on color videotape. The tape is well-preserved and the old Chrysler cars are fun to look at. This is a piece of television history which, thankfully, has survived in pretty decent condition. That said, the show itself is a wonderful variety hour top-lined by Fred Astaire, who, here in his late 50s, still could weave the magic he did so well in his many musical movies. His dance partner is Barrie Chase, a remarkable and beautiful dancer who holds her own, and then some. Jonah Jones adds some great jazz to the program, and when one is done viewing this, one is tempted to say the old cliché, "They don't make 'em like that anymore." This has not been released on DVD or any home video medium, but the entire program can be viewed in five parts on YouTube. The clarity of videotape gives the program an almost spooky immediacy that you can't quite get with a filmed program. This program was aired live on the east coast, and then the videotape was shown three hours later on the west coast. Videotape in the early days was considered very hard to edit, so this recording is just like seeing the live eastern broadcast. The YouTube download looked pretty good streaming on my 40-inch flat screen, which is a testament to the restoration of the tape. I have no idea how videotape is "restored", but there are few digital artifacts present, and the picture is very good and the sound superb. A wonderful show.
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