The Way You Look Tonight (1936)
Unfamiliar with this week’s tune? Hear it here.
1) The lyrics tell us that no matter how low the singer feels, it will raise his spirits to recall the way his lover looks tonight. Share a special moment in your life that brings a smile to your lips, no matter what.
It’s always the little moments that get me. Like last night, after my youngest’s graduation, I was freezing. Hawai’i is a tropical paradise, but at night it can get cool as the ocean winds blow. My husband went ahead of my son and I so he could unlock the Flex and turn the seat warmer on for me. It was a little thing, to be sure, but so thoughtful and sweet. It’s those kinds of moments that I revisit.
2) This song was introduced by Fred Astaire in the 1936 movie, Swing Time. It won the Oscar for Best Song. What’s your favorite movie song?
This is from Stuck in Love, which is a movie I love! It stars Logan Lehrman, Lily Collins, Greg Kinnear, Jennifer Connelly, Nat Wolff, and Liana Liberato, to name a few. And it’s streaming on Amazon Prime!
3) Though today Fred is revered as a Hollywood legend, producers had to be convinced to give him a shot. The initial notes on his screen test were: “Can’t act. Slightly bald. Also dances.” Tell us about a time when someone underestimated you.
I was in a male-dominated industry for the majority of my working life, in the US Army. To be clear, I experienced very little sexual harrassment, just your garden-variety misogyny from time to time. But in experience, as soon as I proved myself, that misogyny fell away. Should I have had to prove myself more than a male soldier? No, I shouldn’t. But in some ways, it made me a better soldier.
4) Fred’s legion of fans includes Jackie Chan. The martial arts star says Astaire’s movies influenced the way he choreographed the Kung Fu fight sequences in his films. Mr. Chan is one of the most popular film stars in the world. Have you seen any of his movies?
The Rush Hour movies, of course. And Rumble in the Bronx, Shanghai Knights, Shanghai Noon, and a bunch of his early movies.
5) Fred was always fascinated by new things. In the 1970s, when he was in his late 70s, he took up skateboarding and became so good at it he was awarded life membership in the National Skateboard Society. Have you been skateboarding? If not, is it something you’re tempted to try?
Skateboarding and me… not a good combo. I tried once, WAY back in a day. The results weren’t pretty. Think full-body road rash. Nope, not for me. But I love watching it. Rob Dyrdek, Tony Hawk, Jason Lee, Elissa Steamer, Leticia Bufoni… all great skateboarders.
6) Fred’s friends were amused by his passion for daytime soap operas. In the days before video recording, he would call home from the club house at the golf course and ask his maid what had happened that day on his favorite “story,” As the World Turns. Is there a show you try not to miss?
God, I miss As the World Turns, and All My Children. I grew up watching ATWT with my grandmother and no one beats Erica Kane on AMC. But when they left the air, so did my love of soaps. My don’t-miss TV now: NCIS (all of them), Bull, S.W.A.T., S.E.A.L. Team, FBI: Most Wanted, and The Walking Dead.
7) In 1936, the year this song was popular, the US patent office issued a patent for the Zippo lighter. Beginning in WWII and for decades after, Zippo lighters were issued to our soldiers. During the Vietnam War, troops had their lighters engraved with personal mottos. What’s something you have had engraved or personalized? What did it say?
Honestly, I can’t think of anything.
8) Also in 1936, a killer tornado struck Tupelo, MS. Have you ever been in a tornado? How about a hurricane or an earthquake?
All of the above. When I was sixteen, we had a relatively rare tornado that threw a tree through my bedroom window. Lost of earthquakes, too. There’s a fault not far from my hometown in northern New York, so that wasn’t too unusual, or too bad. I also lived in California, so there’s that. We had Hurricane Isabel in 2003 in Virginia, which was super fun as I was eight months pregnant. My husband, three kids, and I huddled in an bathroom for awhile. Here in Hawai’i, we’ve had a bunch of hurricane watches, but they are generally down to storms by the time they actually hit.
9) Random question — We’re creating an action figure of YOU. What two accessories should we be sure to include in the box?
Books and a beach towel!