Two of dancing’s biggest stars joined Johnny Carson on ‘The Tonight Show’ in 1976. The incomparable Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire were a delightful interview pair for the ‘King of Late Night.’
Gene walks out to the song “Singin’ in the Rain,” and he salutes the audience. Johnny asks if Gene has kept in touch with his co-stars over the years, and Gene tells him that he has.
Gene tells him that he sees Fred the most because they live close, saying, “We get together and talk shop.” Gene says he’s a ‘homebody,’ meaning he doesn’t like going out anywhere.
Gene asks how Johnny’s wife has been, and Johnny says she’s been good, saying, “She’s a great admirer of yours because she danced with you one night at some private party.”
Johnny says, “I suppose you and Fred both get this, and you’ve probably been asked the question that anytime that you do go out to a party, what do you do with the ladies who come up and say ‘Oh, Mr. Kelly! I bet you’d love to dance with me!’ I mean, how do you handle that?”
Gene says, “I usually come with my leg in a cast,” which gets a big laugh. Fred comes out, and Johnny compliments his dancing in their new film. Fred says he didn’t do much, but he can still move great.
Fred says it was a lot of fun but jokes that having Gene directing was challenging! Fred would always suggest something to add, and Gene would try to brush it off nicely. Still, Gene never accepted Fred’s ideas. It’s a great interview with these legendary dancers.