The legs I wished I had…rest in peace, Cyd.

Style-go ahead talking about style.  

You can tell where a man gets his style just as you can tell where Pavlowa got her legs or Ty Cobb his batting eye.

Carl Sandburg – Chicago Poems

A lotta style. A sexy Soviet secret agent dancer, an old-time movie-gangster glamour moll, the thousand years Scottish-glen mystery woman. An over-the-top beauty with enormous sex appeal and the best legs evahhhh in the business has left the stage.

My heart fractures a bit today. Cyd Charisse has died at age 87 unable to recover from a recent apparent heart attack.

If you’ve never seen Cyd in the scene in Silk Stockings where she changes clothes, stockings, demeanor, as she dances, you cannot understand the meaning of the word seduction.

If there was a movie star I wanted to be when I grew up, Cyd Charisse was it. Each time she was on screen in a movie on television when I was young in the sixties, my dad would say …”Best legs in the world – that’s why I married your mom, you know. She has legs like Cyd,” with a twinkle in his eyes.

Astaire, who called her “beautiful dynamite,” said somewhat enigmatically, “When you dance with Cyd Charisse, you’ve been danced with.”

Forget Betty Grable…Cyd Charisse was the ultimate pin-up girl for many, many of our dads, grand-dads, and great grand-dads decades ago.  The Bandwagon, Silk Stockings ( a musical remake of Soviet espionage versus the Western World at its most compelling…! What a storyline.), Brigadoon, Singin’ in the Rain

Dancing in the dark ’til the tune ends

We’re dancing in the dark and it soon ends

We’re waltzing in the wonder of why we’re here

Time hurries by, we’re here and gone

Looking for the light of a new love

To brighten up the night, I have you love

And we can face the music together

Dancing in the dark

What- though love is old

What- though song is old

Through them we can be young

Hear this heart of mine

Make yours part of mine

Dear one, tell me that we’re one

Dancing in the dark ’til the tune ends

We’re dancing in the dark and it soon ends

We’re waltzing in the wonder of why we’re here

Time hurries by, we’re here and gone

Lyrics, Howard Dietz

There is nothing more synchronous than Fred and Cyd’s dance in the “Danicng in the Dark” snippet shown below. For much of it, note that they rarely touch. No need. Every movement together, then apart…perfectly, delicately, smoothly drawn; silk slicing through air. A glissando of movement threads between each swirling revolution.

How can one not fall in love?

Cyd and so many others wove a richer fabric for the backgrounds of our lives than those that generations past had available, and that those of now and future generations can conceive. In those first golden years where movies and television and Hollywood was still a spectacular “Shangri-la in America” for many of us kids and teeens at home, celebrities entered our daily lives in different ways than now.

We consumed movie magazines, read Variety if it was sold in our town square magazine stands, and we watched for snippets of news bits, dropped like gold dust on dry, daily small-town life.

The very crumbs of news items weren’t thrown in our faces, across every medium, as they are with such as Britney or Miley today. What we saw back then was almost always carefully planned, staged, and measured. Magical.

Peace to you, beautiful Cyd .

4 comments

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    • Robyn on June 18, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    We did every step the boys did, only backwards and in heels!

  1. nothing like a little poetry in motion.

    thanks to youtube, Cyd will dance forever with Fred and Gene.

    • RiaD on June 19, 2008 at 12:10 am

    i wanted to BE cyd too….

    &what a cool name, huh? how could you not want to be her?

  2. Ah for the days when movies were magical.

    Beautiful Cyd, graceful Cyd.. rest in peace

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