Here’s an outstanding reel of home movie footage shot by Ira Gershwin featuring a veritable who’s who of 1930s cultural heroes. Much of it was filmed at the house that Ira and George shared at 1019 N. Roxbury Drive in Beverly Hills. (It was later occupied by Rosemary Clooney and Jose Ferrer–Ira bought the house next door at 1021 which is where he lived for the rest of his life). The description beneath the video is comprehensive so I won’t bother naming everyone who turns up but I will note that there’s a preponderance of pipe smoking–as opposed to cigarette smoking–going on amongst the men. (Perhaps they were on a health kick?) For my money the real gold starts at 17 minutes and features Astaire rehearsing on the set of ‘Shall We Dance’ while director Mark Sandrich eggs him on. Following that is extraordinary footage of the opening night party for ‘Porgy And Bess’ followed by views of director Rouben Mamoulian rehearsing the show onstage.


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