Figurante

The Little Match Girl with Bing Crosby tv special??

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I was just watching a local tv channel in Philadelphia (WHyY), while nursing my three stress fractures with a pack of ice, and I stumbled across a Bing Crosby Christmas special that seemed REALLY old; it was in black and white; He was narrating the Little Match Girl story. All the while, in the background, is this incredibly talented dancer turning out of control, some of the best technique I have seen in a long while, and I'm in a present day ballet company. I want to say that it may have been Gelsey Kirkland, but I didn't see and credits, and I'm not positive. Does anyone know who the dancer was? And if this tv special can be found on a tape somewhere?

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a quick google search netted the fact(s) that ABC aired bing crosby specials called HOLLYWOOD PALACE CHRISTMAS SHOW which spanned 1964 - 70.

kirkland's career really didn't going much before a 69/70 when she was a soloist at NYCB.

it's somewhat hard to believe that she'd have been chosen for a national ABC christmas special at so young an age and so early in her career, but that's only a guess on my part.

maybe others know more.

some of these telecasts seem to be on video cassette but none would seem to specifically identify THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL - but as noted i've only done a quick look for info.

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Bear in mind that Gelsey Kirkland was born in 1952. By the time she was actively dancing, even as a little girl, she was well into the era when all TV shows were being shot and broadcast in color.

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An intriguing puzzle, figurante. Like rg, I also was lead to give it a shot at Googling -- and also came up with lists of videos of old Bing Crosby specials. Nothing seemed to fit.

Can you tell us more about what that dancer was doing, especially during those turns, and how it related to the story? How long was the segment? Was it merely background, or was it important to the story that Crosby was relating?

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Crosby basically narrated the entire story of The Little Match Girl. There were two little children sitting with him while he was narrating, and they would contribute an off-key tune every once in a while. The woman/girl was dancing in the background was "the little match girl", and danced the entire time, not necessarily to music, either. It honestly looked like improv in my opinion. But her technique was incredible! Knowing that Gelsey was a great turner and jumper was what made me think of her, because this dancer whipped off a triple a la seconde turn, and a few triple attitude turns if I remember correctly, and achieved extreme heights while jumping. There was a lot of miming, which was to be expected for this type of short story, but other than that, unfortunately, I tuned into the special a little too late. After the Little Match Girl bit was finished, it went into a medley of the 12 Days of Christmas with Bing, and a few others, whom I don't know.

It is interesting, because today at 6:00 pm, I turned on the same channel, and saw Gelsey and Barishnikov dancing the Nutcracker with guest artists from the National Ballet of Canada. A very weird rendition in my opinion, but then again, I am used to the Balanchine version. It is such a treat to see ballet on television in general, let alone such old performances!

I hope this can shed some light on something!

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joyce cuoco

Funny this was my guess also. :dunno:

I remember seeing her, in colour, on the Ed Sullivan Show, remarkable turns and all. Apparently that episode dates back to 1966, at which point she would have been about 13.

You can see the adult Joyce Cuoco as "Clara Cratchit" in Youri Vamos' Nutcracker/Christmas Carol hybrid with the Bonn Ballet.

http://estore.websitepros.com/1652646/Detail.bok?no=1107

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It would be necessary to know when this bit was made, because right after she did the Sullivan show, which was in '66, she was released from her contract at Radio City Music Hall because of a "fractured leg". I won't go into the rumor mill of the day as to what caused it, but I was of the opinion that it was a stress fracture, and she didn't work for about a year or so after Radio City.

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So I was fortunate enough to see the show again, and saw the credits this time.. I believe the dancer was Syd Charisse... (sp). Does that sound right to anyone?

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Not if you're talking about a young girl. Wikipedia notes Cyd Charisse's birth as 1921, which seems at least approximately correct to me. She would have been well into adulthood by the time Matchgirl was made, and as a tallish woman it was unlikely that she'd have portrayed a girl.

From Wikipedia I clicked onto Cyd Charisse's "official" webpage. Its list of her tv credits does not include anything with "Crosby" or "Hollywood".

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