Indisputably, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers (in the hands of Astaire and choreographer Hermes Pan) did for dance on film what Bing Crosby did for the popular song at mic that understood and capitalized fully the medium's capacity for intimacy. That, together with the shear creativity of Astaire's choreography and his commitment (always imparted intensely on Rogers and, indeed, all of his subsequent dance partners) to ease and debonair casualness through disciplined preparation, made Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers legends.
But there was another aspect to the 10 films they did for RKO Radio Pictures between 1933 and '38 that was equally if not more important to their legacy, and that was the body of songs the sang in between and during all of that extraordinary dancing. Written by the best in the business, these songs were delivered by two competent if unremarkable vocalists with a certain je n'cest quoi that is utterly unforgettable.
Shedd executive director Jim Ralph surveys the pair, with all due respect to their marvelous dancing, in terms of these magical songs.