Friday, February 02, 2007


Eleven years ago, we lost the late great Gene Kelly. Whjat an amazing performer that I had the opportuni9ty to shakle hands with once in my life. That was way back in 1977. BUt I have always enjoyed his performances. I thought I would share with you some bits of trivia about him in this morning's blog: The first of these is that The Gene Kelly Awards, given annually to high school musicals in Allegheny County Pennsylvania are named in his honor. In 1994 Kurt Browning performed an ice skating interpretation of "Singin' in the Rain" on his television special You Must Remember This, complete with a full replica of the set and, naturally, rain. Browning considers this sequence one of his favorites he's ever performed.
In 2005 Kelly's widow gave permission for car maker Volkswagen to use his likeness to promote the Golf GTi car. The advertisement used CGI to mix footage of Gene Kelly, from Singin' in the Rain, with footage of professional breakdancers (including David Bernal). Despite Mrs. Kelly's urging, the German automaker refused to show the commercial in the U.S. The tagline was, "The original, updated." In 1993, pop singer Madonna met with Gene Kelly who convinced her to include an homage to Marlene Dietrich in her Girlie Show Tour, which turned out to be her cabaret version of "
Like a Virgin." Interesting note: Gene was voted the 42nd Greatest Movie Star of all time by EntertainmenWeekly
and is one of the many stars mentioned in Madonna's song "Vogue" American Idol judge
Paula Abdul starred opposite an animated cat in her "Opposites Attract" video, and did so as to mirror Gene Kelly with Jerry (of Tom and Jerry) in the movie " Anchors Aweigh" Gene Kelly, her childhood idol, noticed, and wanted to meet her. They met for tea every week until he died. Here's a hoot:
Ray Bradbury's novel "Something Wicked This Way Comes" was dedicated to him. In 1994, just two years before his demise the Three Tenors honored him by singing Singin' in the Rain in front of him during a concert at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles A frail-looking Kelly was helped to his feet for a brief salute to stand up for the ovation. John pointed out tyo me that Gene Kelly made a posthumous performance on the Family Guy episode "Road to Rupert" , where the live footage segments and audio from a musical number in "Anchors Aweigh "are reused to show Gene dancing with Stewie Griffin . Stewie's dance moves almost entirely mirrored those of Jerry , the mouse :Gene's original partner in the movie. Gene also said some pretty amazing and funny things in his lifetime including"
"If Fred Astaire is the Cary Grant of dance, I'm the Marlon Brando ."
"Fred Astaire represented the aristocracy, I represented the proletariat."
"I [was] twenty pounds overweight in the MGM days and as strong as an ox. But if I put on a white tails and tux like Astaire, I still looked like a truck driver... I looked better in a sweatshirt and loafers anyway. It wasn't elegant, but it was me." "I didn't want to be a dancer... I just did it to work my way through college. But I was always an athlete and gymnast, so it came naturally." And then my tweo favorites since I do write musicals "The way I look at a musical, you are commenting on the human condition no matter what you do. A musical may be light and frivolous, but by its very nature, it makes some kind of social comment."
"At 14, I discovered girls. At that time, dancing was the only way you could put your arm around the girl. Dancing was courtship. Only later did I discover that you dance joy. You dance love. You dance dreams." Well that's it for today.