Thursday, 23 August 2012

Anybody here seen Kelly? K-E-double-L-Y



We have a centenary to celebrate today - Mr Eugene Curran "Gene" Kelly!

Mr K was never my absolute favourite male hoofer (that was of course Mr Astaire), and in my opinion many of his films are not as good as the sum of their parts (such as Singin' in the Rain or If You Feel Like Singing/Summer Stock (as it was known in the US)). Maybe it's just the fact he was so hefty that put me off a bit?

However, there is absolutely no doubt at all that when he hauled that non-dancer-like body into action, the man was a tremendously talented terpsichorian, and brought some of the most energetic and exhausting routines in Hollywood history into glorious being!
"If I was black and blue, it was Gene. If I didn't have a scratch it was Fred." - Cyd Charisse on how her husband would know with whom she had danced.
Here's just one - with our Patron Saint Miss Shirley MacLaine, possibly the only female dancer who could really give Mr K a run for his money...



What a Way to Go, indeed.

Facts about Gene Kelly:
  • His father was Al Jolson's road manager in the 1920s.
  • MGM had promised him the starring role in Teahouse of The August Moon but cast Marlon Brando instead. This was the last straw for Kelly who left MGM soon after.
  • He apparently had a fever of 103 degrees while filming the famous rain scene in Singin' in the Rain
  • He famously danced on roller skates with Olivia Newton-John in Xanadu.
  • Gene Kelly was dance consultant for Madonna's 1993 "Girlie Show" tour, and of course was name-checked by her in Vogue.

Gene Kelly (23rd August 1912 - 2nd February 1996)

4 comments:

  1. my dad was his "boot camp" buddy! :)

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    Replies
    1. Now, there's a story I want to hear more about..! Jx

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  2. and didn't they say he was insufferable?

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    Replies
    1. I am convinced he would have been that! Jx

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