I’ve been a dancer for 20 years now and can still recall a youth recital in which our class danced to “Singin’ In The Rain,” complete with coats and umbrellas. We watched Gene’s number before rehearsing, but that was about it for Gene and me. In fact, I didn’t watch any of his movies until the 2011 Christmas holidays. Now, I am engrossed in, as some of the other fans have said, “everything and anything Gene Kelly” including movies, books, articles, and anything else I can find!
Here’s what happened: I was recently talking with a co-worker about classic musicals, which led me to seek out films with Judy Garland, the first of which was “For Me and My Gal.” But as I watched, I found myself more interested in Garland’s handsome co-star, and then I realized it was a very young Gene Kelly. As soon as his character stepped off the train, he caught my eye. But then he danced, and I felt like that little girl in dance class again, watching him perform “Singin’ in the Rain.”
I then fell in love with more of his films including The Pirate (black shorts!), An American in Paris (“I Got Rhythm” and that ballet!), Anchors Aweigh (sailor costume, sexy phone conversations!), Cover Girl (dancing with himself), On The Town, Take Me Out to the Ballgame, and Summer Stock. As you can likely tell, I especially enjoy his appearances opposite Judy Garland. But I also love his non-musical films. So far, The Devil Makes Three and The Three Musketeers are my favorites.
Gene Kelly looks so charming in a hat, especially because he never wore one the right way. Moreover, as I alluded to above, he is incredibly handsome: his eyes, that bright smile, the rugged scar he refused to cover. And as others have noted, the man did have an amazing body (those legs and, yes, that ASS). I also love the fact that he is from Pittsburgh. I live about an hour away from there, so it’s nice to read about Gene and know exactly where and what the author is referencing. For a Hollywood star, he seems as though he was a hometown guy who didn’t forget where he came from. I do hope the city erects a statue downtown in his honor, especially for his upcoming 100th birthday.
Gene Kelly continues to be an inspiration to me. In fact, I recently started dancing again because of his films. I would have loved to have met him, but seeing his hand/footprints in Hollywood will have to do for now, I suppose.