Hi, Dear Cyd (Charisse), This Is Gene

The following was recorded in Gene Kelly’s Beverly Hills home by Scott Douglas MacLachlan (1984). All text that follows is from MacLachlan as seen on his YouTube profile.

A friend at Fox paid me to go to Gene Kelly’s home in Beverly Hills to record a message from Gene to Cyd Charisse for a TV special honoring her in France. Gene was on my butt from the start, as I was 5 minutes late (“You’re late, young man!”), but mellowed as I set-up the recorder, and explained I’d been looking on the wrong side of Sunset, left out of the directions.

More intimidating than Gene Kelly, was his 50′ X 100′ 3 story (vaulted ceiling) living room. Set-up on his intimidating bridge table, my intimidated voice is heard just after my getting a level of Gene’s not-so-intimidating voice.

 

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  • So glad your site was able to post what was one pretty amazing day in my life (working with Gene one on one), which I’ll never forget, and remember it as though it were yesterday!

    Me at the time? One very long-haired Sunset Strip rocker with hair to my bra line, but having been in the recording/engineering biz for years, I was totally thrilled to be headed to Gene Kelley’s home!!!

    I well remember an older gal on the south side of Sunset, and whom I’d asked for directions to Gene’s address. She’d said, “Oh, that’s the other side; right across the street!”
    As it turns out, she was great friends of Gene, and popped up just as I was carrying my recording equipment into Gene’s home.
    After Gene’s brief scolding me for being 5 minutes late, he was truly gracious.

    What was more impressive, is that as I carried my large reel to reel tape recorder through the entryway of his home, Gene realized he was in my path, and did (at what was likely 75 years of age) what appeared to be a very unrehearsed, yet on point pirouette, in order to get out of my way. That sight was cooler than cool!!! lol

    Once down the long hallway to the left of his entry, he had me set up at what appeared to be a gaming table, in what was the largest (walk in fireplace) entertainment room I’d ever seen (at least 50′ x 75′, if not larger.) Though more than intimidated by the the circumstances, and knowing well whose presence i was in, I couldn’t help but wonder haw many of Hollywood’s biggest stars must have played poker at that same table! I know, having had a Fox attorney dad, we LA types aren’t supposed to be so enamored of stars (and I’ve met lots), but this wasn’t your typical TV star, but GENE (AMERICAN IN PARIS) KELLEY!!! lol

    Once set up, I noticed Gene had a small script, which he only referred to a few times, as he obviously had the thrust of it memorized.
    Knowing well the differences between film audio recording, and more modern reel to reel recording techniques, I let it go, when Gene asked my if we (the recorder) were up to speed (film sound factor), and said, “Up to speed, and everything’s fine.”

    Gene’s first take was great, but in Hollywood, we want back-ups.
    Second shot was so-so, but the final reading was spot on.

    I was so busy (in my late twenties) in the day, the eighties are an absolute blur for me, but that one day is one I’ll never ever forget!

    Very cool guy, and what an incredible talent he was. 🙂