Saturday, March 21, 2009

Singin' in the Rain Screening

For fans living near Toledo, Ohio, there will be a special benefit screening of everyone's favorite musical, Singin' in the Rain, on March 24, 2009.The American Film Institute calls it the "Best Musical Ever Made!" The 1952 classic Singin' in the Rain will be shown at the Maumee Indoor Theatre at 6pm and 8pm on Tuesday, March 24.

Admission is open to all. Donations will be accepted with all monies going to the Gene Kelly Scholarship Fund for the Allen Creek School in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The scholarship was established by the Kelly children in honor of their father and benefits children with special educational needs. It is operated by his oldest daughter, Kerry Kelly Novick, a noted child psychologist at the University of Michigan. Gene Kelly, who passed away in 1996, was a generous supporter and advocate for many charities which helped children, both in the US and Ireland, and through his involvement as a United Nations ambassador in Africa.

The significance of March 24th is known by all who are familiar with the film: It is the date referred to in the film during the "Good Morning" song and is also the date on which Kelly performs his famous "Singin' in the Rain" dance in the film.

Refreshments may be brought in, with the exception of alcoholic beverages.

Questions? Contact Cindy Millen Roberts at or 419-344-2424.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Betsy Blair, 1923-2009

Actress Betsy Blair died on March 13 at the age of 85. As most Gene fans know, Betsy was Gene Kelly's first wife. She was also an actress best known for her Academy Award-nominated role in Marty, the 1955 movie also starring Ernest Borgnine. I had the opportunity to meet Betsy on several occasions. I've recalled these memories and her life in a post entitled "I Remember Betsy" at my genealogy blog. Our thoughts and prayers are with Betsy's family during this difficult time.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Gene Scene is Back!

The main Gene Scene site is back at its new address: I decided to delay any major site re-design and simply get it moved...with the holidays approaching, I was afraid it wouldn't get done. I will continue to work on updates and improvements, but for now if you're looking for the same old site that's been around for quite a few years, look no further. If you have the site bookmarked at its old address - - please change your bookmarks to Also check back here for the latest and greatest Gene Kelly news!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Gene Scene site is moving!

Due to the demise of AOL-hosted web sites, the Gene Scene will be moving by 10/31/2008. Unfortunately, I don't yet know where. If you arrived here via the Scene's main site at please check back here for the new address. You may have also arrived via which forwarded you automatically to the AOL site. I am now having issues with the address and getting it to work properly to host the site. Please be patient as I try to sort out this mess. This address will remain in use but the links will not work to the main site until I find a new host. You can also check the forum for news about the new site at

Thanks, and hopefully the site will be moved to a new and better's time to freshen it up anyway, I just didn't expect to spend the month of October sorting through this mess.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Cyd Charisse, 1922-2008

I’ve been on vacation lately, so I was not able to post when I heard of the death of the lovely and talented Cyd Charisse on June 17. Cyd radiated such beauty and grace that I always loved watching her dance with Gene – or with Fred Astaire or any other man!

Cyd and I shared a birthday, March 8. She was born in 1922 (dates vary in books and reports, but according to the 1930 U.S. Federal Census it is 1922) as Tula Ellice Finklea. She gained the nickname “Sid” when her brother couldn’t pronounce “Sis”, and gained the more glamorous “Cyd” after moving to Hollywood. She studied ballet as a young girl, and married her dance teacher, Nico Charisse, in 1948. They had a son, Nicky, in 1942, but the couple later divorced. Cyd married singer Tony Martin in 1949 and had another son, Tony, Jr., in 1950.

After performing in minor dancing roles in the movies, including some uncredited parts, Cyd’s “big break” came with her appearance in Gene Kelly’s Singin’ in the Rain. Her role was strictly a dancing part as the “vamp” in a dream-ballet sequence, but her sultry performance stole the show. Never before had a dancer exuded such eroticism on screen!

Audiences were hooked! In 1953 she gained the starring role in The Band Wagon opposite Fred Astaire. Although another actress was dubbed for the singing, Cyd’s performance was fantastic. “The Girl Hunt” ballet, slightly reminiscent of the SITR “Broadway Ballet” number, is still considered to be one of the best screen performances in a musical.

Cyd went on to star in a few other movies, including Brigadoon and It’s Always Fair Weather with Gene, and Silk Stockings with Fred. Because of her vast experience working and dancing with both men, I have always appreciated her much-quoted comment when asked which one was the better dancer. Her response: “It’s like comparing apples and oranges; they’re both delicious.”

Cyd’s career didn’t end with her last musical screen performance in Silk Stockings! She appeared in many television and movies specials over the years, as well as a nightclub act with her husband, Tony Martin. Cyd even made her Broadway debut in 1992 at the age of 70 in Grand Hotel.

Her beauty was stunning even as she aged; her dancing, timeless. She will be greatly missed. Fortunately, her art will live forever. Future generations will surely remember her as one of the greats.

For more information on Cyd Charisse:

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Gene Kelly Movies in June

TCM is showing several Gene Kelly movies in June:
  • Sunday, 6/8, 2:45 AM - An American in Paris
  • Tuesday, 6/10, 4:45 PM - Summer Stock
  • Wednesday, 6/18, 11:30 AM - Brigadoon
  • Friday, 6/20, 2:15 PM - The Pirate
An American in Paris is part of a Leslie Caron Tribute. Times are Eastern. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Singin' in the Rain Still a Hit

Recently, teenager George Sampson won the British television show Britain's Got Talent. For the semi-finals, Sampson performed a break-dancing routine to "Singin' in the Rain". The version used wasn't Gene's, but the 2005 re-mix by Mint Royale that was used for the rather unfortunate Volkswagon commercial. While fans generally thought the commercial was sacrilegious, I have a feeling they'll enjoy young George's routine. In interviews, he credits his idols as Chris Brown and Usher moreso than Mr. Kelly, but you have to admit that the kid has the Kelly spirit! Thanks to his winning routine, the single is at the top of the charts in England. Maybe it will inspire young folks to learn about the original! Here is George Sampson's performance: