“Let the stormy clouds chase …”

That hottie, that’s right, I called him a hottie, is the late Gene Kelly, a born and raised Burgher.

You might know him better from this:

Gene Kelly once said:

“I didn’t want to wear rich people’s clothes.  I wanted to dance like the man in the street, like the ones I met while working my way through college, pumping gas in Pittsburgh.”

For 11 years now, there have been talks and plans to bring this to a downtown corner, as illustrated by Daniel Marsula:

Isn’t that breathtaking?

You can read for yourself all the issues and speedbumps and road blocks that have been encountered as the city tries to make it happen.

I get it, ISSUES! Eek!  But this needs to happen.

We have eyeball sculptures and baseball sculptures and football sculptures and mayoral sculptures and Mr. Rogers’ sculpture and heck, we even have a sculpture of George Washington gazing lovingly into the eyes of Guyasuta.

What we don’t have is a sculpture of Gene Kelly frozen in time in an iconic moment in movie history, singing and dancing his heart out in the pouring rain, standing in the city he was born in and raised in and of which his widow said, “I have always contended that much of who Gene was and much of what he was to become here in Hollywood was rooted right there in Pittsburgh.”

Now, you whippersnappers out there, says this 35[sob]-year-old lady, and all you who haven’t watched it in a while, I want you to click play on this, fast forward to about a minute in if you’re impatient, and watch Gene Kelly do his thing.

[sigh] Awesome, huh?

And with the amount of rain we get here in Pittsburgh, we Burghers would get to see many many many … many many many days of Gene Kelly singing in the rain if this statue ever comes to fruition.

Also, I found this quote of his:

I never wanted to be a dancer. It’s true! I wanted to be a shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Somewhere up there, Gene Kelly is dancing, waiting to see how his sculpture turns out, and I bet he is TOTALLY on my side of Make Room for Crazy.





36 Comments

  1. secret agent l
    March 12, 2010 9:35 am

    yum.

    that is all.

    xoxo,
    s.a.l.



  2. annietiques
    March 12, 2010 9:43 am

    yum, yum………..I totally agree!!

    Any info on where it would be placed???



  3. ScareHouse Scott
    March 12, 2010 9:45 am

    “…he also sought to break from the class-conscious conventions of the 1930s and early 40s, when top hat and tails or tuxedos were the norm, by dancing in casual or everyday work clothes, so as to make his dancing more relevant to the cinema-going public….he democratized the dance in movies.”

    That guy was definitely from Pittsburgh. He’s always been one of my heroes.



  4. Katie
    March 12, 2010 10:02 am

    There was a rumor that Gene Kelly lived in my neighborhood until he was 14 or so, Park Place next to Frick Park, and that there were footprints painted on the floor of the basement that he used to learn to dance. My boyfriend and I did some research on the genealogical website Ancestry.com and discovered exactly what house he lived at through old census records. If you feel like making a pilgrimage, he lived on Kensington Street, a few houses away from Frick Park. I haven’t asked the current owners of the house about the footprints, but maybe someone else will be brave enough to do so. ;)



  5. lover of the burg
    March 12, 2010 10:06 am

    gene kelly. my first crush from watching ‘an american in paris’ when i was about 6 years old. at a young age i knew total hotness when i saw it.



  6. angelgirl8906
    March 12, 2010 10:10 am

    Awww… I love this statue idea. It’s great! Loved the clip too… Memories!



  7. Pensgirl
    March 12, 2010 10:18 am

    Ginny, thanks to the Kelly Awards, the whippersnappers know who he was. (If you haven’t been, go – if you can get tickets! Pittsburgh high school theater is fantastic.)

    Yes, the statue must happen.



  8. bucdaddy
    March 12, 2010 10:26 am

    A shortstop? Those would have been some awesome double plays.

    Thanks for that link, that’s sheer physical artistry right there. Once you’ve seen dancing like that, nothing else looks much like dancing.

    This also reminds me that straight men used to know how to dance. And how to wear a hat.



  9. Chris
    March 12, 2010 10:28 am

    Bucdaddy – all men should learn to wear hats – real hats…so freakin’ sexy…



  10. katsbynp
    March 12, 2010 10:28 am

    The statue is a definite must in Pittsburgh. Singing in the Rain one of my all time favorites because of Gene Kelly.



  11. Magnus Patris
    March 12, 2010 10:36 am

    I remember the first time I saw that. I was probably 6 and it was on the Rege Cordic Sunday Afternoon movie on WTAE at my grandparents’ house. Thought it was about the coolest thing I’d ever seen. Maybe with Global Cooling, we can go back to wearing cool hats like that again.



  12. mamacita
    March 12, 2010 10:44 am

    Thank you for posting this. It made my day!



  13. bucdaddy
    March 12, 2010 10:51 am

    Chris,

    The sad truth is, not all of us look good in a hat. I’d look like a jackass in a fedora, even worse in a Stetson. Beret? Panama hat? Ridiculous.

    Ergo, man’s last resort to keep rain and pigeon shit off his head: baseball cap.

    You know who ruined everything for women who like men in hats, don’t you? JFK. You look at photos from the 1940s, 1950s, the men all wore hats. There’s a photo I wish I could find again, of a baseball game from that era, a World Series game, I think. It’s a shot of the stands down the first base and right field line, thousands of people, all of them men, all dressed in suits, all wearing hats. Every. Single. One.

    Cut to photos of the 1960s and the hats start to disappear. JFK didn’t wear a hat and still looked spectacular for a man, of course, young and virile. Made everyone notice that dads and other old old men wore hats — Eisenhower I think wore hats — and that wasn’t cool anymore, daddy-o.

    Men in Hats: RIP.

    On the plus side:

    Men Without Hats: “Safety Dance.”



  14. AaronC
    March 12, 2010 11:26 am

    I’ve been wondering where in the world that statue had gone. I remember hearing about it over the years and have always thought it was such a fantastic idea.

    Personally, I’d like it to be placed alongside a live size reproduction of the mural from Xanadu, but I think I’m in the minority on that one.



  15. Maria
    March 12, 2010 12:22 pm

    I don’t live in Pittsburgh anymore, but this 27 year old not only knows exactly who Gene Kelly is, but LOVES him and is with you all the way. That statue needs to happen.



  16. LaReina
    March 12, 2010 1:07 pm

    Gene Kelly deserves such recognition from his hometown. I loved his masculine, athletic dancing style. It was so yinzer.



  17. Monty
    March 12, 2010 1:10 pm

    We’ve gone from everyone wearing suits and nice hats to people looking like foos with they pants on the ground in a span of 50 years.

    By 2060, our grandkids be wearing assless chaps, pasties and Lavar Burton’s sunglasses.



  18. Dan (Not Onarato)
    March 12, 2010 1:26 pm

    @18 Monty….if Lamont Jordan had his way we’d be wearing that now! HEY-OOOOO



  19. bucdaddy
    March 12, 2010 1:27 pm

    I must make this point on behalf of someone I know who works with horses:

    ALL chaps are assless.



  20. bluzdude
    March 12, 2010 1:47 pm

    I don’t have to have seen the movie to know that the statue is a great idea. It needs to be done.

    Hang the “issues”. You start with doing the statue and work backward from that until the issues are resolved.



  21. Carpetbagger
    March 12, 2010 2:48 pm

    These needs to happen now! Who wouldn’t take a picture of it when it’s raining? Who needs their palms greased? Who needs a kickback? Make it happen.

    Just not the guy who did the Mr. Rogers statue.



  22. Cass
    March 12, 2010 3:45 pm

    2 points for Pittsburgh. I love that movie with the love of Cadbury Mini Eggs+ Coffee. Which is to say. I love it lots.



  23. PittinDC
    March 12, 2010 4:21 pm

    I was in my high school’s production of Singin in the Rain and we watched the movie so we could see a version of it.. such a good movie! What a great way to honor a great Pittsburgher.

    Also, I know Dan Marsula, so very cool that you posted his picture here :)



  24. bucdaddy
    March 12, 2010 4:27 pm

    Heh, bucdaughter used to work box office for the summer musical theater here, and the year they did “Singin’ In The Rain,” she said the “rain” ruined several microphones, so you couldn’t hear the singing. That was probably better than the night the rain machine didn’t work. She said a guy demanded his money back for that.



  25. unsatisfied
    March 12, 2010 5:40 pm

    I’m all for a statue to gene kelly.

    I’m also all for gene kelly coming back from the dead to play some shortstop for the succos.



  26. Grover Cleveland
    March 12, 2010 5:53 pm

    It is a freaking trajedy that this flamer gets downtown statue but franco harris is stuck at the airpot



  27. Virginia
    March 12, 2010 6:35 pm

    It’s a freaking tragedy how hateful and small-minded you are.



  28. Luke Steelerstahl
    March 12, 2010 6:57 pm

    The City can’t afford to pave, plow, or clean the streets that you want to put that statue next to.

    If you want a statue, you jagoffs can pay for it yourselves!



  29. JJ
    March 12, 2010 7:29 pm

    If you read the story in the PG, you’ll find that many supporters have expressed an interest in donating over the years. I think the statue is a beautiful thing….just another reason to love Pittsburgh and the kind of people that come from this city. Although, if you want to talk about using tax dollars, I can think of a few city positions that could be eliminated to free up those funds.



  30. Bojack
    March 12, 2010 10:09 pm

    @Magnus-

    I too first saw it on WTAE Sat. afternoon movie w/Rege. :-)

    Rege provided the only pre-IMDB background stuff and his own
    insights, wish they were archived somewhere.

    Color TV was the HUGE innovation.

    We only had the 3 networks, WQED, and the new Ch. 53 UHF with the weird antennae was a BIG deal! LOL

    (And we didn’t know the term MILF. (or care) for Ricki & Copper.

    I clearly remember one Saturday after watching Fred Astaire in Royal Wedding with Rege my brother and I were trying to duplicate the coat rack danceand we broke several nice (and apparently irreplaceable) china figurines and that put an immediate and complete halt to my budding career as a broadway dancer!

    I coulda’ been a contender! :-)



  31. Xena
    March 13, 2010 12:25 am

    And I always thought he left Fred Astaire in the dust as a dancer.



  32. Sooska
    March 13, 2010 10:14 am

    Just ‘effing DO IT already.

    And people, if you can gets tickets to go see the Gene Kelley Awards, do that, too. Just go, see, hear.



  33. bucdaddy
    March 13, 2010 10:37 am

    (And we didn’t know the term MILF. (or care) for Ricki & Copper.

    Well, I’d rather do Ricki, but whatever turns you on.

    *ducks*

    JUST FUNNIN’ YA, BOJACK!



  34. Nick
    March 15, 2010 11:17 am

    That would be a cool thing to have Downtown for sure.



  35. Scott
    March 17, 2010 12:00 pm

    Would love to see this happen. Maybe a Facebook support page to show interest? I would donate to make it happen for sure! I just envisioned hundreds of Pittsburgher’s downtown with umbrellas to commemorate the day it is unveiled. Would be such a cool photo!