Gene Kelly, Creative Genius

A personal celebration of his life and work

This page will feature some of Gene's radio work. He did quite a lot of it, especially before the advent of the TV era.

   

FOR ME AND MY GAL. March 1943.

A 'Lady Esther Screen Guild Theater Radio Show.' It can be found as an 'extra' on the For Me And My Gal  DVD. It featured Gene, Judy, and Dick Powell in the place of George Murphy who had measles! A clever adaptation which missed out several scenes, combined others, and omitted Jo's brother altogether, but still made for a good story. It was narrated by Jimmy in front of the Palace Theater on which all Harry's hopes had been focused, telling Jo and Harry's story. Judy's singing was wonderful, as was Gene and Judy's duet, he really seemed to let go and enjoy himself. Gene didn't speak at the end, though Judy had a fit of giggles, so perhaps Gene was playing the fool to the deeply appreciative audience. They mentioned that Gene would soon be seen in Dubarry Was A Lady.  

       

THIEVES FALL OUT. Suspense Theater, 16th November 1943

Gene is introduced as ‘A young American actor who in a single year has become one of the most provocative of Hollywood’s leading men.’

 

He plays Art Kramer, a shady character who is involved in the Black Market, and is deep in debt. Hans Konried, who played Harrison Keith in Summer Stock, and the waiter in On The Town, features with him.

The story is complicated, and really needed to be seen on a screen for full effect. Art kills a fellow crook for his money and tries to pin the murder on a third villain, who has murdered someone else. Needless to say they all get their comeuppance at the end. There are shades of Harry Palmer in Gene’s speech mannerisms.

DEATH WENT ALONG FOR THE RIDE. Suspense Theater 27th April 1944

“Fear, suspense and danger administered along the highway from California to New York”

 

Gene plays a man returning from abroad, George Javeny.

The plot is very confusing – I lost it a couple of times! It consists of George being accosted by people interested in his name, being followed by various strange individuals, including a one-armed hitchhiker, and his meeting with Eileen, whom he frightens in a car park! She tags along for the adventure and they fall in love.

The upshot of it all is that George’s identity was stolen by a criminal while he was away. (Topical right now huh???) It all ends happily ever after, unless you happen to be a criminal lying on the floor, full of lead.

Gene sounds a little like Joe Brady at times, but is excellent in the role of the bewildered but plucky traveller.

THE BING CROSBY SHOW. 5/4/44. Kraft Music Hall

 

Introduction by Bing:  "Kelly’s star has been steadily mounting the Hollywood horizon ever since he attracted cinema scouts, with his expert Broadway portrayal of…Pal Joey. Kelly’s manoeuvrability on the maple has been given ample sweep in the current musical Cover Girl…MGM…have got Kelly at work on a Technicolor extravaganza…Ziegfeld Follies.

“Catch a good part in it Gene?”

“Well, I may be alright, when it opens I’m discovered surrounded by 150 beautiful Ziegfeld girls…but I’m ashamed…to take the money!”

Marilyn Maxwell: “I’m so thrilled! Being in Ziegfeld Follies Gene. Do we have any scenes together?”

“I doubt it Marilyn, the dialogue scenes I have are mostly jokes, so all I need is a straight woman.”

“Can’t I play straight?”

“Sure, but why waste all those curves?”

 

There follows a sketch in which Gene advertises for a partner to sing and dance with. Bing answers the application. They go to ‘Ebb & Flo’ productions for a job.

Gene: “In 1934 we were doing our act in a showboat.”

“Where have you been the past ten years?”

“Up the river!”

‘Flo’ consults his secretary who has to sit on his knee because he has not given her a desk, or a chair!

“Do you think this act has any appeal?”

“Oh! Yes – the young man.” (Gene). [Smart gal this secretary!]

Gene: “Say, you’re a cute little mouse, how about leaving this broom closet production office and joining our act? I’ll give you fifty bucks a week if you wear a sarong.”

“And what if I don’t?”

“I’ll give you a hundred!” [Naughty naughty!]

The phone rings and Gene says it is probably for him – it is.

“...Sure, I can teach you to dance – five lessons maybe six, four if you’re bright. First lesson Monday.”

“Who was that?”

“Arthur Murray!”

 

Gene and Bing then sing a silly song – K, E, double L Y, and C, R, osb, Y… and Gene dances a little.

 

Bing sings Long Ago And Far Away, which Gene should have sung in my opinion. Bing did not do it justice, no emotion there.

 

Corny but good fun.

 

GET OUT THE VOTE. 13th September 1944. C.B.S.

With Jimmy Durante 

THE MAN WHO COULDN'T LOSE. Suspense Theater. 28th September 1944

“A tale of dawn ‘til midnight in a man’s life, a tale of murder and money and luck.”

 

Gene plays Leonard Snell, a ne’er-do-well gambler who is constantly nagged by his wife. He is an insurance salesman who gambles away all his salary, and wants $1800 which his wife has in a safety deposit box.

On this day he strangles her and takes the key to the box, and the contents of her purse, including a sweepstake ticket. He writes a suicide note and posts it to the local police station, confessing to ‘accidentally’ killing his wife.

On his way out, a neighbour asks him for an insurance policy for which he gives Leonard $1800 commission. He realises he had not needed to kill his wife.

He then finds a hobo, kills him and swaps identities and pushes the car plus hobo off a bridge.

He later finds he has won the sweepstake and figures out a way to collect the winnings. Meanwhile his house has burned down so his wife is believed to have died in the fire, and the note was not delivered to incriminate him because it was stolen in a raid on the mail van!

With me so far?? Thought not. I will not reveal the ending, but suffice it to say that even with all the luck in the world, crime does not pay!!

Another superb performance by Gene, he plays the bad guys so well.

HOLLYWOOD DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE 8TH October 1944. C.B.S.

 

From the Embassy Rooms, Ambassador Hotel L.A.

Honouring Harold Ickes

 

Life Magazine. 23rd October 1944

Danny Kaye, Phil Silvers, Gene Kelly open Hollywood Democrats’ show with “How Do You Do, Folks.”

 

DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE PROGRAM. 6TH November 1944. C.B.S.

 

 Roosevelt Special. The night before the election.

SHILLING FOR LUCK. A presentation of the Armed Forces Radio from America. 1944

Featuring Ronald Colman and Shirley Temple

It is said to be ‘about Englishmen and Americans.’

 

This is one of those ‘circular’ stories, in the fashion of the later Ring Around The Rosy, part of Gene’s Invitation To The Dance. Instead of a bracelet changing hands it is an English shilling coin.

 

Gene is a merchant seaman who has joined up on a British ship during the war. He comes from Liverpool Ohio. He meets an older sailor who comes from Liverpool England. (I have to say that his accent is NOTHING like a Liverpool accent. He does not sound in the least like the Beatles!)

They become friends and ‘compare’ England and America. ‘Gasoline becomes petrol, elevators become lifts, but they work the same.’

The Englishman tells Gene about his grandson who is in the RAF, and gives Gene a shilling ‘for luck’.

That night the boat blows up and Gene is the only survivor, miraculously rescued from the water.

He is put ashore in England and makes his way to London to find the grandson, who is just about to go back to active duty. He gives the shilling to the grandson and then re-enlists in the Merchant Navy.

That is the end of Gene’s role. As always he plays it very well and convincingly.

The coin is given by the grandson to his girl, pierced and put on a chain. She loses it and it is argued over by another English/American pair, who find they have a lot in common in spite of the complexities of cricket!  The coin finds its way to another girl who gives it to her husband who is about to take part in the D Day landings. He is thought to be lost but eventually comes through unscathed.

It is a good story, I like it because it focuses on the rapport between the British and Americans who take time to get to know each other, rather like myself and all of my American friends!! We might use different words here and there, but underneath we all have the same ‘Eternal Verities’ in which we believe.

PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT’S BIRTHDAY. 30TH January 1945

THE NAVY HOUR. July 10th 1945

 

On July 10th, 1945, NBC premiered the Navy Hour, a joint project with the radio programming department of the Navy Office of information.

The first broadcast was from the campus of George Washington University. The half hour format included performances by the Symphony Orchestra of the Navy Band, plus celebrity appearances and comments by a nationally prominent government ormilitary official. For the inaugural program the emcees were Lt. Robert Taylor and and Lt.(j.g) Gene Kelly – both members of the Naval Reserve.

It became the longest running radio show in history. It enhanced Navy awareness and recruiting efforts throughout the United States.

SONGS BY SINATRA  17th October 1945

Sponsored by Old Gold cigarettes!

 

This was a regular programme of Frank’s, but this one featured Gene and Anchors Aweigh. Frank did his numbers from the film.

Gene comes on to ear-splitting screams and applause. Frank tells them to stop. “The way you stole Anchors Aweigh I’m getting worried you might run off with my radio show.”

 

There is much banter between them, and Gene does his ‘Mr Telephone 1945’ scene, which goes down a storm with the audience. When he says to Lola,  “Can you wait”, Frank butts in with “She’ll be a fool if she doesn’t.” [I’ll second that.]

 

They then do I Begged Her, which brought the house down.

 

Later they say how much they admire each other and talk of tolerance. Frank says “God never meant any man to fight for freedom and have that freedom denied him.”

 

The warmth of their friendship seems to come across the airwaves strongly.

 

More screams from a highly appreciative audience. And why not, they were privileged to watch two masters at work.

 

 

 

PHILCO RADIO HALL OF FAME. 18TH November 1945

 

Honouring Lt. Gene Kelly

 

With Martha Tilton and Paul Whiteman

 

“We honour a man whose nimble feet have tapped up the ladder of fame – to the top rung…Added to his terpsichorean grace is a career mighty solid in the vocal and dramatic department. Lt. Gene Kelly of the United States Navy…

Across the horizon and into your hearts by way of the musical comedy stage and the silver screen comes that triple threat star of the entertainment world: singer, dancer, actor, now in the blue of the Navy and here by virtue of a 48 hour pass – Gene Kelly.”

Gene comes on, expresses his thanks and is introduced to Martha Tilton who wants to know how he will spend his leave – on girls maybe?

“Well, it’s my big day, I’m really going to live…my first stop is the Museum of Natural History, then Grant’s Tomb…”

MT asks if she can give him a lift.

“No, I’d rather walk…We Navy men get so little exercise…and Navy men never ride with strange women…” (Much laughter from the audience.)...”You might find the occasional Navy man at a burlesque show but he’s only there for the popcorn.”

 

They talk about Pal Joey: Gene says he is “The very essence of a heel. Joey dating up a girl was a fine art.”

He and MT then perform the pet-shop scene from the play – you can listen to it on the

Ready For Your Show page.

 

PW: “Gene, so far we haven’t said anything about your dancing. When did you first start?”

“When I was a kid in Pittsburgh my mother and father used to take me and the other four Kellys down to the Davis Theatre, and every Saturday afternoon we would see the Vaudeville show…I’d watch everything and when I got home I’d try out the steps. You know, like this:”

Gene dances to Carolina In The Morning. “I put together my first dance routine to Carolina.”

They go on to talk about Anchors Aweigh, joking about Frank Sinatra: “A nicer guy I’ve never worked with.”

They talk about the Navy then Gene sings Nimmitz, Halsey and Me. He does it very well, with great gusto and feeling.

 

PW: “We express to you, Lt. Gene Kelly, our thanks for being with us: on the screen and the musical comedy stage you’ve played a versatile part in brightening the world with the gift of your song, your dance, your dramatic talent. We were honoured to honour you, Lt. Gene Kelly.”

 

 

HOLLYWOOD STAR THEATER. HOST. 22ND NOVEMBER 1945

 

Ottawa Citizen. 22nd November 1945

Hollywood Star Theater. Gene Kelly, Host.

Screen star Gene Kelly introduces newcomer Pat Medina who plays the leading role in an original radio drama.

VICTORY BOND SHOW. 10TH January 1946

GINNY SIMMS SHOW. CBS January 11th 1946

Gene performed a parody of Carolina In The Morning, By The Sea, and My Melancholy Baby, with Ginny Simms.

TREASURY SALUTE. 25th January 1946

 

What’s The Matter With Steve?

THE KATE SMITH SHOW.  4th April 1946

 

Gene was on leave from the Navy when he did this broadcast. Kate Smith did an introduction, saying that audiences had seen him in many fine motion pictures, as comedian, dancer and actor [boy they hadn’t seen nothin’ yet!]. A personable young star. The genial Mr Gene Kelly. Loud and prolonged screams from the audience follow…

 

Gene then featured in a short play, called Chance Meeting. An older man had seen him the previous night with a pretty young woman. He didn’t elaborate on what they were doing, you have to use your imagination! Gene seems to be a Pal Joey type, said he only wanted to ‘talk to her’ – believe that and you will believe anything! The old man warns him against breaking the girl’s heart, as he is off to war the next day.

Boy and girl meet again and are obviously in love, but both try their best to dissuade the other from commitment by saying cruel things. Gene sadly tells the old man he will carry her around like some kind of dream.

The girl comes back and they admit to each other they are in love, and will wait for each other until he comes back from the war. “It was magic as if we were meant to find each other.”

It was nicely done, but quite short.

 

Later Gene recommends a movie called The Green Years, though I have no idea why.

 

BOY MEETS GIRL. Theater Guild On The Air. May 1946. Sponsored by US Steel

We are told that the play is about Hollywood, and is: ‘The funniest of all the comedies which have been written on this subject. The plot is one of the oldest in the world. It began when Adam met Eve, continued with Romeo and Juliet…and when Gable met Garson. The theatre and screen star Gene Kelly, who made his first acting appearance with the Theater Guild, is playing a Hollywood writer, Bob Law...It is a rollicking farce.’

 

It is difficult to give a precis of the complex story, it concerns Susie, a studio waitress who is pregnant without a husband. Gene and his writing partner Benson feel sorry for her and persuade her to let them make a series of pictures about the child, named Happy, as he grows up, thus giving her financial security. The films are a big hit. The plot is thickened with a bad Western actor who co-starred in the films and wants to marry her to get control of Happy and the money, and an English actor who falls for Susie and turns out to be the son of an English Lord.

There is a lot of witty repartee and gentle satire going on, Gene getting more than his fair share of the laughs, with his perfect delivery of his lines.

All ends happily with the waitress marrying the aristocrat and the writers working on a film of that very subject.

It is very well done all round. Frank Lovejoy is Gene’s writing partner and Ruth Gilbert is Susie.

 

FRANK SINATRA'S OLD GOLD SHOW 1946

 

Movie Life July 1946

Ribs flew thick and fast when Sinatra and Kelly, who kidded their way through Anchors Aweigh, got back together to rehearse for Frank’s Old Gold broadcast, on which Gene did a guest shot. Producer, writers, band, even Movie Life’s lensman, were convulsed when pair donned straw skimmers, sang corny duet….

Idol of thousands of fans…Frank’s just a pal, and an object for gags, to Kelly…

 

Agile Mr. Kelly (to the Navy he’s Lieutenant, j.g.) folds himself into a couple of orchestra seats while waiting to do what someone laughingly called a “dramatic” scene. Gene added to afternoon’s hilarity by invading producer’s booth, razzing Frank via loudspeaker.

Funny on the air, the two were a riot during rehearsal, had to do their scene together several times ‘cause they were constantly exploding into guffaws. Frank practically knocks himself out at Gene’s reading of skit in which he played a bubble-gum addict…

“Best line I ever had,” chuckled Frank as, in the role of store proprietor, he yelled “Get outa here, you bum,” at his gum-crazed customer (Kelly). “So now let’s see you throw it away,” came back Gene, ready to start scene over for the umpteenth time.

Hilarity reached a new high when prop man broke out the fancy chapeux for the boys to try on for size. Ad libs flew so fast writers gave up completely and the rehearsal broke up with one long, loud guffaw.

 

 

NAVY DAY SALUTE. 27TH October 1946.

 

20th Anniversary of Navy Day.

THE GLASS KEY. NOVEMBER 26TH 1946

Herald Journal 29th November 1946

Last night a small group of us attended the Mel Blanc broadcast of the Glass Key with Gene Kelly and Virginia Field…

We had an informal talk with Kelly, Miss Field and Kelly’s wife backstage after the show. Gene really gave the impression of being a sincere, unaffected young man. Miss Field entertained with a few imitations of Cockney dialect of her native England.

 

FORD SHOW. DINAH SHORE. 4th December 1946

With Peter Lind Hayes

 

DS: “There’s very little I can say that you don’t already know. He’s a fella whose dancing and acting has placed him among – Oh! I am too close a friend of his to go on with this. After all, has anybody here not seen Kelly?…Gene, I hope you didn’t mind that informal introduction.”

Gene hams it up, pretending not to mind but making it clear he wanted a bigger build up. Dinah apologises and offers to give him the star treatment in an interview. He says, “If you insist.”

DS: How do you account for your great and versatile abilities?

GK: Well Dinah, I’m not conceited. I believe the true credit must go to the Breakfast of Champions. (Wheaties cereal).

DS: Most stars usually forget their old serials.

What kind of picture is your next production?

GK: Moving!

DS: I understand your leading lady is Marie McDonald.

Peter Lind Hayes comes on at this point, he has heard that she is known as The Body. He asks why that is…

GK: You know why….

PLH asks if Gene enjoys working with her. Ever tactful but unable to lie, Gene replies: After making a picture with Sinatra it’s a pleasure to be working with any kind of body!

This leads to talk about Anchors Aweigh, and then Gene tells a tall tale, saying that instead of Astaire and Rogers, it was going to be Kelly and the Mouse.

He and his wife were a Vaudeville act that was not doing well. If these jokes are for real, it is not surprising they are not doing well!

“It feels like circus weather – the heat’s intense(tents)”

“Do you know how to get down from an elephant?”

“You don’t get down from an elephant, you get down from a duck!!”

They argue about who gets the most attention on stage. Gene insists it is he because he gets hit with more eggs.

A talking mouse appears and they put him in the show, which is a great success.

He says that the mice in his family are the only mice who can talk, and that is because his granny eloped with a guinea pig from Harvard!

The mouse walked out on them and went to Hollywood where he became rich and famous, and still is. He grew bigger and fatter and they got him a huge blonde toupee. Next time you see Lassie, take a closer look!!

A very silly tale, just suits Gene’s wacky sense of humour. And mine. Very enjoyable.

 

 

CRESTA BLANCA HOLLYWOOD PLAYERS. ALL THROUGH THE HOUSE. December 24th 1946

Details to follow shortly.

PAL JOEY. 8th January 1947

 

Gene recorded this with Betsy as his co-star. Unfortunately I have not yet been able to find the recording.

CRESTA BLANCA HOLLYWOOD PLAYERS. AND NOW TOMORROW. February 5th 1947

I have no details as yet.

HOLLYWOOD FIGHTS BACK. October 1947

This programme featured many Hollywood stars, and was a direct condemnation of the actions of the House Unamerican Activities Committee, which had been set up to 'weed out' real and supposed Communist supporters from within the motion picture industry and show business. Gene worked for the most right-wing studio in Hollywood, so by standing up for what he believed, he was at serious risk of losing his career and livelihood. His position was: 

"I am simply a liberal who believes in the freedom of the artist and therefore cannot stand by while the careers of those I love and admire are being destroyed by a senseless purge. The only line I have ever known how to follow is the American line."

As the programme was being broadcast, Gene was on his way to Washington with a group of like-minded individuals for a direct confrontation with the Committee.

The programme began with some strong words from Judy Garland. Next came Gene:

"This is Gene Kelly. The House Unamerican Activities Committee has called down on the carpet some of the people who have been making your favourite movies. Did you happen to see 'The Best Years Of Our Lives'? The picture that won seven Academy Awards? Did you enjoy it? Well, the producer of that film, Sam Goldwyn, has been subpoena'd. I understand the supporters of the HUAC didn't like that film. Were you subverted by it? Did it make you Unamerican? Did you come out of the movie with a desire to overthrow the government?"

HOW HUNGRY CAN YOU GET? C.B.S. 20th November 1947

 

Gene narrates a documentary about starving children in Europe.

ANCHORS AWEIGH. Lux Presents Hollywood. November 29th 1947.  

A 'Lux Presents Hollywood' production, featuring Gene, Frank Sinatra and Kathryn Grayson. An amusing adaptation of the movie, great except there is no dancing!!! Gene and Frank do an excellent job. The last scene is funny, the audience were in hysterics. I would love to have seen what was going on behind the microphone! Gene still gets third billing! At the end there is a short interview in which they ask Gene if he has recovered from his broken leg. He reassures everyone by doing a quick tap dance, to great applause. They give a plug to The Kissing Bandit (Frank and Kathryn) and The Pirate.

  

 

STUDIO ONE. FLETCHER MARKLE. TO MARY WITH LOVE. December 9th 1947

Details to follow shortly.

FAMILY THEATER.  Mother's Halo Was Tight. May 1948

Gene hosted but did not appear in this show. He had lots to say however!

Gene:  "More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of."

"Family Theater is making a special dedication to the mothers of America. To the women who through the generations of our history have played an important part in the work of building not only the homes and schools, but the spirit of this nation. They have brought to their work the ideals of a belief in God and in the principles on which our democracy is founded. The light touch of humour in tonight's play is done with the feeling that underneath the dignity, poise and charm of American womanhood there is the same understanding and tolerance and humour that have become our basic national traits.

"In this programme therefore we pay tribute to the American mothers, rich in kindness and faith and unafraid of sentiment. We pay tribute to all they are doing to bring back spiritual values into homelife and to return all families to the inspirational practice of daily family prayers in their homes."

The programme follows, in which a mother, father and son all learn lessons from each other about telling the truth.

Gene: "...Today you will hear many opinions about what children should be taught. But the greatest lesson children learn is from the example of their parents. As wife and mother the American woman is the soul of the family, and upon her depends in great part the awakening of spiritual values in the home, the harmony and unity that should be in every home, the continuous reminders of God and the daily practice of family prayers. For in praying together as a family there is the inspiration of example, there is the strengthening of family bonds. It means that the family that prays together, stays together."

FORD THEATER. IRWIN SHAW'S THE GENTLE PEOPLE. December 17th 1948

No details so far.

TO FIND HELP. 6th January 1949

With Ethel Barrymore. A Suspense Theater Production, one of a series of 30 minute plays.

 

The play centres on a Mrs Gillis, an elderly lady living alone, who has given some work to a young man, Howard, who knocked on her door. He looks very small and young and inoffensive, so her friend’s concerns are put to rest. Her dog however does not like him.

Almost immediately they are alone, he shows signs of ‘strangeness’, being obsessive about cleanliness and imagining she is spying on him.

Mrs Gillis lost her two sons in the war but Howard tells her he had not been allowed into the Army because they said there was something wrong with his mind.

It all goes downhill for poor Mrs Gillis from thereon. He kills her dog, cuts the phone lines and threatens her with a knife. The ending is excellent but I won’t spoil it for you.

 

I never thought I would say this, but Gene scared the hell out of me!! He was creepy, weird, unhinged, menacing, psychotic, but at the same time eliciting sympathy. No wonder Mrs Gillis fainted on the floor from fear. I almost did so myself!

I would highly recommend this particular play if you can get hold of it. Both Ethel Barrymore and Gene are superb, true professionals who know exactly what they are doing. They say nice things about each other at the end.

 

St.Petersburg Times March 20th 1949

Gene Kelly was co-starred with Ethel Barrymore in a repeat performance of To Find Help, and did a bang-up job in a role that was definitely ‘off beat’ for him. Unlike many of the stars who have been offered Suspense parts, Gene had no misgivings about accepting. “This should be fun,” he told producer Leader. “And it was, for all of us,” Leader says.

 

SEALTEST VARIETY THEATER  13th January 1949

With Dorothy L’Amour and Dennis Day

 

This is a very funny programme all round. I don’t know Dennis Day but he sounded like he was a man of many talents.

Gene is introduced as ‘a most versatile and talented young man.’ [You’ll hear no arguments from me on that score.]

 

Dennis Day asks him: “When did your father tell you about the birds and bees?”

Gene replied: ”He never told me, he gave me an egg and a jar of honey and told me to figure it out for myself.”

DD says he is envious of Gene because he got to kiss Lana Turner. Gene replied: “When I go to the studio in a morning it’s going to work. When I get there I kiss Lana Turner. It’s a job, just like a brush and broom man does a job.”  DD then decides to become a brush and broom guy if it will be like kissing Lana Turner.

 

Words and Music is then given a ‘plug’, saying that it is hard to find an actor/dancer in one person, but Gene is top in both departments.

 

Then follows a very amusing sketch set on a train, between an estranged husband and wife. Gene is the husband. She is going to Reno for a divorce because Gene has been unkind to her mother who has been staying with them. Gene is accused of saying that they would not make The Snake Pit unless her mother was technical advisor! (Betsy had a role in The Snake Pit.) He is accused of all kinds of things, including reading the sports pages all night in bed.

A man joins them. He talks incessantly and says he is a good judge of people and they must be on their honeymoon, and Gene must be a soldier back from the war. Gene said they were getting divorced and he had flat feet and was stationed in Minneapolis! The man said ‘Oh well, I can’t be right all of the time. That’s why they put erasers in pencils.”

He goes off to bed and the husband and wife collapse in giggles. Gene then says he will go change their sleeping arrangements to a double compartment. We next hear them cuddled up together. He wants to ‘turn out the light’ but she says he can read about Joe DiMaggio on the sports page if he wants. He replies “Who’s Joe DiMaggio? Turn out the light………”

There is a huge amount of laughter from the audience so we can only imagine what Gene was up to at this point. How I wish we could see some of these recordings taking place. They seemed to have so much fun, and Gene obviously loved a live audience.

 

MAXWELL HOUSE COFFEE TIME.  BURNS & ALLEN. 27th January 1949

GEORGE’S BIRTHDAY.

 

This is one episode of the famous George Burns & Gracie Allen Show. It should really have been made as a TV show, as there was lots of visual action in front of the live audience.

As an unusual birthday gift to George, Gracie decided to make a film about the day he proposed to her. But she wanted it to be a surprise, so had to get another man to play George’s role. You can see where this is going, can’t you?

She went to see Gene, who reluctantly agreed to do the part. He said; “The only thing George and I have in common is that we both put on our trousers one leg at a time.”

Gracie said that George had created a little dance when he proposed so Gene had to con George into showing him the dance. There is much clever banter at this point, when George does not think Gene can do the dance – “I used to stop the show; in fact I even closed theatres.”

“That was your best step?” Gene says to George.

“Yeah, think you can dig it?”

“Dunno, it’s been buried a long time.”

Gene does a couple of short routines which sound, from the rat-tat of his feet, to be very complex, in order to top George’s pathetic efforts.

Gracie insists that Gene wears the suit George proposed in, but as he is still wearing it seventeen years later, this proves a little difficult. Gene says he will take off George’s clothes, they don’t fit. Gracie says he’d better keep them on, what kind of dance does he think George did? He wasn’t Gypsy Rose Burns!

Gene and Gracie meet in the park, to shoot the scene. Gene says they should kiss, in order to make the film realistic. She says “Ok, you can kiss me, but only on the lips…my forehead is sacred to George.”

Inevitably they were seen canoodling and George was informed that Gracie was having an affair with Gene Kelly.

George confronted them, saying he knew their secret, meaning the supposed affair.

She thought he knew about the film. “We didn’t want you to find out. I hope it won’t spoil your birthday...a fine thing when you can’t keep a little secret from your husband…”

Gene: “She wasn’t nervous. People crowding around didn’t bother her at all…When we finished we got up and took a bow…”

George says, horrified, “Any encores?…You took pictures??

The misunderstanding was finally cleared up, after many funny lines delivered with excellent timing.

George asked why Gene was chosen to take his place. “I can do all the things you could do fifteen years ago!”

What George really wanted to know was if Gene kissed better than he did! He asked Gracie several times.

Gracie’s replies after each repeated question were distinctly evasive:

“You’re a better singer…you’re a better dancer…you can act him off the stage…I can hold out longer than you can…”

 

A highly amusing piece, performed to perfection by true professionals.

 

 

 

OPPORTUNITY U.S.A.  A.B.C. 16th May 1949

 

Encouraging the sale of Savings Bonds.

 

HOTPOINT HOLIDAY HOUR. THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER. December 25th 1949

Details to follow shortly

PHILADELPHIA STORY. 25th FEBRUARY 1950

 

New York Times February 21st 1950

Gene Kelly stars in The Philadelphia Story, on CBS radio.

 

Source unknown:

Sarah Churchill, daughter of the wartime British prime minister, made her radio dramatic debut yesterday on a CBS network show, The Philadelphia Story, with Gene Kelly.

THE ADVENTURES OF MAISIE. ANN SOTHERN.  22nd June 1950.

 

Set during the war, Gene takes the role of Bill Jones, a Pal Joey type with a 24-hour pass. He is looking for a girl to spend time with.

He visits a friend who runs a newspaper and finds Maisie working there, The friend suggests that Maisie may not be his type, but Gene replies: “Chum, when you got a 24-hour pass, anybody’s your type.”

He meets Maisie and hands her a line, but she is having none of his attempts to get her alone. She tells him not to get fresh.

Bill and his friend trick her into accepting a lift in Bill’s car out to Beaver Lake, on false pretences. She calls him a ‘wolf in ship’s clothing,’ and will have nothing to do with him. He says there were lots of birds and bees following him. She says that maybe they were taking notes.

She arranges for two friends to come and spoil his plans, but somehow he and Maisie end up alone on an island in the rain. They finally get together. Both Maisie and Gene deliver some very funny lines, the whole play is fun and entertaining. Gene as usual is so believable in his character, plays a louse with a heart to perfection!

 

 

 

FAMILY THEATER. Susie's Prayer Ball. 4th April 1951

Gene was the host, with James Stewart starring in the play. 

Gene: "We are here to draw attention to something which must become part of our lives if we are to win peace for ourselves, our families and the world. Family Theater urges you to pray together as a family."

Then follows a clip from the song Take Me Out To The Ball Game.

"This is the story of a child's faith, a woman's love and a man's stubborn pride. For men from 6-60, Spring means one thing - baseball."

The story then unfolds, about a former champion baseball player who is past his sell-by date but won't admit it.

Then Gene again: "There is something wonderful about a library in your home...friendly books...books that grow better with reading and re-reading. You can choose as companions all the best minds of every age....A library is selective, you can choose your friends and they will give you counsel and many wise words. But even more selective is prayer. By prayer we invite God into our homes. He is the bidden guest. We speak to Him and hear His answers in our hearts. We tell Him our troubles and get His guidance. Books have much wisdom and Heaven knows we need wisdom in our times, but by prayer we go directly to the fount of wisdom. For God is Wisdom uncreated. So Family Theater again reminds us: the family that prays together, stays together."

JUNGLE IN RETREAT. MAY 1952

 

http://www.unmultimedia.org/

A rehearsal TOOK PLACE in London, England of the "Jungle in Retreat' series -- a UN Radio production on international cooperation, based on the reports of a United Nations team led by Ritchie Calder throughout South-East Asia. Report and production emphasize how UN experts and local government specialists are working together to bring about new standards of living in South-East Asia. It stars Gene Kelly, with an international cast,including:  Miss Svasti (Thailand); Miss Hooja (India); Howard Marian-Crawford (U.K.); Mr. Prem (Pakistan); Miss Haru Yanai (Japan); and Miss Diana Wong (China). The production will be released as a series of three broadcasts...