Who did you idolize as a teenager? Did you go crazy for the Beatles? Ga-ga over Duran Duran? In love with Justin Bieber? Did you think Elvis was the livin’ end?
This is a deep, dark secret from my tween years: The first male actor I fell in love with was Gene Kelly. Most of you will ask, “Who is Gene Kelly?” Being 66, some of the first films I saw were musicals, and many of featured renown dancers. Fred Astaire probably was the best known male dancer especially when joining forces with Ginger Rogers. He was always a gentleman with polish and grace.
I always thought Gene Kelly was one step ahead of Fred Astaire. First, he was younger and better looking with dark twinkling eyes and often a roguish appearance. He was a more athletic and innovative dancer than Astaire, and even people who aren’t familiar with him, may remember the classic Singin’ in the Rain number featuring Gene Kelly dancing with an umbrella — in the rain. When I think of it now, I wonder how I could have been so ga-ga over his films, but they still fill a happy place in my heart.
The screaming, crying throng of teens obsessing over the first Elvis, and later the Beatles was always more than I could understand. Hey, I liked Elvis, and the Beatles were incomparable and the break with the past that they represented was even more impressive and fun. There were many musicians I loved during that period of all sorts and genres, but I just don’t remember having a crush on any of them. Am I unusual? Are all of you out there remembering great dreams about Nick Jagger, Prince, Sting, or on the other side, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Destiny’s Child or Beyonce, or the Spice Girls?