#1970s #1980s #2010s
Five pop culture references starring songs from the Singin in the Rain soundtrack…
From Gene Kelly’s guest star appearance to homages from some song and dance men (and a woman), this musical has some wonderful interpretations from the stars of the big and wee screen.
The lovely Ari from The Classic Movie Muse is tributing another movie anniversary, and this time it’s one from a musical genre. It’s 70 years since the much adored American movie musical Singin in the Rain (1952) first graced the big screen. Although I know the title track – and yes I have sung it as I splashed in puddles as a kid – I still haven’t seen this film (in full).
As it’s now time for a unique kind of soundtrack post. These songs are sung by talented stars from films and TV and almost always come with dancing in inspired homages. Just hearing these songs, it seems that I knew more of this timeless soundtrack than I thought I did.
The songs from this film’s soundtrack can also be found on many movie and TV soundtracks. The Singin in the Rain song has also appeared in everything from a homage from a British children’s TV show about that bear from Peru in Paddington Goes to the Movies (1980) to an adult-themed scene in A Clockwork Orange (1971).
So, get your So’wester or MacIntosh and your brolly and put your wellies on, and let’s take a trip through a sampling of some of this memorable soundtrack. And let’s kick things off with one of the stars of this musical film when he starred as a guest star in a show with a wee green frog and his fellow Muppet pals…
A Soundtrack Medley from The Muppet Show (1976-81)…
Muppet Songs: Singin’ in the Rain Medley, Muppet Songs
The Muppet Show is one of those 1970s and 1980s shows which is like The Love Boat (1977-87), as you appreciate it much more watching the repeat shows. This is as you recognise those big Hollywood guest stars – such as Olivia DeHavilland and Ginger Rogers – mingling with Captain Stubing and his crew.
As a kid, The Muppet Show was a firm favourite to watch every Sunday. It was a children’s variety show and was commissioned by Lew Grade making it a surprising British series. It starred Muppets of all sorts and is remembered for its sketches with the Swedish Chef, Pigs in Space, song and dance numbers and Miss Piggy’s often unrequited love for Kermit, a wee green frog.
The Muppets‘ guest stars included Steve Martin, Raquel Welch, Roger Moore, James Coburn and Tony Randall. This show had 120 episodes and as many guest stars, and these mentioned were just the tip of the iceberg. Guest stars joined in the weekly fun by singing, dancing and joining in comic skits and parodies with Kermit and his pals.
This show led to quite a few movies starring these furry animal puppets having adventures of all sorts and their unique versions of classic novels such as The Muppets Christmas Carol (1992), a musical which starred Michael Caine in the only non-Muppet role.
I love this clip from this show as found in Season 5 Episode 1, which had the honour of having Gene Kelly as their special guest. I read that Gene Kelly agreed to appear but only if he didn’t sing songs from this particular musical… but those creative writers made this a running joke instead. So he sings a variety of his well known songs backstage. Kelly is in on the joke and plays it straight – well, as straight as you can with the usual Muppet-themed chaos around you – but he has an obvious glint in his eye…
Kelly showcases a medley of songs from his musicals and this includes a familiar song or two from Singin in the Rain. Kelly is joined in these songs with duets with Muppets of all shapes and sizes. And he also gives a warm homage to his appearance in the Singin in the Rain scene and it appears that in this episode, Kermit also got to do a few songs and dance numbers with Kelly too.
This was sadly the last episode of The Muppets to be taped, but confusingly is the first episode of the fifth series. After this series ended, The Muppets creator Jim Henson and his Muppets returned to America. But this particular episode of the show is a wonderful tribute to this show, Gene Kelly and this musical.
“Good Morning” from Family Guy (1998-)…
Good Morning Family Guy, Edwin Herrera
I do love a good musical, parody or homage and who better to get it from than the man who can do and does all three, Seth MacFarlane in his show Family Guy. This comedian and actor starred in A Million Ways to Die in the West (2014) and gave the voice to the talking teddy bear character in Ted (2012). His homage to the song Good Morning is not the only one from this musical that he and others sing in this adult animation. And keep your eyes peeled for the other one…
Good Morning makes an appearance in the 2007 episode, Believe It or Not, Joe’s Walking on Air – Season 6 Episode 3 – after the physically disabled and wheelchair-using character Joe gets a leg transplant. Joe then does all those things he’s dreamt of doing and this includes singing and dancing in a musical… and he does just this with his best friends in this show.
Other musical numbers in this animated show remind us of those Road to movies from Bing Crosby and Bob Hope. There are also fond tributes to my childhood favourite shows such as The Incredible Hulk (1977-82) and films I watched way back then such as Kramer vs Kramer (1979)…
Good Mornin was first sung in 1939’s Babes in Arms movie by Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland, which kind of ties it in with another entry on this list. In the film Singin in the Rain, this chirpy, feel-good song was sung by Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds. And it appears Seth’s parody is more of a homage to this song with a few dance steps you will remember from that Singin in the Rain film moment too…
“Fit as a Fiddle (And Ready for Love)” from Steve Martin’s Best Show Ever (1981)…
Fit As A Fiddle: Steve Martin & Gregory Hines, Ednay Arkspay
I discovered through a wee bit of research, that this song features in Steve Martin’s Best Show Ever (1981)… with DVDizzy writing about the seemingly unlikely pairing of Steve Martin – star of Pennies from Heaven (1981) and many comedy movies – and the man who danced – and acted – his way through White Nights (1985) Gregory Hines.
This pairing however is a captivating double act with both men showing their talents in song and dance. I haven’t seen Pennies from Heaven, but Martin certainly gives his all in this dance number, which proves his tap-dancing talents… and watching this, he’s definitely as mesmerising as Hines.
It’s all the more amazing as this musical number went without a hitch especially, as this variety show was screened live. Reading more about this show, it seems this show also showcased Steve Martin’s comic talents with Martin appearing in comic sketches alongside guest stars including Dan Akroyd, John Belushi and Bill Murray.
The song was sung in the Singin in the Rain movie by Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor. The pair belting out this number in some rather natty green checked suits and hats. These suits reminded me of the winning Blue Peter (1958) costume designed for the Children’s TV presenter, Peter Duncan back in the day.
Liza Minnelli sings “You Are My Lucky Star” in New York, New York (1977)…
YOU ARE MY LUCKY STAR- NEW YORK NEW YORK- LIZA MINNELLI, Tom Rooney
A cover of this song is sung by Liza Minnelli in the movie New York, New York (1977) in this film’s soundtrack. IMDb HERE states this Martin Scorsese movie tells of,
An egotistical saxophonist and a young lounge singer meet on VJ Day and embark upon a strained and rocky romance, even as their careers begin a long, uphill climb.
This film has Robert DeNiro and Liza Minnelli in the leading roles as the saxophonist and singer respectively. However, it is lovely seeing Minnelli sing this lovely song from Singin in the Rain. Interestingly, before the 1952 film Singin in the Rain was made, Liza’s mother, Judy Garland sang the Singin in the Rain song in the 1940s film Little Nellie Kelly.
These family connections with the film feel like Minnelli’s famous mother, Judy Garland is passing this musical number as a baton as then Liza shares a song from this musical once again with a new generation of music lovers watching this film. This was sung by Gene Kelly in what looks like a soppy moment from the Singin in the Rain musical.
and finally the title track, in another song medley from actor, singer and dancer Hugh Jackman…
HughJackman Medley Clip1, Caroline Russo
And finally – proving once again that some actors also have spellbinding musical talents – here’s the man who sang his way into our hearts in The Greatest Showman (2017). Hugh Jackman is the man and he also tours doing just that as he sings and dances live everywhere from Australia to Scotland. I and a Finnish friend are still hoping he might just turn up in Finland one day soon… and she’s even offered to be his guide…
Wikipedia notes that this track has been sung by legends such as Sammy Davis Jnr, Dean Martin and Bing Crosby. This song also features in film soundtracks such as Die Hard (1988), Léon: The Professional (1994) and North by Northwest (1959) and TV Shows including Friends (1994-2004) and The Morecambe and Wise Show (1978-83).
These songs are just five songs – and a few bonus ones – from the Singin in the Rain musical. Each song in its own way has now got me keen to see this movie to see the where, why and how these fit into this musical’s plot. Especially after watching the relevant clips with these songs from this film musical online.
So now I’ll pull my wellies off, put the popcorn on and watch the film before the next milestone of this marvellous movie comes around. But until then I’ll sing those songs with a smile on my face… and this with a happy refrain.
The Singin In The Rain Blogathon 2022 No 17
This review was added to The Classic Movie Muse’s Singin In The Rain Blogathon. Other films with these stars include Gene Kelly in Xanadu and The Love Boat. All the Muppets appear in The Muppets Christmas Carol. Steve Martin in Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid and Pennies From Heaven. Gregory Hines in White Nights. Robert De Niro in Awakenings and Liza Minnelli as a character in Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows. Hugh Jackman in The Prestige, Dundee: The Son of a Legend Returns Home and The Greatest Showman. Family Guy is reviewed HERE.