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Singin' Still Reigns After All These Years

by Mark Zimmer

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the release of Singin' in the Rain, Warner Bros. Home Video is releasing a two-disc special edition of the picture. Donald O'Connor recently spoke to dOc and other selected members of the print and Internet press about the making of what is often considered the greatest movie musical.

Legendary hoofer Donald O'Connor got his start as a child star in the 1930s, fresh from performing in the circus and vaudeville. While he danced his way through a number of memorable roles, and showed fine comic timing in such forgotten gems as the Francis the Talking Mule series, he made his indelible mark in cinematic history as Cosmo Brown in the classic 1952 picture Singin' in the Rain.

The following is the official transcript of the event:

September 5, 2002

Moderator: I would now like to turn the conference over to our host, Mr. Alan Amman from MPRM. Please go ahead.

A. Amman Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us this morning. We're very honored to have Donald O'Connor with us this morning for this teleconference call. We're celebrating Singing In The Rain's 50th anniversary this year. Warner Home Video, of course, is issuing a beautiful two-disc DVD on September 24th, but you have information on that. We thought it would be really great for everyone to be able to talk to Donald O'Connor a little bit this morning. I'm going to introduce Donald, and we can go into questions, I believe, actually right away.

D. O'Connor: Sure. First of all, I want to thank you for picking me as your spokesperson for this. I think it's quite an honor because it's a great project, Singing In The Rain. It's a great movie and it should be kept alive forever if possible.

A. Amman I think it will too. It's just an amazing film and it stood the test of time certainly.

Moderator: We do have a question from Diana Saenger with Saenger Syndicate. Please go ahead.

D. Saenger: Mr. O'Connor, it's a privilege to talk to you. Singing In The Rain has never lost its appeal. The Broadway show is still touring, and with this new DVD release its popularity will certainly entertain generations yet to come. I want to know how that significant distinction impacts you?

D. O'Connor: If that is possible, you're asking? I'm sorry.

D. Saenger: I want to know how the significance of all that impacted you? How do you fell about that?

D. O'Connor: I think it's absolutely wonderful. I think really with this kind of energy behind it, it's like the very beginning of the movie when you've just previewed, and you go out and talk to various press around the country. It's very exciting. It's wonderful.

D. Saenger: It is very exciting and we're excited about you doing this. I want to know if there's anything that you remember that's very funny or significant that happened between you and your co-stars when you were filming Singing In The Rain?

D. O'Connor: In the movie?

D. Saenger: Yes.

D. O'Connor: I think the funniest to me is when Gene was filming the main title song Singing In The Rain out in the rain. They were on the back lot and, of course, it was open and they had to enclose it with a tarpaulin. When they started, he's signing, so happy and he looks great, and the rain is coming down, and just at a perfect timing each droplet seems to have its own beat.

All of a sudden somebody takes a close look at Gene and he's shrinking. The clothes are actually shrinking. No one took into account that the tweed material shrinks, so they're going crazy trying to find cloth now to make him suits. About every 30 minutes, they'd have to make another suit for him. Actually you'd be talking to him in between shots, and you'd actually see the material start to rise in his pants and his cuffs. It was really hysterical; it was funny. Gene was a dignified man, and particularly in his work. When all of this started to happen beyond his control, it got to him too. He was hysterical. That to me is about the funniest I've ever seen in anything.

D. Saenger: Thank you very much. It was a privilege to talk to you.

D. O'Connor: It was very nice talking with you.

Moderator: Our next question will come from Donald Lievenson with Banker and Taylor. Please go ahead

D. Lievenson: Mr. O'Connor, thank you very much for taking the time to do this.

D. O'Connor: It's a pleasure.

D. Lievenson: I was wondering if you could talk about your signature number, Make 'Em Laugh? How that number developed, if you worked with the choreographer to add all the wonderful bits of business, and how long it took to film?

D. O'Connor: The number started, but naturally Roger Eden came to me and handed me this music, Make 'Em Laugh. I looked at, Gene looked at it, and he said, "Why don't you take the girls," Jeanie Coin, and Carole Haney, his assistant choreographers, "and see what you can come up with?" So I said okay. I got a pianist, I took the girls into a rehearsal hall, and I began to sing and did a pratfall. They laughed and I said write that down. Whatever they laughed at the most, that's what we did on the screen. Most of that stuff that you see is done for the first time and it stayed there.

D. Lievenson: How long did it take to film it?

D. O'Connor: One day. Yes, I had to do it in one day because my body, as I progressed in the number doing pratfalls, it was on cement. They couldn't give me good old wood. Anyway, I'm doing these pratfalls on cement, and my body, my knees, ankles, and toes, everything started to hurt. We saw right then we had to shoot fast, get the number done in one day, and we did it. We did it in one day and it was absolutely miraculous.

Now two days later I go in on the set, and I get applause from the guys with the lights way up high and the people on the floor, like the opening of a Broadway show. I said isn't this marvelous? Stanley said, "That number is just great. It's fantastic. Do you think you could do it again?" I said oh, sure, anytime. He said, "Well great, you're going to do it again tomorrow."

What had happened was they had inadvertently, the cinematographer or one of his assistants didn't see that the aperture on the camera wasn't correct. It was open and it stuck, so that whole number was fogged out. It looked like a ghost doing his thing. So I had to do it all over again.

D. Lievenson: It seemed very generous of Gene Kelly because that number, it's the showstopper. Except for the title song, it's perhaps the most memorable. It always seemed like it was very generous of him to seed the movie over to you.

D. O'Connor: I think so too. Now you see, there you can tell the true character of this man. He was not afraid of competition. He wanted it, and if you could be better than he was he loved it because that was his persona, not only as a professional and his duty, but he loved it personally. He loved the competition of somebody working hard in there and paying attention.

D. Lievenson: Again, it's a tremendous honor speaking with you and thank you for your time.

D. O'Connor: God bless you, and thank you.

Moderator: Our next question will come from Bob Ross with the Tampa Tribune. Please go ahead.

B. Ross: Mr. O'Connor, on the DVD commentary there are two things you say that I would like you to elaborate on. One is you talked about which way do you turn, you and Mr. Kelly both turning the same way. In the same vein, you talked about he and you adapted your own styles to complement each other. I was wondering if you could give us a little detail about that sort of thing.

D. O'Connor: When w started to talk about the numbers, a basic idea what we would do choreography-wise, he said "We'll go up here on the stage now, we'll do about eight bars, and then we'll jump over to the left." We went through this thing all day, and it sounded so exciting and so wonderful. I say, "This is going to be sensational" and all of a sudden I thought, which way does he turn? I only turn to the left and everybody turns to the right. I said, "Oh my God!" I have to find out."

I couldn't reach him so the next day when I got into the studio, before I asked him he asked me. He said, "Which way do you turn?" I said, "To the left, why?" He said, "Thank God, so do I." We were very lucky there that both of our strong sides were the same side. That's why we look so good doing those numbers. Why we look so strong and coordinated because we're working on our strong side.

B. Ross: Is that like being left-handed or right-handed? Is that the same thing?

D. O'Connor: It's the same thing. If you were left-handed or right-handed, a baseball player we'll say, or throw a football, the side that you would ordinarily throw the football, you wouldn't go to the other hand to do it. It would be awkward.

B. Ross: I saw you in Out To Sea five years ago and you're still a terrific dancer. Have you been practicing all this time?

D. O'Connor: That's all we did was dance.

B. Ross: You were dancing in a 1997 movie called Out To Sea and you were just terrific in that. I was just wondering if you ever stopped?

D. O'Connor: That's funny, even though it's true. I'm the guy who danced through life. That's very true. It's good for a title. It seems that no matter what I do, if I did Macbeth, they'd want me to do eight bars of Tea For Two just because it pleases. It's the kind of dancing I do. Ray Bolger is very much like the kind of dancing I do. It's happy, gay, and pleasant. It's jumping around and having a good time.

B. Ross: That's just delightful. I wanted to ask one question to the studio representative. I was wondering why the DVD is a Warner Brothers release rather than MGM?

A. Amman You know Ted Turner bought MGM Studios, so when Turner became part of Warner, they owned rights to movies, I think, prior to 1970, but that's the case. It's now part of Warner's library and no longer MGM.

B. Ross: Thank you so much.

A. Amman Thank you.

Moderator: Our next question will come from the line of Bill Kelley with the Virginian Pilot. Please go ahead.

B. Kelley: It's a privilege to talk to you, Mr. O'Connor, today. Let me just tell you, I was first introduced to your performance in Singing In The Rain in 1974 when MGM did That's Entertainment. That was obviously before DVDs were around, and it's a way for a new generation to be introduced to the great musicals of the 30s, 40s, and 50s. I was just curious, with the DVD do you see that as a way for your performance being carried into the future indefinitely, or do you see anything out there, a restoration maybe for the theaters of Singing In The Rain?

D. O'Connor: Do you mean remaking them again?

B. Kelley: No. The opportunity for the next generation to be able to see your work.

D. O'Connor: Yes, I think it's marvelous. I think it's great that they're pushing it like this because it's something that you can have in your library and have forever. When you feel like, say, here let's do a number, Fit as a Fiddle. You think of one and they say, "Let's say what it looked like," so you put it on. You always have it at your disposal. I think it's just great, and I think it's wonderful what you're doing.

B. Kelley: Let me ask you another question. With your own children, what was their favorite scene that you did or dance that you did in Singing In The Rain?

D. O'Connor: They each had a different one. I think Freddie liked You Were Meant For Me, the number that Gene did with Debbie. Those kids loved everything in that movie. They were laughing like crazy. I know one comment was "Why do they have to talk so much?" I remember that's one of the comments the kids made.

B. Kelley: Let me ask one follow-up question. MGM put you with Debbie Reynolds right after Singing In The Rain with I Love Melvin, and you guys had gone on the road. What is your relationship with Debbie Reynolds, and what were you able to teach her as a young performer at that time?

D. O'Connor: She's quite a remarkable girl. When you tell me she's never taken lessons at dance before, it would be very difficult for me to believe, but it seems to be true. She had to learn all that stuff with Gene and I pressing because there was a time span that we had to put all this stuff together. The way she picked up on everything and worked strong; not too much like a girl, too feminine with Gene and myself. She was magnificent. It's just a darn shame they didn't have Academy Awards at that time because it would have picked up everything. Certainly one of those performances would have gotten an Oscar.

B. Kelley: I really appreciate your comments today. Thanks a lot.

D. O'Connor: Thank you. It was a pleasure talking with you.

Moderator: Our next question will come from Tim Lammers with Please go ahead.

T. Lammers: Mr. O'Connor, of course like everybody is saying today and it's very true, it's a great honor to be speaking with you today. Thank you for not only Singing In The Rain, but all your performances over the years.

D. O'Connor: God bless you. Thank you very much.

T. Lammers: Thank you, sir. I'll always remember the wonderful acceptance speech of Stanley Donen when the academy awarded him for lifetime achievement. He sang and tap danced with Oscar. I thought that was great because it gave viewers a greater appreciation of his work, the classics like Singing In The Rain. Obviously, Gene and yourself are very capable dancers, but how instrumental was Mr. Donen in guiding you and Gene? What did you learn from Stanley on the film? Of course, you were accomplished dancers, but I would imagine Stanley guided you in some sort of way.

D. O'Connor: Stanley is a real ham. It was difficult for him to keep back, but he was wonderful. Never at anytime was there any friction on us to work harder or to stop trying to be silly kids. Stan was just great. He was most professionally, and we just went right along like raindrops. No kidding. It went so smooth and his temperament and his foresight were wonderful. He's a young kid now you know.

T. Lammers: An obvious question but, again, it's something that everybody is obviously interested in hearing about, but the back flips, and how many particular takes did it take for those?

D. O'Connor: The way we were rehearsed, we could have rehearsed once, shot it, take, and then printed the take and that would have been it. On the safe side, we'd shoot it again. If that take was good, then we'd keep both films for protection. So Stan did a great job with that. He had a lot to work with. I think you can see with that montage shot in there with everything happening, pictures crossing over pictures and things. People climbing over people. It's really exciting and that's the way Stanley thinks.

T. Lammers: I have one more follow-up question. I don't know if you did see the most recent Austin Powers movie. Of course, it spoofs a lot of different movies. In the beginning there was a wonderful, I would say tribute to Singing In The Rain with Gene's scene in the rain. Is that flattering to you and, also, would you ever endorse a remake of the movie if anyone with the proper credentials attempted to do a remake of the film?

D. O'Connor: I would attempt it. I would like to see it done. You'd have to get three people though that have been seasoned like we were, that had a past, because here you're dealing with three really heavy boxers that have had more fights than they should. But they're still in there fighting at their top weight and their speed and everything. You'd have to find three people that are peculiarly talented that would have that same kind of background as ... burlesque, musical comedy, that kind of thing. You'd have to find that kind of person and that would not be easy.

T. Lammers: Thank you, sir. It's been a great pleasure.

D. O'Connor: God bless you. It's been nice talking with you.

Moderator: Our next question will come from the line of Corey Stulce with the Telegraph. Please go ahead.

C. Stulce: Mr. O'Connor, let me wish you a happy belated birthday first of all.

D. O'Connor: Thank you very much.

C. Stulce: Now on the film, you and Gene Kelly got to work with some very young attractive co-stars, Debbie Reynolds, Jean Hagen, Cyd Charisse. Was there any puppy love on the set or did anybody develop any crushes on any of the young female co-stars?

D. O'Connor: I don't think we had time to be in love. We were too darn busy trying to remember the dance routines. We'd go right from one number, you got tired of one number, or started to get foggy, and then we would immediately jump to another one and get it started, so we wouldn't get bogged down. We really didn't have time to fool around. Although I'm sure we all did our share of flirting, with whom and when I can't tell you, but I'm quite sure we did. That's a good, funny question.

C. Stulce: We've enjoyed your dancing for decades now, and actually you performed here at a tap festival in St. Louis a couple of years ago. Can you talk a little bit about how your love of dance began back in the Vaudeville days?

D. O'Connor: Dancing is so wonderful. Once they start the music, your whole day, if it's been rotten, seems to melt away. You get carried away in the tune that you're moving to. It's a marvelous catharsis. It's a great psychiatrist to be able to get on top and tap dance.

You see kids around the country; I go around every so often to dance schools. They'll have dance schools, say, from three states gather. They have a big party, they get together, and they dance. They show their new routines and so forth. It's very exciting. It just doesn't end. It just keeps going. As long as they do that, hopefully in the interest of the public and buying tickets to see musicals, that's the thing. Besides, now you have to have producers and directors that know how to shoot them and that's not easy at all. If you have tempo, you know how to dance with your girlfriend, you keep tempo that way, and you could be a director.

C. Stulce: Excellent! I appreciate you taking the time out to speak with us today. Thank you very much.

D. O'Connor: It's been wonderful talking with you. God bless you.

C. Stulce: Thank you.

Moderator: Our next question will come from Max McQueen with the Scottsdale Tribune. Please go ahead.

M. McQueen: Mr. O'Connor, I'm wondering first off, do you still have a home in Sedona in our fair state?

D. O'Connor: Yes, that where we live now.

M. McQueen: That's your full-time residence?

D. O'Connor: Yes we're up at 5,000 feet. It's really a beautiful place. It's not really built up yet. It's still growing and it's gorgeous.

M. McQueen: Thank you. I'd like to go back to Debbie Reynolds. She was so young, so new, and so fresh. Did you have any reservations about bringing on such an inexperienced gal to film? When and how did she win you over?

D. O'Connor: With Debbie, right from the beginning you have to like her because of her personality. She is so giving and so wanting that you want to take her into your arms. At the same time, she has enough rejection in her to make her very interesting. She's a consummate pro. This little kid put all these things together early in life. She's quite an amazing girl. I don't know who they would have gotten to play that young and also know that much in that period of time. Debbie was just perfect for that part.

M. McQueen: How did you get to know her before the making of the film? Did you have any chance to say hello and kind of find out who she was before shooting the film?

D. O'Connor: I think it was a thing that I walked in on the set, we shook hands, and started to dance. I think it was something like that, but there wasn't a warm up; come on over to the house and have dinner. Everybody was cheap in those days. They may still be; I don't know.

M. McQueen: Thank you very much. Do you mind telling us how your health is? We were concerned a couple of years ago.

D. O'Connor: Yes, thank you so much. I was very ill there, and it took me quite a few months to recuperate. The name of what I had always eludes me, but it was a fever. It just wouldn't go away, and I just kept withering away until finally they got the correct combination of antibiotics, and I slowly started to get well. It took nine months for me to get back on my feet again.

M. McQueen: We are glad you are back on your feet. Thank you very much, Mr. O'Connor. God bless you.

D. O'Connor: God bless you. Thank you. It was wonderful talking with you.

Moderator: Our next question will come from Geoffrey Kleinman with Please go ahead.

J. Kleinman: Mr. O'Connor, thanks for your time today. It's been very entertaining. My first question, in your sequence of doing Make 'Em Laugh, the running up the walls and flipping over is fantastic even by today's standards. I wanted to know if you had any acrobatic background or training that enabled you to do such a good stunt?

D. O'Connor: I come from a circus family, a circus in Vaudeville. In Vaudeville the family had always taught me how to do hand balancing. My sister and I were hit by a car in Hartford, Connecticut backstage of a theater. She was killed, and from that time on the family was overly protective with me. So I never got to learn all those great tumbling tricks like my brother Billy or my brother Jack could do. They were very, very careful with me. I did pick things up as I went along. When I got the idea of doing a back somersault off a one roll, a back somersault off the other roll, and go through the third roll, I brought my brother Jack in to teach me how to do all those tricks.

J. Kleinman: My other question is, obviously you were a fairly accomplished tapper. When you and Gene Kelly were tapping in the numbers, whose style of tap did you ultimately follow? Was he accommodating to your style? Did you follow his style? How did you rectify those two?

D. O'Connor: We looked at each other, we sort of worked like we would burlesque each other. He would give a funny expression, say something funny, and my reaction would be what you would expect from a typical comical team. Because of Gene's background and mine, we were able to pull that out of the bag, react that way, and do things like that and make them real. That was the great thing with Gene because he had such a bag of tricks. He could do anything and he was wonderful.

J. Kleinman: Thank you very much.

Moderator: Our next question will come from Karen Idelson with Please go ahead.

K. Idelson: Hello, Mr. O'Connor. I am originally from Arizona, so I agree with you that Sedona could not be more beautiful.

D. O'Connor: Isn't it beautiful?

K. Idelson: It's gorgeous up there.

D. O'Connor: The people are nice, and we've had a wonderful time since we've been there.

K. Idelson: I'm fascinated by your background in Vaudeville and in circus performing. It sounds like your family was very influential in you becoming a dancer.

D. O'Connor: That definitely was. As soon as I was born I went in the act. The more kids you had and they went in the act, the more money you got. They got $25.00 a head for those kids. Then it just started; you started to dance and sing a little bit. Then work on up and do acrobats and all kinds of things that you learned. That's where I picked all mine up, my beginning.

K. Idelson: How did your family get started in the circus? Were your parents from generations of acrobats who performed there?

D. O'Connor: I thought they went way back even in Ireland, but they didn't. My father comes from Danville, Illinois. He got with his brother and they rigged some harness together and they started doing tricks. They taught each other tricks. How my father got on the circus, he probably went down there and saw them, asked them if they'd like an apprentice, and he probably signed on. That started it, and that's where he met my mother was on the circus.

K. Idelson: She was already working there as an acrobat?

D. O'Connor: Yes. She had come in shortly, either it was before or after, I forget right now, but she was 12 years old at that time. They got married when she was 12, and she had the first child when she was 13, and then they had seven. They all went in the act, and the more kid's you had the more money they paid you. So it was profitable to have children.

K. Idelson: How did you make the transition from this kind of really exciting, eccentric background in circus performing to coming to Hollywood?

D. O'Connor: Our family had already been in circuses before I was born or the children or anything. Then as the children were born, each one was taught things and then they went in the act. For that, they got $25.00 extra. It was profitable to have kids then.

K. Idelson: How did you come to Hollywood to perform? Were you in California as part of the circus?

D. O'Connor: Either part of the circus or part of Vaudeville. They had five Vaudeville theatres here at one time, just in Hollywood alone. Full of acts, and it was just wonderful. This was a great town for Vaudeville. You have these gorgeous theatres inside - the Pantages, Warner Brothers, and all of those theatres were so gorgeous to play. You know we'd go out in the sticks most of the year.

I was doing a benefit for the Motion Picture Relief Fund when I was discovered to go into movies. Some talent scout pointed his finger at me and said, "Get that kid," and there I went. It was really a Hollywood type of thing.

K. Idelson: So you were sort of just plucked off of the stage and dropped right into films?

D. O'Connor: That is absolutely correct. It's like a movie itself.

K. Idelson: Thank you very much. It's been a pleasure to talk to you.

D. O'Connor: It's been very nice. Thank you, dear.

Moderator: Our next question will come from the line of Cheryl Card with

C. Card: Mr. O'Connor, it's a pleasure to speak to you today. Thanks for your time and your very interesting stories. I wanted to ask you, at the time of Singing In The Rain did you ever envision that you would be talking about it in a forum like this 50 years later?

D. O'Connor: No one ever thought it would be this big or make this kind of splash. We all knew it was going to be a wonderful picture because everybody was working so hard in making it that way. Then when it started taking off originally, of course, naturally everybody was excited. Now with the resurgence of this new format and everything, again it's a kick in the head to see this thing come alive. The picture is so wonderful; it's not a downer. It's one of those things you put it on and if you want to feel in a good mood, you put the picture on and dance around wherever you want to dance around.

C. Card: Absolutely. Now you have an incredible body of work and, of course, it's the Make 'Em Laugh sequence that you may be most well known for, but you've certainly inspired a lot of other performers. I was wondering, when you first entered the cinema yourself in the early days of Hollywood, who inspired you? Did you have any role models that you aspired to in those days?

D. O'Connor: Yes, I did, but they weren't comedy actors. Fredrick March was always a great influence and John Barrymore. They were always great influences on my work.

C. Card: Any musical performers?

D. O'Connor: I really didn't have one at that particular time, except George Murphy. I was crazy about his work. Then when I met him it was really exciting. I was like a little hick kid coming out of the woods and meeting a big star. It was really exciting.

C. Card: So like how it is for us talking to you today.

D. O'Connor: Yes.

C. Card: I certainly thank you for your time. It's been a pleasure to talk with you today.

D. O'Connor: God bless you. I hope it all comes out all right.

C. Card: Thank you, sir.

Moderator: Our next question will come from Mark Zimmer with digitallyOBSESSED.

M. Zimmer: Mr. O'Connor, it's a real pleasure to talk to you. You were a big part of my childhood. They recently ran the Francis The Talking Mule movies on the local television station. I just love those things.

D. O'Connor: You got the mule, huh?

M. Zimmer: My question has to do with the fact that Singing In The Rain is based on the silent films and the transition to sound. When you were getting ready for this part, did you go back and look at a bunch of silent films/ Did you have any particular actor from the period in mind when you were developing the character of Cosmo?

D. O'Connor: No, we did the film, and then when the dailies would come in when the film was ready to be shown, we'd go in and look at that and see if everything was okay, and gave approval or disapproval. That's the way it worked. Just like you shoot any movie.

M. Zimmer: Right. My question was more did you go back and research back in the days of the silent films?

D. O'Connor: My heavens, yes. I didn't have to be bothered with that. They did that. I just went in and acted in the movie. I had nothing else to do with the research or anything like that.

M. Zimmer: Was your portrayal of Cosmo based on anyone in particular?

D. O'Connor: Not really. It was just a character that was written in the script. I saw certain characteristics and traits in that character. That's what I tried to bring to the screen.

M. Zimmer: Thank you.

Moderator: Our next question will come from Matt Brighton with DVD Authority. Please go ahead.

M. Brighton: Mr. O'Connor, I just want to say thank you for taking the time to speak with us today.

D. O'Connor: Thank you. It's very nice to talk with you.

M. Brighton: I have a question about the particular dance numbers. How much time outside of shooting, how much rehearsal days or weeks or months did it take to get all the routines down so they looked so good?

D. O'Connor: Time was always equated in the budget, in the framework of the project itself. Say you had to do a number like You Were Made For Me, you'd take a guess from me. You'd say, "I think this is going to take three days." We'll pencil in three days for it, and try to shoot to that schedule. That's the way we worked, off hand. You're winging it at the beginning until you get right down close to it, until you actually know how many bars you have to shoot, and then you know how long the sequence is going to take. Then you put it together.

M. Brighton: That's all I really had. Thank you, again, and it's a pleasure talking to you sir.

D. O'Connor: It was nice talking with you.

Moderator: Our final question today will come from Peter Croatto with Please go ahead.

P. Croatto: Mr. O'Connor, it's a pleasure to finally speak to you.

D. O'Connor: Thank you.

P. Croatto: My question is obviously pertaining to Singing In The Rain, and I think it's a good one to end on. Why after 50 years do you think this movie has endured and is such a classic?

D. O'Connor: I can't give you the honest full answer because I don't know it. All I can say is that if it were there in the neighborhood theater to go see we'll say. I would be curious enough to go back if I hadn't seen it for a long time to go see it again. Then, of course, once you see it you see how wonderful it is, you tell your friends, they would go and tell their friends, and pretty soon you've got another blockbuster on your hands. Now you've got a resurgence, so that kind of entertainment.

P. Croatto: So you think it's primarily through word of mouth that this movie has basically been a staple for so many years? Their grandmother watches it, their daughter watches, their son watches it, so it's down the line. Do you see that happening?

D. O'Connor: Yes, I do. It's just too bad that in some way, at the time when Gene was alive, that we could have begun a sequel to Singing In The Rain and drop it. Then let the new Don Lockwood, the character I played, and Debbie's character take over. They could have had a sequel to that picture very easily.

P. Croatto: Is that a regret in your show biz career that you weren't able to get that sequel underway?

D. O'Connor: It's an unrequited love. It was just something that could have happened. I'd like to have seen it happen because it would have been a great challenge.

P. Croatto: I have one last follow-up question if I can. There's been a recent resurgence in musicals with Moulin Rouge, and with Chicago being named to a movie. How do you feel about that, and do you think it's a resurgence that can last the way musicals did back in the 40s, 50s, and into the 60s?

D. O'Connor: I think you should make more movies, more musicals. I think the public deserves that. I think the talent in this country deserves to be able to get out and foster that talent. Give them an opportunity to become stars. I think the whole idea is wonderful. Like this conference call and talking to everyone, and hopefully getting up some interest in people that they would want to see it again, once they see it, they're going to get hooked. This is a great picture. You can't help but love it. There's nothing in it that you'd dislike. I think you could even hate your neighbor, oh! forget about it.

P. Croatto: Mr. O'Connor, thank you very much for your time and good luck with everything.

D. O'Connor: Thank you very much. God bless you.