Carleton Carpenter

  1. Donald O’Connor, Singin’ in the Rain, 1951.       A smash when performing Abba Daba Honeymoon in Two Weeks With Love with Debbie Reynolds in 1949, the young Carpenter was set as the third wheel behind Gene Kelly and Reynolds… until Kelly saw Universal’s O’Connor and borrowed him for his MGM debut. (His actress wife, Gwen Carter, was just about noticeable in the party sequence). His uproarious number, Make ’Em Laugh, ranks with Kelly’s (seven day) titular rain dance as the most magic of all MGMusical routines.
  2. Bob Fosse, Give A Girl A Break, 1953.       First planned in 1951 as a typical MGMusical – Fred, Gene, Judy, Ann  Miller – the  project was reduced to B status (old sets, no soundtrack album!), to hopefully inaugurate the next generation of song and dancers: Debbie Reynolds, Marge and Gower Champion, etc. Kelly and  (director) Stanley Donen handled the choreography – Fosse did his own. As Astaire would have done with Hermes Pan.
  3. Robert Ivers, GI Blues, 1959.  Welcome home Elvis! And here’s your reward for serving your country in the US Army – all your  movies will suck from hereon!  Carpenter (actor, dancer, songwriter, composer, author) was more used to terrific MGMusicals than this Paramount dross.   He  was well out of  being E’s sidekick, Cookie. As were Frank Gorshin, Russ Tamblyn… why, even hereeeee’s, Johnny Carson!   Directed by Martin & Lewis’ Norman Taurog instead of King Creole’s grittier Michael Curtiz. Taurog then helmed a further eight Presley horrors, each be more vomitus than the precedent.  Like The King of Rock ’n’ Roll in Live A Little, Love A Little and… Tickle Me. Ugh!

 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  3