The classic musical Singin’ in the Rain, starring Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, and Debbie Reynolds, turns 70 years old this year. Forbes recently had the pleasure of speaking with Gene Kelly’s wife, Patricia Ward Kelly, to discuss his iconic performance in the musical.
Simon Thompson from the outlet brought up The Great Movie Ride, which featured a Gene Kelly animatronic performing the iconic signing piece. Sadly, in 2015, the attraction was demolished to make way for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway.
What Happened to the Gene Kelly animatronic?
When asked what happened to the model of Gene from the attraction, wasn’t quite sure:
I reached out about it, but apparently, it was just destroyed, but I don’t know for sure. It hasn’t turned up on eBay yet, and that’s usually where I find everything for sale. I never got down there to see it. We were brought over to Disney to take a look before it launched, and it was a funny experience. They hit go; they were so excited about Gene being there and everything, but the whole animatronic went off track, and it just flipped, and its arms went flailing, and there was this panic (laughs), but we never really got to see it in full. Many people loved seeing that on the ride, but I think it would be a little bit strange to see it. We did erect a statue in Leicester Square in London right before lockdown, and interestingly, it’s static, but it has movement in it. It feels very alive, so I’m very happy about that. Every day somebody sends me a picture of themselves holding on to the lamppost next to him.Patricia Ward Kelly
Though the attraction was demolished some of the props were saved including The Mary Poppins carousel horse from the queue line went back into the Walt Disney Archives around 2013 and was displayed during that year’s Disney D23 Expo along with the horse used by Dick Van Dyke (was displayed in the Planet Hollywood restaurants at San Diego and Times Square). Both props were shown again in the first episode of Prop Culture on Disney+.
If you know or happen to know what happened to the Gene Kelly animatronic from The Great Movie Ride please shoot me an email at Skyler@TheDisInsider.com, as we would like to share an update with Kelly.