MGM's Invitation to the Dance
was the fruition of Gene Kelly's long-standing dream to create a plotless "concert" feature. Eschewing dialogue, Kelly tells three stories entirely through the medium of dance. The first sequence is a mime-like Pagliacci
story, with Kelly as the Clown and Igor Youskevitch
and Claire Sombert
as the Lovers. The second vignette, "Ring Around the Rosy," tells the story of a bracelet as it is passed from owner to owner. The best is saved till last: "Sinbad the Sailor," wherein Kelly shares screen time with a plethora of animated cartoon characters, courtesy of MGM house cartoonists William Hanna
and Joe Barbera. Carol Haney
appears briefly as Scheherezade, and also posed for the writhing cartoon serpent. Considered totally unsellable by the MGM higher-ups, Invitation to the Dance
was shelved upon its completion in 1952, and didn't see the light of day for nearly four years.