Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Back to School With Maverick! :)

Hi!

With the nation's kids either back in or getting ready to return to school, I thought it would be fun to share this article from 1958. It was written by a perceptive pupil for a New York newspaper (I like how she gives JK first billing):

"Maverick Found Interesting Show Among Students

by Arlene W.

At 7:00 pm Wednesday, Channel 8, and 6:30 pm Sunday, Channel 5, Maverick can be seen.

Jack Kelly and James Garner play Bart and Bret Maverick. Although Maverick is considered a 'western', it really isn't. The main characters, Bart and Bret, aren't robbers, sheriffs, or famous western persons. They earn their living by gambling. The stories take place anywhere, in California, Mexico and even New Orleans.

The girls are inclined to like Maverick. Jack Kelly and James Garner are two tall, dark, handsome and terrific actors. The [school's] girls chorus could have heard 'I'm Goin' Away', a song which they have learned, on a recent program.

The opinion of many people is that Maverick is an interesting and entertaining program. Do you watch Maverick?"

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

My New "Nephew"! :)


Hello Everyone,

You may remember that almost exactly three years ago I noted the passing of Tiger, my sister's cat. 

Well, I'm pleased to report that my sister decided it was finally time to welcome a new pet into her home. This past weekend I helped her pick out a kitten from a local cat rescue, and here he is.

Ladies and gentlemen, meet Spike:


Spike's coloring reminds me somewhat of Tiger's. But, from his alert amber eyes to his long dark tail, this adorable ball of feline energy is definitely an original and not a copy cat.  

Here's to a long and purrfect life, Spike! :)

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Breaking News: "Young Billy Young" Coming to Blu-Ray in September!

Young Billy Young, the 1969 western where Jack Kelly plays a slick villain, is being released on Blu-ray on September 29. It can be pre-ordered from Amazon for only $15.49 (shipping is free on orders over $35).

JK's character, "John Behan", is like Bart Maverick's evil twin. He beats up poor Angie Dickinson and then gets his clock cleaned by Robert Mitchum. It's a different kind of role for JK, but he does very well with it.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Honk Honk Affair :)


Hello All!

Now, here's something you don't see every day:


Not only is this a still from Jack Kelly's 1958 starrer Hong Kong Affair, which is rather rare in itself, but it's a still showing the movie being filmed on location!

I love the car (honk honk!) in the foreground. I think it's a 1953-'55 Triumph TR-2

I've shared other publicity material in the Kellection from Honk Honk--I mean Hong Kong--Affair in previous TDS posts. There's much more to see, however, so let's take a tour, shall we?

Here's a color lobby card view of the fight scene being filmed above (note the car behind JK). JK's opponent is giving him a right hook (I hope he used Right Guard, too!)  


I've never seen Hong Kong Affair--has anybody?--but JK apparently does lots of fighting in the flick, judging from the stills and lobby cards (that's his real-life wife May Wynn/Donna Kelly as a character named "Chu Lan"):



Here he is getting roughed up on the cover of one of the two German programmes I have:



Fortunately, it looks like he breaks free:

 
Now, if he can only remember where he parked the car...


In Hong Kong Affair, JK plays "Steve Whelan", the part-owner of a mysteriously failing tea plantation. Steve suspects something is amiss with the oolong. Chu Lan looks on as he inspects the product:

 
(I'm curious about the hues on the lobby cards. Were color images used, or were the black-and-white images tinted/colorized?)

 
JK does some other stuff which I haven't quite figured out yet, like:


Another head scratcher: what is he showing to her here?
 

 
It doesn't make any more sense in color. (A blue lobster? A paper mache octopus?) Whatever it is, she doesn't look too impressed.

 
She seems more interested in JK (and who wouldn't be):
 
 
 

  And, that concludes our tour of Hong Kong Affair for now. :)

Friday, August 21, 2015

Aloha JK! :)


Aloha!

In honor of Hawaii's statehood day (August 21, 1959), here's an autographed photo of Jack Kelly signing autographs for some young fans in Hawaii:

 
I'm fairly certain this photo was taken in June 1959, when JK and wife Donna vacationed in Oahu. It's hard to tell from the scan, but the envelope JK is signing says "Hawaiian Village", which is the name of the magnificent resort built by industrialist Henry J. Kaiser. Kaiser owned Kaiser Aluminum, the sponsor of Maverick, and was also a strong supporter of Hawaiian tourism. Linda Alexander reports in her biography A Maverick Life--The Jack Kelly Story that although Kaiser himself invited the Kellys to vacation at the Hawaiian Village, they somehow ended up being billed $2000 for their stay. JK refused to pay the bill and that was the end of the matter!

As for the inscription on the photo, it says, "For Charles - Aloha and thanks for being my friend! Best Always, Jack Kelly" ("Thanks for being my friend" seems to be one of JK's favorite inscriptions--I've seen it on quite a few of the photos he autographed.) I'm not sure who Charles was, however. The person who sold the photo to me said it was found among the personal items of a man named Charles Barthrop, but they couldn't confirm if he was the "Charles" in the inscription.

Well, "Mahalo รข nui" ("thank you very much") for reading TDS today! :)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

An "Arresting" Find! :)


Hi Everyone!

Last weekend, I surfed onto a "classic TV" channel which was running a marathon of The Lucy Show, the series Lucille Ball starred in after I Love Lucy. In this show, the wacky redhead plays a cash-strapped widow who's constantly getting tangled up in money-making schemes and other comic predicaments.

I knew that Jack Kelly had appeared in an episode of The Lucy Show. I hit the "info" button on the remote to see if that episode was included in the marathon. Yesss! It was. I'd watched (actually squinted at) the episode on YouTube many moons ago, but this would be the first time I'd see it on a big TV screen.

At last the moment in the marathon arrived. I watched the 1964 episode, "Lucy Makes a Pinch", and it was even more hilarious than I remembered. And, JK was even handsomer. (And in color, too!)

However, the picture quality wasn't that great. Plus, I had to sit through interminable ads for reverse mortgages and adjustable mattresses. So, I went online and found the "The Official Third Season of The Lucy Show" on DVD! Almost faster than I could say "Desilu", the DVD set arrived in my mailbox.

Wow! Each episode is "beautifully restored" (as the box says) and the set includes all kinds of cool special features, like photo galleries and mini-bios of the guest stars--including JK.



And, I had a "ball" making these screen caps! :)

JK plays a police detective named "Bill Baker". He needs a female partner to help him stake-out "Lover's Lane" to catch a bandit named "Green Scarf Louie". Lucy is a meter maid at the station, so guess who's chosen for the stake-out? Lucy gets so flustered at the sight of Detective Baker, she forgets her own phone number!

 
Uh, now, um, what was I writing about? Oh, yes:
 
When Detective Baker arrives to take Lucy on the stake-out, he doesn't recognize her out of uniform. She's wearing a sexy black dress and he'd thought of her as "just one of the boys". (Eyebrow alert! ;>)

 

 Detective Baker (and JK) takes his work very seriously.

 

 Baker shows the meter maid what she'll be wearing during the stake-out: real diamonds (but Lucy isn't in the sky)....

 

 ...and a platinum mink. Baker reminds Lucy that these are only bait to lure Green Scarf Louie into their trap.


And so Baker and Lucy get down to business at Lover's Lane, in a Lincoln Continental convertible no less.
Baker thinks he hears the bandit. Lucy is worried that her partner will put himself in danger going after Green Scarf Louie (the detective has been awarded a medal for going above and beyond the call of duty before).

But, Bill has a different strategy in mind.


He orders Lucy to snuggle up to him, so Louie will think they're sweethearts.  

Lucy seems to get the hang of this "sweethearts" stuff pretty quickly.
 
 (One of the few times JK actually smiles in the episode.)


Suddenly, Baker realizes Louie is near, so he kisses Lucy!


She's so shocked, she accidentally hits the siren button and scares Green Scarf Louie away.

 
 Baker thinks all is lost...

 
 ...But, Lucy convinces him to give the stake-out another try.
 

Another night, another stake-out:

 
Detective Baker is obviously good at his job!
 


 
This stakeout also goes awry (it's The Lucy Show after all), but Bill finally gets the drop on Green Scarf Louie.
 

 
He tells Lucy he'll give her credit for collaring the robber. 


And, he's also taking her to the Policemen's Ball! (Since his usual Saturday night bowling was cancelled.)


As you can see from these pictures, JK looks fantastic. Do yourself a favor and get a copy of The Official Third Season of The Lucy Show so you can hear him as well. When this DVD set was originally released in 2010 it retailed for about $40.00. You can now find it online--brand new and still factory sealed--for a fraction of that price. You might even say it's a steal! ;->

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Bon Appetit, JK! :)

Hello!

When researching Jack Kelly, it quickly becomes obvious that the man loved cooking and food. Mentions of his culinary interests are peppered throughout old newspaper and magazine stories, such as this tasty tidbit from 1961:

"...But a real Irishman, Jack Kelly, the Bart of Maverick fame, passes up such things as Irish stew for Mexican dishes. He is a real lover of enchiladas."

Here's a rare color shot of JK and wife Donna (a.k.a. May Wynn) whipping up something yummy at the kitchen stove:


Learning more about JK's love of cooking has also helped me to discover other interesting foodies. For example, below is a 1959 press photo of JK demonstrating how to slice Italian bread length-wise (and, as Crocodile Dundee would say, "Now that's a knife"). There's Donna again, and the woman in the center is identified as Mary Hart.


Obviously, that's not the Mary Hart who used to host Entertainment Tonight. A bit of research revealed that this lady was actually named Mary Sorensen. She was a food columnist for the Minneapolis Tribune/Star-Tribune for over 40 years and "Mary Hart" was her pen name. Celebrities such as JK were featured in her column from time to time. (A photo at this link shows her in 1961 with famed TV emcee Art Linkletter.) Incidentally, Ms. Sorensen's husband was a food chemist who helped invent the instant version of Cream of Wheat cereal!

I've also learned a little bit about the Los Angeles restaurant scene in the 1950's, since when he wasn't cooking, JK frequented establishments such as the Valley Casa D'Amore in North Hollywood (dig those prices!):


Now, how do I know JK ate there? Because he signed the back of the menu above. I have no idea who the "Greene girls!" (to whom he wrote, "I sure hope we'll always be friends") are, however:


Trivia: The original Casa D'Amore opened on Cahuenga Boulevard in Hollywood in 1939. It was the first pizzeria in Southern California and was owned and named for brothers Franklyn and Pasquale "Patsy" D'Amore, immigrants from Southern Italy. Patsy D'Amore later opened the Villa Capri, a favorite hangout of stars such as Frank Sinatra. (Franklyn D'Amore's daughter, Connie Ruel, has a very nice blog here.)

This last photo (from 1960) is a little rough because it had newspaper "crop" marks which obscured all but JKs face. Most of the background was painted over, too. I removed the marks as best I could. Anyway, you can at least see JK enjoying his meal (and, yes, that is a poodle on his lap!) And, he's looking at Donna, but I couldn't remove all the markings from her face, so unfortunately I had to crop her out the 21st century way.
 

Well, I hope this post whets your "appetite" for more about JK, because there's lots more to come. I'm working on a series about some of JK's stage roles. Recently, I was fortunate enough to find a truly rare (and maybe even one-of-a-kind) document which provides a behind-the-scenes peek at one of JK's Broadway appearances. I also found a similar document for one of JK's television appearances, so, please stay tuned! :)