On September 29, 1969, a new quiz show premiered on the NBC television network. Titled Sale of the Century, its ebullient emcee was none other than Jack Kelly.
An actual admission ticket for Sale of the Century
A typical publicity blurb for the show read: "Jack Kelly (remembered as TV's Bart Maverick), is the star and host of NBC Television Network's new daytime game show, Sale of the Century, which tests the general knowledge, reflexes and shopping savvy of three contestants each day." The game "...was designed for every housewife who has ever succumbed to the temptation to pick up an irresistible 'bargain'."
I'm sure we've all seen the many Sale promophotos (like this one) of JK hamming it up with grocery items:
This 1969 photo was inexplicably used to illustrate
a 2015 article about investing on the Financial Times website!
Well, here's a pic of our favorite quizmaster actually hosting the show:
Items up for "Sale" include
a Hoover vacuum cleaner, Samsonite luggage...and a mynah bird!?
If we fans want to watch Jack Kelly in Maverick these days, we can pop a disc into the DVD player or computer. But, what about when Maverick originally aired, in the days when there were only three major networks and no way to record shows at home? What happened if you had only one TV and someone else in the family wanted to watch Ed Sullivan, which meant you missed Bart and/or Bret that week? Or, if Maverick wasn't shown in your town at all? (It seems strange, but Maverick didn't originally air in all markets.)
Well, I did some digging, and it turns out Henry J. Kaiser, the show's primary sponsor, addressed the latter problem in 1958 by announcing that Maverick would "blanket the country" and be seen in more U.S. cities than ever before. The way Henry J. saw it, it would be almost un-American not to air Maverick: "It is high time to quit selling America short and to put into action the faith, courage and work that will swiftly get the country moving forward full blast. Selling will be a major key to unleashing the forces that will take our people to unprecedented heights."
In other words, the more eyeballs on Maverick, the more sales for Kaiser:
The folks who finally got to see Maverick were pretty excited about it ("YES, IT'S TRUE, MAVERICK IS HERE!"):
"They were both born Maverick...Bret and Bart...brothers who accepted life as a gamble, but who would settle for nothing less than an honest game."
And, the public's love for Maverick didn't cease when the series vamoosed from ABC's lineup in 1962. It was pretty popular in syndication, too. Below are a couple of 1963 newspaper ads from Lima, Ohio:
Here's a 1965 ad from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, complete with daily schedule (can you name the episodes from their descriptions?):
Finally, here's a 1973 ad from Des Moines, Iowa:
I read in an antiques column that interest in a popular TV show character often fades about 25 years after the last new episode of the character's show airs. That would have been 1987 for Maverick. Fortunately, Bart and Bret Maverick's popularity has extended into the 21st century, even though they're not so easy to find on the airwaves anymore. Until recently, Maverick was running on the Encore Westerns cable channel. Then, diginet Me-TV announced the show was joining their Fall 2016 schedule, then abruptly announced it wasn't. Oh well...thank goodness we have new ways of watching those Maverick boys nearly 60 years after they first rode onto the TV range. :)
On Monday 9/5 I posted a lobby card from Jack Kelly's film FBI Code 98. This film was directed by Leslie H. Martinson, who also helmed 18 episodes of Maverick.
Sadly, the talented and prolific Mr. Martinson passed away on 9/6, at the age of 101. His obituary in the New York Times includes a great photo of JK and Roger Moore with Mr. Martinson. This photo also appeared in a article about JK which was published in TV Weekly in 1960 and which I blogged about in 2011.
Roger Moore shared some interesting tidbits about working with JK and Mr. Martinson in his autobiography My Word Is My Bond. You can read them here.
BTW, Mr. Martinson wasn't the only long-lived Maverick director. Richard Bare, who directed 11 episodes of the series, was also 101 when he passed away in 2015!
Hey, another YouTube find - JK in Alias Smith and Jones ! Although his character's name--Dr. Chauncey Beauregard--may have a Maverick-li...
Search This Blog
Welcome to The Tall Dark Stranger There, a fun and informative blog about that Maverick man, Jack Kelly! You'll find lots of rare photos in TDS. And that's not all--you'll also get in-depth info about the pictures and so much more. Plus, TDS is the exclusive showcase for the Kellection--an ever-expanding treasure trove of Jack Kelly memorabilia "kellected" by the author, La Bartista! So, spend some quality time with the tall, dark stranger here--and don't forget to invite your amigos, too! :)
One thing I respectfully ask, however: If sharing TDS, please share a link to (http://jackkellytribute.blogspot.com) or to a specific post rather than copying and pasting individual images to sites such as Pinterest or Facebook. I'm aware that images from this blog have been copied, altered, and posted elsewhere. It saddens me when TDS is treatedas just a convenient source for "Throwback Thursday" pictures after I've worked so hard to research and write it. I'm all for "sharing"; however, the photos on TDS are meant to enhance the text and vice-versa. I've tried very diligently to discover the factual story behind each image. So, when one of these photos is copied and plopped down on another site without linking back to TDS, people may not get the whole "picture". Thank you for your consideration. :)