Monday, January 15, 2018

"The Kook-Krazy Kellys" :)


My neighborhood looked like a wintry wonderland this weekend after a storm left a few inches of snow on the ground, with more flakes forecast to fall.

The Bartistamobile's doors were frozen shut (thankfully, I finally got them open) and the snow plow made it only half-way up my street. So, it was a good weekend to just stay indoors, keep warm and nosh on comfort food. I whipped up a big pot of chili on Saturday afternoon and made a pork roast on Sunday evening.

Speaking of cooking: I've written about Jack Kelly's culinary skills before, and here's a wonderful 1960 newspaper story about "The Kook-Krazy Kellys":

"To Sunday night western TV fans, he's Bart 'Maverick', but to his lovely wife Donna Kelly, he's 'Jack the Giant Cooker'. Jack and Donna, known to their friends as 'the cooking Kellys', live in a small honeymoon cottage in the Hollywood hills, the kitchen of which is a his and her's workshop for their at-home hobby--cooking.

But cooking for the Kellys is actually more than a hobby. Jack and his wife qualify as 'gourmets' in the absolute definition of the word. 'We don't cook for just ourselves,' says Donna, 'we practically run a small restaurant'.

The More The Merrier 

Hardly a weekend passes at the Kelly home that they don't serve dinner for ten, or more often, twenty people. Friends, calling on the phone, who ask Jack 'what's cooking?' mean it literally.

'Although we're both Irish,' says Jack, 'we love Italian food. Donna called me one Friday at the studio and said she was in the mood to start cooking up an Italian dinner for Sunday and asked if I would call my mother and ask her to come. We had planned for just three people but every time somebody called and found out that we were cooking our 'Italian-special' they somehow got an invitation. It started a chain reaction and at two o'clock Sunday afternoon, sixteen people sat down to a meal it had taken us three days to prepare.'

The twelve-course feast took almost eight hours to eat. At eight that evening everyone was full and there were still two courses to go.

'We don't eat like this all the time,' Jack told his friends when they had finished. 'We go on a health-food kick about once a month. If we didn't, I would get so fat I couldn't fit into any of my Maverick clothes.

On the other hand, Donna, known professionally as May Wynn, tips the scale at a delicate 105 and doesn't worry about gaining weight. 'I grew up in an Italian-Irish section of New York. I was the most famous kid in the neighborhood because I could eat more than anyone else in my family. To my Italian friends that was the best compliment one could give them.'

Culinary Courtship

Jack and Donna are currently writing a cook book which will be published in the near future. All of the recipes are original and since cooking for each other was, and has been, an important part of their courtship and marriage, they are writing their own love story around the different dishes. Appropriately, they have titled the book, 'Love 'N' Oven'.

'When I was dating Jack,' recalls Donna, 'we didn't like to go out for dinner very much. It was more fun to cook for each other and when he would call I'd tell him to bring a steak and we would have a bar-b-que.'

'This was great', retorts Jack, 'but more often than not she would call me back and tell me to bring enough steak for eight people. She was always having friends drop by unexpectedly. It got so expensive I finally had to marry her. Now I'm lucky if we get away with serving only eight.'

According to Jack there is only one drawback to their three-day Italian cooking sprees. Being Catholics, they don't eat meat on Friday so they can't taste the sauces while they are being prepared. The aroma really tortures them.

'But you should see us on Saturday morning,' says Donna. Kelly and I race for the cooking pot to be the first to taste our concoction.'

The Kelly kitchen, which is very large considering the smallness of their one-bedroom cottage, is well-equipped for their cooking artistry. But in the space meant for a large modern range, there stands a small stove. 'There are only four burners on top,' explained Jack, 'but take a look at that 30-inch oven. We used to have a seven-hundred dollar range but we gave it away to charity because it had a normal-sized oven. We picked up this 30-inch job on sale for a hundred and fifty bucks.' This little-big oven, which is their pride and joy, has seen the lion's share of use. Last year, Donna cooked a 30-pound roast beef in it.

'It was a monster,' Donna remembers. 'I could hardly lift it and it was bigger around than I am. We took a picture of it.'

So, in the evenings after a day on the golf course together, when Jack isn't working, Jack and Donna are usually busy before their huge fireplace compiling recipes, checking ingredients or experimenting in the kitchen with new ideas.

All of their recipes include one thing, says Jack: 'Taste frequently and season with lots of love.'" :)

It's a shame that Jack and Donna's cookbook was never published. Oh well, there's always something cookin' in TDS--please stay tuned! :)

Friday, January 12, 2018

The Night Holds Lobby Cards ;)


Presenting a sensational Mexican lobby card for The Night Holds Terror which just joined the Kellection:

Translated it reads: "'Terror in the Night' - You desire to kill this man!"

Here's JK in the same image on the US lobby card (which, according to the stamp on the back of the card, is actually from Alberta, Canada!):

You can be sure that more about Jack Kelly is "in the cards" in TDS--please stay tuned! :)

Saturday, January 6, 2018

That Has a "Crooked Ring" To It... ;)


Let's "ring in" 2018 with some ephemera relating to Jack Kelly's 1955 movie Crooked Ring. Don't recognize the title? That's what the film was called in Great Britain. In the US, it was known as Double Jeopardy.

Below are scans of the film's British press brochure. It consists of one double-sided sheet. It's also legal-sized, so I fit as much of it as I could in my letter-sized scanner.

Highlights include one small photo of JK and a blurb which says, "UP-AND-COMING STAR IN 'CROOKED RING'--Jack Kelly, handsome six-footer in Republic's story of big-money blackmail, Crooked Ring...has only been in Hollywood since 1950, but from his record it appears he's likely to stay. To date, he has appeared in seventeen feature motion pictures and has been starred in six top-rated TV shows. For those who are superstitious, it might be well to note that Kelly's first Hollywood appearance was in a studio tryout play titled 'All It Takes Is One Good Break.'"

[Of course, this ignores the fact that JK acted in Hollywood films as a child, and thus his "first Hollywood appearance" took place years before he participated in studio showcases at Universal-International.]

Another write-up mentions JK: "TWO VILLAINS STUDIED LAW--Robert Armstrong and Jack Kelly, the two villains in Republic's drama of big-time blackmail, Crooked Ring...both studied to be lawyers prior to embarking upon acting careers. Armstrong studied law for three-and-a-half years at the University of Washington law school, while Kelly pored over legal books for one-and-a-half years before turning to thesping. World wars diverted each from the study of law. Armstrong served in World War I, while Kelly did his duty in World War II. Following their respective bits for their country, each sought a career in the entertainment world."

JK is also described in the brochure as "the believable 'cad' on whom [Gale] Robbins lavishes her extra-marital attentions".

Where in the world will TDS travel to next? Please stay tuned and find out! :)

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Nostalgia's Nothing New Pt. II :)


Here's another nostalgic look at Maverick, this time from a movie magazine:

The year is 1973. Maverick, absent from network television for eleven years, is saluted as an "All-Time Favorite TV Series" as part of a "Nostalgia Special" feature. The glowing (but not entirely accurate) tribute takes us back to show's beginning:

"Fall 1957. A tall, rangy kid from Oklahoma costumed in a Mississippi gambler's outfit rode onto ABC-TV, a pre-season choice for early cancellation. For most of that season we called the kid Bret Maverick but we gradually realized we'd better remember his 'real' name--James Garner. (Actually, it was James Baumgarner and shortened for marquee effect).

"The pre-season doomsayers were wrong. Although Maverick competed with Ed Sullivan and Steve Allen in its time slot on Sunday nights, it became a nation-wide sensation. The Maverick boys (Bret had a brother, Bart, played by Jack Kelly) were something different, aimless drifters who made their living gambling. Bret was the one with a sly sense of humor and droll wit. Bart was less funny [B27--"Bart could be more serious"--there, I fixed it ;)] but just as fast with a gun. Here was a western that didn't take itself seriously; the scripts were laced with humor.

"Every week the boys had to outsmart the smarties who were out to take them. Frequently the very people to whom they were lending their willing hands turned into villains--even the damsels! Only the brothers' inherited sixth sense for spotting bad hombres--and hombresses [B27--is that even a word?]--on the loose kept them from getting shot in the back. The Maverick boys brought a lively quality to a heretofore staid and stolidly serious West.

"At the height of its popularity, trouble hit the set. Garner grew increasingly restless being tied to a long-running series. A dispute between him and Warner Bros., which produced the series, ended up in court, but not before Warners suspended their maverick star.

"Kelly continued as Bart and a British cousin, Beau Maverick, joined the clan. The studio believed that Roger Moore as Beau would add the same romantic flavor as Garner to the show. But Maverick fans wanted the one and only Bret. Without him, the ratings lagged. And after the 1960 season, Maverick was put out to pasture. [B27--Yes, it was put out to pasture after 1960--in 1962, to be precise.]

"Since then, Garner went on to become the first major television star to outfox his studio over a long-term contract dispute. It took him a lot of years, but once it was settled, Jim became a big movie star, one of the few ever to make the transition from small screen to leading man chores.

"Two seasons ago [1971], Garner returned to television for another series try, Nichols, in the year of the 'movie star' on television. But, along with James Stewart and Henry Fonda, Garner's show was shot down by both the critics and ratings. Fortunately, he's continued successfully in films.

"Jack Kelly, who hails from Astoria, Long Island, and had to learn to ride horses for Maverick [B27--JK actually learned how to ride before then], has popped up all over the tube, from drama to comedy to hosting his own daytime game show, Sale of the Century.

"Probably the most successful of the Maverick clan has been their little-known relation Beau. Roger Moore has to be the highest-paid 'spy' in the world, first as The Saint, now as the renowned Agent 007 James Bond. Of the three, Bret, Bart and Beau, Roger's become the big sex symbol! [B27--But some of us still prefer Bart! :)]

"Maverick holds up well even by today's standards. It was fresh, fast, funny and one of the best written shows ever. To this day, we miss it." [B27--Thank goodness for DVDs and nostalgia channels in 2017!]

Captions: Upper left--"Moore joined the show after Garner walked off. Producers hoped he would be a romantic image. Here with Kathleen Crowley, he does his best." Upper right-- "Sometimes Garner played dual role--'Pappy Maverick' as well as Bret. 'Pappy' had the same eyes for 'purty girls' as his two sons. The girl is Kaye Elhardt.' Lower left--"Bret was fast with a funny line--and just as fast with his Colt .45!" Lower right: "Bretless Maverick lasted just one two seasons. While Bart and Beau were popular, it was Bret the some fans tuned in to see each week."

Now that we've remembered Maverick, don't forgot to come back and read more about JK in TDS! :)

Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Night Before Christmas With Bart Maverick! :)

'Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the store,
People were buying presents galore.

The store would be closing promptly at nine.
Bart Maverick arrived with mere moments to spare--
He dashed through the door at 8:50 plus a hair.

As the clock ticked Bart raced through the aisles,
Grabbing gifts he hoped would bring smiles:
"What cologne does Gentleman Jack prefer?
Probably the same as Buckley, I'm sure."

Bart chose presents for Bret, Pappy and Brent
(A present for Beau he'd already sent);
Gifts for Cindy, the Countess and Stella,
Plus Doc Holliday, that huckleberry fella.

Bart bought carrots for Goldie his equine friend
And then his shopping spree came to its end:
"Closing time folks!" the cashier cried aloud,
And around the register arose quite a crowd.

Bart thought, "Shopping was difficult, no doubt,
But now comes the hardest part: checking out!
Winning money for these gifts also was tough--
Hopefully all this moolah will be enough!" :)