Friday, November 17, 2017

"My First Bull Fight" :)


You may remember this fantastic photo of Jack Kelly which I posted in 2012. Well, I found "My First Bull Fight", the 1955 episode of TV Reader's Digest in which JK starred as Sidney Franklin, the Brooklyn-born bullfighter. And, I made some screencaps for you to enjoy!

Sidney Franklin is painting bullfighting posters in Mexico. But, his heart really isn't in his work, maybe because he's never seen a real bullfight:

After observing a bullfight and then imbibing a bit too much tequila, Sidney rashly declares that instead of just painting a bull, he will actually fight one. He takes a crash course in bullfighting from a famous torero and then tests his skills at a local ranch:

Sidney decides he's proven himself. He doesn't intend to participate in an actual corrida and kill a bull (and possibly get killed himself). But, news of the "American Torero" has spread and his "manager" demands that he follow through.
Finally, it's time for the debut of the reluctant matador. Sidney discovers that facing an angry toro in the actual bullring is a lot different than just practicing at the ranch:
The amateur torero gathers his courage and stares down his opponent:

Then, he takes his sword and prepares for the moment of truth:

Sidney bravely watches as the bull charges toward him...
...And then draws his weapon:
Moments later, Sidney is stunned to realize that he's vanquished his first bull!
"My First Bull Fight" is a wonderful showcase for JK's acting talent. He goes from being an uninspired artist to a tipsy braggart and finally to a courageous matador--all in one half-hour episode! And, he's always in motion so it was hard to get decent screen caps. JK is especially kinetic in the scene where Sidney is drinking tequila. He's also hilarious in this scene--the person who said JK delivered comic lines "like a load of coal" obviously never saw him in "My First Bull Fight". 

Special mention must also go to young George Huerta, who amusingly plays "Manuel", Sidney's pint-sized sidekick.

Needless to say, JK is muy guapo (very handsome) as Sidney Franklin. But, those intense bullfighting scenes? El toro appears in stock footage while JK convincingly makes his matador moves on a set. Probably the closest he came to a real bull was if steak was on the menu in the studio commissary. ;)
What's coming up next in TDS? Please stay tuned and find out! :)

Saturday, November 11, 2017

A Veterans Day Salute 2017 :)

Hello Everyone,

In honor of Veterans Day, here's a vintage photo of Jack Kelly (as "Kerrigan") from the 1955 Audie Murphy bio-pic To Hell And Back:

The snipe on the reverse of the original linen-backed still reads: "A BATTLE-MAD SQUAD LEADER AND HIS MEN. Audie Murphy appears in To Hell And Back, Universal-International's great war drama starring Audie Murphy in the Technicolor CinemaScope filmization of Murphys own best-selling biography, chronicling the emotion-packed story of the heroic Texas youth who became the most-decorated soldier of World War II. Rear, 1 to r, Richard Castle, Charles Drake, Murphy. Front, l to r, Brett Halsey, Jack Kelly, Gregg Palmer and Paul Picerni."

Plus, here's an amazing video for U.S. Savings Bonds which opens with scenes from To Hell And Back (keep an eye peeled for JK):

TRIVIA: John McIntire, who appears in the bonds segment of the video with Murphy, also co-starred with JK in the feature film Sally and Saint Anne and in the 1963 Wagon Train episode "The Fenton Canaby Story". Actress Barbara Rush co-starred in Magnificent Obsession (1954) in which JK made an uncredited appearance and later acted alongside him in the 1972 Ironside episode "Cold Hard Cash". Barney Phillips, who is uncredited in the bonds video, acted with JK in the 1955 thriller The Night Holds Terror and in the 1956 film Julie starring Doris Day and Louis Jourdan.

"Thank you" to all veterans for your service to our country. :)

Tuesday, November 7, 2017


(detail from original 1964 illustration by John Lopes,
captioned/tinted in 2017 by La Bartista)

Friday, November 3, 2017

Ready For the Weekend! :)


Jack Kelly and co-star Madelyn Himes look like they're ready for the weekend to start on this vintage lobby card for Love and Kisses (1965). No matter what your week was like, I hope your weekend is a great one. Please stay tuned for more about JK in TDS!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Life's A Beach With JK! :)


Well, October's nearly over and it's finally feeling like Fall. You may have turned the furnace on to keep the house cozy. However, you may need to switch back to the air conditioner when you see this muy caliente German lobby card for Canasta de Cuentos Mexicanos (a.k.a. A Basket of Mexican Tales), with Jack Kelly and co-star Mari Blanchard enjoying some fun in the sun:

Have a wonderful weekend and, as always, please stay tuned for more fun with JK and TDS! :)

Monday, October 23, 2017

Nostalgia's Nothing New :)

Happy Monday!

Here it is 2017, and we still fondly remember Jack Kelly, who would have been 90 years old on September 16. And Maverick, which marked its 60th anniversary on September 22, is currently airing on ME-TV, along with other 1950's western favorites such as Gunsmoke and Wagon Train. Television's vast past can also be revisited on Decades, Antenna-TV and similar "retro" channels.

But, nostalgia is nothing new. Almost 50 years ago, the Chicago Tribune newspaper published a special supplement saluting "Twenty Years of Television":

Maverick had ended its original network run only a few years previously, but it was already considered TV history. James Garner appeared on the back cover of the supplement:

And, JG and JK were pictured inside:

Here's the complete image, from an original photo in the Kellection:

It's interesting to see how many of the other TV shows pictured on the supplement covers (including I Love Lucy, Perry Mason, and even The Ed Sullivan Show) can still be seen today on the nostalgia networks. 

Well, I look forward to continue looking back at JK with you. Please stay tuned! :)

Friday, October 13, 2017

Maverick In Person! :)

Happy Friday!

No, you're not seeing things--that is James Garner on the Jack Kelly blog. And, you've probably never seen this incredible image before, because it wasn't taken by a professional photographer. It was snapped by an unknown fan, perhaps at the 1958 Illinois State Fair, where JG appeared as a grandstand attraction along with other performers including Jane Russell and Jonathan Winters. (If anyone knows what the pictured event actually was, please let me know!)

As you can tell by the banner in the background, JG is promoting the "Maverick Special" Jeep, which is partially visible behind him. Also, it's a little hard to see, but the tie the gentleman in the white shirt is wearing says "Maverick" and "Jeep".

This next shot is a bit blurred, but it gives another candid view of what it was like for JG (and no doubt JK) during personal appearances. 

It's obvious "Maverick" (and Maverick) was very popular as JG is dwarfed by a crowd of adoring fans:

Jack Kelly also made his share of personal appearances during the original network run of Maverick, including this one at a home show in Arizona in 1959 ("Through the courtesy of Kaiser Gypsum and Warner Bros...") :

Sometimes, either one or the other Maverick was set to appear at an event, such as a 1959 agricultural extravaganza called "Farm-Orama" which was staged at a sprawling farm near Richwood, Ohio. A local newspaper rather vaguely announced:

"The highlight of the two-day event will be the appearance on the grounds of either James Garner (Bret Maverick) or Jack Kelly (Bart Maverick), stars of a television western. The Kaiser Aluminum Co. is sponsoring the visit, with whomever appearing expected to be on hand during the afternoon of both days. He will tour the grounds via a stagecoach pulled by a multiple pony hitch."

Unfortunately, the estimated 30,000 visitors who showed up for the first day of Farm-Orama saw neither JG or JK take that stagecoach ride. Another local paper indignantly reported that Maverick was a no-show and wondered if either actor had really been scheduled to attend. ("Was the appearance of 'Maverick' a wild dream of a publicity agent seeking a means of attracting hundreds and more hundreds to the event?...This newspaper wants to know who is responsible for forcing such a 'dirty' trick upon thousands of its readers.")

But, then "Faux Maverick" appeared at Farm-Orama. That is, a stand-in costumed to "represent" Maverick made an appearance. A newspaper stated that "It was not determined whether he represented Bret or Bart Maverick." It was also revealed that neither JK or JG could attend the event due to "prior commitments".

Well, Jack Kelly (and sometimes even James Garner) will always show up here in TDS. What's coming up next? Please stay tuned! :)