Monday, June 22, 2009


Welcome to The Tall Dark Stranger There..., a fan's simple yet sincere appreciation of Jack Kelly.

Mr. Kelly was an actor best known for his role in the television series Maverick. However, he had a long, varied career that stretched from Hollywood to City Hall (he served for a time as mayor and city councilman in Huntington Beach, CA).

Until a few months ago, I really didn't know--or care--much about Jack Kelly. Oh, I knew he was the 'other guy' on Maverick, but I never saw him on the show. Or, at least, I don't remember if I did. I only knew James Garner as Maverick.

And, for the longest time, I assumed Jack Kelly was Grace Kelly's brother. I later learned Princess Grace did have a brother named Jack, but he wasn't Jack Kelly the actor.

That was the extent of my Jack Kelly knowledge: Bret Maverick's brother, yes; Grace Kelly's brother, no.

Then, a very sad time in my life occurred. My mother was hospitalized early in 2009 during what turned out to be her final battle with heart failure. I would spend my mornings with Mom and go to work in the afternoon.

Before going to the hospital every morning, I'd turn on the television just to hear the sound of another human voice in the house. I had enough sadness in my life then, so I avoided the morning news shows.

One day, I clicked onto the Encore Westerns Channel. Maverick was just starting, so I watched it for a while.

Now, I was never really into Maverick before (I preferred 'serious' Westerns such as Have Gun--Will Travel and Gunsmoke), but I found myself tuning into it each morning. I could never watch an entire episode, because Maverick started at 9:00 am and I tried to be at the hospital by 10:00, when Mom's doctors usually made their rounds. But, what I saw of it, I enjoyed, and it helped lift my spirits a little.

At this point, Encore was airing the final episodes of Maverick, which means they all starred Jack Kelly (James Garner had left the show in a contract dispute by then).

I thought Kelly did a good job as Bart Maverick. But, he was just part of the series in general to me--I didn't take any special notice of him at that time.

Sadly, Mom's condition continued to deteriorate. I had no time or desire to watch television. I stayed close to Mom's side until the very end...

After a couple of months had passed, my life began slowly settling back into its normal routine. I worked full days again. When I came home, I just wanted to relax and get away from the world. I discovered that Encore showed Maverick in the evenings, too. They were showing some of the earlier episodes, and I became better acquainted with Bart Maverick.

There was one episode--The Jeweled Gun, I believe--where Bart removes his jacket and reveals his tall, lean frame clad all in black.

I was instantly smitten. And, I wondered, how on earth did I ever miss this Jack Kelly guy?!

I streaked onto the Internet and looked up everything I could find on the man.

Thus, The Tall Dark Stranger There... is here to share some of the stuff I've learned about Jack Kelly. And, to share some of the stuff I've bought pertaining to Mr. Kelly. Mostly, though, it's just a fun place for JK fans. I hope you'll mosey on over whenever you can. :)