Saturday, July 18, 2009

Jack Kelly on TV - Come Fly With Me!

This rare clip from The Chrysler Theatre was posted on YouTube because of lovely Lee Meriwether's appearance--however, the real star here is high-flyin' Jack Kelly (and his pilot is pretty well known, too). The episode is titled "Double Jeopardy", with JK playing private eye Fred Piper. Incidentally, the year is actually 1965:

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Kelly Pages: How Bret Maverick Got A Brother!

I found a very nice article about JK in Google's newspaper archives. It was authored by Janet Kern and was originally published on March 17, 1958--so it's another oldie but goodie.

The story is far too long to post in its entirety, but here are some of the highlights:

"Just 18 weeks ago, a 30 year-old star was born--a miracle which can happen only on TV and which has happened only on ABC-TV, under the guiding hand of Warner Brothers.

"What happened was: On November 10, 1957, Warner Brothers' new ABC western, a Sunday night sensation called Maverick, unveiled a second star. Where, previously, 'Bret Maverick', as played by James Garner, had been the week-in, week-out star of the series, on November 10 along came 'Bart Maverick'--played by Jack Kelly.

"Viewer reaction was instantaneous--Bart was no Bret; Kelly was no Garner; the 'new' was not the 'familiar'. Now, just 18 short weeks later (one-day weeks, according to TV's manner of doing things like Maverick), fans are agog with questions about 'that handsome Bart Maverick'."
The article goes on to give a lot of background on Jack Kelly's life and career up to that time and explains how he came to be on Maverick. And, it concludes by answering some of those questions about Bart Maverick (which some JK fans are still asking today!):

"So, Bart Maverick was born 18 Sundays ago, in the person of Jack Kelly, who'll be 31 on September 16. And now, ga-ga girls all over the US are writing to me and asking 'How tall is Bart Maverick?' (He's 6'1", girls); 'What color is Jack Kelly's hair?' (It's brown--and so are his eyes); 'How old is Bart Maverick?' (I've just told you); and--sigh--'Is Jack Kelly married?' (Yes, he married actress May Wynn on November 10 [1956]--the day viewers first met Bret Maverick's brother.)

"Final bit of helpful information: May calls Jack 'Kelly' because he doesn't look like a 'Jack' to her. Which is May Wynn Kelly's business...I know only that looking like James Garner was worth a lot of jack to Kelly."