Friday, December 31, 2010

Jack Kelly: Happy New Year 2011! :)

"It's almost midnight--let's all get ready
to ring in the new year!"

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas from Barta Claus & TDS! :)

Wishing You All a Joyful Christmas
and a Blessed New Year!
From La Bartista and
"The Tall Dark Stranger There." :)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Jack Kelly: A Kornucopia of Kellectibles! :)

Hello Everybody,

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I did. I traveled to visit family. It was great sharing a meal and memories with them. Never seems to last long enough, though.

I drove home on Friday, but I didn't stop at any antiques stores along the way like I did last year. However, on Saturday (11/27) I attended the same antiques show as I did last November. It was crowded with both vendors and shoppers.

There's always a little bit of everything at this show, and you just never know what you might see. The most amazing item I saw was a 1931 Ford sedan. A real one, not a model. (I'm still wondering how they got it into the building.)

Of course, I was on a kwest for Kellectibles, not kars, so I kontinued up and down the aisles. Finally, I kame upon a booth kontaining kowboy komemoratives of all kinds. I spied momentoes of Hoppy, Gene, and Roy, and even a few of Paladin's cards. And, after a little bit of digging, I found this:

This is one of the more unusual Maverick Kellectibles I've encountered. It's sort of a coloring book, only the drawings are erasable (hence the name "Eras-O-Picture"). Alas, the erasable crayons and crayon sharpener are long gone, as is the clear "magic screen" that made it possible for kiddies to color pictures from "magazines, funnies, or picture books" without actually marking on them.

Luckily, all of the drawings in the book are intact and many of them look like they were never colored in. Naturally, most of the drawings are of Bret Maverick, but there is one drawing of Bart:

When I went to pay for this Kellectible koloring book, the vendor asked if I kollected Maverick memorabilia. I answered "Yes," and then he asked, "Haven't I sold you stuff before?"

I remembered that he'd sold me a picture of Bart a little over a year ago.

"That's right...and I had a puzzle with Bart and Bret on it that I wanted to show you then, but I didn't have it with me. Well, I brought it today. I know I stuck it one of these boxes--let me see if I can find it for you."

The vendor quickly looked through box after box, and at last he came up with this:

It's a "Jr. Jigsaw Puzzle" that's "not too hard--not too easy". And, it's "for boys and girls who want REAL puzzles" (and for fans who want a REAL picture of Bart on the box). ;->

Speaking of pictures, here's a close-up of our boys:

I believe this now completes the jigsaw puzzle portion of my Kellection. :)

As I paid for my purchases, we got to talking about the Hopalong Cassidy and Gene Autry festivals, both of which I attended this year. In fact, he gave me some "inside" info about the 2011 Hoppy fest. I don't know if I should mention the name (I don't know if it's been announced officially), but one of the guests scheduled to appear next year is an actor who co-starred in popular TV westerns which begin with the letter "L". :->

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Jack Kelly: At Home With JK! :)

Hello Again!

If you opened a copy of the latest New York Sunday News on this date (November 20) exactly 50 years ago, you would see this story:


The text reads:

"On ABC-TV, Bart Maverick roams the Wild West in search of a good card game with nary a thought of settling down with a wife in a permanent home. Though he has become identified with Bart, actor Jack Kelly doesn't share his love of a rover's life. Jack likes staying at home with his wife, actress May Wynn.

"Soon after their marriage in 1956, Jack and May moved into a three-room house in North Hollywood. Recently, their collection of paintings became too big for their living space and the couple were forced to move to a larger house in San Fernando Valley, a ranch-style home, naturally."

Here are some glimpses of the Kellys' new digs:

The caption:
"Jack likes the wide
open spaces, windows."
(And yes, May is wearing high heels.)

"Unique desk is cluttered with plans
of the Kellys' new homestead.
Discussion is interrupted by phone call."
(Probably scheduling a tee time? ;->)

I love the caption for this one:
"Pooches eavesdrop as May
explains ideas
for decorating kitchen. Jack seems bored."
(Daydreaming about that golf game? ;->)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Jack Kelly: "Broken Hand Mystery" - SOLVED! :)

Hello All!

These days, I don't often get to see the Maverick episodes on Encore Westerns, since they air when I'm usually on the freeway, bound for work.

However, last week I had an unscheduled day off after my water heater sprung a leak and began making ominous noises. I tried to remember when it had been installed. When all I could come up with was "Uh, nineteen something?", I knew it was time to buy a new water heater.

While waiting for the home improvement store to open, I got to enjoy a leisurely breakfast with Bart, by way of "Dodge City or Bust". I thought I remembered reading on the Jack Kelly Facebook page that JK had injured his hand before filming this episode and had to wear a cast. The cast was removed so he could film his scenes in "DCOB" (what a trouper!) and then replaced when he was finished filming.

Poor JK seemed to be prone to accidents. His various mishaps (including a serious water skiing accident that badly scarred his leg) have been discussed on the JK FB page. JK's hand injury is particularly intriguing because the news stories about the cast being temporarily removed apparently didn't explain what caused the injury.

Well, I found the solution to the "Broken Hand Mystery". I was leafing through a February 1961 movie magazine from the Kellection this evening, and this item in Armand ("Army") Archerd's gossip column suddenly leaped out at me:

"We hopped over to Warner Brothers to find out what's cooking over there...Jack Kelly wasn't working--and we knew why. Jack had called us a couple of days earlier to report he had broken his hand at the party he gave at his house at which we were among the guests. It was Jack's first bash in the new mansion and after all had left and he was helping wife May straighten up the place, he tripped while carrying some plates. In order to prevent a fall on his face, he braced himself with his outstretched hand. Funny thing, he told us, the fracture wasn't discovered until two days later--after Jack played 18 holes of golf with Bob Newhart!"

Wow--talk about a dedicated golfer! :0

And, that's not all I found in this magazine. There's a photo of JK and Roger Moore at a costume party. You won't believe how RM is costumed. I'll show it to you--next time. ;->

Plus: I also have a 1960 pictorial showing JK and Donna/May moving into the new home mentioned above. It's coming soon! :)

(Oh, and I did get my water heater replaced. The new one has a 12 year warranty, so I guess I'll be in hot water for a while--the good kind of hot water, that is! ;->)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Jack Kelly: WHOOOA! Look What I Found :)

Howdy Everyone,

Look what I found on YouTube:

It's the opening of "Fly Me If You Can Find Me", the episode of Banacek where Jack Kelly plays "Lou Wayne", the owner of a chartered flight service whose airplane mysteriously goes missing. JK shows up at about 5:33 into the clip. I love it when he suddenly yells "WHOOOA!" when he's talking to the pilot on the phone. And, throughout the rest of the episode when he refers to the airplane as an "aeraplane". (Must of been that New York accent sneaking in.) Enjoy! :)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Jack Kelly - Jack the Joker :)

"Jack (Bart Maverick) Kelly tells of a fellow who went to a Halloween party as an olive and the host couldn't keep him out of the martinis all evening."

(Matt Weinstock, Los Angeles Times, November 3, 1960)

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Jack Kelly: Happy Halloween! :)

Trick or Treat!

Halloween just wouldn't be complete

Without a JACK-o-lantern. ;->

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Jack Kelly - The "Kellt" of the Cobra! :)

Howdy Everyone!

I'm not really a fan of the tasteless sitcom Two and a Half Men. I would never purposely watch it. However, it's one of those shows that I'm invariably subjected to when I'm a captive audience, like in the waiting area of the 30-minute oil change place.

The only laugh-out-loud moment I've encountered on Men is where a boy is watching the film Jaws on TV with his uncle. The kid complains because the movie has been on for 40 minutes and the shark hasn't appeared yet. He thinks Snakes on a Plane is a much scarier movie because the snakes are everywhere and they pop up when you least expect it. For the rest of the scene, the boy tries to scare his uncle by suddenly yelling "SNAKE!!!" while pantomiming a snake's mouth with his hand.

Now, what does all this have do with Jack Kelly? Well, not much, although it fits right in with today's post, which spotlights JK's 1955 film, Cult of the Cobra. It's a chiller about some American G.I.s who foolishly crash a secret snake-worshipping ceremony in Asia. Back in the States, most of the G.I.s meet strange deaths, which all tie-in to a mysterious woman who can change into a--SNAKE!!!

You can watch the entire film here:

Plus, here are some rare wardrobe test pix of JK as "Carl Turner" snapped during the making of Cult of the Cobra:

(Is that a cigarette holder?)

"Yay, it's bowling night!"

JK and a curvaceous kibitzer.

"Hi, your pal Smilin' Jack here, with an unbeatable deal on this 1955 Cadillac. It was driven only
on Sundays by a little old lady..." ;->


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Jack Kelly: A 'Date' With the Maverick Brothers! :)

Hello Everyone!

How about a Date with the Maverick brothers? I have one right here. A Date Magazine, that is, from December 1960, with this fantastic full-page foto of Bart and Bret:

Date was a teen magazine published weekly in England starting in 1960. I'd never heard of it until recently. It incorporated the more famous Picturegoer fan magazine.

Date offered advice columns, fashion tips, short stories and features about music, film and TV stars, which is how our boys ended up in its pages. (Maverick was popular across the pond, too!)

The brief story accompanying the photo is titled "Oh Brother, Those Smooth Mavericks", and it explains the off-screen differences between "curly-haired" Oklahoman James Garner and "sleek-haired" New Yorker Jack Kelly. According to the story, those "smooth talking, smooth looking" Mavericks are as different as "bacon and beans" in their private lives.

JG gets most of the text (big surprise), but here's what they had to say about JK:

"Jack Kelly's upbringing was more sophisticated. Born in New York, the son of a top model, he traveled by smart car.

"He studied hard to be a lawyer, until he decided to be an actor.

"What of life now?...Kelly's spare time is zipped away on a merry-go-round of social life and sport. 'He's a human dynamo. Never happy unless he's doing something,' say his friends in Hollywood."

Well, so much for our Date. Now, hopefully Bret will go eat some bacon and beans, and leave us to ride the social merry-go-round with sleek-haired brother Bart! ;->

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Jack Kelly - Happy Birthday, JK! :)

"This should come in handy
when it's time to cut the cake."

Friday, September 10, 2010

Jack Kelly - A "Plum" of a Post! :)

Hello All!

After a very hot summer, the weather finally seems to be cooling down a bit. And, it was so nice to have a holiday weekend. Last Sunday was a beautiful day, and I drove out into the country to visit The Olde Mill ice cream attraction. What a treat! :)

And, speaking of treats: I have a special one for you. It's the guest post from "Prof. Plum", the winner of my recent photo contest. And, it looks like she's got quite a cool "Kellection" of her own. Without further ado, here's the "Prof" to tell you about two of her treasures:

"Hi Everyone!

Thanks for your patience and a BIG thanks to La Bartista for not only holding such a challenging but fun contest but for offering such a great prize. [B27 - You're very welcome! :)]

A while back I came into possession of a deck of playing cards featuring the Maverick boys on the back of the cards.

I wasn’t able to find out any information about the release of these cards but I did come across a blog post that said that Warner Bros, as a promotional gimmick for the Maverick movie, sent out boxes of Maverick playing cards. Surprisingly, it was James Garner who was chosen as the King, not Mel Gibson.

If you don’t know how to play poker, Poker According to Maverick should do the trick.

Although it doesn’t officially appear anywhere in the book, the author is none other than Bret himself. The secret to poker according to Pappy is to 'wait, wait, and wait some more until a fightin’ hand shows up. Then if it’s a big one, underplay it; it it’s second-rate, overplay it. That’s all there is to it, exceptin’ one thing: Every once in a while mix it up, to keep wise guys like me from catchin’on.' Bret went on to say 'Bart and me took Pappy’s advice to heart.' Bret explains how to play draw and five-card stud and poker etiquette, and every once in awhile a familiar name like Samantha pops up in one of the many stories sprinkled throughout the book.

One last bit of Maverick poker trivia … the playing card combo, 'QJ' has the nickname Maverick. It comes from the theme song … 'Livin’ on jacks and queens. Maverick is a legend of the west.'

Long Live the Legend!

(P.S. Professor Plum is the non de plume of Sue Ketcham.)"

Thanks so much for your informative guest post, Prof./Sue! Those cards sure are interesting. I like the "bullet" hole in them and the caption, "The last fellow who used this deck dealt off the bottom!"

I have two copies of the Maverick poker book. I think the only time Bart is mentioned is in the line Sue quoted above. I guess Bret forgot that Bart played poker, too! I think it would have been a better book if Bret and Bart could have written alternating chapters. But, it's still an entertaining read. (And, it does have that sweet color pic of the Mavericks on the front, including Bart and his, uh, wedding ring! ;->)

Wow, I had no clue about the QJ! :) I guess we learn something new every day.

Well, thanks again, Sue. I'll try to come up with more contests in the future.

COMING SOON: A "Date" with the Maverick Brothers! :->

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Jack Kelly: JK on Upcoming DVD! :)

Hi Everyone,

I just wanted to give you a "heads up" about the upcoming DVD release of the complete 1975-'76 Ellery Queen TV series on September 28. Jack Kelly guest-starred in the episode "The Adventure of the Lover's Leap" along with his Forbidden Planet co-star Anne Francis.

Click here for more info and a couple of preview videos for the 6-disc set.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Jack Kelly - Who Is That Tall Dark...Stranger? :)

Hi Everyone!

The Jack Kelly Facebook page has posted links to an endlessly entertaining blog called "Inner Toob - A Look at TV as An Alternate Reality". This clever blog puts forth the notion that our favorite TV characters all live in one big universe and makes whimsical (but logical) connections between them.

The most recent postings focus on Maverick. One posting is about the most mysterious Maverick, Brent, the never-before-mentioned sibling who suddenly materialized in season four.

And, speaking of Brent:

Here's a picture of him and his brother, Bart. Bart seems to be thinking, "Who is the tall dark stranger there...and why is he wearing Bret's clothes?!"

Here's a close-up of Brother Bart, which is dedicated to JK fans everywhere, and one very special fan (and lady) in particular:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Jack Kelly - Kraft Made More Than Just Cheese :)

Hi All!

I wanted to direct your attention to an entertaining new blog I just found which is "dedicated to the NBC Television show Kraft Suspense Theatre that ran from 1963 to 1965". It provides a comprehensive look at the anthology series, which is currently rerun under the syndication title Crisis on the "Retro TV Network". Luckily, I receive RTV and have seen all three episodes of Suspense Theatre in which Jack Kelly starred. I've been meaning to review them here, but in the meantime, this blog has a brief review of "The Name of the Game", where JK plays a professional gambler. However, unlike Bart Maverick, the gambler plies his trade with dice rather than cards.

The author mentions JK several times throughout the blog and also points out a connection between Suspense Theatre and JK's film Forbidden Planet. Enjoy! :)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Jack Kelly - The Shoot-In Continues! :)

Hello Everybody!

Now, we continue with more screen captures of Jack Kelly in "The Shoot-In At NBC".

Here, Bob Hope nervously eyes the "enemy":

(They probably didn't use real booze in these scenes, but I get the feeling the participants may have enjoyed liberal libations before the filming started! ;->)

JK asks Phil Carey who the "two characters" are at the end of the bar. PC tells him they look like "Geritol hippies".

Bob Hope tries to cheer up Steve Allen by suggesting they watch this great comic on television--Bob Hope! So, he has the bartender turn on the TV.

Suddenly, JK remembers it's time for PC's show, too. ("So why are we watching Pappy Yokum?")

(By the way, doesn't Steverino's outfit kinda remind you of JK's costume in that Batman episode?)

PC isn't too happy with the Hope show, so he decides to shoot the TV, using JK's head to steady his aim:


After this, JK and PC are seen no more. Which is too bad, because they both did a wonderful job as comical cowboys and it would have been nice to see more of them.

The special gets even sillier after this. The "comics" steal all the horses from the "cowboys", because you can't make westerns without horses. And, the horses end up hidden everywhere, even in Perry Como's bed (but this is not The Godfather, and it's a whole horse!) However, the cowboys rent more horses and charge toward the comics' hideout. Although the comics try to repel the invading cowboys with golf balls and seltzer spray, the westerners triumph at the end. (It's a wonder they didn't all catch Dodge Fever.) ;->

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Jack Kelly - Breaking News! "Young Billy Young" on Hulu :)

Yep, it's the whole movie! JK plays a baddie, but he does a great job of it:

Jack Kelly: Oh, the Cowboy and the Funnyman Should Be Friends... :)


Our guest post is coming in the near future. In the meantime, I have another exciting Jack Kelly treat to share with you: screen captures from a TV special that we've all been "Hope"-ing to see: The Shoot-In at NBC.

Yup, it's the 1967 Bob Hope show which pits TV comics against TV cowboys.

The premise: The funnymen (everyone from Don Adams to Danny Thomas) are fuming because westerns are taking over TV and taking away their jobs. So, they declare war on the cowboys.

Which really doesn't make much sense, because I checked, and at the time the special aired there were actually 23 comedy series on TV and only 12 westerns. (Or 14, if you count Daniel Boone and Cowboy in Africa.) It would have been more logical to do this show in 1957. But, since this is a comedy special, I guess it doesn't need to make much sense.

Before all the feudin' commences, though, there's the intro, where all the comics and cowboys are announced. Here's JK:

After the intro, we have Bob Hope's monologue. It's full of then-topical jokes about Governor Ronald Reagan, smog ("It's exhaust from politicians"), and even Zsa Zsa Gabor (who's still in the news today).

And, about every five minutes, this mod chick in a white mini-dress pops up in commercials where people are suddenly struck by "Dodge Fever". This terrifying illness causes its victims to become mesmerized by ugly station wagons and drop whatever they're doing so they can go buy one. (I hope surgeons and airline pilots are immune.)

Then, there's Bobbie Gentry. She's neither a comic nor a cowboy, but she'd just had a monster hit with Ode to Billy Joe, and she appears throughout the show to comment on the action by crooning a parody of the High Noon theme song. She also sings a tune called Lazy Willie which sounds almost exactly like Billy Joe.

Okay, finally, JK shows up with Phil Carey, whose brother he'd played earlier that year on Laredo. Thankfully, JK is wearing a much nicer jacket than the drab brown number he wore in "Enemies and Brothers" and that dreadful ruffled shirt is nowhere in sight:

JK and PC appear in a silly segment with Bob Hope and Steve Allen, who are in a bar commiserating about the comics' (alleged) unemployment problem. (And I bet ol' Steverino was thrilled to see one of the Maverick brothers who used to outgun him in the ratings. ;->)

Although Maverick had been off the air for five years and JK was now an itinerant cowboy guest star, he brags to the bartender (Bill Dana), "My show just got a 60 rating--30 for me, 30 for my horse!" And, although Laredo had been canceled, PC boasts, "And my show just got picked up for another 20 years!" (Maybe he meant One Life to Live, although it hadn't actually started yet. ;->).

JK is still wearing his pinky ring, too:

....To be continued! :)

NEXT TIME: See how JK uses his head as more than just a place to wear his hat!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Jack Kelly - We Have A Winner! :)

Hello All!

And "thanks" to everyone who entered the guest blogger contest.

We have a winner:

Reader "Prof. Plum" has correctly identified Jack Kelly's mystery date as Cora Sue Collins.

JK and Ms. Collins, a former child actress, were an "item" at one time. Newspaper gossip columnists had them this close to announcing an engagement or an elopement. However, as we know, JK moved on to May Wynn, and the rest is history.

While still together, a beaming JK and CSC walked the red carpet at the premiere of JK's 1955 film To Hell and Back, where they were captured in our captivating contest photo.

And, JK's bandage? According to the caption on the back of the photo, it was there because JK burned his hand in a barbeque accident! (Poor baby!)

So, well done and congratulations, Prof. Plum. We're looking forward to reading your guest post. :->

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Jack Kelly - Be My Guest...Blogger! :)

Howdy Everyone!

Have you ever wanted to try your hand at blogging? Would you like to review your favorite Jack Kelly movie or TV performance, or do you have an item of JK memorabilia you'd like to discuss here on The Tall Dark Stranger There?

Well, here's your chance to be a guest blogger! All you have to do is identify JK's mystery companion in the photo below:

A couple of hints: Obviously, the lucky lady is not May Wynn, although she is an actress. The toothsome twosome was snapped at a glamourous Hollywood event. (And, poor JK has a bandage on his hand!)

Please post your answer in the "comments" section. (And, to be fair, please don't post the correct answer on Facebook until after I've announced the winner here--thanks!)

The first person to correctly identify JK's mystery date will be my guest blogger. I'll contact you to confirm you're the winner. Then you can send me your Jack Kelly-related write-up--including photo(s), if you wish--and I'll post it here instead of my usual nattering. ;->

So, take a good look--and good luck! :)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Jack Kelly - Bundle From Britain :)

Hi Again!

Wow, it seems like we were just talking about Summer starting, and now it's practically August! Where does the time go...

Lately, I've been passing the time by reading an enchanting little book titled Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley. It's a novel about a lady who's launched on an adventure by an amazing collection of books. So, I thought we could enjoy a little adventure of our own with a couple of books which recently joined my Kellection. They're both from England and both have our boy Bart Maverick on the front.

The first book from across the pond is Maverick - Boss of the Rocking H Ranch. And, by "Maverick", they mean Bret Maverick. You see, this is the British edition of the Whitman Maverick book by Charles I. Coombs and Bart isn't in it at all. But, at least we get Bart (in his grey suit!) on the British cover:

A bookplate from the Flintshire Education Committee reveals that a previous owner was awarded this book because they displayed "commendable industry in school work during the school year ended July 31, 1962". Wow! Almost 48 years ago to the day. (And, I think the only end-of-school year award I ever won was a free cheeseburger from McDonald's for getting all A's on my report card in 6th grade! :->)

Our next bookish bundle from Britain is another Maverick "Television Story Book", or annual:

I have several of these annuals, and poor Bart is only partially shown on all the covers. I guess that's better than no Bart at all, but I think the way he's drawn here makes him also look like he's half-asleep. :-(

Anyway, this annual is filled with nifty stories like "Showdown at Powder Springs" (starring Bart, shown below; the caption reads, "They were at the coffee stage before she finished relating the story"):

It also has factual articles about riverboats ("Agents for opening the west") and luxury sternwheelers ("Just as Bart and Bret Maverick traveled aboard the 'river queens', so did thousands of people who desired comfortable transportation to western adventure, without the bump and roll of the stagecoach"). Funny, I don't remember American comic books being so educational. ;->

There are also comic strips starring the Maverick boys, including one where they help a newspaperman get elected mayor of a small town. (Hmm, why does that sound familiar?)

Incidentally, I recently stumbled upon another old book which is now in the Kellection. It's not from Britain, but it's about a famous (and infamous) figure from America's wild western days. The strange thing is, I found interesting facts about another "legend of the west" by reading it. Like, a family tree often has deep roots which influence how some of the branches grow. And, that's all I'm gonna say about it for now. ;->

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Jack Kelly - This "Way" For JK! :)

Hello Everyone!

Hope you're ready to do some time travelin'. And, be sure to dress warmly, because the Wayback Machine is set for December 1964. Location: The historic Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, PA.

A new comedy is having a try-out in Philly before heading on to Broadway. It stars an erstwhile TV gambler and a young actress who had recently played an important role in a now-legendary film.

As we take our seats, we glance at the cover of the Playbill we were handed as we entered the theater. Wow! :)

It's Jack Kelly and Collin Wilcox in The Family Way. (Well, that's the name of the play, anyway. ;->)

Our tickets were a bargain:

(The highest ticket price listed is $6.50, for New Year's Eve. )

The Playbill has a nice biography of JK, and to pass the time before the curtain rises, we read all about our favorite Maverick. Hmm...he's no stranger to the stage, that's for sure. JK debuted on Broadway at age nine in Swing Your Lady, then went on to School House on the Lot, Stopover, St. Helena, and Ghost of Yankee Doodle. As a grownup with five seasons of Maverick under his belt in 1962, he performed in summer stock and on Broadway in Sidney Kingsley's Night Life.

There's lots more interesting info in JK's bio, but the play is starting...

A couple of hours pass and it's time to go back to 2010. I'm sure we enjoyed watching JK on stage as "Phil Brennan", an agent who becomes romantically involved with a widowed actress (Willcox) whose precocious young son wants his mommy to be in "the family way" so she'll get a new husband and he'll get a new daddy.

Unfortunately, though, the play wasn't exactly Neil Simon, and, not surprisingly, the critics didn't think much of The Family Way.The production made it to Broadway in early 1965. However, it lasted a mere five performances at the Lyceum Theater. The New York Times attributed its swift demise to "negative reviews".

One of those reviews came from the Times itself. It begins:
"The story of The Family Way takes place in Los Angeles, and it's a pity it didn't stay there."

But, a review in the Los Angeles Times was scathing as well. It described The Family Way as "a sniggering attempt at comedy" and "a dim-witted, blatant and tasteless charade". (Ouch!)

In an interview years later, Ms. Wilcox (who passed away in 2009) described The Family Way as "an awful play".

Which is mystifying, because it involved a lot of talent. Besides Jack Kelly and Collin Wilcox, there was playwright Ben Starr (whose curriculum vitae includes episodes of just about every classic TV show) and director Michael Gordon, who'd helmed successful film comedies such as Pillow Talk with Doris Day.

Well, sometimes plays just don't gel, no matter how skilled the personnel.
And while The Family Way was stinkeroo, the Playbill is still boffo for JK fans. It's full of wonderful, quirky little details. A credit reads, "Mr. Kelly's accessories from Countess Mara and Arden for Men". Another credit states, "Scotch courtesy of J & B Rare Scotch. Gin courtesy of Old Mr. Boston Gin. Bourbon courtesy of Heaven Hill Bourbon. Champagne courtesy of Eugene Cliquot." (I wonder if these potent potables were used on-stage, or off-stage to help cast and crew forget the bad reviews? ;->)

There's also a lengthy article in the Playbill titled "The Insiders Speak Out", which presents "some fundamental facts about the day-to-day economics of Broadway." One of the industry "insiders" quoted in the article says, "Since World War II, the audience for serious plays has diminished to a considerable extent in New York." His name? Warren Caro, who was the Executive Director of the Theatre Guild-American Theatre Society--and Jack Kelly's brother-in-law at the time.

Lots of photos from The Family Way here--enjoy! :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Jack Kelly - Coming Attactions! :)

Hi All!

I'm sorry I haven't posted in a while. Actually, I'm hard at work on some nifty Jack Kelly photo features that I hope you'll enjoy. Stay tuned for:

  • Bart Maverick goes on the town!

  • The play was a flop--but the Playbill is boffo! ;->

  • Next stop: King's Row, where JK meets
    an easy rider
  • Who's the boss of Rocking H Ranch?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Jack Kelly - Have a GREYt Fourth of July! :)

Hi Everyone!

We usually associate the Fourth of July with the colors red, white and blue. However, I noticed that someone on the JK Facebook page said they wanted to see more photos of Jack Kelly as Bart Maverick wearing the grey coat he sometimes donned instead of his customary black jacket. Well, it just so happens that some pictures of a grey-coated Bart have recently joined the Kellection. I hope these "suit" you. ;->

Have a GREYt and safe 4th! :)

JK, ready to start the day! :)

Hey, big spender! ;->

"What happened to my money?"

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Jack Kelly - Road Trip! :)

Hi Everyone!

Yesterday, I made like Willie Nelson and went on the road again. This time, the Bartistamobile breezed down rustic two-lane roads flanked by cornfields to reach historic Hardin County, OH.

My destination? The 17th annual Gene Autry Days festival, which took place at the Hardin County Fairgrounds. It honors the legendary singing cowboy who was namesake to cast iron cap guns which helped Kenton, OH, survive the tough economic times of the Depression.

This good-natured gathering seemed slightly more "homey" and intimate than the Hopalong Cassidy Festival I recently attended. Housed in the Community Building, Gene Autry Days featured dozens of tables spread with vintage western collectibles and festival souvenirs. I bought a commemorative mug and another Maverick jigsaw puzzle.

I also chatted with some of the very nice memorabilia vendors. I was wearing a t-shirt with the Maverick logo and the man from whom I bought the puzzle asked me if I collected only Maverick memorabilia or James Garner items in general.

"Actually, I collect Jack Kelly."

"Jack Kelly? Hmm...I don't think I have much with him. He's not worth as much as Garner." [!]

I answered gently, "To some people Jack Kelly is worth quite a lot." (And I didn't mean in just the monetary sense.)

I explained that I maintained a blog about JK. The seller seemed genuinely interested and said he would look it up. So, if he sees this: Howdy! :)

I spoke with another vendor who had attended a western film festival in Memphis, TN, earlier this month which included a panel discussion with Clint "Cheyenne" Walker, Will "Sugarfoot" Hutchins, and Ty "Bronco" Hardin. (Wow, wish I could have gone to that festival, too!) He said Clint Walker was very nice and Will Hutchins was hilarious. He also showed me a leather Maverick toy holster he'd just bought. It was etched with a portrait of Bret Maverick. I wondered if it had Bart's likeness, too. Nope. But, the vendor did say he appreciated JK and had just seen him in a "space movie" (Forbidden Planet).

Another vendor saw me strolling by and said he liked my shirt. :)

At one end of the building was a makeshift stage. Entertainers performed as visitors milled about the tables. I was privileged to arrive at the festival just in time to hear Johnny Western sing. He was in Gene Autry's band for a while. And, if you don't recognize Johnny Western's name, I guarantee you recognize his signature song--The Ballad Of Paladin from the immortal TV western Have Gun--Will Travel.

Mr. Western, resplendent in his silver-spangled black cowboy clothes, finished his set with The Ballad of Paladin in a voice that was as full and firm as ever.

A cowboy look-a-like contest then took over the stage, emceed by an affable "Gabby Hayes" who I thought looked a bit more like Arthur Hunicutt (another grizzled actor). There was also a Roy Rogers, an Annie Oakley, a Cat Ballou, a Lash LaRue, a James Arness/Marshal Dillon, a John Wayne (plus "a John Wayne as Rooster Cogburn"), and, of course, a Gene Autry. The plain John Wayne looked eerily like the real deal and won hands down.

After enjoying a home-cooked chicken sandwich and a piece of the best pecan pie I've ever tasted, I bid this fun festival "Adios" and visited more sights in Kenton, including the Hardin County Historical Museum and the striking Gene Autry mural and monument: Then, I moseyed over to nearby Mt. Victory and visited a few antiques stores. Before leaving Mt. Victory and heading home, I ate supper at the famous and friendly Plaza Inn. In addition to a scrumptious buffet, they also have an airstrip out back in case you drive a Cessna instead of a Chevy! :)

Jack Kelly - Bart Maverick's Greatest Hits! :)

Wow! Look what I just found on YouTube--an original Maverick commercial starring "that rambling gambling man BART MAVERICK"!!! :->

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Jack Kelly - It's Summer (Stock) Time! :)

Hello Everyone!
Well, it's officially summer now. However, it's felt like summer for a month here. I remember when it never used to get really hot until August. This year, it got hot in May and has stayed that way. It was 90 degrees when I was driving home from work this evening and 83 degrees when I took my dog for a walk later. But, there was a nice breeze blowing so it wasn't unbearably warm.

I don't know if they do this much any more, but another thing I remember about summer is television actors hitting the straw hat circuit. In my hometown, the now-defunct Kenley Players presented big-name TV talent in summer stock vehicles such as The Sound of Music, Camelot and Mame. Further west, in cities like Indianapolis, Chicago and Milwaukee, other homegrown Huroks hosted stars in venues ranging from dinner theaters to canvas tents where audiences could see their favorite TV stars acting outside of the box.

When Maverick ended in 1962, Jack Kelly swapped his Stetson for a straw hat to tour for three months in summertime productions of The Moon is Blue, Under the Yum Yum Tree and The Music Man. Since I own a program and several production stills from JK's The Moon is Blue, I'm going to focus on this play.

In June of 1962, JK arrived in Indianapolis, IN, to star in The Moon is Blue at the Avondale Playhouse.

The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis by David J. Bodenhamer and Robert Graham Barrows states the Avondale Playhouse was regarded as "one of the Midwest's top professional summer stock theaters" and it "contracted nationally recognized stage and screen personalities to headline casts composed largely of local talent." The "playhouse" was actually a candy-striped tent situated at a shopping center. Plays were presented "in the round" inside the tent, which could seat 1200 people.

In the racy comedy The Moon is Blue, JK portrays "Donald Gresham", a playboy architect who falls in lust with "Patty O'Neill", a highly moral young actress he meets on the observation deck of the Empire State Building.

(Here's the one Mama warned you about! ;->)

Donald wines and dines Patty, but she will not compromise her virtue.
Finally, Donald realizes there's only one way to get Patty, and that's to go back to the Empire State Building and propose to her.
(Note the pinky ring and the "JAK" monogram on his shirt cuff. :->)

Other stops in
The Moon is Blue's orbit included Traverse City, MI, where this autographed program came from.