Saturday, February 27, 2010

Jack Kelly on TV - White Snow, Endless Ice :)

Okay, I give up.

It snowed all day yesterday. I drove home from work on unplowed streets, feeling like I was in an episode of Ice Road Truckers.

It snowed all last night. I was awakened this morning by the repetitive scraaaaape, scraaaaape of a neighbor shoveling their driveway.

I thought all the snow we've had would be a melted memory by now. But, no.

I'm resigned to the fact that I probably won't see anything green until St. Patrick's Day. So, I'm embracing winter by taking a look at Jack Kelly in "White Snow, Red Ice", an episode of Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theater which originally aired on March 13, 1964.

JK is"Fred Piper" (a private eye character he would portray three times on the Chrysler Theater) in what the St. Petersburg Times described as "a sophisticated, tongue-in-cheek spy story in the James Bond manner."

Piper pretends to be a skiing stuntman in order to help lovely jewel thief Senta Berger defect. He also works to free an American businessman who's been kidnapped by Communists.

One of JK's other curvy co-stars in the episode was Grace Lee Whitney, who would shortly become well-known in a little show called Star Trek. She revealed in her autobiography (The Longest Trek: My Tour of the Galaxy) that "White Snow, Red Ice" was actually an unsold pilot for a JK/Fred Piper series. It was filmed in the Mammoth ski resort area in California's Sierra Nevada mountain range.

Ms. Whitney played a ski instructor, but didn't enjoy her role very much because she'd injured her neck during a previous acting job. She was still in extreme pain and wearing a neck brace that she removed to film her scenes. And, Senta Berger became temporarily snow-blind during filming.

With everything they went through, it's a shame "White Snow, Red Ice" didn't launch a JK series. Well, maybe it will show up on Retro TV or some other nostalgic network some day.

In the meantime, here's a peek at Piper:

"I ordered steak but they Senta Berger instead!" ;->

A video clip of JK in another Piper episode of The Chrysler Theater can be seen here.