Saturday, March 20, 2010

Jack Kelly - Best of the West! :)


Spring has finally sprung, and it was such a lovely day today, I thought I'd go antiquing.

There was an antiques show about 40 miles away. I made the pleasant drive in no time, but was disappointed by what I found when I arrived.

This recurring show is typically packed with sellers all around the grounds. Today, however, the selling area was smaller (maybe because another event was being held on the grounds) and there were far fewer sellers than usual.

I did manage to find a booth that looked interesting. The guy had a ton of old paper stuff, including comic books. I asked him if he had any Maverick comic books. No, he didn't, but my inquiry sparked a lively discussion of Warner Brothers TV westerns between the vendor, myself, and a chatty bystander.

Fellow Kelly fans, I'm afraid we may have an uphill battle in our efforts to obtain more parity as a Maverick for JK.

When I confessed I preferred JK and Bart, the seller winced and shook his head dismissively.

"Nope, James Garner is Maverick. That's all there is to it."

The chatty bystander wasn't much help.

"Is Kelly still around? Boy, he sure got heavy after Maverick."

Well, you're not exactly Mr. Svelte yourself, buddy!, I thought as I walked away. >:(

But, not to worry. After I left the antiques show, I visited a nearby antiques mall where I found a 1958 TV Guide with a very interesting story about the beginnings of the movie western. It also touches on the TV westerns of the day.

The story opens with a two-page color photo of some top sagebrush celebrities. And, guess who is featured on the first page of the photo:

Yep, that's Jack Kelly--not James Garner--who is standing next to John Wayne while surrounded by other Western royalty such as Gary Cooper, Gene Autry and James Arness.

It's the best of the west, and JK is literally right in the middle of it! :)

And, that wasn't the only Kellectible I stumbled upon. Next time, I'll share some helpful home decorating tips from Jack and Donna Kelly (which, strangely, don't mention clown pictures). ;->

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Jack Kelly - Maverick is His Name, Too! :)

Hello Everybody,

I noticed that Linda Alexander, author of the forthcoming Jack Kelly biography, has proposed a campaign on Facebook to "rebrand" Maverick in the public's mind so that they'll think of Jack Kelly as well as James Garner whenever the show or role is mentioned.

And I'm all for it! :)

In fact, that's one of the reasons I started this blog, to help people remember--or perhaps learn for the first time--that James Garner wasn't the only Maverick.

Now, I have nothing against Jim Garner. He's a well-loved actor who's had a long, successful showbiz career. I grew up enjoying Garner in The Rockford Files and those Polaroid commercials like everyone else. And, if he doesn't devastate you at the end of The Notebook, well, then you'd better make sure your heart hasn't turned to stone.

However, when it comes to Maverick, usually James Garner is all you hear about. It's as if Jack Kelly has been mysteriously edited out of people's memories of Maverick.

Believe me, I've received plenty of blank stares at antiques shows when vendors ask me if I'm looking for anything in particular and I tell them I collect JK memorabilia. Then, I mention Maverick.

"Oh, I have lots of Maverick stuff with James Garner, but, sorry, nothing with Jack Kelly."

About a year ago, when I first became aware of JK, Encore Westerns was running Maverick promos where present-day poker players gushed, "Maverick is James Garner!" There was nary a mention of JK, or even Roger Moore. One would have thought that Garner was the lone star of the show.

Shortly before that, John McCain and Sarah Palin branded themselves "mavericks" during the 2008 presidential campaign. Blogs and newspaper op-ed columns were filled with references to the "real Maverick", and as shorthand they usually showed a still of James Garner in his black Bret costume. Bart never made it to the primaries.

However, what irks me even more than Jack Kelly's contribution to Maverick being forgotten is when it's simply ignored, or summarily dismissed. Like when people say,"Jack Kelly was the other guy. James Garner was Maverick."

Or, "Jack Kelly was the guy we put up with to see James Garner in Maverick."

Even JK once said, "James Garner was Maverick--I was his brother."

Someone on Facebook wondered if such statements actually bothered Jack Kelly.

Apparently, they did.

I found an excerpt from a 1985 James Garner biography by Raymond Strait which quotes JK:

"...So far as I was concerned, the only negative aspect of Maverick, which I learned to understand and worked very hard to overcome, was being known as Bret Maverick's brother.

"Jim Garner was Maverick. The public always saw him bigger than me and that hurt because it diminished my posture. I was painfully aware of it."

Strait says that JG and JK never discussed this disparity, but both were aware of it. JK concluded:

"As the winner of the battle of the Mavericks without having to lift a finger, Jim didn't need to say anything...but I regard that man with genuine appreciation."

I don't think Jack Kelly knew how really good he was as Bart, or how much he was appreciated. He stayed with Maverick from 1957 until it ended in 1962. His last words on screen were spoken as a Maverick in 1991.

Yet, James Garner is still the default Maverick.

So, let's follow Linda's lead and spread the word: Jack Kelly is Maverick, too! :->

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Jack Kelly - Happy St. Patrick's Day from JK!

"Mr. Muldoon, I wished for 'more green'
--not 'Moore green'!"


Sunday, March 14, 2010

On the Wings of Recovery :)

Hello Everyone,

Well, I'm feeling (and looking) much better after my run-in with "Cat the Ripper" last weekend. ;-> A change in medication helped speed up my healing and I'll be returning to work tomorrow.

I want to thank everyone for their get-well wishes and especially for their prayers. I know those prayers lifted me on the wings of recovery.

Since I'm flyin' high again, I thought I'd post this wonderful photo of Jack Kelly and May Wynn at an airport as a special "thank you".

I love this pic, and I'm sure it will brighten your day, too! :->