Saturday, June 5, 2010

Jack Kelly - How the West Was Fun - Again! :)

Hi Everybody,

Today's post may look like a rerun, but I just found some additional information about the When the West Was Fun special--and a much better copy of it on DVD--and I wanted to share it with you.

While watching the DVD I bought last Saturday, I noticed that the picture quality left a lot to be desired, as you could tell by the grainy screen caps I posted. Plus, a news brief scrolled across the bottom of the special at one point, and I realized someone had simply taped this landmark special from TV and copied it to a DVD. Grr.... >:(

I wondered if I could find a better copy of it somewhere, so I checked eBay. Well, not only did I find a better copy of When the West Was Fun on eBay, I actually found the show's producer, Brad Marks! His son, Michael, is selling sharp, "director's cut" DVDs of the special on eBay right now. How "sharp"? Have a look:

As you can see, the color and clarity are far better. If interested in purchasing the authentic DVD, search the seller name marcos1brad on eBay.

And, of course, I had to ask about you-know-who. This is what Michael told me his dad remembered about JK's stint on the special:

"Jack was a politician who lived in Orange County, California. During the show Dad, Jack, Neville Brand and Slim Pickens played cards during breaks."

JK also has a very funny card-playing scene in the special with Neville Brand of Laredo (on which JK guest-starred) and Lee Van Cleef (his Commandos co-star) which erupts into a full-scale bar room brawl. He even smashes a bottle over the head of Alan Hale, Jr. (who guest-starred in two of JK's Maverick episodes!) Bart Maverick also makes a cameo appearance by way of a Maverick clip.

Speaking of bottle smashing, Michael let me in on another little secret: In a scene where host Glenn Ford is demonstrating how fake prop bottles are usually used in western film fights, he accidentally conks Larry Storch of F-Troop on the head with a real bottle! (They left the scene in the special.)

There's also a clip of a fight scene from Bonanza where the Cartwright boys display an unprecedented lack of brotherly love. And, Pernell Roberts wasn't too forgiving in real-life either after When the West Was Fun aired--according to a 1979 article in the Pittsburgh Press he claimed his image was used without his permission and sued ABC, the network that ran the special!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Jack Kelly - "Will He Be Drafted?"

Hello Everyone,

One of the movie magazines I bought over the weekend contains an unusual story which fits in with Memorial Day.

To get a better perspective on the story, let's take the Wayback Machine and travel back to the fall of 1961:

Service quotas were increasing in the US military due to Cold War tensions building in Berlin, Germany. According to an AP news story at the time, the draft was stepped up sharply by President John F. Kennedy in August of 1961, when 18,000 men were called.

Twenty-five thousand men would be called by the Army in September 1961, at the time the largest call since the Korean War. Twenty-thousand men would be called in both October and November.

Anxiety over the possible outbreak of war even seeped onto the placid pages of Photoplay, which reported that it had received "an avalanche of letters" from readers asking: "Which stars will be drafted?...Will a married actor be called?...What about Elvis?...Which actors are in the Reserves?..."

Photoplay answered, "Because of the impossibility of answering each question personally, we decided to publish a list of the most popular movie and TV stars and their draft status. Those most likely to be drafted, according to information provided by members of the Los Angeles Board of Selective Service, are unmarried males between the ages of 21 and 26. Within this group, the 23 year-olds would most likely be called first. However, young men from 18 to 21 are also eligible for the draft, and those in the Reserves are subject to call even before a national emergency is declared. Men between the ages of 26 and 36 would probably be taken only in a national call-up. Those over 36 would be tapped only in case of actual war."

One of the popular stars listed in the story is Jack Kelly. He turned 34 in 1961 and had already served his country in the Air Force. Photoplay noted "the specific draft status of each star is confidential and cannot be released to the public". But, here is how they speculated about JK's possible draft status:

Although the crisis in Germany led to the construction of the Berlin Wall, a national emergency in the US was averted, meaning JK and the other stars weren't called up in 1961. If they had been, however, I'm sure they would have proudly served.

I would like to say "Thank You" to all current service men and women (including my nephew, who is deployed in Iraq) and to take a moment to remember all those who've served in the past, including my dad, my older brother, and JK.