Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Merry Olde "Maverick" :)

Hello Everyone!

Over 30 years' worth of digitized issues of a British television guide recently rolled into the Kellection on DVD. For a nostalgia nut and research junkie like me, this is almost akin to winning the lottery or having Christmas every day. In fact, it may take me until Christmas to read every issue. But, I don't mind. I'm having a ball learning more about British TV and, at the same time, discovering which American shows made a ripple across the pond in the late 1950's and early 1960's.

US cartoons like Rocky and Bullwinkle, Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear also appeared on the British telly. And sitcoms such as Dennis the Menace, which was re-titled Just Dennis. And, of course, westerns such as Gunsmoke, which was called Gun Law when the original half-hour episodes first aired in the UK.

I noticed most of the US westerns seemed to go over big in Britain, especially Wagon Train. The big draw there was Robert Horton as scout "Flint McCullough". I counted at least five articles about him. Horton also played the London Palladium at the height of his Wagon Train fame.

Our boys Bart and Bret Maverick were pretty popular, too. They arrived on the British ITV network in 1958 and appeared on and off there for the next several years.

Predictably, James garnered most of the attention in the TV guide. I found three articles about JG. Not every issue has been digitized, though, so maybe Jack rated an article or two of his own in the issues that are missing.

I did find an amazing behind-the-scenes photo of JK that I hadn't seen before. Judging from the overturned stagecoach in the background, I'm thinking this may have been snapped during the filming of The Burning Sky episode of Maverick. JK looks ruggedly handsome (even though the caption labels him as "Maverick's brother"). And, what is that guy doing with the shotgun?! :0

JK also pops up all over the program listings:

Finally, I found some kudos for Kelly and Maverick among the letters sent in by viewers. In 1960, a housewife in Manchester, UK, wrote: "I think of myself as a 'Western hater', but one programme I wouldn't miss for anything is Maverick. It is such a pleasant change to see a Western that is light-hearted. These Maverick brothers certainly possess something that the other heroes lack--a sense of humour. I would like to applaud the acting of both James Garner and Jack Kelly..."

So, it's clear that Maverick was a hit in merry olde England.

I'm up to the mid-1960's issues now, so if I make any more JK sightings, I'll let you know. Cheerio! :)