Tuesday, November 24, 2015

If It's Tuesday, This Must Be "Black Tuesday" :)

Hello All,

Since it's Tuesday, I thought I'd shine some light on Black Tuesday, a noirish little number in which Jack Kelly co-starred in 1954.

Heading the cast is Edward G. Robinson, who plays a murderous racketeer named Vincent Canelli. Canelli is about to be executed. All executions are scheduled on Tuesday in the prison where he's incarcerated--hence the title of the film.

JK enters the picture as cub newspaper reporter "Frank Carson". Instead of assigning a more seasoned journalist to cover Canelli's execution, Carson's boss chooses the newbie to provide a less hackneyed perspective of the event. 

Unfortunately, Frank is kidnapped by two of Canelli's henchmen before he reaches the prison.

"Is that a gun in your pocket?" Yes, and Frank Carson (JK) isn't glad to see Canelli's henchmen. BTW, Warren Stevens (left) would reform and accompany JK to the Forbidden Planet in 1956. The bad guy on the right, Russell Johnson, later became a professor and spent a few years marooned on an island... ;->

One of the men assumes Frank's identity and helps Canelli avoid execution with just moments to spare.

Guards are killed and hostages (including a doctor and a priest) are taken as Canelli escapes from the prison with "Manning", a young killer/bank robber played by Peter Graves. Manning is badly wounded in the escape. Canelli wants Manning kept alive because he's the only one who knows where the loot from the robbery is. Canelli covets the cash so he and his moll can flee the country. Canelli, Manning, and the hostages are driven to a hideout where Frank Carson and other captives are also being held.

Carson himself is later wounded when he tries to stop Canelli from shooting the priest (played by Milburn Stone of Gunsmoke fame). 

British lobby card

The young reporter lies unconscious on the floor as the priest tries to reason with the ruthless gangster, as illustrated in the still below (that's Vic Perrin as the doctor at right).

Below is a color version of the same scene, shown on this dynamite Italian lobby card which just joined the Kellection. The title Pioggia Di Piombo literally translates into English as Rain of Lead, no doubt a reference to all the bullets fired in the film.

Here's a close-up of the nearly shirtless JK in repose:

What happens next? Well, a synopsis of the entire film is available on the Turner Classic Movie (TCM) website.

The entire film itself was previously viewable on YouTube, but it's been deleted. Well, maybe it will show up again on YT some Tuesday...or Wednesday, or Thursday. ;)


Monday, November 23, 2015

A Blast From the Pages of the Past :)

Hello Everyone,

I love delving into vintage magazines and books to learn more about Jack Kelly. I've also enjoyed countless hours scrolling through various newspaper archives to research posts such "All the World's A Stage With JK".

While wandering around these archives, I've also found some great, rare pictures of JK to share. They're PDF images scanned from old newspapers, so they're not the clearest pictures, but I'm sure you'll enjoy them, nonetheless.

Remember my 2009 post about "JK Goes To Rodeo", with photos from a Japanese magazine showing JK at a rodeo? For years, the date and location of this rodeo was a mystery (at least to me--I don't read Japanese). Then, I finally learned that JK was the grand marshal of the annual Palm Springs Rodeo parade on January 28, 1961. The "queen" of the rodeo was actress Barbara Nichols, who'd co-starred with JK in "The Third Rider" episode of Maverick.

But, Ms. Nichols was actually a replacement rodeo queen! Thanks to a newspaper archive, I discovered that the original 1961 queen was none other than Bart Maverick's Charleston partner, Dorothy Provine, pictured here with JK putting a rodeo bumper sticker on a vehicle at the Warner Bros. studio:

Ms. Provine had to abdicate at the last minute due to an eye ailment. So, Ms. Nichols assumed the crown--er, cowboy hat. Below, she's clowning with JK. (He's plugging his ear because she's pretending to shoot at the photographer.) The newspaper story says that "thousands" of spectators were on hand to watch the Palm Springs parade and rodeo.

Now, here's a cute shot of JK getting a friendly smooch from one of his poodles in 1958:

I'd read that JK was a guest at Sammy Davis Jr.'s November 1960 wedding to Swedish actress May Britt. What I didn't know was that JK and James Garner had presented a humanitarian award from the Los Angeles chapter of the Shriner's organization to Davis earlier that same year. (That's JK second from right with his hand on Sammy's shoulder; singer Arthur Lee Simpkins is next to JG.) Strangely, the photo caption IDs JG as "Bart" and JK as "Bret"!

Finally, here's JK (at right) in 1969 presenting another award, this time to an amateur actor in Akron, Ohio. JK was appearing at the Canal Fulton Summer Arena at the time.

Coming up in TDS:
  • Forget "Black Friday". You don't want to miss "Black Tuesday"! :)
  • Part III of "All the World's a Stage With JK".
  • And more--stay tuned!