Wednesday, April 27, 2016

A Pair Of Jacks--Kelly and Klugman! :)

Hi Everyone,

Jack Kelly worked with a lot of great actors. One of them was Jack Klugman, born this day, April 27, in 1922.

In honor of Mr. Klugman's birth anniversary, I'd like to share these fabulous stills of JK--and JK!--from "Time Of Flight", an episode of Bob Hope Presents The Chrysler Theatre which originally aired on September 21, 1966. 

"Time Of Flight", written by prolific screenwriter and author Richard Matheson, was a far-out installment of the anthology series. Directed by Joseph Sargent and produced by Stanley Chase, "Time of Flight" was also an unsold pilot for a series which would have starred Jack Kelly. A review in the Dover, OH Daily Reporter described it as "Another suspense story...Jack Kelly guest-stars as Al Packer, a private eye down on his luck who accepts as a client one Buddy Markos (Jack Klugman), a small-time hood. When Markos is cornered and killed in Packer's apartment, Packer calls the police--only to have Markos come alive again. The story is full of resurrected corpses, and the whole thing is saved from incredibility by the fine performance of its leads, particularly Klugman. Juliet Mills stars as Packer's girl, Mary."

The original "snipe" on the back of this tense photo says, "PAIR OF JACKS...Jack Klugman (l) and Jack Kelly (r) are paired in a suspense drama about 'murder' victims who won't stay dead in 'Time Of Flight' for 'Bob Hope Presents The Chrysler Theatre', on Wednesday, September 21 (9:00-10:00 pm ET) in color over NBC-TV. Juliet Mills also stars in the murder mystery with a twist of science fiction." (Hmm, sounds like a case for "Quincy" ;>)

Everyone looks pretty tense in this pic, too, especially Mr. Klugman. The snipe says, "DOORWAYS TO TROUBLE...Jack Klugman, Juliet Mills and Jack Kelly star in a drama about 'murder' victims who won't stay dead in 'Time Of Flight', the first science fiction offering from 'Bob Hope Presents The Chrysler Theatre'."

Mr. Kelly and Ms. Mills look much happier (and cozier) here. Incidentally, Ms. Mills (daughter of Sir John Mills and sister of Hayley Mills) would later co-star in the sitcom Nanny and The Professor with Richard Long, JK's old pal from Maverick.

More trivia: Jack Klugman is, of course, fondly remembered as "Oscar Madison" in the original TV version of The Odd Couple. Jack Kelly also played Oscar in various stage productions.

The "Decades" nostalgia network is saluting Mr. Klugman by airing some of his TV performances today. (I hope they'll do the same for the other Mr. K when September 16th rolls around.) :)

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Jack Kelly: The Day He Gambled His Life! :)


Here's a fantastic article from a 1961 fan magazine:

"Jack Kelly: The Day He Gambled His Life

by Pat Younger

'If you don't have the guts to gamble on a fair deal, you have no business in show business,' declared Jack Kelly, as he got up for the twentieth time in fifteen minutes to check on how things were progressing on the Maverick set.

We were there to get the inside story on Jack's gamble with his life --his professional life. Disputes with a studio can very often lead either to oblivion for an actor, or to a better deal for him.

Jack seemed to be able to give his attention to half a dozen things at once--checking the stunt men, anticipating his next scene, switching wardrobes, signing autographs for a group of visitors--and still carry on a logical conversation with our interview questions.

Quite a feat, if you've ever been on the back-lot at Warner Bros. studio and witnessed actors and horses from Cheyenne chasing the same from Sugarfoot and all ending up in the middle of a Maverick setting. It's dirty, dusty and on this particular day, it was also hot.

We were trying to up-date Kelly with his new alignment in the famous Maverick series, and check on his recently completed picture A Fever In The Blood for Warners. Everyone has been very conscious of the running disagreement Jim Garner has been having with the studio, and his subsequent withdrawal as a Maverick co-star. This was bound to have some bearing on Kelly's situation.

Jack had also left the studio at the same time Jim did, but is now back before the cameras with his new co-star, Roger Moore. Pursuing Jack to the edge of the action (obviously the only way we were going to get our story before quitting time), we pressed for a further explanation.

'An actor has to consider the fact that he is not the only one taking a gamble when he goes into a TV series,' Jack continued. 'The studio is a big corporation, and they have many far reaching policies that often times never concern, or touch the actor. Now, I fight for my own ideas, but the studio has to hold to its ideas of policy, too. Basically, the studios are trying to be fair to all parties. This isn't always the easy or popular solution to problems, but they're real.

'My recent difference with the studio wasn't my first. In fact, the first time I fell out with a studio--and it happened to be Warners, but could have been any other major studio--I was using a clause in my contract in the hopes of bettering my position. This is only a natural thing for any person to do.

'I had signed a standard seven-year contract with Warners to do a series called Kings Row. My agent and I thought this theme had great possibilities and I was looking for a long, long run. We filmed six segments but, like may other ideas, the viewing public turned thumbs down.

'My agent and I felt we could better my situation by doing feature pictures at other studios,' Jack explained. 'In short, we were looking for a way out of the contract.'

'The studio also had a problem. One particular clause regarding residual payments was particularly awkward and they wanted it struck out. What they wanted struck out served to give me a way out. I said no.

Suddenly, Jack smiled. 'It turned out to be a complete victory for the studio. My option was dropped and I went home and sat for four months without the phone ringing once for work.'

After this lull in Jack's career (the last he has suffered through) prospects busted wide open and one film part followed another. He was in a full swing of activities when the Maverick series came along.

'But we gambled on this Bret-and-Bart brother western,' pointed out Kelly. 'Once again, my agent and I were impressed with the material and felt there was a great future in doing the role (Jack is in his fourth season, as proof of this conviction). However, it was necessary for me to gamble fifty percent of my potential gross income in order to accept the Maverick part. That's quite a gamble, when you add it up.

'There had been may westerns offered me, but it was a stroke of luck and good judgment that made my agent settle on the part of Bart. We took a gamble that paid off. The studio took a greater gamble on the entire series. Surely they deserve their full credit.

'A few months back, the writers' strike threw everything out of line,' Jack went on. 'No one knew exactly where they stood...including the studio. A few of us felt we were suddenly free agents again. Like Jim Garner and other actors. I was notified of my suspension by the studio. We felt this was a technical breach of our contracts, so I sent them notice that my obligation to them had ceased. The studio immediately replied [that] this wasn't true. The company maintained I was still under contract to the studio.

'Again, let me point out, all the basic contracts between actors and studios have been in general practice (with union approval) for many, many years. There are slight variations to each one, but generally speaking, these same contracts have been successfully completed--happily completed--by many of the top stars in the business.

'But before matters grew serious enough to test the point in a court of law, Warners called and we sat down to talk the matter over. Naturally, there has to be some compromise in any negotiation. You can't take the position that your side of the question is the only side. This is ridiculous. They gave and we gave. In the end, they made up a new contract.

'The studio has been good to me and J. L. Warner has kept other agreements we made--and they weren't all written down in black and white.'

Our conversation was again interrupted while we dragged our chairs to the fourth location spot of the afternoon. Settling ankle deep in the dust again, we gingerly brought up the question of Jack's so-called 'feud' with Jim Garner.

Kelly smiled and answered, 'Whenever two guys like Jim and I work together as well as we did, some writers seem to feel that they must start a rumor of a feud. Don't ask me why, they just do. So far as Jim and I are concerned, there's never been one word between us. We've had a lot of fun working together and anything you hear to the contrary is just a lot of baloney. In fact, we still play golf together every week or so.'

We couldn't help but wonder how it must feel to Jim Garner now that his hold-out from the studio and the Maverick series has him sitting on the outside looking in, while Kelly became the senior co-star.

Kelly puts it this way: 'Due to the fact that Jim had been working on the Maverick series for some time before I was brought in because the studio realized it was technically impossible to keep going with one star, some people got the impression that I wasn't getting my full credit.

'That isn't true. It took very little time before Jim and I were sharing on an equal basis. Not only in time exposure on the TV screen, but in public acceptance. The fan mail reflected this.'

When asked how he thought Jim would make out with his present adamant position, Jack answered, 'I couldn't possibly look at Jim's situation through my eyes and draw my own conclusions. I not only couldn't, I wouldn't want to. This is a gambling business...but each guy has to do his own gambling.'

Like Jim Garner, Edd Byrnes, Clint Walker and so many other stars, contract disputes are bound to arise, but Jack's appreciation that there are always two sides to a problem and that the other side is gambling, too, will serve to keep him riding high with Lady Luck. His new contract to do pictures as well as the Maverick series should serve as ample proof of his gambling wisdom."