Thursday, December 28, 2017

Nostalgia's Nothing New Pt. II :)

Hi!

Here's another nostalgic look at Maverick, this time from a movie magazine:


The year is 1973. Maverick, absent from network television for eleven years, is saluted as an "All-Time Favorite TV Series" as part of a "Nostalgia Special" feature. The glowing (but not entirely accurate) tribute takes us back to show's beginning:

"Fall 1957. A tall, rangy kid from Oklahoma costumed in a Mississippi gambler's outfit rode onto ABC-TV, a pre-season choice for early cancellation. For most of that season we called the kid Bret Maverick but we gradually realized we'd better remember his 'real' name--James Garner. (Actually, it was James Baumgarner and shortened for marquee effect).

"The pre-season doomsayers were wrong. Although Maverick competed with Ed Sullivan and Steve Allen in its time slot on Sunday nights, it became a nation-wide sensation. The Maverick boys (Bret had a brother, Bart, played by Jack Kelly) were something different, aimless drifters who made their living gambling. Bret was the one with a sly sense of humor and droll wit. Bart was less funny [B27--"Bart could be more serious"--there, I fixed it ;)] but just as fast with a gun. Here was a western that didn't take itself seriously; the scripts were laced with humor.

"Every week the boys had to outsmart the smarties who were out to take them. Frequently the very people to whom they were lending their willing hands turned into villains--even the damsels! Only the brothers' inherited sixth sense for spotting bad hombres--and hombresses [B27--is that even a word?]--on the loose kept them from getting shot in the back. The Maverick boys brought a lively quality to a heretofore staid and stolidly serious West.

"At the height of its popularity, trouble hit the set. Garner grew increasingly restless being tied to a long-running series. A dispute between him and Warner Bros., which produced the series, ended up in court, but not before Warners suspended their maverick star.

"Kelly continued as Bart and a British cousin, Beau Maverick, joined the clan. The studio believed that Roger Moore as Beau would add the same romantic flavor as Garner to the show. But Maverick fans wanted the one and only Bret. Without him, the ratings lagged. And after the 1960 season, Maverick was put out to pasture. [B27--Yes, it was put out to pasture after 1960--in 1962, to be precise.]

"Since then, Garner went on to become the first major television star to outfox his studio over a long-term contract dispute. It took him a lot of years, but once it was settled, Jim became a big movie star, one of the few ever to make the transition from small screen to leading man chores.

"Two seasons ago [1971], Garner returned to television for another series try, Nichols, in the year of the 'movie star' on television. But, along with James Stewart and Henry Fonda, Garner's show was shot down by both the critics and ratings. Fortunately, he's continued successfully in films.

"Jack Kelly, who hails from Astoria, Long Island, and had to learn to ride horses for Maverick [B27--JK actually learned how to ride before then], has popped up all over the tube, from drama to comedy to hosting his own daytime game show, Sale of the Century.

"Probably the most successful of the Maverick clan has been their little-known relation Beau. Roger Moore has to be the highest-paid 'spy' in the world, first as The Saint, now as the renowned Agent 007 James Bond. Of the three, Bret, Bart and Beau, Roger's become the big sex symbol! [B27--But some of us still prefer Bart! :)]

"Maverick holds up well even by today's standards. It was fresh, fast, funny and one of the best written shows ever. To this day, we miss it." [B27--Thank goodness for DVDs and nostalgia channels in 2017!]

Captions: Upper left--"Moore joined the show after Garner walked off. Producers hoped he would be a romantic image. Here with Kathleen Crowley, he does his best." Upper right-- "Sometimes Garner played dual role--'Pappy Maverick' as well as Bret. 'Pappy' had the same eyes for 'purty girls' as his two sons. The girl is Kaye Elhardt.' Lower left--"Bret was fast with a funny line--and just as fast with his Colt .45!" Lower right: "Bretless Maverick lasted just one two seasons. While Bart and Beau were popular, it was Bret the some fans tuned in to see each week."

Now that we've remembered Maverick, don't forgot to come back and read more about JK in TDS! :)

Sunday, December 24, 2017

The Night Before Christmas With Bart Maverick! :)

'Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the store,
People were buying presents galore.

The store would be closing promptly at nine.
Bart Maverick arrived with mere moments to spare--
He dashed through the door at 8:50 plus a hair.

As the clock ticked Bart raced through the aisles,
Grabbing gifts he hoped would bring smiles:
"What cologne does Gentleman Jack prefer?
Probably the same as Buckley, I'm sure."

Bart chose presents for Bret, Pappy and Brent
(A present for Beau he'd already sent);
Gifts for Cindy, the Countess and Stella,
Plus Doc Holliday, that huckleberry fella.

Bart bought carrots for Goldie his equine friend
And then his shopping spree came to its end:
"Closing time folks!" the cashier cried aloud,
And around the register arose quite a crowd.

Bart thought, "Shopping was difficult, no doubt,
But now comes the hardest part: checking out!
Winning money for these gifts also was tough--
Hopefully all this moolah will be enough!" :)
 

Saturday, December 23, 2017

JK in "The Night Holds Terror" Pt. IV



This very photo of a pensive JK was scanned and used in
Linda Alexander's 2011 print bio
'A Maverick Life--The Jack Kelly Story'
The terrifying night finally ends at the Courtier home and it's time to pick up the balance of the $2000 from the car dealership. Batsford decides that Gene will accompany the thugs to ensure that Doris won't call the police.

The frightened Doris tells him that she'll notify the police if Gene doesn't contact her within 30 minutes. Batsford becomes nervous and threatens Doris before the trio and Gene leave.

After they stop at a gas station, Logan reminds Batsford that Gene, while earlier pleading for his life, had mentioned that his father was the wealthy owner of a chain of grocery stores and could afford to pay a sizeable ransom for him.

Batsford calls Doris from a phone booth and demands a $200,000 ransom from Gene's father. By this time, Doris has already called the police, since she hadn't heard from Gene in the specified time. When Batsford puts Gene on the phone, he blurts out that the trio is monitoring the police frequency on the radio. 

Doris contacts the police again and they cancel the radio dispatch on the case. A reporter learns about the kidnapping, but the police also silence the press to help ensure Gene's safe return. 

When Batsford phones Doris again to ask about the ransom payment, the police are able to partially trace the call and narrow down the kidnappers' location.

While Batsford goes to find another vehicle, Gene is able to knock Gossett out. Logan, who had told Gene he barely knew Batsford and Gossett, tries to help Gene escape by hotwiring a car. However, Batsford catches them, killing Logan and forcing Gene to make one last call to Doris as proof of life. Gene stalls on the phone, giving the police more time to trace the call and arrive at the scene. Doris is still on the line as shots are fired and is relieved when Gene comes on to tell her that he is indeed safe. 


The Night Holds Terror and JK generally received kudos from the critics. For example, The Oakland (CA) Tribune noted that JK and Ms. Parks were "especially good" as Gene and Doris Courtier. 

Here are some other interesting tidbits about the film:

  •  The film's cinematographer was Fred Jackman, Jr., who at one time was married to JK's sister, Nancy.
  • Virginia Stone edited the film on the pool table in the basement of her home.
  • In a bizarre postscript following the film's release, one of Gene Courtier's real-life kidnappers sued Columbia Pictures for damages! Portrayed as "Batsford" in the film, the convict claimed that the film invaded his privacy and damaged his reputation. It's unknown how the suit was resolved. 
Well, we've wrapped up the story of The Night Holds Terror just in time for Christmas. What's up next? "Yule" just have to stay tuned and find out! :)

Saturday, December 16, 2017

JK in "The Night Holds Terror" Pt. III

 
Back cover of Italian pressbook

Gene and his captors arrive at the Courtier home. Gene's wife, Doris, is frightened and anxious about the safety of their two children, Deborah and Steven, as their home is invaded by armed strangers.

Original still with the film's working title on the snipe. Caption reads: "GANGLAND TACTICS - John Cassavetes, David Cross and Vince Edwards hold Jack Kelly (center, seated) captive in Columbia's Terror in the Night,
produced and directed by Andrew Stone."

The Courtiers must remain silent about their situation or risk being hurt or worse by the trio. They turn away neighbors who show up unexpectedly. And, when Gene's father telephones, they cut the call short, not wanting to set off the kidnappers.
 

Original linen-backed still with Terror In the Night on the snipe
 
Another linen-backed Terror In the Night still 
 
Gosset, a ladies' man nicknamed "Dame Boy", gets drunk and tries to make Doris dance with him. Gene angrily throws a punch at him, only adding to the tension in the home.
 
 
After Batsford commandeers the master bedroom, Gene and Doris are forced to occupy a smaller room near the children.
 
 
Gosset, who is keeping watch as Batsford sleeps, nods off himself. When Logan momentarily steps away, Gene seizes his chance. He raises a pair of scissors over Gosset:
 
 
 
But, Logan returns before Gene can stab the slumbering hoodlum:
 
 
And, when Gosset awakes, he scuffles with Gene:
 
This still is from a newspaper archive. A clipping on the back dated 8/25/1955 is captioned: "With utter abandon, Courtier leaps at Gosset. There is some wild commotion for a few moments but Gene is battling against hopeless odds. One unarmed man against three gunmen is done for."
 
Please stay tuned for Part IV!

Friday, December 8, 2017

JK in "The Night Holds Terror" Pt. II


The ordeal of the Courtier family began when a hitchhiker was given a ride. Gene Courtier had given people rides before-- even though he knew it was risky--with no problems. However, this time he didn't realize his passenger (Victor Gosset, played by Vince Edwards) would carjack him and have criminal cohorts lying in wait.

Gosset demands Gene's wallet and becomes angry when he finds only $10 inside. He forces Gene to pull off into the desert, where Gosset's fellow robbers Robert Batsford (John Cassavetes) and Luther Logan (David Cross) join them.

Batsford wants to kill Gene but Logan doesn't. Gene begs for his life as he's held at gunpoint:  



Gene tells the trio if they want more money, they can have his convertible. They take him up on his desperate offer. Gosset and Logan drive Gene to where he bought the car to see what they can get for it.


Gosset and Logan are offered $2000 for the vehicle. However, the dealership has only $500 on hand and can't give them the rest of the money until the next day.

 
Batsford decides they will wait overnight...at Gene's house.

Please stay tuned for Part III!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

"A Chiller Diller" - JK in "The Night Holds Terror"

Hello Everyone!

Over the past few months, nearly a dozen stills plus other ephemera from Jack Kelly's feature film The Night Holds Terror have joined the Kellection. So, let's have a look at this 1955 thriller.

In June 1955, an item in Hedda Hopper's newspaper column announced, "Hollywood budgets its productions in the millions, but now and then an enterprising young producer comes along with a shoestring show that proves to be a sleeper. The town's talking this week about The Night Holds Terror, which Andrew Stone wrote, directed and produced with Jack Kelly, John Cassavetes, Hildy Parks, Vince Edwards and David Cross [starring]. Stone used a true story which broke within the shadow of the Valley studios--the tale of a civilian electronics employee at Edwards Air Force Base who was kidnapped by three men near Lancaster [CA] as he was driving home from a shopping expedition in Hollywood--and turned out a chiller diller that will rock the audience back on its heels."

Independent filmmakers Andrew Stone and his wife Virginia made The Night Holds Terror (originally titled Terror in the Night) for just $71,000. According to an article in the Oakland [CA] Tribune, the film's plot was actually inspired by two factual incidents, the 1954 kidnapping of realtor Leonard Moskovitz in San Francisco and a 1953 Southern California abduction/home invasion case involving the Gene Courtier family.

A 1955 story about the Courtiers in the Long Beach Independent revealed that they were paid $500 for the use of their names in The Night Holds Terror. JK played Gene Courtier and stage/TV actress Hildy Parks (making her feature film debut) played his wife, Doris. The real-life Mr. and Mrs. Courtier--whose photo appears in the film's intro--made radio and TV appearances to plug the movie during a personal appearance tour.

The Independent article also explained that the first part of the film, detailing the abduction of Gene Courtier by a trio of punks in the desert, closely followed the actual events. However, the last part of the film, where the kidnappers demand a six-figure ransom from Courtier's father, actually mirrors the Moscovitz case. Gene Courtier's father, Virgil, told the Independent, "We never had that kind of money".

Newspaper ads for the film played up the chilling "This could happen to you!" aspect of the Courtier case. "HORROR IN YOUR HOME", shouted an ad in the LB Independent. "You have to watch what they're doing to your wife...because there's a cold gun against your skull! But now you know you've got to do something...no matter what happens to you...or anyone else!"

A different ad screamed, "THEY'RE GOING TO KILL ME! I'm begging for my life...begging these vicious killers with their empty eyes and hate-loaded guns...men I never saw until now!"



The Stones also emphasized realism in The Night Holds Terror by filming it in authentic Southern California locations rather than using artificial sets. The homes, cars, businesses and even phone booths seen in the film are the real deal.



Please stay tuned for much more about The Night Holds Terror in TDS!

Friday, November 24, 2017

Violet Friday :)

Hello!

Some time ago, I bought an old photo album page containing a Jack Kelly pic and an autograph...with a bit of a mystery thrown in.

The pic isn't a mystery; it was clipped from an early 1950's movie magazine to accompany the autograph. The signature--well, it's definitely JK's. But, the inscription above the signature is a puzzler:


It reads, "First trip to San Francisco--Thank you Violet".

Naturally, I asked the dealer from whom I bought the page if they could shed any light on who "Violet" was or when JK gave this autograph to her.

Unfortunately, all the dealer could tell me was that he'd purchased a large collection of vintage celebrity autographs which were mostly inscribed to a woman named Violet. He knew nothing about her or how/when she obtained the autographs.

I'd love to find out more about this intriguing glimpse into JK's past. Who the heck was Violet? Was it JK's first trip to SF--or hers? Was he thanking her or was she thanking him? Such kwestions can drive a Kellector kwazy. If anyone out there knows anything about the mysterious autograph hound with a flowery name, please let me know! :)
Vintage violet image courtesy of The Graphics Fairy



Thursday, November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving! :)

 
I'm thankful for all of you, my fellow Jack Kelly fans.
Have a blessed and safe Thanksgiving. :)
 
Vintage Thanksgiving postcard courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

Friday, November 17, 2017

"My First Bull Fight" :)

¡Hola!

You may remember this fantastic photo of Jack Kelly which I posted in 2012. Well, I found "My First Bull Fight", the 1955 episode of TV Reader's Digest in which JK starred as Sidney Franklin, the Brooklyn-born bullfighter. And, I made some screencaps for you to enjoy!

Sidney Franklin is painting bullfighting posters in Mexico. But, his heart really isn't in his work, maybe because he's never seen a real bullfight:


After observing a bullfight and then imbibing a bit too much tequila, Sidney rashly declares that instead of just painting a bull, he will actually fight one. He takes a crash course in bullfighting from a famous torero and then tests his skills at a local ranch:


Sidney decides he's proven himself. He doesn't intend to participate in an actual corrida and kill a bull (and possibly get killed himself). But, news of the "American Torero" has spread and his "manager" demands that he follow through.
 
Finally, it's time for the debut of the reluctant matador. Sidney discovers that facing an angry toro in the actual bullring is a lot different than just practicing at the ranch:
 
 
The amateur torero gathers his courage and stares down his opponent:
 


Then, he takes his sword and prepares for the moment of truth:


 
Sidney bravely watches as the bull charges toward him...
 
 
...And then draws his weapon:
 
 
Moments later, Sidney is stunned to realize that he's vanquished his first bull!
 
 
"My First Bull Fight" is a wonderful showcase for JK's acting talent. He goes from being an uninspired artist to a tipsy braggart and finally to a courageous matador--all in one half-hour episode! And, he's always in motion so it was hard to get decent screen caps. JK is especially kinetic in the scene where Sidney is drinking tequila. He's also hilarious in this scene--the person who said JK delivered comic lines "like a load of coal" obviously never saw him in "My First Bull Fight". 

Special mention must also go to young George Huerta, who amusingly plays "Manuel", Sidney's pint-sized sidekick.

Needless to say, JK is muy guapo (very handsome) as Sidney Franklin. But, those intense bullfighting scenes? El toro appears in stock footage while JK convincingly makes his matador moves on a set. Probably the closest he came to a real bull was if steak was on the menu in the studio commissary. ;)
 
What's coming up next in TDS? Please stay tuned and find out! :)


Saturday, November 11, 2017

A Veterans Day Salute 2017 :)

Hello Everyone,

In honor of Veterans Day, here's a vintage photo of Jack Kelly (as "Kerrigan") from the 1955 Audie Murphy bio-pic To Hell And Back:


The snipe on the reverse of the original linen-backed still reads: "A BATTLE-MAD SQUAD LEADER AND HIS MEN. Audie Murphy appears in To Hell And Back, Universal-International's great war drama starring Audie Murphy in the Technicolor CinemaScope filmization of Murphys own best-selling biography, chronicling the emotion-packed story of the heroic Texas youth who became the most-decorated soldier of World War II. Rear, 1 to r, Richard Castle, Charles Drake, Murphy. Front, l to r, Brett Halsey, Jack Kelly, Gregg Palmer and Paul Picerni."

Plus, here's an amazing video for U.S. Savings Bonds which opens with scenes from To Hell And Back (keep an eye peeled for JK):


TRIVIA: John McIntire, who appears in the bonds segment of the video with Murphy, also co-starred with JK in the feature film Sally and Saint Anne and in the 1963 Wagon Train episode "The Fenton Canaby Story". Actress Barbara Rush co-starred in Magnificent Obsession (1954) in which JK made an uncredited appearance and later acted alongside him in the 1972 Ironside episode "Cold Hard Cash". Barney Phillips, who is uncredited in the bonds video, acted with JK in the 1955 thriller The Night Holds Terror and in the 1956 film Julie starring Doris Day and Louis Jourdan.

"Thank you" to all veterans for your service to our country. :)

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Remembering...

 
JACK KELLY
1927-1992
(detail from original 1964 illustration by John Lopes,
captioned/tinted in 2017 by La Bartista)

Friday, November 3, 2017

Ready For the Weekend! :)

 

Jack Kelly and co-star Madelyn Himes look like they're ready for the weekend to start on this vintage lobby card for Love and Kisses (1965). No matter what your week was like, I hope your weekend is a great one. Please stay tuned for more about JK in TDS!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Life's A Beach With JK! :)

¡Hola!

Well, October's nearly over and it's finally feeling like Fall. You may have turned the furnace on to keep the house cozy. However, you may need to switch back to the air conditioner when you see this muy caliente German lobby card for Canasta de Cuentos Mexicanos (a.k.a. A Basket of Mexican Tales), with Jack Kelly and co-star Mari Blanchard enjoying some fun in the sun:


Have a wonderful weekend and, as always, please stay tuned for more fun with JK and TDS! :)

Monday, October 23, 2017

Nostalgia's Nothing New :)


Happy Monday!

Here it is 2017, and we still fondly remember Jack Kelly, who would have been 90 years old on September 16. And Maverick, which marked its 60th anniversary on September 22, is currently airing on ME-TV, along with other 1950's western favorites such as Gunsmoke and Wagon Train. Television's vast past can also be revisited on Decades, Antenna-TV and similar "retro" channels.

But, nostalgia is nothing new. Almost 50 years ago, the Chicago Tribune newspaper published a special supplement saluting "Twenty Years of Television":
 

Maverick had ended its original network run only a few years previously, but it was already considered TV history. James Garner appeared on the back cover of the supplement:


And, JG and JK were pictured inside:


Here's the complete image, from an original photo in the Kellection:

 
It's interesting to see how many of the other TV shows pictured on the supplement covers (including I Love Lucy, Perry Mason, and even The Ed Sullivan Show) can still be seen today on the nostalgia networks. 

Well, I look forward to continue looking back at JK with you. Please stay tuned! :)

Friday, October 13, 2017

Maverick In Person! :)


Happy Friday!


No, you're not seeing things--that is James Garner on the Jack Kelly blog. And, you've probably never seen this incredible image before, because it wasn't taken by a professional photographer. It was snapped by an unknown fan, perhaps at the 1958 Illinois State Fair, where JG appeared as a grandstand attraction along with other performers including Jane Russell and Jonathan Winters. (If anyone knows what the pictured event actually was, please let me know!)

As you can tell by the banner in the background, JG is promoting the "Maverick Special" Jeep, which is partially visible behind him. Also, it's a little hard to see, but the tie the gentleman in the white shirt is wearing says "Maverick" and "Jeep".

This next shot is a bit blurred, but it gives another candid view of what it was like for JG (and no doubt JK) during personal appearances. 


It's obvious "Maverick" (and Maverick) was very popular as JG is dwarfed by a crowd of adoring fans:


Jack Kelly also made his share of personal appearances during the original network run of Maverick, including this one at a home show in Arizona in 1959 ("Through the courtesy of Kaiser Gypsum and Warner Bros...") :

 
Sometimes, either one or the other Maverick was set to appear at an event, such as a 1959 agricultural extravaganza called "Farm-Orama" which was staged at a sprawling farm near Richwood, Ohio. A local newspaper rather vaguely announced:

"The highlight of the two-day event will be the appearance on the grounds of either James Garner (Bret Maverick) or Jack Kelly (Bart Maverick), stars of a television western. The Kaiser Aluminum Co. is sponsoring the visit, with whomever appearing expected to be on hand during the afternoon of both days. He will tour the grounds via a stagecoach pulled by a multiple pony hitch."

Unfortunately, the estimated 30,000 visitors who showed up for the first day of Farm-Orama saw neither JG or JK take that stagecoach ride. Another local paper indignantly reported that Maverick was a no-show and wondered if either actor had really been scheduled to attend. ("Was the appearance of 'Maverick' a wild dream of a publicity agent seeking a means of attracting hundreds and more hundreds to the event?...This newspaper wants to know who is responsible for forcing such a 'dirty' trick upon thousands of its readers.")


But, then "Faux Maverick" appeared at Farm-Orama. That is, a stand-in costumed to "represent" Maverick made an appearance. A newspaper stated that "It was not determined whether he represented Bret or Bart Maverick." It was also revealed that neither JK or JG could attend the event due to "prior commitments".

Well, Jack Kelly (and sometimes even James Garner) will always show up here in TDS. What's coming up next? Please stay tuned! :)

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

"Hong Kong" Hump Day :)

 

Jack Kelly looks a bit worried in this stupendous still from Hong Kong Affair which just sailed into the Kellection. But, relax JK--it's Hump Day! :)

And, lots more great pix are coming your way in TDS...please stay tuned.