Thursday, December 28, 2017

Nostalgia's Nothing New Pt. II :)


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! :)

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