Friday, July 7, 2017

Friday Night "Fever"! :)


There's a lot going on in this magnifico Mexican lobby card that just joined the Kellection. But, look closely at the black-and-white inset and you'll see Jack Kelly as "Dan Callahan" in A Fever in the Blood.

District Attorney Callahan's overweening political ambition has led to tragedy: while speeding to a TV station, he accidentally runs down a young boy in the street. The boy will survive, but Callahan's dream of becoming his state's next governor doesn't.

Please stay tuned for more JK movie moments in TDS! :)  

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

JK Goes "Commandos"! :)

(I've been waiting a long time to use that line!) ;>

A set of original British lobby cards and a British pressbook for Jack Kelly's World War II drama Commandos (a.k.a. Sullivan's Marauders) just landed in the Kellection, so let's take a look at this 1968 Italian-German co-production.  

According to the book Cinema Italiano: The Complete Guide From Classics to Cult  (2011) by Howard Hughes, Commandos was filmed on location on Sardinia, a large Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea, during July and August 1968. Interior scenes were filmed at Incir-De Paolis Studios. 

Here is the cast and credits list (from the British pressbook):

Set in 1942, Commandos stars Lee Van Cleef as testy, battle-hardened "Master Sargeant Sullivan" and JK as career soldier "Captain Valli". Although Valli is higher-ranked than Sullivan, he has no combat experience.

Sullivan resents Valli's presence at the "secret Mediterranean base" where both men are tasked with training a group of Italian-American commandos whose mission is to seize an oasis in North Africa which contains the only well for miles around, disguise themselves as the Italian soldiers holding the oasis, and secure the site for two days until the Allied landings occur.

The first part of the mission goes as planned and most of the Italians guarding the oasis are killed. Despite Sullivan's protests, Valli orders that the handful of Italians who survived the siege be imprisoned instead of being put to death.

The Captain's decision to spare the Italians comes back to bite him when the POWs escape in a truck. The truck explodes after hitting a mine, but one of the Italian escapees survives and blabs to a German patrol about the American commandos' switcheroo at the oasis.

Then, the Americans receive orders to abandon the oasis, since their mission is no longer considered necessary. However, before they can leave, the oasis is attacked by a heavily armed German outfit equipped with tanks. The ferocious battle which follows leaves only one American and one German soldier alive. (Neither Sullivan nor Valli survive.)

Although Commandos was released in Italy in 1968, it took its sweet time getting to the rest of the world. The British pressbook dates to 1972, the same year the film was exhibited in Canada.

A reviewer in the Ottawa Journal was dismissive: "...Commandos stars Lee Van Cleef and is possibly the worst war film ever made in Italy. The commandos are Americans who land in Italy, sloppily massacre an entire section of the Italian army and pose as the murdered men in order to capture a water hole in North Africa. The soldiers do a great deal of grunting and hard breathing. This is obviously director Armando Crispino's idea of neo-realism. Dreadful."

The film arrived in the US later in 1972, playing towns such as Hallettsville, Texas, and Burlington, North Carolina. It was usually paired on a double-bill with another "macaroni combat" film titled Salt in the Wound (a.k.a. Il dito nella piaga and War Fever).

Today, Commandos is sort of a cult classic, earning favorable fan reviews such as this one and this one (which has a display of color fotobustas for the film).

Of course, Commandos is worth watching because of JK. He looks great and does very well with the role of Captain Valli. But, don't take my word for it--here's a preview, and the entire flick can be purchased for peanuts online.

Incidentally, you may have noticed the "X" on the lobby cards. It signifies that Commandos was rated "Certificate X" by the British censors, meaning one had to be over 16 to see the movie in English cinemas. 

Well, Jack Kelly fans of all ages are welcome at TDS. What's coming up next? Please stay tuned! :)

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Happy Fourth! :)

Vintage image courtesy Google Images (greeting by La Bartista) 

Monday, July 3, 2017

"You Can't Beat 5 Aces!" :)


The 1959 paperback Poker According to Maverick is one of the most popular Maverick Kellectibles. I see it all the time at paper shows and it can easily be purchased online as well.

When it was originally published, Poker According to Maverick could be "yours for the asking...FREE!", simply by visiting one's local Jeep dealership:

I personally have four copies of this book (a couple were thrown in as freebies when I purchased other Kellectibles). It was even the subject of a guest post here in TDS.

What's interesting about Poker According to Maverick (aside from the front cover photo and the subject matter) is that there are different back covers for this book. Two copies I own have a regular back cover with a "blurb" about the book; one has a plain white back cover.

And, the fourth copy has this for its back cover:

An advertisement for Kaiser Foil (seemingly aimed at grocers) starring the "guys who know" that "You can't beat 5 aces"! The five "aces" are sales points for Kaiser Foil (it's quilted; there are five different types of Kaiser foil; Kaiser sponsors Maverick--yay!; Kaiser's promotions meet grocers' needs; customers quickly notice the ruby red boxes). But, I spot four more aces in this ad: Bart and Bret and the cards they're holding! ;)

Poker According to Maverick was so popular that it had sold over half a million copies by 1960, as noted in this review from the Amherst News Times:

And, the author of a forthcoming book about poker and pop culture also credits the Maverick TV series and Poker According to Maverick with sparking the mini "poker boom" of the late Fifties.

I've read the book but, alas, I still can't play poker (I'm afraid my card playing prowess is limited to 52 Pickup). However, this little tome still taught me something, which is: I love looking at the front cover...and sometimes the back cover, too. ;)

Odds are you'll enjoy what's coming up next in TDS, so please stay tuned! :)