Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Cold, Hard Spring :)

Happy First Day of Spring 2018! :)

Alas, the weather forecast for the next few days in my area seems more like January than March. Freezing rain followed by inches of snow is predicted. I'm ready for the soft warmth of spring sunshine, not an out-of-season reprise of the cold, hard winter!

Oh well, here's a cool vintage still of Jack Kelly and Barbara Rush (who recently celebrated her 91st birthday!) in a 1972 episode of Ironside titled "Cold, Hard Cash", followed by the original "snipe" info which came with the photo.

Now, please excuse me while I put in a "Rush" order for more spring-like weather... ;)

Vintage spring clipart courtesy of Clipart Library

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Happy Saint Patrick's Day 2018 From "TDS"! :)

Original vintage postcard from The La Bartista Kellection
"Hmmm...'The best of luck
will always
wait upon you
 if you pick up on the road a horse's shoe'.
Is that true, Goldie?"
"It's not so lucky for the horse
who lost its shoe!" ;)

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Jack Kelly in "State Trooper"

Here's a yummy YouTube find: Jack Kelly in "Jailbreak at Tonopah", a 1956 episode of the syndicated TV series State Trooper, starring big ole (6' 5") Rod Cameron as Nevada lawman "Lt. Rod Blake".
JK plays small-time hood "Johnny Bledsoe". Apparently taking a cue from "Cody Jarrett" in White Heat, Bledsoe gets a splitting headache whenever he's stressed out. He gets really stressed out when he drops his box camera in a diner and a concealed weapon pops out. Lt. Blake just happens to be in the diner and suspects that Bledsoe wasn't going to "shoot" only pictures. He puts Johnny in the pokey when it turns out the hood doesn't have a permit for the gun.
Blake also checks Bledsoe's rap sheet and discovers he's tied to a robbery in Philadelphia. He visits Johnny in jail to grill him about the crime. Johnny isn't a model prisoner--the elderly guard tells Blake, "He [Bledsoe] doesn't have a headache--he is a headache".
Blake also notices a bulldozer moving earth next to the jail. The operator gives Blake a story about leveling the ground for a new drugstore, but the lawman thinks something else is afoot. He's right: the operator is actually one of  Bledsoe's cohorts and he and Bledsoe's wife (K.T. Stevens) plan to use the dozer to break Johnny out of jail. But, perhaps Mrs. Bledsoe isn't acting solely out of wifely concern...
Will Johnny get sprung from the hoosegow? Will he reveal the whereabouts of the robbery loot? Will he finally get some Excedrin? Watch the video and find out! :)
Incidentally, Tonopah NV is still a tourist attraction today. It's famous for its mining history. Because of its distance from city lights, it's also known as a perfect place to stargaze. "Jailbreak at Tonopah" is a perfect place to gaze upon our favorite star, Jack Kelly. He gives a great performance as "Johnny Bledsoe". He looks great, too.
Please stay tuned for much more about JK in TDS. :)

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

"Why I Like Country Music" Pt II :)

Howdy Y'all!
Presenting Part II of Jack Kelly's article "Why I Like Country Music", prefaced with a gorgeous photo of JK and his wife Donna. In this part, Mr. K introduces us to more of his favorite country singers and songs: 
"My personal affection developed for the guitar, for it's hard to resist the harmonious, overall effects country artists create with the instrument. Then comes the fiddle...as a matter of fact, there is something about all 'strings' which gives one that homey feeling--a desire to be real neighborly-like.

I feel 'country' means just what it says. Somewhere along the line the need was recognized to musically express the endless anecdotes uncovered during the development of this country, and a great balance of the country tunes are based on situations that actually happened. Compound the history factor with the inventiveness of modern country authors, and you find that besides instrumentation there is a story to be heard which reeks of the Americana we should all be justly proud of.

I can't say exactly who, or what, is responsible directly for my interest in country music, but I feel a simplicity and directness as the underlying basis for its appeal to me. From that sense alone I can select my likes and dislikes. I can jump from one artist to the other and get a completely different style every time. This aspect fosters an appeal that should be there for everyone to enjoy.

Take, for example, The Collins Kids. 

Their brassy, impetuous, lively presentation has led them to headlining in one of the largest hotels on the Las Vegas strip. I can jump from them to Burl Ives and sit listening over and over again to 'Blue Tail Fly'.

I may be taking a little bit for granted, but for me country music spills into many areas. Ernie Ford is one of my favorites. He stirred up a storm with a little ditty called 'River of No Return'.

Then, there's Jim Brown of the Rin Tin Tin series. Yes, he has a few pop tunes working for him, but he did churn up some mighty fine country tunes for MGM. One of the best things I've ever heard Jim do is his recording of 'The White Buffalo'.

He fractures 'Wagon Wheels', not to overlook a little gem called 'Ghost Town'.

And I enjoy hearing Tex Williams narrate his misadventures brought on by smoking cigarettes; and what a job he does on another of his conversational items...'playing cards with a one-eyed, sleight of hand expert'.

Country music has offered me such a selection that I couldn't dislike it if I wanted to. I could add many more reasons for its appeal to me...the 'Hank Williams', all the 'Jimmie Rodgers', 'Eddy Arnolds', 'Red Foleys', and so forth, and in re-reading this article, I think a better conclusion to it would be a change in its beginning from 'WHY I LIKE COUNTRY MUSIC' to 'WHO DOESN'T???'

EDITOR'S NOTE: Jack, your reasons are sincerely and very effectively stated. Thank you for holding hands so affectionately with our interests. We're sure that everyone who reads your story will be more proud than ever of their musical preference."

[B27: I know I am! :>]

I had a blast transcribing Jack Kelly's article for this post and listening to his favorite country songs. What wide-ranging taste in music this guy had!

I thought I knew my country and rockabilly music, but I never heard of The Collins Kids before--how did I miss this dynamic duo?! I literally had chills going down my spine when I listened to their rockin' version of "Lonesome Road" for the first time. (Thanks for the introduction, JK!)

And, I had no idea that JK's old pal Jim Brown of Rin Tin Tin fame was also a singer--what a voice!

It was a pleasure to be able to take JK's words from nearly 60 years ago and join them to today's technology so we can all listen to the country artists and songs he loved. I hope you enjoyed them, and if you weren't a country music fan before, I'm sure you are now! :)

What's next in TDS? Please stay tuned and find out!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

"Why I Like Country Music" :)


One of my favorite lines from the comedy classic The Blues Brothers comes when musicians Jake (John Belushi) and Elwood (Dan Ackroyd) Blues arrive to play a gig--sight unseen--at a raucous honky-tonk bar.

"What kind of music do you usually have here?" Elwood asks a waitress. She replies, "Oh, we got both kinds. We got country and western!"

What does this have to do with Jack Kelly? Well, it turns out that this city boy liked country--and western--music! Who knew? Well, I didn't until I stumbled upon an article JK penned during his Maverick heyday for a now long-defunct music magazine . I love country music and was thrilled to learn that JK enjoyed listening to many of the same artists I do.

Here's the article. I'm sure you'll recognize JK's unique way with words and be delighted by his amusing but affectionate take on the subject of:

by Jack Kelly

INTRO: Jack is "brother Bart" in the exciting Sunday night [ABC-TV] 'Maverick' series. He is a very wonderful person who, incidentally, is very partial to country music, and in his own words, Jack explains why.

In a recent issue of this magazine I read an article by Pat Boone on this same subject. Pat's love for, and understanding of, country music along with his endless knowledge of the artists concerned, is easily understandable upon taking into consideration the fact that he was practically 'weaned' on the subject by such a 'great' as Red Foley. [B27: Foley was Boone's father-in-law].

It's not so in my case. Country music was not a part of my upbringing. The appeal it holds for me was developed only through incidental exposure, beginning with a tune I loved the first time I heard it...'Home on the Range'. I was just a little fella then, but it fired my imagination immediately.

The attraction for this homespun type of singing continued to capture my fancy, as did the 'western' variety of entertainment, and as the years passed I had assumed hundreds of child-like aliases, owned numerous fictional ranches, and raised the best cattle for miles around.

I had a mighty vivid imagination; however, my association with the country trend became more realistic when there came to prominence in American hearts a loveable old character with a galvanized Rube Goldberg trombone, which we would be hard-pressed to prove was not the portable, business end of a mountain still. There he was, Bob Burns, and his crazy, fabricated family of oddballs which included his 'Hawg Callin'' cousin and 'Flannelpants', the itchy relative.

Those unending and hilarious monologues, along with the wild calamity he created while blasting away at his homemade Bazooka, certainly earned for him the deserved title of 'great'.

I have always felt that 'Bazooka Bob' was one of the originals to start the fantastic jump to popularity which country music and the country atmosphere has reached today. To a city kid like myself, Burns injected the gentle country feeling that in turn through the years has allowed me to enjoy a growing appreciation for anything 'country'. He offered country humor with such simplicity that you had to like it. His unique styling must have inspired artists who followed him on the road to success, thereby bringing tremendous variations of song styling, tunes, comedy routines and instruments into the field."

TO BE CONTINUED--stay "tuned" for Part II in TDS! :)

Clipart courtesy of Wikiclipart

Saturday, February 24, 2018

A Scrap of Maverick! :)


Here's a vintage newspaper ad for Maverick, which I just salvaged and digitized from an old scrapbook page. It's advertising the episode Alias Bart Maverick, starring suave Jack Kelly as...well, you know! This episode premiered on October 5, 1958, which means it--and this rare scrap of Maverick ephemera--is nearly 60 years old.

"Bart plays tag with a wily con man and four gun-happy brothers (not to mention a Southern belle named Cindy)!"
Speaking of ephemera: In this day of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, et al, and the never ending demand for eye-catching online content, it's sometimes difficult to find JK-related material that hasn't already been shared, tweeted and pinned seven ways from sundown.

However, another bit of ephemera just joined the Kellection which I think will be new to you. (It was to me!) Like the Maverick ad above, it's nearly 60 years old. It originated in a long-defunct "niche" publication and it's not only about JK it's by JK, too! It expresses his views on a subject not usually associated with him. Oh, and it has some dreamy pix, too. It's coming next in TDS...please stay "tuned"! ;>

Monday, February 19, 2018

Another Postcard Post! :)


Two more vintage Jack Kelly postcards just joined the Kellection, including one with the quintessential JK image which adorns this blog. So, I now have five of these cool cards:

These postcards were sent by the Warner Bros. fan mail department whenever folks wrote to JK. For only fifty-cents, you could also get an 8"x 10" photo (try getting one for that price now! ;>)

The reverse side of the cards features a reproduced signature and a greeting ("You are a real friend for writing!") from JK. Helpful hint: Some sellers erroneously assume the signatures on these cards are hand-written. I way overpaid for the first JK postcard I bought many years ago because I was led to believe I was purchasing a hand-signed item. Nope: the autographs shown on the front and back of these cards are pre-printed.

WB used the postmark to advertise their upcoming or current films. This one heralds A Summer Place, a 1959 melodrama starring Richard Egan, Dorothy McGuire and Sandra Dee. Postmarks on other JK cards I have advertise Auntie Mame, Sunrise at Campobello, and The Sundowners.

Yes, that's only four cards. The fifth JK postcard is "postally unused"--it has no postmark or mailing address, which means it was never sent by the fan department.

The other JK-related postcard I just received features a familiar grouping of Warner Bros. TV western stars. I've seen this pose before, but not in color like this:

Here's Clint Walker, Wayde Preston, Ty Hardin, Jack Kelly, John Russell, James Garner,
Peter Brown and Will Hutchins having a rootin' tootin' time
 on the Warner Bros. western street set
(How come JK is the shortest person on this card?!)

I think the image of Clint Walker ("Cheyenne") may have been inserted by WB into the color scene--he's usually not in other shots of this grouping I've seen, such as this one:

(BTW, this B&W photo was one of my first Kellectibles, before I actually had a Kellection! It was in a group of pix I bought at an antiques show before I "discovered" JK. :>)

The back of the color postcard has the pre-printed signatures of all the WB cowboys appearing on the front (with another pitch for A Summer Place):  

Well, I hope this post about JK postcards "sent" you. ;> Please stay tuned for more fun in TDS!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Monday, February 12, 2018

"Who Is Your Favorite Actor on TV?" :)

Hello Everyone!

Almost exactly 57 years ago, a grandmother vacationing in California mailed (for only three cents!) a postcard to her grandson in Indiana. I suppose lots of grandmas sent postcards in 1961, but most of the cards probably didn't have these two handsome gents on the front:

Yep, it's the "Mavericks"! And, apparently either Jack Kelly or James Garner was the recipient's favorite star, because his "Grandmom" wrote on the back:

"Who is your favorite actor on TV? Lois and I are in Hollywood seeing the sights."

Out of curiosity, I Googled the name of the addressee. Unfortunately, what I found was his obituary. However, he lived a very full and interesting life. At one point the Mavericks were a part of that life, if only via TV and a rectangular memento of a grandmother's long-ago sightseeing trip. And, now that memento is part of the Kellection.

Please stay tuned to keep seeing the sights with JK and TDS! :)

Saturday, January 27, 2018

JK in "The West Point Story" :)


Well, the snow finally melted and I was able to attend an antiques show last weekend. One of my purchases at the show was a DVD of The West Point Story, a 1950 musical starring James Cagney, Virginia Mayo, Doris Day, Gordon MacRae, and Gene Nelson. Oh, and Jack Kelly shows up for a moment (literally) near the end of the film.

Although it has plenty of singing and dancing, The West Point Story is no Yankee Doodle Dandy. Cagney plays "'Elwin 'Bix' Bixby", a down-on-his luck Broadway director who agrees to help stage a show written by and starring a cadet (MacRae) at the West Point Military Academy. Bix spends a lot of time yelling--at the cadets, at his girl (Mayo), and even Doris Day (who plays his former protégée). 

Day's character, "Jan Wilson", has become a movie star and after Bix gets her a part in the show at West Point, she falls in love with MacRae's character, "Tom Fletcher". Tom goes AWOL to pursue Jan, intending to resign from the military and marry her. Realizing that both his and her career are too important to throw away, Jan rejects his proposal and prepares to return to Hollywood. Bix and cadet "Hal Courtland" (Nelson) return the dejected Tom to the Academy.

When Tom, Bix and Hal arrive back at West Point, JK (as the "Officer-in-Charge") informs Tom that he is under arrest for being AWOL. 

JK has only a few lines and is shown only in left profile--but, hey, that's enough for me. ;)

What's next in TDS? Please stay tuned and find out! :)

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Christie's Got A New Boss... :)


I just found a very interesting and unusual newspaper ad for Get Christie Love! from January 1975, when the freshman TV series was tweaked by "a new creative team headed by producer Glen Larson" to give it "a whole new approach and style with delightful humor and lots of action..."

This new approach also meant that sassy policewoman Christie (played by Teresa Graves) got a new, no-nonsense supervisor, "Arthur P. Ryan", played by Jack Kelly ("...of MAVERICK fame.") In the ad below, he tells Christie "I'm Captain Ryan, your new boss. I don't like women cops!":   

Unfortunately, not even JK could save Get Christie Love!. Viewers didn't love the "new" version any better than the old one and the show was canceled after only one season.

However, a reboot of GCL! was recently announced in The Hollywood Reporter. According to THR, the reboot is described as "an action-packed, music-driven drama that centers on Christie Love, an African-American female CIA agent who leads an elite ops unit. She transforms into whomever she needs to be to get the job done, especially when it’s down to the wire and the stakes are life and death. The high-adrenaline missions of the series are anchored by an emotional mystery about Christie’s first love — unearthing the truth about this relationship will be the biggest mission impossible of her life."

If you want to read more about JK, you know what to do: get TDS! :)

Monday, January 15, 2018

"The Kook-Krazy Kellys" :)


My neighborhood looked like a wintry wonderland this weekend after a storm left a few inches of snow on the ground, with more flakes forecast to fall.

The Bartistamobile's doors were frozen shut (thankfully, I finally got them open) and the snow plow made it only half-way up my street. So, it was a good weekend to just stay indoors, keep warm and nosh on comfort food. I whipped up a big pot of chili on Saturday afternoon and made a pork roast on Sunday evening.

Speaking of cooking: I've written about Jack Kelly's culinary skills before, and here's a wonderful 1960 newspaper story about "The Kook-Krazy Kellys":

"To Sunday night western TV fans, he's Bart 'Maverick', but to his lovely wife Donna Kelly, he's 'Jack the Giant Cooker'. Jack and Donna, known to their friends as 'the cooking Kellys', live in a small honeymoon cottage in the Hollywood hills, the kitchen of which is a his and her's workshop for their at-home hobby--cooking.

But cooking for the Kellys is actually more than a hobby. Jack and his wife qualify as 'gourmets' in the absolute definition of the word. 'We don't cook for just ourselves,' says Donna, 'we practically run a small restaurant'.

The More The Merrier 

Hardly a weekend passes at the Kelly home that they don't serve dinner for ten, or more often, twenty people. Friends, calling on the phone, who ask Jack 'what's cooking?' mean it literally.

'Although we're both Irish,' says Jack, 'we love Italian food. Donna called me one Friday at the studio and said she was in the mood to start cooking up an Italian dinner for Sunday and asked if I would call my mother and ask her to come. We had planned for just three people but every time somebody called and found out that we were cooking our 'Italian-special' they somehow got an invitation. It started a chain reaction and at two o'clock Sunday afternoon, sixteen people sat down to a meal it had taken us three days to prepare.'

The twelve-course feast took almost eight hours to eat. At eight that evening everyone was full and there were still two courses to go.

'We don't eat like this all the time,' Jack told his friends when they had finished. 'We go on a health-food kick about once a month. If we didn't, I would get so fat I couldn't fit into any of my Maverick clothes.

On the other hand, Donna, known professionally as May Wynn, tips the scale at a delicate 105 and doesn't worry about gaining weight. 'I grew up in an Italian-Irish section of New York. I was the most famous kid in the neighborhood because I could eat more than anyone else in my family. To my Italian friends that was the best compliment one could give them.'

Culinary Courtship

Jack and Donna are currently writing a cook book which will be published in the near future. All of the recipes are original and since cooking for each other was, and has been, an important part of their courtship and marriage, they are writing their own love story around the different dishes. Appropriately, they have titled the book, 'Love 'N' Oven'.

'When I was dating Jack,' recalls Donna, 'we didn't like to go out for dinner very much. It was more fun to cook for each other and when he would call I'd tell him to bring a steak and we would have a bar-b-que.'

'This was great', retorts Jack, 'but more often than not she would call me back and tell me to bring enough steak for eight people. She was always having friends drop by unexpectedly. It got so expensive I finally had to marry her. Now I'm lucky if we get away with serving only eight.'

According to Jack there is only one drawback to their three-day Italian cooking sprees. Being Catholics, they don't eat meat on Friday so they can't taste the sauces while they are being prepared. The aroma really tortures them.

'But you should see us on Saturday morning,' says Donna. Kelly and I race for the cooking pot to be the first to taste our concoction.'

The Kelly kitchen, which is very large considering the smallness of their one-bedroom cottage, is well-equipped for their cooking artistry. But in the space meant for a large modern range, there stands a small stove. 'There are only four burners on top,' explained Jack, 'but take a look at that 30-inch oven. We used to have a seven-hundred dollar range but we gave it away to charity because it had a normal-sized oven. We picked up this 30-inch job on sale for a hundred and fifty bucks.' This little-big oven, which is their pride and joy, has seen the lion's share of use. Last year, Donna cooked a 30-pound roast beef in it.

'It was a monster,' Donna remembers. 'I could hardly lift it and it was bigger around than I am. We took a picture of it.'

So, in the evenings after a day on the golf course together, when Jack isn't working, Jack and Donna are usually busy before their huge fireplace compiling recipes, checking ingredients or experimenting in the kitchen with new ideas.

All of their recipes include one thing, says Jack: 'Taste frequently and season with lots of love.'" :)

It's a shame that Jack and Donna's cookbook was never published. Oh well, there's always something cookin' in TDS--please stay tuned! :)

Friday, January 12, 2018

The Night Holds Lobby Cards ;)


Presenting a sensational Mexican lobby card for The Night Holds Terror which just joined the Kellection:

Translated it reads: "'Terror in the Night' - You desire to kill this man!"

Here's JK in the same image on the US lobby card (which, according to the stamp on the back of the card, is actually from Alberta, Canada!):

You can be sure that more about Jack Kelly is "in the cards" in TDS--please stay tuned! :)

Saturday, January 6, 2018

That Has a "Crooked Ring" To It... ;)


Let's "ring in" 2018 with some ephemera relating to Jack Kelly's 1955 movie Crooked Ring. Don't recognize the title? That's what the film was called in Great Britain. In the US, it was known as Double Jeopardy.

Below are scans of the film's British press brochure. It consists of one double-sided sheet. It's also legal-sized, so I fit as much of it as I could in my letter-sized scanner.

Highlights include one small photo of JK and a blurb which says, "UP-AND-COMING STAR IN 'CROOKED RING'--Jack Kelly, handsome six-footer in Republic's story of big-money blackmail, Crooked Ring...has only been in Hollywood since 1950, but from his record it appears he's likely to stay. To date, he has appeared in seventeen feature motion pictures and has been starred in six top-rated TV shows. For those who are superstitious, it might be well to note that Kelly's first Hollywood appearance was in a studio tryout play titled 'All It Takes Is One Good Break.'"

[Of course, this ignores the fact that JK acted in Hollywood films as a child, and thus his "first Hollywood appearance" took place years before he participated in studio showcases at Universal-International.]

Another write-up mentions JK: "TWO VILLAINS STUDIED LAW--Robert Armstrong and Jack Kelly, the two villains in Republic's drama of big-time blackmail, Crooked Ring...both studied to be lawyers prior to embarking upon acting careers. Armstrong studied law for three-and-a-half years at the University of Washington law school, while Kelly pored over legal books for one-and-a-half years before turning to thesping. World wars diverted each from the study of law. Armstrong served in World War I, while Kelly did his duty in World War II. Following their respective bits for their country, each sought a career in the entertainment world."

JK is also described in the brochure as "the believable 'cad' on whom [Gale] Robbins lavishes her extra-marital attentions".

Where in the world will TDS travel to next? Please stay tuned and find out! :)