Sunday, December 30, 2018

Today in Jack Kelly History...

On 12/30/1963, JK appeared as disgraced wagonmaster "Fenton Canaby" on ABC's Wagon Train:

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Taking A Spin...

Hello Everyone,

I'm very thankful to be here.

You see, yesterday afternoon I took the Bartistamobile for a spin...literally.

I was on my way to meet a friend for some after Christmas bargain shopping. Although it had rained hard all morning, the sun was now shining. It looked like it would be an enjoyable afternoon.

That is, until I started down an exit ramp near my home which I've used hundreds of times without incident. Apparently, the ramp was still slick from the morning's downpour and the Bartistamobile hydroplaned.

What began as an ordinary day suddenly became a frightening whirl as my vehicle spun out of control. I'm sure it was only a few seconds, but it seemed like an hour as I tried to steer into the skid as I'd been advised to do by safe driving videos I'd viewed at work.

Unfortunately, the Bartistamobile had left the pavement and was now sliding downwards on soggy grass with zero traction. All I could do was pray to the Lord that the car wouldn't roll over.

It didn't, and for a moment I thought I was in the clear. Then, I heard and felt a hard "thunk" as we finally stopped. I peeked in the rearview mirror. Somehow, the Bartistamobile's rear bumper smacked the concrete base of a light pole during our unplanned pirouette.

The light pole was unscathed, naturally. Thankfully, I was uninjured. But, the Bartistamobile wasn't so blessed. I turned the hazard lights on and got out to check the damage.

The rear bumper had done exactly what it was supposed to do: absorb the impact of the crash. In so doing, however, the bumper crumpled and was partially detached from both sides of the vehicle. This wasn't going to buff out...

I got back into the car and composed myself. This was my first automobile accident ever and I was pretty shaken up. Actually, the scariest part of this incident was that no one who was driving by at the time and presumably observed what was happening stopped to see if I was okay or offer to help. Not one person!

I called my friend to cancel our shopping trip. The Bartistamobile could still be driven, so I steered out of the muddy grass and returned home. Then, I called my insurance company to file a claim. They're sending a claims adjuster out on Monday to assess the damage. Hopefully, I will be in good hands and like a good neighbor they will be on my side. ;>

This just goes to show that the spin of a wheel can change your day...and your life. Just like in Las Vegas, the setting for "The Name of the Game", a 1963 episode of Kraft Suspense Theatre starring Jack Kelly:

JK with co-star Nancy Kovack

JK portrays "Pete Braven", a down on his luck professional dice player who enters into a deal with wealthy oilman "Ed Caldwell" (Pat Hingle). If Braven can help Caldwell break the bank at a casino, the two men will split the winnings. If not...well, of course, complications ensue.

"Switch dice? No dice!"

"C'mon, baby needs a new pair of cowboy boots!"

Below is a behind-the-scenes color photo from "The Name of the Game":

"Actors and extras surround dice table, cut away for camera in a scene for 'The Name of the Game'. Pointing, far left, is Jack Kelly." 

According to TV Guide, no expense was spared to ensure the gaming in "The Name of the Game" looked realistic. It apparently looked a little too real, though:

"'Well,' said Jack Kelly, who not two years ago flipped his last card as a gambler in Maverick, 'here I am at the gambling tables again.'

"In Maverick, however, Kelly seldom if ever gambled on as elaborate a set as that turned out by producer Robert Blees for 'The Name of the Game', a Kraft Suspense Theatre episode scheduled for airing on NBC Dec. 26. Blees had a replica of a casino built inside a sound stage on the Revue lot at a cost of some $20,000--the most expensive set the studio has ever had for a single TV episode...From Las Vegas, Blees imported 'stick men' (craps-table operators) and a 'box man' (money-handler). From central casting came 100 extras, and from the studio's prop department came 500 silver dollars and $1000 in bills (by way of a bank--it was real money, carefully watched on the set for any leakage), two craps tables, two roulette tables and two '21' tables. Sixty-one slot machines were rented, and here's where a slight hitch occurred.

"Some sharp-eyed bystanders saw the machines being loaded on trucks and promptly called the sheriff, who confiscated 13 of them as being operable and therefore illegal. The remaining 48, whose innards had been removed, were released for use on the set."

JK's dice-playing also looks authentic because (as reported by the Long Beach Independent) he was coached by a California shoe store owner who moonlighted as Hollywood's "strangest technical advisor" under the secretive sobriquet of "Mr. Fingers". Mr. Fingers was the studios' go-to guy when stars needed to learn how to convincingly handle dice, cards or other people's wallets onscreen. In addition to coaching JK, he taught poker skills to Tony Curtis for 40 Pounds of Trouble (1963) and to Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau for The Odd Couple (1968). The light-fingered Mr. Fingers also taught actor Millard Mitchell how to pick pockets for his role in the 1952 film My Six Convicts.  

UPDATE! (1/26/19) - JK was also coached by Angelo Schiano, one of the stick-men imported from Las Vegas. Below is a behind-the-scenes photo dated 11/7/1963 which was recently purchased for the Kellection:

The snipe reads: "LESSON IN GAMBLING - Preparing for roles in a television drama, Jack Kelly and his co-star, Nancy Kovack, learn the fine points of betting from Angelo Schiano on the TV set in Hollywood. Schiano is one of a group of dealers brought from Las Vegas as technical experts for the play, which will presented on NBC-TV's 'Kraft Theater' [sic]. Schiano is showing the pair how to place bets at a craps table."

And, here's another promo photo which I've actually had for years but forgot to add! The lucky ladies with JK are Peggy Ward (L) and Sharon Morrell (R) as cocktail waitresses:

Finally, the entire episode of "The Name of the Game" used to be on YouTube, but it seems to be gone for now. Maybe it'll be reposted some day. In the meantime, please drive carefully. :)

Monday, December 10, 2018

LB Loves A Parade! :)

Special programming note:

We interrupt the Mounted Police Rodeo Parade in Palm Springs in order to present another parade! :)

Last weekend, the Bartistamobile and I took a road trip so I could watch the 30th annual Horse Drawn Carriage Parade in historic Lebanon, Ohio. If there's anything I love almost as much as Jack Kelly, it's horses! And, there were plenty in this parade, which exclusively features equines pulling carriages--no mounted riders, marching bands, or motorized vehicles are permitted.

This parade was so wonderful I wanted to share some of the photos I took with you. Also, there was a surprise guest at the end of the parade you might recognize...;> 

Barbra Streisand sang a song in Funny Girl titled "Don't Rain On My Parade". Well, it rained on this parade. In fact, it was raining so hard before the parade that the start time was pushed back an hour. 

Luckily, the rain let up long enough for the carriages to begin rolling:

"On Dobbin, on Dixon!"--Santa swapped
his eight tiny reindeer for two large horses. That's the famous Golden Lamb Inn (est. 1803) in the background.

The tag says "13" but I was lucky
to see this beautiful Appaloosa.

This lovely carriage full of Santa's helpers
was pulled by a majestic black drafter.

More black drafters and an antique wagon
which proves grocery delivery is nothing new. 

A small but sturdy Norwegian
Fjord Horse pulled this cart.

A mighty miniature horse pulls
a portable gingerbread house
which almost looks good enough to eat! :)

Here comes an authentic Wells Fargo stagecoach!

A closer look at that magnificent team...

...and a side view of the stage.

A somewhat smaller stage
pulled by a pair of antlered mini-horses.

I wondered why these folks (and even their pony) were dressed as sharks in a holiday parade. I thought maybe it seemed apropos because of the wet weather. I later mentioned it to someone in the know (e.g. with young children) and they said it probably had to do with a certain song about a baby shark--which I will not link to here to spare you from having it stuck in your head for the next decade or so. :> 

No need to wonder why these beautiful Percheron drafters were in the parade.
I love this pretty pinto!

This fantastic vintage fire pumper
was led by a team of four drafters.

I thought that was the end of the parade,
but then this guy showed up--asleep at the reins!

He suddenly woke up and
I could have sworn it was...nah, it couldn't be!
(Could it?) ;> 

Before I could get a closer look, it started pouring buckets again and the parade was truly over.

There's also a nighttime version of this parade where the carriages are lit up. I thought about going to it that evening. Unfortunately, though, the rain continued with a vengeance and brought thunder and lightning along with it. Well, maybe next year!

 I hope you enjoyed seeing these wonderful horses and carriages as much as I did. Please stay tuned for more fun with JK in TDS! :)

Friday, November 30, 2018

JK Loves A Parade Pt. V :)


There's already snow on the ground where I live, so let's hurry back to Jack Kelly and Barbara Nichols in sunny Palm Springs, California:

 Something's still holding their attention...
"The horses are going faster than we are!"
"I think he found the accelerator."
More fun to come--please stay tuned! :)

Sunday, November 25, 2018

JK Loves A Parade Pt. IV

Hello Everyone!

Make way for more pix scanned from the Kellection of Jack Kelly and Barbara Nichols at the 1961 Palm Springs Mounted Police Rodeo:

JK & BN stop to greet two of the Crosby brothers, who were the parade marshals. The brothers also had a gig going at the "Chi Chi" nightspot in Palm Springs. And, JK had played in their dad Bing's annual golf tournament the previous weekend. Plus, JK, BN & the Bros all appeared in What About Linda?, a TV appeal for the March of Dimes which was airing in syndication in January 1961.
JK starts signing autographs again and BN smiles at the kids. The lady onlooker seems caught up in it all.
Finally, BN gets to sign an autograph! Incidentally, about two weeks after the parade and rodeo in Palm Springs, she would be seen in probably her best-remembered role: As hospital patient "Liz Powell" in the Twilight Zone episode "Twenty Two" (with its creepy catchphrase "Room for one more, Honey").
JK's still busy, so BN makes the best of it.
What's everyone looking at?
You'll want to keep looking at TDS as the fun goes on. Please stay tuned! :) 

Friday, November 23, 2018

JK Loves A Parade Pt. III :)

Howdy Again!

I hope everyone shook off their turkey coma and survived the stampede of holiday shoppers, because it's "Black (and White) Friday" here on TDS!

Let's swing back to 1961 again and see what Jack Kelly and Barbara Nichols are up to as we continue our visit to the 21st Annual Palm Springs Mounted Police Rodeo.

It looks like JK is still signing autographs:

"'Thanks for being my friend...Er, is that 'Philomena' with a 'Ph' or with an 'F'?"

"I'm starting to get writer's cramp..."

So much is going on here: The ladies to the right are like, "I just got Bart Maverick's autograph!"; JK & BN are like, "Let's go!"; the gentleman to the left is busy reading the program; and the driver is like, "This is Jack Kelly's pen...I'll keep it so my grandkids can sell it some day on eBay!" ;>

"Drink your milk, young man, and you'll grow up to be big and strong like me."

The fun continues next time in TDS--please stay tuned! :)  

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Monday, November 19, 2018

JK Loves A Parade :)


As promised, more images of Jack Kelly at the parade for the Palm Springs Mounted Police Rodeo in 1961 are coming up.

But first: what exactly was the Mounted Police Rodeo?

An editorial from a Palm Springs newspaper explains the serious reason for the festivities:

"This is Rodeo Week in Palm Springs, with two top days of action scheduled this weekend at the Polo Grounds, plus a Rodeo Ball Friday night and the traditional parade down Palm Canyon Drive on Saturday morning. And it's all for a good cause, with proceeds used by the Palm Springs Mounted Police to purchase additional rescue equipment, which is used in the pursuit of the organization's volunteer work as an auxiliary force of the Palm Springs Police Department. Their rescue work is well known, with members called upon day or night to travel hazardous mountain trails to locate missing or lost hikers. Without such a volunteer organization, this community would be forced underwrite a trained rescue crew. Let the community show its appreciation by supporting the 21st annual Rodeo this weekend and make it the biggest ever."

JK was announced as the parade's Grand Marshal on January 14:

An ad on January 26 drummed up more excitement:

As noted here before, Dorothy Provine was originally scheduled to serve as "Rodeo Queen", but had to drop out at the last minute due to an eye infection. So, Barbara Nichols became the substitute Queen.

On Saturday, January 28, literally thousands of people viewed the parade as it made its way down Palm Canyon Drive:

"A glittering star-studded Mounted Police Rodeo parade moved down Palm Canyon Drive at 10 a.m. sharp today, with one of the largest crowds ever attending...The parade was headed by Palm Springs Mounted Police color guard...The Marine Band from Twentynine Palms preceded a caravan of cars holding Grand Marshal Jack (Maverick) Kelly, Queen Barbara Nichols...and Palm Springs' own Joan Davis," read a newspaper account.  

So, now that we know the story of the parade, here's the star of the parade: JK! :)

All of the following images were scanned from original negatives in the Kellection:

 Here's a charming shot of JK and BN.
Gentleman Jack steadies Barbara's arm as she turns to give the photographer a saucy grin.
Let's zoom in for a close-up! :)
JK glances in the direction of some fans. I think the convertible is a 1961 Cadillac. 
(Note: For privacy purposes, I've blurred the clearly visible faces of bystanders who were not celebrities or parade officials.)
A killer close-up (sigh...)
JK is greeted by a group of young autograph seekers
I wonder what JK is saying?
"Hang on to this autograph--it'll be worth big bucks one day on eBay!" ;>
Babs waits patiently as JK signs more autographs
"Hey, who put invisible ink in my pen?"
Please stay tuned for much more fun with JK in TDS! :)