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! :)