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 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