Tuesday, December 31, 2019

It's Auld Lang Syne Time - Pt. IV

Happy New Year's Eve Everyone!

Finishing up our visit to 1958 and bidding farewell to 2019, here is one more festive pic of Jack and Donna Kelly:

They look like they're having a wonderful time!

I've had a wonderful time blogging about JK in TDS for the past 10 years. I hope you'll stay with us as the fun continues into 2020.

I wish everyone a blessed New Year, and if you're out celebrating tonight, please be happy and safe. :)

Monday, December 30, 2019

It's Auld Lang Syne Time - Pt. III


Continuing our look at the This is Your Life after-party in 1958, below is another image scanned from an original negative in the Kellection. I'm positive you'll love it! ;)

 In fact, this is my new favorite pic of Jack Kelly. :)

Stay tuned--there's more fun to come with JK in TDS!

Saturday, December 28, 2019

It's Auld Lang Syne Time--Pt. II :)


As explained in my previous post, James Garner was the (sort of) surprised guest of honor on the TV series This is Your Life in June of 1958. After his segment wrapped, JG was feted with a banquet at the legendary Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, CA.

You'll be happy to know, however, that although it was JG's party, the images in this series of posts prominently feature Jack Kelly, who was there with his then-wife May Wynn (Donna Kelly) to help celebrate.

So, let's visit the party, shall we?

James Garner is in the upper left corner and JK has swapped his Bart jacket for a more contemporary coat. Donna seems deep in conversation.

But, JK gets her attention:

I love the intimacy of these candid shots, which I personally scanned from original negatives in the Kellection. Looking at them is like sitting at the table with Jack and Donna! The unknown photographer really captured the playful side of JK's personality.

Please stay tuned for more fun photos of JK in TDS! :)

Friday, December 27, 2019

It's Auld Lang Syne Time :)

Hello Everyone!

The New Year is almost here, along with a new decade. It's a time to look forward, but also back over the years...as Ralph Edwards did on his famous TV series This is Your Life.

Each week, a clueless celebrity guest was delivered to the studio under some clever pretense and was suddenly greeted by Mr. Edwards with a shout of, "_____, this is your life!" Then, a parade of friends, associates and family members would share their memories of the guest of honor.

In June 1958, Mr. Edwards surprised James Garner. Well, not really. JG revealed in his autobiography The Garner Files that he was at home when a car arrived to take his wife Lois and their daughters to the This is Your Life set. JG adamantly insisted to Lois that he didn't want his past rehashed on TV. He changed his mind when she informed him that most of his relatives were being flown in from Oklahoma and he wouldn't want to disappoint them, would he?

On the Maverick set that afternoon, director Richard Bare became "ill" and filming was halted for the day. Since JG was still in costume, he was asked to pose for some publicity photos. The photos were to be shot at NBC, where there supposedly was some new lighting that Warner Bros. wanted to check out. Naturally, JG played along.

Lo and behold, when he arrived at NBC, Jack Kelly was there waiting for him, along with Ralph Edwards. JG said in The Garner Files that he may have looked shocked, but he was only acting.

Below is an image of JG, JK and Ralph Edwards which I scanned from an original negative in the Kellection. Note JK's hair, which was curled to make him look more like JG's brother:

James Garner also said that he actually enjoyed his This is Your Life experience, and he enjoyed the after-party at the Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles even more. Stay tuned to TDS for a very special look at that party. :)

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

It's The Night Before Christmas...

...And who did appear?

Why, it's Bart Maverick to wish you holiday cheer! :)

Thursday, December 19, 2019

A Maverick Merry-Go-Round! :)

Hello Everyone!

Here's a blast from the pages of Christmas past featuring Jack Kelly and James Garner. It's not the clearest image, but I wanted to share it here since it promotes the 1958 Southern California "Toys For Tots" campaign, which began on December 1 and ended on December 19--exactly 61 years ago today!

 "Campaign to Open - Jack Kelly, left, and James Garner, stars of Maverick television series, open 11th annual Marine Corps Reserve 'Toys for Tots' drive with donation of miniature merry-go-round to Marine Sgt. Lillian Hagener. Drive is Monday to Dec. 19."
Please stay tuned for more merry memories coming up in TDS! :)

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Happy Thanksgiving 2019! :)

Vintage clip art courtesy Vintage Holiday Crafts.com

Monday, November 11, 2019

Happy Veterans Day 2019!

Veterans Day clipart courtesy of clipart-library.com

Saturday, November 9, 2019

JK Saturday Sillies :)

"Say, Bart old boy--do you know what you'd be if you moved to Norway and lived on a rocky cliff near a deep sea inlet?"
"No, Dandy Jim--what would I be if I moved to Norway and lived on a rocky cliff near a deep sea inlet?"
"A fjord Maverick!"

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Happy Halloween 2019! :)

I love this "boo"-tiful still from "The Witch of Hound Dog" episode of Maverick, don't you? :)

Here's how it looked in the Cincinnati Enquirer when this kooky, spooky episode originally aired on November 6, 1960:

"A Kiss A Week - Jack Kelly finds himself an almost unwilling captive of Anita Sands, who thinks of herself as 'The Witch of Hound Dog' tonight on Channel 9's Maverick at 7:30. (Did you ever notice that each week one of the Mavericks puts in several moments of osculation time--Ed.)"

An ad for this episode:

Now, don't forget to come back and see what's next in "TDS"--right, Pappy?

 Raven portrait courtesy of www.vectorstock.com

Saturday, October 5, 2019

Monday, September 30, 2019

New Season, New Time--But No Brent :)


With the new fall TV season starting, I decided to look back to September 1961, when Maverick was beginning its fifth (and unfortunately final) season. And, I noticed something strange:

Brent Maverick (Robert Colbert), who was never mentioned before, suddenly showed up in Season Four as Bart's brother. He appeared in only two episodes that season and was never mentioned again. So, why is he featured prominently in this newspaper ad for the Season Five premiere?

I thought maybe this particular newspaper made a mistake, but here's a similar ad in a different newspaper from September '61:

"Three B's--Bart, Brent and Bullets--call the tune for a whole shootin' shebang of Western adventure! Jack Kelly, Robert Colbert star", this ad proclaims. But, this season, Bart was actually riding solo. There was no Brother Bret (except in reruns), no Cousin Beau--and no Brent:

This article states that "Jack Kelly won't be sharing his adventures and romances with any relatives while traveling down the TV trail this fall. Bart Maverick will be happily going it alone when Warner Bros.' Maverick series for ABC-TV begins its fifth year at a new time, 5:30-6:30 CDT. The hardy and contented Kelly will be without his former partners, James Garner, Roger Moore and Robert Colbert, who are currently otherwise occupied."

But, JK didn't complain about having to carry the show alone. The article quoted him as saying, "I've no sympathy for actors who declare how tough it is to play [in] a series week after week. I've never enjoyed acting more since I started to portray Bart, a wonderful, gay character whom I understand and like. It's great to be associated with a success. And, that weekly paycheck is a pleasant reminder of how lucky I am."

JK was indeed lucky to find a role he loved and be paid for it. However, in September 1961, Warner Bros. did not need to pay the Brent. ;>

Please stay tuned for more fun with JK in TDS.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Jack Kelly's Other Job - Pt. IV :)

Hello Again!

 Photo inscribed by Jack Kelly to Eunice Alter
 ("To Eunice--Because you are my friend I'll always have a good one!!")

Here's the amazing story of how Jack Kelly, mayor of Huntington Beach, came to sign a cache of first-day covers. This wonderful write-up (penned by the covers' artist Eunice Alter) comes from a JONAL Artcovers newsletter dated September 1985. It was kindly provided to me by Eunice's daughter, Amie, and is shared here with her permission:

"[This] cover honors the first civil settlement in California at Alta. Last year [1984] the mayor of Huntington Beach was Jack Kelly. Some of you may remember him as Bart Maverick, from the TV series. Mr. Kelly has retired from acting, and has devoted himself to his home in Huntington Beach and serves on the city council.

"I thought HIS autograph on my Alta, CA, cover would be very meaningful to me, and wrote to him asking if he would autograph one for me, sending one for him in return. I also asked if he might consider autographing 25 of the covers also.

"I received a call from his secretary, who told me he would really be thrilled to receive the cover, and yes, he would be delighted to sign the 25 covers for my friends.

"We made an appointment for last Friday morning, and I went to City Hall to see him. Mr. Kelly was so gracious, and so excited about the covers! We had a wonderful visit--almost an hour--[and] he asked about the cancellations, and about the paintings.

"I brought my album of snapshots of my autographed cover collection, and he looked through the album, reading each signature or asking me to read some of the 'unreadable' ones. He commented on those he had worked with, or met, or admired. He seemed to especially enjoy the connection between each person and the cover signed by him/her.

"And then he asked if I would please personalize his cover with MY autograph? He wanted to have it mounted in Lucite(R), so he could keep it on his desk (beside the photograph of him with James Garner, both portraying Bret and Bart Maverick). So there I sat actually autographing a cover for the person I had asked to autograph mine!

"When it was time for me to leave, he got up and shook my hand. Then, this big teddy bear of a man gave me a special hug, and thanked me once more for including him in my very special hobby. As soon as I came home I framed my autographed cover with the autographed picture of Jack Kelly."

This write-up truly touched my heart. The photo JK autographed for Ms. Alter is shown above and is now in the Kellection, as is a second cover he signed which was also signed somewhere along the way by James Garner! (And the post office delivered both of these items to me on September 16--which would have been JK's 92nd birthday.)

 Double-autographed PNC created by Eunice Alter/JONAL Artcovers
I can't thank the Alter family enough for allowing me to obtain these precious items and share them here with you. I love the fact that Eunice took the time to research the story behind each stamp before creating a cover. That's what I tried to do with these Kellectibles. If I hadn't been curious about the original PNC signed by JK, I would have never reached out to the seller. And, I wouldn't have learned how a request for an autograph--and JK's gracious response to the request--led to a meeting which revealed his inquisitive mind and generous nature.    

After serving as mayor, JK continued his civic involvement in Huntington Beach, while also accepting occasional acting and voiceover work. He won his final berth on the Huntington Beach city council in 1990. His term was scheduled to expire in 1994. Sadly, JK's council seat was left open by his passing at age 65 on November 7, 1992.

He definitely made waves in "Surf City", and his candid shoot-from-the-hip political style didn't always endear him to critics. But, no matter how people felt about him, they'll never forget Jack Kelly in HB.

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

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Jack Kelly's Other Job - Pt III :)


How is the incredible first-day cover below connected to Jack Kelly's political career in Huntington Beach? Let's find out:

PNC created by Eunice Alter/JONAL ArtCovers 
and autographed by Jack Kelly
I recently purchased this Kellectible and noticed the seller lived in HB. Naturally, I had to ask if they had more information about this item.

They sure did, because the cachet was hand-painted by Eunice Alter--the seller's mother.

Now, I wasn't too familiar with philately (the study of stamps) and its associated terminology. So, I did some research and found a Facebook page for Ms. Alter's work. From this page, I learned that (1) this first-day cover is more accurately described as a "Philatelic-Numismatic Cover" (PNC), because it contains a coin as well as a stamp, and (2) Eunice Alter has a unique place in the world of PNCs. Her FB page explains:

"Philatelic (stamp) Numismatic (coin) Covers are envelopes with cancelled stamps on them, a coin mounted inside and showing through a dye cut-out, and often times a silk screened or printed picture. First Day of Issue Covers have their stamp cancelled on the first day the Post Office makes the stamp available for sale to the public...PNCs are often designed to commemorate a historical, political, or social event - just as the stamps you buy at the Post Office which commemorate a President, end of a war, Nobel Prize winner, holiday, etc.

"Eunice Alter, founder of JONAL ArtCovers, has created a unique niche for herself in the world of Philatelists and Numismatists. Her First Day of Issue Covers and PNCs are each researched and designed so that the coin, stamp and illustration are all inter-related and celebrate an important event or famous person. Each JONAL ArtCover is HAND PAINTED and signed by the artist. You can see why JONAL ArtCovers are so popular among serious coin and stamp and art collectors! Also, some of JONAL's PNCs are autographed by great political, entertainment and sports heroes making them an incredibly unique and valuable collector's item!"

Eunice's daughter, Amie, graciously shared the story behind JK's PNC with me. It's coming up in the next TDS--please stay tuned! :)

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Happy Anniversary, "Maverick"! :)


I'm sorry I couldn't post a crazy caper involving carrot cake as I usually do for Jack Kelly's birthday on 9/16. I drove the Bartistamobile about 300 miles round trip last weekend to participate in a model horse show. Then, I was taken out of commission by a migraine followed by some tummy trouble over the next couple of days. But, at least I got JK's name up in lights...that's the best I could do lying down with a cell phone. :)

I'm feeling fit as a fiddle now, though, and I'm rarin' to continue with Part III of "JK's Other Job". I just received some additional and unique Kellectibles (including a photo!) relating to Part III, and I need to get these scanned and digitized. Believe me, it will be worth the wait when you see them!

In the meantime, I'd like to commemorate a very special anniversary: the premiere of Maverick on this date in 1957. Here's a first-day cover from the Kellection with an illustration of JK and James Garner and a brief write-up about the show. I've actually had this cover for years but I kept forgetting to post it until now:

First-day cover created by Cover Scape Cachets

Incidentally, first-day covers play an important role in the next post in TDS, so please stay tuned! :)

Monday, September 16, 2019

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Jack Kelly's Other Job - Pt II :)

Continuing with our Labor Day look at Jack Kelly's role in Huntington Beach politics:

In November 1983, JK was elected to a one-year term as HB's mayor by the city council. The position was largely ceremonial and pretty much a given because JK had served as vice-mayor since April of that year.
But, JK was thrilled. He told the LA Times"I always thought that old actors just faded away, but my peers have given me the chance to re-debut in what may prove to be the finest act of my career." 

An unusual memento of JK's term as mayor now resides in the Kellection:

I know very little about this beautifully-crafted badge--which is actually miniature-sized--except that the seller remembered buying it at a badge collector's show in the 1990's and at the time didn't connect the name on the badge to the actor in Maverick. They suggested I e-mail the manufacturer for more info. (I did, but never received a response.)

So, I don't know if JK actually wore this badge or if it was created as a keepsake. If anyone out there knows the facts behind the badge, please let me know! :)

COMING SOON: Some incredible autographed items and the story behind them--the story of a very gracious man and mayor named Jack Kelly. Please stay tuned--you will not want to miss this! :) 

Monday, September 2, 2019

Jack Kelly's Other Job - Pt. I :)

Hello Everyone!

In honor of Labor Day, I'm sharing some extra special items from the Kellection which relate to Jack Kelly's tenure (1980-1992) as a local politician in Huntington Beach, California.

First, here's how JK's involvement in HB politics came about, straight from the man himself. He told a Los Angeles Times reporter in 1984 that he had been asked to run for city council in the late 1970's after working on the campaign of David Baker, who ultimately lost his bid for county supervisor. JK said that he was "flattered" but also "flabbergasted" by the request. Nevertheless, he accepted the challenge.

"I said 'yes' before I knew it," JK explained. "I had never thought of doing something like that. I had never been active in politics, except the usual thing in Hollywood in those days--like supporting Adlai Stevenson and John Kennedy."

Not surprisingly, JK attracted a lot of attention when he tossed his Stetson into the ring. And, he ruffled some political feathers when he insisted on being listed on the ballot as "Jack Kelly - Businessman/Actor (Maverick)". His opponents didn't mind the businessman/actor part, but groused that the Maverick designation would give him an unfair advantage publicity-wise.

The association with Maverick certainly didn't hurt: JK's candidacy was heralded by headlines such as "JACK KELLY GAMBLES ON BALLOT LISTING" which played off of his role as poker-playing Bart. In April 1980, he breezed onto the HB city council with nearly 7000 votes.

On 6/2/1980, only two months after being elected, JK penned a note to a man named Bob. Whether Bob was an educator or a youth club leader, I don't know. But, JK demonstrated his civil-mindedness and concern for the future of the local electorate when he wrote:

"Dear Bob - Try to get your young men and women interested in local politics! Best Wishes, Jack Kelly"

Yes, you've seen this note pictured elsewhere, but I am honored to now own the original, the piece of paper which was handled, written on and signed by Jack Kelly himself. :)

COMING NEXT: A golden reminder of Jack Kelly's time as mayor of Huntington Beach--please stay tuned! :)

Saturday, August 3, 2019

All the World's A Stage With JK - Pt III

Once Upon A Time In Toronto

The current hit film Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is set in 1969 and climaxes with a fictional riff on the horrifically real murders of starlet Sharon Tate and other victims by the Charles Manson "family".

However, this isn't the first time the killings have been viewed through a prism of make-believe. Only five years after the actual murders occurred, a play premiered in Toronto which cast Sal Mineo as a Manson-like cult leader, with Jack Kelly portraying one of his victims.

And, the opening night audience was outraged.

Here's how this curious chapter of JK's stage career began:

In March 1974, syndicated newspaper columnist Dorothy Manners reported that Janet Leigh and Mineo would star in Sugar and Spice, penned by Arthur Marx, son of Groucho and a successful author in his own right. The play was set to tour during the summer before premiering on Broadway in the fall.

Things had changed by that September, though, when Ms. Manners announced that Ms. Leigh had bowed out of the play because she didn't wish to spend an extended length of time away from her family. 

However, another reason Ms. Leigh bailed was revealed years later by author Michael Gregg Michaud in his biography of Sal Mineo. Ms. Leigh told Michaud that although she was keen to do theater and the play had originally been pitched to her as an Alfred Hitchcock-type thriller, she found she couldn't even finish reading the script because it was "beyond awful".

Indeed, the play had a shocking plot: A wealthy Texas couple assumes custody of the wife's troubled teenage daughter after she participates in a mass-murder orchestrated by Mineo's character. The parents try to rehabilitate the girl, but soon realize she's more sociopath than "sugar and spice". She tries to seduce her stepfather, and when the cult leader she betrayed pays a vengeful visit, all hell breaks loose. The parents end up being slaughtered by the girl and her murderous guru.

Sugar and Spice was then slated to premiere in November 1974 at the Royal Alexandra Theatre in Toronto, Canada. Michaud wrote that by the time Mineo arrived to start rehearsals in mid-October, the production was "in shambles", with constant rewrites, bickering and a director who would be fired by the time the play premiered.

Veteran character actress Virginia Gregg was hired to replace Ms. Leigh. John Ireland was to play opposite Ms. Gregg, but he was quickly let go. Ireland was replaced by Jack Kelly, who arrived in Toronto for rehearsals on October 28, 1974.

I don't know how JK reacted to the chaos, but Michaud noted that Mineo was so distraught over the situation that he became physically ill. He tried to quit the play, claiming he had hepatitis. A doctor diagnosed Mineo with simply a case of the flu, however, and the show went on.

Sugar and Spice opened on November 11, 1974, after being advertised in Toronto newspapers with a rare "parental guidance" advisory. That should have been the audience's first clue about what was in store for them.

According to theatre critic Urjo Kareda, who reviewed the play for the Toronto Star, "A kind of history was made: a play was last night booed off the stage of the Royal Alexandra Theatre. A steady line of fleeing patrons filled the aisles during the final quarter-hour of the piece, there were hisses and catcalls, and in the final curtain call, there was a wall of 'boos' for all the actors. Had the author and director appeared onstage as well, there might have been bloodshed. Mind you, it'll be a long time before a play and its author more unreservedly deserve this kind of loathing than did Sugar and Spice, which opened last night, and its author, Arthur Marx, who seems to have closed some time ago."

Kareda continued, "One wouldn't want to say that Sugar and Spice was beneath contempt; above all, one wouldn't want to spare it contempt. A dim-witted, foul-mouthed piece of work, it pretended to be making some sort of statement about fanatical violence while it disgustingly took every opportunity to exploit that same violence...Arthur Marx, this peculiar playwright, uses the background of the Charles Manson 'family' and the Sharon Tate murders to work up our sense of dread.

"In his story, Amanda, a former member of the cult family who was in fact responsible for turning in the leader, comes to live on parole with her mother and stepfather on a luxurious Texas ranch...Things do not go well. Amanda's mother (Virginia Gregg, understandably twitchy) suggests needlepoint and clean thinking as therapy; whereas the girl is much more inclined...toward 'kinky habits' [including] stunningly unsuccessful seductions of [a] farmhand...and her stepfather, the now tubby Jack Kelly.

"...Relief comes for Amanda in the form of 'Gloves' Gibson, played by Sal Mineo in two-inch lifts which still leave him looking about four feet tall. Gloves is, you guessed it, from Amanda's other 'family'...[and is] itching for revenge. It's when that revenge is finally demanded on the stage of the Royal Alexandra Theatre that this great first-night audience felt it had been pushed to its limits."

Kareda reported that an angry patron yelled "[Theatre owner Ed] Mirvish is desperate for money!" and concluded, "Given the nature of Sugar and Spice, and given the guidelines provided by the audience, the only moral thing left for Ed Mirvish to do is to close the show as soon as possible."

However, Mirvish stood his ground. Quoted in a UPI news story about the controversy, he insisted that Sugar and Spice would complete its scheduled three-week run, though possibly with some tweaks.

"I feel very sorry," Mirvish explained. "It's very offensive and we have to be much more careful in the future. But, I can't demand changes. It's a new play and they can be dangerous. But sometimes it's more dangerous to suggest changes."

He added, "Personally, it's not my taste. I prefer Lawrence Welk."

The same article stated that producer Michael McAloney and Jack Kelly both angrily disputed Kareda's claim that the opening night audience had booed the play off the stage. McAloney said, "There were some boos, admittedly. And, some people walked out. But, the large majority were there to the end, when many cries of 'Bravo' were heard."

Whatever actually happened that night, Sugar and Spice finished its brief run and was quickly forgotten. Tragically and ironically, Sal Mineo's own life would come to a violent end less than two years later when he was stabbed to death in Los Angeles.

And, Sugar and Spice would be one of Jack Kelly's final stage roles. The venues where he'd romped in frothy comedies, such as the Summer Arena in Canal Fulton, Ohio, had begun fading away by the mid-1970's. JK moved on to different stages for the rest of his performing life, focusing on TV guest roles, his business interests and politics.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Where's Jack? :)

Can you find a young Jack Kelly in this photo? (No, he's not under the sheet.)

I'm sure you can...and you can no doubt name the film, as well. (Hint: its French title is On Murmure Dans La Ville.) Bonus points if you can identify the movie's stars, who are also in the pic.

Please stay tuned for more fun with JK in TDS!

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Can You Spare Me a Rib, JK? :)

Howdy Everyone!

The 4th of July is almost here, which means it's time for fireworks and firing up the grill.

As I've noted before here in TDS, Jack Kelly got a real kick out of cooking. And, I found a vintage newspaper story which tells of his love for barbecuing. (Love that goofy pic of JK with wife Donna Kelly/May Wynn!):

"Jack is great at cooking meats either at the barbecue or in the kitchen," Donna told the reporter.

Jack added, "Our barbecue is a popular place. Even in the winter or rainy season we cook things out there and bring the food in and sit on the living room floor at the fireplace to eat it."

The story even includes JK's special recipe for glazed spareribs:

Unfortunately, I don't have a grill, but if anyone else is able (and brave enough) to fix these mouth-watering ribs, let me know and you can tell us all about it in a guest post in TDS! So, toss on your toque and "Kiss the Cook" apron and get grillin'! :)

Monday, June 24, 2019

More Scraps of "Maverick" :)

Happy Monday Everyone!

A one-of-a-kind English artifact recently joined the Kellection. On the outside, it looks like an ordinary composition book:

But, on the inside are pages and pages of neatly arranged 1950's newspaper and magazine clippings about the American west--both the historical and the TV versions.

I wish I could post every page of this amazing scrapbook here, but there are simply too many. So, I'll just concentrate on the pages which feature pix of Jack Kelly and James Garner in Maverick

First, here's a group of clippings of JK and some of his fellow TV westerners--Peter Graves and Bobby Diamond in Fury and Ty Hardin in Bronco: 

A close-up of JK:

A more formal view of Bart:

The caption for the pic of JK and JG on this page is interesting because it says, "Jack (Bart Maverick) Kelly (right) with his TV brother Bret (James Garner)"--it's usually the other way around! And, notice the pic for Gunsmoke. That's the radio version of the series--the TV version was called Gun Law when it was first imported to British screens:

A closer look at the Maverick brothers:

Another page of western favorites. Aside from JK, there's Clint Eastwood and Sheb Wooley from Rawhide and Ty "Bronco" Hardin again. And, another ad for the radio version of Gunsmoke, with William Conrad as Marshal Dillon and Parley Baer as Chester Proudfoot (who, of course, was called Chester Goode and played by Dennis Weaver in the TV version):

Love that smile! :)

Finally, one last page with the Maverick boys (upper right), plus John Russell of Lawman and Peter Graves (this time in Whiplash, an Australian western):

Unfortunately, there are no clues to the identity of the devoted western fan who painstakingly clipped and then pasted all of these images into a simple spiral notebook. But, whoever they were, I'm glad they took the time and effort to preserve this wealth of ephemera from the era when westerns rode the airwaves--even in England. :)    

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Maverick On The Record :)

Hello Everyone!

There's one Maverick Kellectible which you've probably all seen but not heard: a cardboard "record" which was handed out as a promo by Jeep dealers during the heyday of the Maverick TV series. It has a sweet photo of Bret and Bart on the front:

...and a plug for Maverick and Jeep vehicles on the back (this particular example in the Kellection came from a Buick dealership in Sheboygan, Wisconsin): 

This Maverick record shows up now and then on eBay. There's one being offered now for $195 ("Never seen another like it, very rare" the seller claims). Sorry, this Kellectible is cool, but not $195 worth of cool. There's another one for sale at $50, which is still kind of on the high-ish side.

I actually have two of these records. I was delighted to find the first one not long after I "discovered" Jack Kelly in 2009. But, my delight turned to dismay when I read the little blurb on the front: "This is a record. Play it on your phonograph. 78 RPM."

Uh-oh. At one time my family had a record player with 78 capability, but it was given away before we moved when I was a teenager. And that was like in...well, before 2009.

So, I asked around my family and friends, but no one had a turntable that went up to 78 RPM...or even a turntable, for that matter.

So, I figured my little Maverick records would just be kool Kellectibles, silent conversation pieces, items which would be seen and never heard.

Until now.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I finally found a 78 RPM turntable! And, I set forth to free Bret and Bart from their prison of obsolete audio technology.

I feverishly took the turntable out of the box and plugged it in. I gingerly placed the needle on the record and flicked the "on" switch.

Then, I breathlessly waited to hear JK's and JG's voices. What would they say? Would it be "'Hi Bart!' 'Hi Bret!' 'Let's tell the folks all about the new Jeep!'" and other snappy patter?

Well, if you're holding your breath to find out: exhale.

What I heard was the Maverick theme song followed by a low-key James Garner going on about how much he loves playing Bret Maverick, and how Maverick is about two brothers who make their living by playing cards, and the stories take place in different locales, yadda yadda yadda. And, oh, brother Bart is played by "Warner Bros. star, Jack Kelly".

In other words, stuff anyone who's watched five minutes of Maverick already knew. The whole spiel sounded like copy cranked out by the WB publicity department, which it no doubt was. And, yes, I listened to both records, just in case JK spoke on the other one. Nope, both records are exactly the same, with only JG's voice.

So there you have it, JK fans. No need to pay nearly $200 (or even $100) for this glorified piece of cardboard.

Unless you just like the picture on the front. ;)

Sunday, June 2, 2019

The "Cult" of Maverick! :)


Yet another book just joined the Kellection. It's Cult TV by John Javna.

No, it's not about a television network owned by an obscure guru. "Cult" as defined here means TV shows that fans crave, or, as the subtitle proclaims "A Viewer's Guide to the Shows America Can't Live Without!!".

"Cult" usually denotes a film or TV series which wasn't widely watched or appreciated in its day (such as Star Trek), but later attracted a fiercely devoted following. However, these days one need not be a "Trekker" to recognize phrases like "Beam me up, Scotty!" or to understand what an Enterprise crew member's red shirt foreshadows. Although the original Star Trek series ran only three seasons on NBC, the show and its later iterations can now be viewed around the clock, even without a television. It's no longer "cult tv"; it's an institution.

To me, a cult classic is something more esoteric, like Dark Shadows, the long-canceled gothic soap opera which still has a strong following but is also somewhat "niche". It's in this book, but most of the programs here (Star Trek, I Love Lucy, Gunsmoke, The Andy Griffith Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, etc.) are perennially popular shows that virtually everyone is familiar with. They've become part of our collective consciousness and lexicon. Who hasn't quipped "You got some 'splainin' to do!" at some time in our life? You don't need a book to 'splain that.

Today, there are several networks devoted to classic television, not to mention streaming services, DVD box sets, YouTube channels, websites, blogs, Facebook fan groups and conventions such as Comic-Con. Anyone can binge, tweet or share their favorite TV shows just about anytime they want.

But, Cult TV was published in 1985 B.I. (Before Internet), when many of the shows it spotlights could be seen only in reruns on local TV (if at all) after their original runs ended. "Retro" programming was in its infancy in 1985. For instance, "Nick At Nite" debuted in July 1985 and its spinoff network "TV Land" didn't sign on until April 1996.

I remember watching Maverick in syndication many moons ago on one of our local cable channels. And, yes, it's one of the cult classics featured in Cult TV.

Unfortunately, the author is of the "James Garner Was Maverick--Jack Kelly Was Just Maverick's Brother" school.

He introduces the lead actors: "Starring James Garner."


Not "Starring James Garner and Jack Kelly".

Nope, there's a standalone "And..."

Followed by: "...Jack Kelly as Bart Maverick, Bret's equally larcenous, but not as sexy brother."

(SAY WHAT??!!)

The author further downplays JK's contribution to Maverick by making comments like: "Kelly had been filming a movie in Hong Kong, so he'd never even heard of Maverick. When he finally saw it, he wasn't sure he could step in as proposed, because he thought Garner was so good" and "Kelly was accepted by fans of Maverick (despite the confusion it created) but never developed the cult following that Garner had."

But, we know now that JK does have his fans (you're reading this blog, aren't you?) and, "cult following" or not, he was the official star of Maverick alongside James Garner. He wasn't simply an "and" or a secondary sibling.

Also, were fans of Maverick actually confused when "Brother Bart" showed up? Didn't they have TV Guide or read newspapers? I can just imagine a befuddled couple watching the show back in the day:

"Hey Martha, is this the same guy who usually plays Maverick?"

"No, dear, that's the brother."

"The actor's brother?"

"No, Maverick's brother."

"Oh. Does he have a sister, too?"

Anyway, the author also provides some trivia about Maverick which is now pretty well-known:

Well, please stay tuned to TDS! :)