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Friday, 15 May 2015


To look inside, go to Amazon

A Maverick Life: The Jack Kelly Story
Linda J Alexander

I'm glad Linda J Alexander wrote the Jack Kelly story.  He's a bit of a forgotten man in some ways.  I have been a fan of westerns since I was knee-high to a cornflakes box and I had the good sense to be born in the golden era of TV westerns in the late 50s/early 60s - Bronco, Cheyenne, Wagon Train, Laramie, etc and, the greatest of them all, Maverick.

The Jack Kelly/James Garner combo was terrific and even watching reruns as recently as last year, the magic is still there on screen.

Garner left the show and went on to a great career in films and TV.  Kelly stayed a bit longer, was eventually "let go", the show folded and he found himself trying hard to capitalise on his TV fame and popularity.  He balanced his working life between screen and theatre, eventually abandoning both for local politics.  After Maverick, he was a kind of go-to-guest-star for TV series.  I remember him fondly in a couple of The Rockford Files and an Alias Smith and Jones episode, amongst others.

The book charts his career very well and fills in a lot of details about his fascinating early showbiz-related upbringing and his often thwarted ambitions to be a big star.  James Garner, post-Maverick, moved forward.  Jack Kelly seemed to slip backwards, sadly.

There are lots of stories, insights and what sound like assumptions in his private life and, at times the book gets a little bogged down in domestic stuff.

But that's a minor gripe.  I loved Jack Kelly's work, his charm, his humour, his great voice and now I know a lot more about him, I am encouraged to seek out his films to remind myself of his CV.

Congratulations to Linda J Alexander on a great book and thanks for reminding us of this wonderful actor.

(Jack Kelly 16 September 1927 - 7 November 1992)

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