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Updated on June 19, 2012

Not an Ordinary Western Theme

I am a fan of the classic western television shows and the entertainment values surrounding them. I can tell you most of the shows viewed throughout the 50s, 60s and 70s carried much of the same themes and ideas. There is one that stands to differ from the rest. This brain storm idea created by Roy Huggins changed the western theme viewing by directing its focus on one topic that had nothing to do with open range, cattle drives or horses. Most cowboys spend their free time in saloons drinking, dancing, and playing poker for relaxation. But few make a living at any of these entertaining past times until 1957 when Maverick is introduced by ABC bringing to light the game of poker as a comfortable living to a couple of card shark brothers, Bart (Jack Kelly) and Bret (James Garner)Maverick. Two witty fun loving characters not only won and lost poker games traveling throughout the west, but also fought villains attempting to swindle them as well. The duo could outwit the smartest of crooks by schemes dreamed up out of thin air. Maverick is one of Warner Brothers finest one hour comedy, drama, adventure packed television series to hit the screen. Decades after decades later the audience is still there.

The Maverick Family

When Maverick was new Bret introduced the show for the first few episodes or so bringing his brother Bart in later. Bart (Jack Kelly) stayed throughout the five season run of the show. Bret (James Garner) left after season three. After Garner left to pursue a movie career another Maverick was brought in. Beau (Roger Moore) Maverick was given a role as Bart’s cousin. Beau only lasted through one season and this led to the introduction of yet another Maverick. Brent (Robert Colbert) Maverick a younger brother to Bart and Bret was another star performer to season four. Season five was left to only Bart (Jack Kelly) who managed to uphold another round of excellent performances of cleverness without his family’s help unless it was quotes so well remembered by his dear father Beauregard Maverick referred to as Pappy. Such quotes as: A man does what he has to do - if he can't get out of it. And never cry over spilt milk. It could've been whiskey. Pappy always told his sons to carry a thousand dollar bill pinned inside their coat in case an emergency came up. Emergencies often came up for these guys.

Jack Kelly and James Garner

Maverick ended its final season with season five in 1962, but over the years since, the story has been replayed in movies as well as series such as Bret Maverick. All these later stories developed from the original old classic centered around a poker table somewhere either in a saloon or on a riverboat.

Jack Kelly and James Garner teamed up for an unforgettable viewing experience. They both have displayed many other skills on a variety of television shows and the movie screens. But the Maverick title of both these fine talents will always be their remembrance title for most of us.

Books on both actors have been written. Here’s a place to find Jack Kelly’s story.

And here’s a memoir of James Garner


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    • Diana Lee profile image

      Diana L Pierce 6 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      Thanks, dahoglund. I have really been drawn back to the old classic westerns the last couple of years more than ever. I've always liked Jack Kelly and James Garner pictures. I can tell you Linda Alexander did an exceptional job on the new book she released not long ago about Jack Kelly and she has helped inspire me in my own writing efforts. I am very pleased she liked this hub. I haven't read the Garner Files yet, but I plan to in the future.

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Maverick is classic. The thing is that it turned the stereotypes upside down. Gamblers were traditional villains and Maverick made them heroes.It was a favorite for me.I'll share this with my folloers.

    • Diana Lee profile image

      Diana L Pierce 6 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      I know you'll enjoy it, giocatore. Thanks for stopping by.

    • giocatore profile image

      giocatore 6 years ago

      I've often thought about watching some of the old Maverick shows, since I'm a huge Rockford Files fan. I think you've convinced me! Thanks.

    • Diana Lee profile image

      Diana L Pierce 6 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      Thank you, Cogerson and thanks for sharing my link Flora. Always glad to have an audience.

    • Cogerson profile image

      Cogerson 6 years ago from Virginia

      A very interesting hub on James Garner and Jack Kelly and Maverick. I just got through reading Garner's autobiography and he talks about the show many times in the book. I never bought Roger Moore as a Maverick relative...he was much better in The Saint...voted up and interesting....Flora was nice enough to share your link with me.

    • Diana Lee profile image

      Diana L Pierce 6 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      Thank you, Flora. I enjoy all those old western classics. I think I'll be working on some more reviews from other shows to add to my hub pages. There certainly was a lot of them. They all deserve a place in the history of American television and brought back to nostalgia channels for this generation to view.

    • Diana Lee profile image

      Diana L Pierce 6 years ago from Potter County, Pa.

      Thank you, Linda. Your opinion means a lot to me.

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image

      FloraBreenRobison 6 years ago

      Thanks for this review of Maverick and the actors that played various Mavericks on the small screen. It was a fun show..and a funny show.

    • profile image

      Linda J. Alexander 6 years ago

      Very nicely done, Diana! Thx for keeping the "Maverick" (& the Jack Kelly) memory alive.