Hollywood Through the Back Door, Plus The Man Behind Bart Maverick: Next on TVC

Authors Michael St. John and Linda Alexander will join us on the next edition of TV CONFIDENTIAL, Friday at 7pm ET and PT on Share-a-Vision Radio.

A pioneer in the entertainment industry in more ways than one, Michael St. John was the first African-American man hired as a director for NBC television, where he worked on such prime time shows as Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In and The Andy Williams Show, as well as with such news personalities as Tom Brokaw and Bryant Gumbel. Prior to that, Michael also worked as a stage and film actor in such films as Carmen Jones, the first major Hollywood motion picture featuring an all African-American cast.

But there were remnants of segregation in Hollywood when Michael first arrived in the early 1950s. The story of how he overcame that — and go on to leave his mark in the worlds of stage, film, television, music, radio and publishing — is one of the driving forces of Michael’s book, Hollywood Through the Back Door. Michael’s book serves as a reminder that while Hollywood can be tough to navigate, it can also be a very rewarding town to those who are persistent. We’ll talk about that, as well as ask about some of Michael’s experiences with the likes of Shirley Booth, Mary Pickford, Brock Peters, Marilyn Horne, Marilyn Monroe, Pearl Bailey, Dorothy Dandridge, and Otto Preminger, when he joins in our second hour.

Also joining us this week will be film and TV biographer Linda Alexander. Linda’s latest book, A Maverick Life: The Jack Kelly Story, is a comprehensive look at the life and career of the actor best known for playing Bart Maverick on the long-running Western series, Maverick (ABC, 1957-1962). An accomplished, versatile performer since virtually the time he was born, Jack Kelly was a fixture in film and television for more than five decades before semi-retiring from the industry to enter the world of politics, where he served as a city councilman (and, later, a two-term mayor) of Huntington Beach, California. If that weren’t enough, he was also a successful businessman, and owned a newspaper, The Huntington Beach News.

Yet for all his accomplishments, Jack Kelly spent much of his professional life in the shadow of two people: his elder sister, Nancy Kelly, and his co-star on Maverick, James Garner. We’ll talk about that, as well as discuss other aspects of Jack Kelly’s career before, during and after Maverick, when Linda Alexander joins us in our first hour.

It’ll be a full program as always, and we certainly hope you’ll join us.

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