Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday Morning with Francis Beverly Kelley

10/24/15  New comment below

10/22/11 -- To members of the Kelley family: I am pleased that this post has brought you such pleasure, and thanks for sharing. I still feel lucky to have met Mr. Kelley, who so graciously agreed to pen a foreword to my first book, Behind the Big top.

"Spangled and big and red and gold, the circus smells of peanuts and cotton candy and pink lemonade and wild animals. It is as American as hot dogs.

It pops up some gray gray morning with is billowing tents and flags whipping in halyards on a horizon that wasn't there a few hours ago. With sights and sounds to quicken the heartbeat, it makes its visitors kin to Alice at the moment when she stepped through the looking glass into the realm of pure fantasy.

Here today and gone tomorrow, it is a state of restless American achievement, a pioneer peddler with magic in its pack and a timetable in its pocket --- a spangled, sparkling girl with a date in a town a hundred miles away tomorrow morning."

-- from his story, "The Wonder City That Moves by Night," in The National Geographic, March, 1948.



Jack Ryan said...

Terrific writing by a truly great press agent.

Showbiz David said...

What a poet he was. I marvel at the man's perfect prose. His inspired writings helped seduce me into that "wonder city that moves by night."

Jack Ryan said...


Bev narrated a record album -- on about six 78 rpm disks in, I believe, the late 1940s. He eloquently described a typical circus day with accompanying sound effects and music.

I received it as a birthday present and played it until it was literally worn out.

I still remember how it opened:

"From out of the cool mists of the morning comes a long, shining silver train..."

Wish I still owned it.


Showbiz David said...

one of the most humble and kind souls i have ever met.



I was transported back to a "magic moment in time".

Jack Ryan was blessed with that special gift as so few are.

Ray Porter said...

Bev Kelley was my grandfather. He was so kind and such fun. He never left the magic of childhood behind and was a ready playmate to us as kids.
I am so glad to see this photo of him speaking into the mic! I narrate audiobooks, do voiceover work and am an actor. I have never seen the photo, so thanks!

Jack, I surely wish you still had the 78 recording! I would love to hear that.

I still find his books in rare and used bookstores occasionally and always grab them immediately. If you haven't read his books, I recommend them.

What a treat to see this post. Thank you.

Katie said...

I am fortunate to be one of Bev Kelley's grandchildren and sibling to Ray Porter, who also commented.

What a gift you have given to our family with your post!

Many, many thanks!

Linda Duncan said...

We have an autographed version of Bev Kelley's "Denver Brown and the Travelling town." It's really cool to hear what a great talent and gentleman he was. Even his handwriting was quite eloquent. And his kind words to his friend "Babe Boudinot" are heartwarming in there pure honesty. If any of his grandchildren would be interested in owning this item, please feel free to contact us via a reply to this post.

Showbiz David said...

To those who wish to reply to Linda. Please link onto her Name in blue above, and go from there.