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Encyclopedia > Jack Benny
Jack Benny


1942 portrait photograph of Jack Benny. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 483 × 599 pixel Image in higher resolution (537 × 666 pixel, file size: 37 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) This is a 1942 portrait of Jack Benny by Scotty Welbourne. ...

Birth name Benjamin Kubelsky
Born February 14, 1894
Flag of United States Chicago, Illinois
Died December 26, 1974
Beverly Hills, California
Show The Jack Benny Program
Station(s) NBC, CBS
Style Comedian
Country United States

Jack Benny (February 14, 1894 in Chicago, IllinoisDecember 26, 1974 in Beverly Hills, California), born Benjamin Kubelsky, was an American comedian, vaudeville performer, and radio, television, and film actor. He was one of the biggest stars in classic American radio and was also a major television personality. February 14 is the 45th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1894 (MDCCCXCIV) was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ... Nickname: Motto: Urbs In Horto (Latin: City in a Garden), I Will Location in Chicagoland and Illinois Coordinates: Country United States State Illinois County Cook & DuPage Incorporated March 4, 1837 Government  - Mayor Richard M. Daley (D) Area  - City  234. ... Official language(s) English[1] Capital Springfield Largest city Chicago Largest metro area Chicago Area  Ranked 25th  - Total 57,918 sq mi (149,998 km²)  - Width 210 miles (340 km)  - Length 390 miles (629 km)  - % water 4. ... December 26 is the 360th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar, 361st in leap years. ... 1974 (MCMLXXIV) was a common year starting on Tuesday. ... Beverly Hills is a city in the western part of Los Angeles County, California. ... The Jack Benny Program, starring Jack Benny, was a radio-TV comedy series which ran for more than three decades and is generally regarded as a high-water mark in 20th-century comedy. ... NBC (a former acronym for National Broadcasting Company) is an American television network headquartered in the GE Building in New York Citys Rockefeller Center. ... CBS is one of the largest radio and television networks in the United States. ... February 14 is the 45th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1894 (MDCCCXCIV) was a common year starting on Monday (see link for calendar). ... Nickname: Motto: Urbs In Horto (Latin: City in a Garden), I Will Location in Chicagoland and Illinois Coordinates: Country United States State Illinois County Cook & DuPage Incorporated March 4, 1837 Government  - Mayor Richard M. Daley (D) Area  - City  234. ... Official language(s) English[1] Capital Springfield Largest city Chicago Largest metro area Chicago Area  Ranked 25th  - Total 57,918 sq mi (149,998 km²)  - Width 210 miles (340 km)  - Length 390 miles (629 km)  - % water 4. ... December 26 is the 360th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar, 361st in leap years. ... 1974 (MCMLXXIV) was a common year starting on Tuesday. ... Beverly Hills is a city in the western part of Los Angeles County, California. ... A comedian, or comic, is an entertainer who amuses an audience by making them laugh. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ... Actors in period costume sharing a joke whilst waiting between takes during location filming. ...


Benny was renowned for his flawless comic timing and (especially) his ability to get laughs with either a pregnant pause or a single expression, such as his signature exasperated "Well!". In hand with his dear friend and great "rival" Fred Allen — their long-running "feud" was one of the greatest running gags in comedy history — Benny helped establish a basic palette from which comedy since has rarely deviated, no matter how extreme or experimental it has become in their wake. Comic timing is use of rhythm and tempo to enhance comedy and humor. ... He has eyes like Venetian blinds and a tongue like an adder — radio/television critic John Crosby about humourist Fred Allen, portrayed here by caricaturist Al Hirschfeld. ... An anthropomorphized running gag from the webcomic 1/0. ...

Contents

Biography

Early career

Benny grew up in Chicago and Waukegan, Illinois, the son of a Jewish haberdasher.[1] He began studying the violin, an instrument that would become his trademark, when he was six. By 14, he was playing in local dance bands as well as in his high school orchestra. After he found an opportunity to play the instrument in local theaters for $8 a week, he quit school and eventually began a career in vaudeville. Nickname: Motto: Urbs In Horto (Latin: City in a Garden), I Will Location in Chicagoland and Illinois Coordinates: Country United States State Illinois County Cook & DuPage Incorporated March 4, 1837 Government  - Mayor Richard M. Daley (D) Area  - City  234. ... Waukegan is a city in Lake County, Illinois, of which it is the county seat. ... A haberdasher is a person who sells small items via retail, commonly items used in clothing, such as ribbons and buttons, or completed accessories, such as hats or gloves. ... The violin is a bowed string instrument with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. ... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...


In 1911, he was playing in the same theater as the young Marx Brothers, whose mother Minnie Marx was so enchanted with Benny that she invited him to be their permanent accompanist. The plan was foiled by Benny's parents, who refused to let their son, then 17, go on the road, but it was the beginning of his long friendship with Zeppo Marx. Benny's wife Mary Livingstone (born Sadye Marks) was a distant cousin of the Marx Brothers. Groucho, Gummo, Minnie (mother), Zeppo, Frenchy (father), Chico and Harpo. ... Minnie Schönberg Marx (1865-1929) was the mother and manager for the Marx Brothers and the sister of Al Shean. ... Herbert Marx (February 25, 1901 – November 29, 1979) is best known as Zeppo Marx, the name he used when he performed with his brothers, The Marx Brothers. ...


The following year, Benny formed a vaudeville musical duo with pianist Cora Salisbury. This provoked famous violinist Jan Kubelik, who thought that the young vaudeville entertainer with a similar name (Kubelsky) would damage his reputation. Finally, Benjamin Kubelsky agreed to change his name to Ben K. Benny (sometimes spelled Bennie). He also found a new pianist, Lyman Woods. He left show business briefly in 1917 to join the Navy during World War I, but even then, he often entertained the troops. One evening, his violin performance was booed by the troops, so he began telling Navy jokes on stage. He was a big hit, and earned himself a reputation as a comedian as well as a musician. Jan Kubelík (July 5, 1880 - December 5, 1940) was a Czech violinist and composer. ... The United States Navy, also known as the USN or the U.S. Navy, is a branch of the United States armed forces responsible for conducting naval operations. ... “The Great War ” redirects here. ...


After the war, Benny returned to vaudeville and changed his first name to Jack (purportedly after a performer named Ben Bernie complained). He had several romantic encounters, including one with a dancer, Mary Kelly, whose devoutly Catholic family forced her to turn down Benny's proposal because he was Jewish. Jack was introduced to Mary Kelly by Gracie Allen. Later on, years after the split between Mary Kelly and Jack, Mary resurfaced as a dowdy fat girl and Jack gave her a part of an act of three girls: one homely, one fat and one who couldn't sing. This lasted till, at Mary Livingstone's request, Mary Kelly was let go. Gracie Allen and George Burns later had Mary Kelly appear on their radio program as "Bubbles" Kelly. Her signature line on "Burns And Allen" went like this: Gracie would say "Here's Mary Kelly." George would pause and say "Mary??? She's big enough to be the Queen Mary." Gracie Allen (July 26, 1895[1] – August 27, 1964) was an American comedian who became internationally famous as the zany partner and comic foil of husband George Burns. ... George Burns[1], born Nathan Birnbaum (January 20, 1896 – March 9, 1996), was an American comedian and actor. ...


In 1922, Jack accompanied Zeppo Marx to a Passover seder where he met Sadye (Sadie) Marks, whom he married in 1927. (Despite the repeated references in the show, they did not meet when she, Sadye, was working in sales at May's department store; this was a fabrication for the fictional Mary Livingstone character.) Adopting Mary Livingstone as her stage name, Sadye became Benny's collaborator throughout most of his career (according to Fred Allen's book on vaudeville Much Ado About Me, it was a custom for vaudeville comics to put their wives into the act once married, in order to save on expenses and so that the marital partners could keep an eye on each other). They later adopted a daughter, Joan. Herbert Marx (February 25, 1901 – November 29, 1979) is best known as Zeppo Marx, the name he used when he performed with his brothers, The Marx Brothers. ... This article is about the Jewish holiday. ... Table set for the beginning of the Passover Seder, including Passover Seder Plate (front center), salt water, three shmurah matzot (rear center), and bottles of kosher wine. ... Jack and Mary Benny Mary Livingstone (born Sadye Marks in Seattle, Washington on June 23, 1905) was an early co-star of American radio, and the wife and collaborator of radio and comedy king Jack Benny. ...


Radio

Benny had been only a minor vaudeville performer, but he became an enormously successful national figure with The Jack Benny Program, a weekly radio show which ran from 1932 to 1948 on NBC and from 1948 to 1955 on CBS, and was consistently among the most highly rated programs during most of that run. The Jack Benny Program, starring Jack Benny, was a radio-TV comedy series which ran for more than three decades and is generally regarded as a high-water mark in 20th-century comedy. ... NBC (a former acronym for National Broadcasting Company) is an American television network headquartered in the GE Building in New York Citys Rockefeller Center. ... CBS is one of the largest radio and television networks in the United States. ...


Characters

Benny's stage character was a clever inversion of his actual self. Though the character was named Jack Benny, he was also just about everything the actual Jack Benny himself was not: cheap, petty, vain and self-congratulatory. His masterful comic rendering of these traits became the vital linchpin to the Benny show's success. Benny set himself up as the comedic foil, allowing his supporting characters to draw laughs at the expense of his stinginess, vanity, and pettiness. By allowing such a character to be seen as human and vulnerable, in an era where few male characters were allowed such obvious vulnerability, Benny made what might have been a despicable character into a lovable Everyman character. Benny himself said on several occasions: "I don't care who gets the laughs on my show, as long as the show is funny." A straight man is a role in a comedy double act where a performer works with a comedian by setting up the situations or feeding the lines that allow their partner to make a joke. ...


The supporting characters who amplified that vulnerability only too gladly included wife Mary Livingstone as his wisecracking and not especially deferential female friend (not quite his girlfriend, since Benny would often try to date movie stars like Barbara Stanwyck, and occasionally had stage girlfriends such as Gladys Zybisco); rotund announcer Don Wilson (who also served as announcer for Fanny Brice's hit, Baby Snooks); bandleader Phil Harris as a jive-talking, wine-and-women type whose repartee was rather risque for its time (Harris and Mahlon Merrick shared the actual musical chores of the show); boy tenor Dennis Day, who was cast as a sheltered, naive youth who still got the better of his boss as often as not (this character was originated by Kenny Baker, but perfected by Day); and, especially, Eddie Anderson as valet-chauffeur Rochester van Jones — who was as popular as Benny himself. Jack and Mary Benny Mary Livingstone (born Sadye Marks in Seattle, Washington on June 23, 1905) was an early co-star of American radio, and the wife and collaborator of radio and comedy king Jack Benny. ... Barbara Stanwyck (July 16, 1907 – January 20, 1990) was an American film/television actress. ... Don Wilson (September 1, 1900 – April 25, 1982) was an American announcer and occasional actor in radio and television. ... Early Ziegfeld Follies portrait of Fanny Brice Fanny Brice (October 29, 1891 – May 29, 1951) was a popular and influential American comedian, singer, theatre and film actress and entertainer, remembered best for her many stage, radio and film appearances and her recordings. ... The Baby Snooks Show was a radio show starring Fanny Brice in the role of a mischievous youngster named Snooks. ... Phil Harris and Alice Faye Phil Harris (born Wonga Philip Harris) (June 24, 1904 – August 11, 1995) was an American singer, songwriter, jazz musician and comedian. ... Dennis Day (May 21, 1918 - June 22, 1988) Irish American singer who appeared for years on Jack Bennys radio and television shows. ... Kenneth Laurence Kenny Baker (September 30, 1912 – August 10, 1985) was an American singer/actor who first gained notice as the featured singer on Jack Bennys radio shows during the 1930s. ... Eddie Anderson (September 18, 1905 - February 28, 1977), often known as Eddie Rochester Anderson, was a black comic actor who became famous playing Rochester van Jones (usually known simply as Rochester), the valet to Jack Bennys eponymous title character on the long-running radio and television series The Jack...


And that was itself a radical proposition for the era: unlike the protagonists of Amos 'n' Andy, Rochester was a Black man allowed to one-up his skinflint, vain boss in more ways than one, with his mock-befuddled one-liners and his sharp retorts, he broke a barrier down for his race. Unlike many black supporting characters of the time, Rochester was depicted and treated as a regular member of Benny's fictional household; Benny, in character, tended if anything to treat Rochester more like an equal partner than a hired domestic (even though gags about Rochester's flimsy salary were a regular part of the show), while Rochester seemed to see right through his boss's vanities and knew how to prick them without overdoing it. Benny deserves credit for allowing this character and the actor who played him (it is difficult, if not impossible, to picture any other performer giving Rochester what Anderson gave him) to transcend the era's racial stereotype and for not discouraging his near-equal popularity. A New Year's Eve episode, in particular, shows the love each performer had for the other, quietly toasting each other with champagne. That this attention to Rochester's race was no accident became clearer during World War II, when Benny would frequently pay tribute to the diversity of Americans who had been drafted into service. In fact Benny made a conscious effort after the war, once the depths of Nazi race hatred had been revealed, to remove the most stereotypical aspects of Rochester's character. He also often gave key guest-star appearances to African-American performers such as Louis Armstrong. Illustrator J.J. Goulds 1930 drawing of Amos and Andy for New Movie Magazine Amos n Andy was a situation comedy popular in the United States from the 1920s through the 1950s. ... The quality of this article or section may be compromised by peacock terms. You can help Wikipedia by removing peacock terms. ... Champagne is often consumed as part of a celebration Champagne is a sparkling wine produced by inducing the in-bottle secondary fermentation of wine to effect carbonation. ... Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... This article or section does not cite any references or sources. ...

Jack Benny and Mary Livingstone
Jack Benny and Mary Livingstone

Other cast included character actors Sheldon Leonard (later a hugely successful television producer and creator), Joseph Kearns (best remembered as cantankerous Mr. Wilson on the television version of Dennis the Menace), Verna Felton as Dennis Day's mother (best remembered as the Queen of Hearts in Disney's "Alice in Wonderland"), Frank Nelson, singer/bandleader Bob Crosby (who succeeded Phil Harris in the early 1950s), and the remarkably versatile Mel Blanc, who provided several characters' voices, as well as the famous sound of Benny's aging auto, an early century Maxwell that was always on the verge of collapsing with a phat-phat-bang! Blanc is probably remembered best, however, as Benny's perpetually frustrated violin teacher, who was as likely to throw his own and Benny's instrument into the fireplace as he was to have a nervous breakdown before he was out the door. Other musical contributions came in later years from a singing quartet known as the Sportsmen. In the early days of the program, the supporting characters were often vaudevillian ethnic stereotypes whose humor was grounded in dialects; as the years went by the humor of these figures became more character-based. Image File history File links JackandMaryBenny. ... Image File history File links JackandMaryBenny. ... Sheldon Leonard (February 22, 1907 – January 10, 1997) was a pioneering American film and television producer, director, writer, and actor. ... Joseph Kearns (born February 12, 1907; died February 17, 1962) was an American actor, who is best remembered for his role as Mr. ... Dennis the Menace was a television series based on the popular comic strip, which ran from 1959 through 1963. ... Verna Felton (July 20, 1890 – December 14, 1966) is a voice actor, who was best-known for playing most of the female voices in Disney animated films. ... Frank Nelson was an American born comedic actor best known for playing put-upon foils on radio and television. ... Bob Crosby (August 23, 1913 - March 9, 1993) was an American bandleader and singer. ... Melvin Jerome Blanc (May 30, 1908 – July 10, 1989) was a prolific American voice actor, performing on radio, in television commercials, and most famously, in hundreds of cartoon shorts for Warner Bros. ... The Maxwell was a brand of automobiles manufactured in the United States of America from about 1903 to 1925. ...


Benny's method of bringing a character into a skit, by announcing his name, also became a well-known Benny shtick: "Oh, DEN-nis..." or "Oh, ROCH-ester..." typically answered by, "Yes, Mr. Benny (Boss)?"


Situations

The Jack Benny Program evolved from a variety show blending sketch comedy and musical interludes into the situation comedy form we know even now, crafting particular situations and scenarios from the fictionalization of Benny the radio star. Anything, from hosting a party to income tax time to a night on the town, was good for a Benny show situation, and somehow the writers and star would find the right ways and places to insert musical interludes from Phil Harris and Dennis Day. (With Day, invariably, it would be a brief sketch that ended with Benny ordering Day to sing the song he planned to do on that week's show.)

Jack Benny caricatured by Sam Berman for 1947 NBC promotion book.

One extremely popular scenario that became an annual tradition on The Jack Benny Program was the "Christmas Shopping" episode, in which Benny would head to a local department store to do his yearly Christmas shopping. Each year, Benny would buy a ridiculously-cheap Christmas gift for Don Wilson from a store clerk played by Mel Blanc. He would then drive Blanc to insanity by exchanging the gift countless times throughout the episode. Image File history File linksMetadata Jbenny1. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Jbenny1. ...


For example, in the 1946 "Christmas Shopping" episode, Benny buys shoelaces as a gift for Don Wilson. He then exchanges the gift several times when he can't make up his mind whether to give Wilson shoelaces with plastic tips or shoelaces with metal tips. After several exchanges of the shoelaces, Mel Blanc is heard screaming insanely, "Plastic tips! Metal tips! I can't stand it anymore!" A similar plot in 1948 concerned Benny buying an expensive wallet for Don, and repeatedly changing the greeting card inserted -- prompting Blanc to shout: "I haven't run into anyone like you in 20 years! Oh, why did the Governor have to give me that pardon!?" -- until he realizes that he could have gotten Don a wallet for $1.98, whereupon, the put-upon clerk disintegrates. Over the years, in the annual "Christmas Shopping" episodes, Benny bought and repeatedly exchanged numerous cheap items as gifts for Don Wilson, including cuff links, golf tees, a box of dates, a paint set, and even a gopher trap. For other uses, see Governor (disambiguation). ...


In 1936, after a few years broadcasting from New York, Benny moved the show to Los Angeles, allowing him to bring in guests from among his show business friends — guests as diverse as Frank Sinatra, James Stewart, Barbara Stanwyck, Bing Crosby, Burns & Allen (Benny's best friend in show business was probably George Burns), and many others. Burns & Allen and Orson Welles guest hosted several episodes in March and April of 1943 when Benny was seriously ill with pneumonia, while Ronald Colman and his wife Benita Hume appeared frequently in the 1940s as Benny's neighbors. Flag Seal Nickname: City of Angels Location Location within Los Angeles County in the state of California Coordinates , Government State County California Los Angeles County Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D) Geographical characteristics Area     City 1,290. ... Francis Albert Sinatra (December 12, 1915 – May 14, 1998) was a jazz oriented popular singer and Academy Award-winning actor. ... Brigadier General James Maitland Jimmy Stewart (May 20, 1908 – July 2, 1997) was an iconic, Academy Award-winning American film and stage actor, best known for his self-effacing screen persona. ... Barbara Stanwyck (July 16, 1907 – January 20, 1990) was an American film/television actress. ... Harry Lillis Bing Crosby (May 3, 1903 – October 14, 1977) was an American singer and actor whose career lasted from 1926 until his death in 1977. ... George Burns & Gracie Allen Burns and Allen were an American comedy duo consisting of George Burns and his wife, Gracie Allen. ... This article contains a trivia section. ... Ronald Colman (February 9, 1891 – May 19, 1958) was an English actor. ...


Sponsors

In the early days of radio (and in the early television era, often as not), the airtime was owned by the sponsor, and Benny made a point of incorporating the commercials into the body of the show. Sometimes the sponsors were the butt of jokes, though Benny did not deploy this device as frequently as his friend and "rival" Fred Allen did at the time, or his cast member Phil Harris later did on his own successful radio sitcom.


In fact, the show was not officially called The Jack Benny Program for many years; usually, the primary name of the show tied to the sponsor. Benny's first sponsor was Canada Dry Ginger Ale from 1932 to 1933, Chevrolet from 1933 to 1934, General Tire in 1934, and Jell-O from 1934 to 1942. The Jell-O Show Starring Jack Benny was so successful in selling Jell-O, in fact, that General Foods could not manufacture it fast enough when sugar shortages arose in the early years of World War II, and the company had to stop advertising the popular dessert mix. General Foods switched the Benny program from Jell-O to Grape Nuts and Grape Nuts Flakes cereals from 1942 to 1944, and it became, naturally, The Grape Nuts Show Starring Jack Benny. Benny's longest-running sponsor, however, was the American Tobacco Company's Lucky Strike cigarettes, from 1944 to 1955, and it was during Lucky Strike's sponsorship that the show became, at last, The Jack Benny Program once and for all. Canada Dry is an American brand of soft drinks marketed by Dr. Pepper & Seven-Up, Inc. ... Chevrolet (IPA: ʃɛv. ... General Tire and Rubber Company is an American manufacturer of tires for motor vehicles. ... JELL-O is a brand name belonging to USA-based Kraft Foods for a number of gelatin desserts, including fruit gels, puddings and no-bake cream pies. ... A box of Grape Nuts. ... Lucky Strike is a brand of American cigarettes, often referred to as Luckies. Lucky Strike cigarettes The brand was introduced by R.A. Patterson of Richmond, Virginia, in 1871 as a cut-plug chewing tobacco and later a cigarette. ...


Writers

Benny was notable for employing a small group of writers, most of whom stayed with him for many years. This was very much in contrast to other successful radio or television comedians, such as Bob Hope, who would change writers frequently. Historical accounts (like those by longtime Benny writer Milt Josefsberg) indicate that Benny's role, like that of Fred Allen, was essentially that of both head writer and director of his radio programs, though he was not credited in either capacity. Bob Hope, KBE (May 29, 1903 – July 27, 2003), born Leslie Townes Hope, was an English-Born American entertainer who appeared in vaudeville, on Broadway, on radio and television, in movies, and in performing tours for U.S. Military personnel, well known for his good natured humor and career longevity. ... This article needs to be cleaned up to conform to a higher standard of quality. ...


Theme music

During his early radio shows, Benny adopted a medley of "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and "Love in Bloom" as his theme song, opening every show. The latter song later became the theme of his television show as well. His radio shows often ended with the orchestra playing "Hooray for Hollywood." The TV show ended with a bouncy instrumental apparently written for the show. Yankee Doodle Dandy is a 1942 biographical film about George M. Cohan, starring James Cagney, Joan Leslie, Walter Huston, Richard Whorf, Irene Manning, George Tobias, Rosemary DeCamp and Jeanne Cagney. ... Love in Bloom can refer to: Love in Bloom, a 1934 popular song by Ralph Rainger and Leo Robin Love in Bloom, a 1935 movie with George Burns Category: ... Hooray for Hollywood is a movie song first featured in the relatively obscure 1937 movie Hollywood Hotel and which has since became the staple soundtrack element of any Academy Awards ceremony. ...


Benny would sometimes joke about the appropriateness of "Love in Bloom" as his theme song. On a segment often played in Tonight Show retrospectives, Benny is seen talking with Johnny Carson about this. In the clip, he says he has no objections to the song in and of itself, only as his theme. He begins reciting the lyrics: "Can it be the trees, that fill the breeze, with rare and magic perfume..." then says, "Now what the hell has that got to do with me?" and the audience and Carson break up laughing. The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson was the full name of NBCs The Tonight Show during the years that Johnny Carson hosted from 1962 to 1992. ...


"I'm thinking it over!"

A master of the carefully timed, pregnant pause, Benny and his writers used it to set up what is popularly (but incorrectly) believed to be the longest laugh in radio history. It climaxed an episode (broadcast March 28, 1948) in which Benny borrowed neighbour Ronald Colman's Oscar and was returning home when accosted by a mugger. After asking for a match to light a cigarette, the mugger demanded, "don't make a move, this is a stickup — now come on, your money or your life!" Benny paused, and the studio audience — knowing his skinflint character — laughed. The robber then repeated his demand: "Look, bud! I said your money or your life!" And that's when Benny snapped back, without a break, "I'm thinking it over!" This time, the audience laughed louder and longer than they had during the pause. Ronald Colman (February 9, 1891 – May 19, 1958) was an English actor. ... Academy Award The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars, are the most prominent and most watched film awards ceremony in the world. ...


The punchline came forth almost by accident. Benny staff writer George Balzar described the scene to author Jordan R. Young, for The Laugh Crafters, a 1999 book of interviews with veteran radio and television comedy writers:

What happened was that John Tackaberry and Milt Josefsberg had been working on a script for Jack, their part of a script for Jack, and they had come to a point where they had the line, "Your money or your life." And that stopped them. They couldn't get an answer for the question. Tack is stretched out on the couch, and Milt is pacing up and down, trying to get a follow for "Your money or your life." And he gets a little peeved at Tack, and he says, "For God's sakes, Tack, say something." Tack, maybe he was half asleep---in defense of himself, says, "I'm thinking it over." And Milt says, "Wait a minute. That's it." And that's the line that went in the script... You know, a very strange thing, most people who retell that joke tell it wrong... Most people say the punch line is... "I'm thinking, I'm thinking." That's not the joke... By the way, that was not the biggest laugh that Jack ever got. It has the reputation of getting the biggest laugh. But that's not true.

The actual length of the laugh the joke got was five seconds when originally delivered and seven seconds when the gag was reprised on a followup show. The actual longest laugh known to collectors of The Jack Benny Program lasted in excess of 32 seconds. The International Jack Benny Fan Club [1] reports that, at the close of the program broadcast on December 13, 1936, sponsored by Jell-O, guest Andy Devine says that it is the "last number of the eleventh program in the new Jelly series." The audience, who loved any sort of accidental flub in the live program, is still laughing after 32 seconds, at which point the network cut off the program to prevent it from running overtime. The program broadcast September 16, 1951 is reported to have a laugh lasting 35 seconds, but the IJBFC website has a qualifying footnote that is not explained. John Tackaberry (1912-10-09 – 1969-06-24) was a radio writer for the The Jack Benny Show. ... A variety of pre-packaged gelatin dessert products for sale at a supermarket in the U.S. state of Wisconsin in 2004 Jelly, as sold in UK The most popular culinary use for gelatin is as a main ingredient in a variety of gelatin desserts. ... For the Emmerdale actor, see Andy Devine (actor). ... // 1400 - Owain Glyndŵr declared Prince of Wales by his followers. ... 1951 (MCMLI) was a common year starting on Monday; see its calendar. ...


The Benny-Allen "Feud"

In 1937 Benny began his famous radio "feud" with rival Fred Allen. Allen kicked the "feud" off on his own show, after a child violinist gave a performance credible enough that Allen wisecracked about "a certain alleged violinist" who should by comparison be ashamed of himself. Benny — who either listened to the Allen show or was told about the crack — answered in kind on his own show, and the two comedians (who were actually good friends in real life) were off. For a decade, the two went at it back and forth, so convincingly that fans of either show could have been forgiven for believing they had become blood enemies. But Benny and Allen often appeared on each other's show during the thick of the "feud"; a very close listening should show that, often as not, when one guested on the other's show the guest usually got the better laugh-lines. Benny later revealed that his and Allen's writers often met together to plot future takes on the mock feud. He has eyes like Venetian blinds and a tongue like an adder — radio/television critic John Crosby about humourist Fred Allen, portrayed here by caricaturist Al Hirschfeld. ...


Their playful sniping ("Benny was born ignorant, and he's been losing ground ever since") was also advanced in the films Love Thy Neighbor and It's in the Bag, but perhaps the climax of the "feud" came during Fred Allen's hilarious (and brilliant) parody of popular quiz-and-prize show Queen for a Day, which was barely a year old when Allen decided to have a crack at it. Calling the sketch "King for a Day," Allen played the host and Benny a contestant who snuck onto the show under an assumed identity. Benny answered the prize-winning question correctly and Allen crowned him "king" and showered him with a passel of almost meaningless prizes, climaxing when a professional pressing-iron was wheeled on stage to press Benny's suit properly. The problem: Benny was still in the suit. Allen instructed his aides to remove Benny's suit, one item at a time, ending with his trousers, each garment's removal provoking louder laughter from the studio audience. As his trousers began to come off, Benny howled, "Allen, you haven't seen the end of me!" At once Allen shot back, "It won't be long now!" DVD cover of Love Thy Neighbour Love Thy Neighbour was a British sitcom that ran from 13 April 1972 to 22 January 1976, made by Thames Television for ITV. It starred Jack Smethurst, Rudolph Walker, Nina Baden-Semper and Kate Williams. ... Its in the Bag is a 1945 movie starring radio comedian Fred Allen in his only starring role, as the ringmaster of a flea circus whose search for his inheritance, hidden in one of five chairs, leads to a variety of strange encounters. ... Queen for a Day was an American Radio and TV show. ...


The laughter was so loud and chaotic at the chain of events that the Allen show announcer, Kenny Delmar, was cut off the air while trying to read a final commercial and the show's credits. Allen, who was notorious for running overtime thanks to his ad-lib virtuosity, had overrun the clock again. Kenny Delmar [1] (b. ...


Benny was profoundly shaken by Allen's sudden death of a heart attack in 1956. In a statement released on the day after Allen's death, Benny said, "People have often asked me if Fred Allen and I were really friends in real life. My answer is always the same. You couldn't have such a long-running and successful feud as we did, without having a deep and sincere friendship at the heart of it."


CBS Talent Raid

While Benny was top of the proverbial heap on NBC, CBS czar William S. Paley cast a hungry eye upon the comedian. Paley apparently had good reason to believe Benny could be had: he learned that NBC refused to deal with Benny in terms of buying Benny's holding company package (a tax break major entertainers usually enjoyed in those years), since "Jack Benny" was not the star's real name. Paley reached out to Benny and offered him a deal that would allow that package-buy — a tremendous capital gains tax break for Benny at a time when World War II had meant taxes as high as 90% at certain high income levels. CBS is one of the largest radio and television networks in the United States. ... William S. Paley (1901-1990) This article is about the broadcast executive. ...


But Paley, according to CBS historiographer Robert Metz, also learned that Benny chafed under what he came to see as NBC's almost indifferent attitude toward the talent that brought the listeners. NBC, under the leadership of David Sarnoff, seemed at the time to think that listeners were listening to NBC because of NBC itself. To Paley, according to Metz, that was foolish thinking at best: Paley believed listeners were listening because of the talent, not because of which platform hosted them. When Paley said as much to Benny, the comedian agreed. Because Paley also took a personal interest in the Benny negotiations, as opposed to Sarnoff (who had actually never met his top-rated star), Benny was convinced at last to make the jump — and, in turn, he convinced a number of his fellow NBC performers (notably Burns & Allen and Kate Smith) to join him. David Sarnoff (February 27, 1891–December 12, 1971) led the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) in various capacities shortly after its founding in 1919 to his retirement in 1970. ...


To sweeten the deal for a very nervous sponsor, Paley also agreed to make up the difference to American Tobacco if Benny's Hooper rating (the radio version of today's Nielsen ratings) on CBS fell a certain level below his best NBC Hooper rating. But Benny's CBS debut on January 2, 1949 bested his top NBC rating by several points. NBC, for its part, its smash Sunday night lineup now broken up in earnest, became nervous enough to offer prompt and lucrative new deals to two of those Sunday night hits, The Fred Allen Show and The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show (Benny's bandleader and his singing actress wife now starred in their own hit sitcom, meaning Harris was featured on shows for two different networks), before they, too, got any ideas about jumping ship. When TV viewers or entertainment professionals in the United States mention ratings they are often referring to Nielsen Ratings, a system developed by Nielsen Media Research to determine the audience size and composition of television programming. ... January 2 is the second day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1949 (MCMXLIX) was a common year starting on Saturday (the link is to a full 1949 calendar). ... Alice Faye and Phil Harris were featured in 1947 NBC promotional art by Sam Berman. ...


The ironic postscript, according to Metz: Benny and Sarnoff finally met, several years later, and became good friends, with Benny saying that if he could have had this kind of relationship with Sarnoff all those years earlier, when he was Sarnoff's number one radio star, he never would have left NBC in the first place.


Television

The television version of The Jack Benny Program ran from October 28, 1950 to 1965. The show appeared infrequently during its first two years on TV, then ran every fourth week for the next two years. For the 1953-1954 season, half the episodes were live and half were filmed during the summer, to allow him to continue doing his radio show. From 1955 to 1960 it appeared every other week, and from 1960 to 1965 it was seen weekly. October 28 is the 301st day of the year (302nd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar, with 64 days remaining. ... See also: 1949 in television, other events of 1950, 1951 in television and the list of years in television. // Events February 12 - European Broadcasting Union (EBU) inaugurated. ... See also: 1964 in television, other events of 1965, 1966 in television and the list of years in television. For the American network television schedule, please see 1965-66 American network television schedule. ... 1960 (MCMLX) was a leap year starting on Friday (the link is to a full 1960 calendar). ... 1965 (MCMLXV) was a common year starting on Friday (the link is to a full 1965 calendar). ...


In September 1954, CBS premiered Chrysler's "Shower of Stars" co-hosted by Jack Benny and William Lundigan. Chrysler's "Shower of Stars" enjoyed a successful run from 1954 until 1958. Both television shows often overlapped the radio show. In fact, the radio show alluded frequently to its television counterparts. Often as not, Benny would sign off the radio show in such circumstances with a line like, "Well, good night, folks. I'll see you on television.")


When Benny moved to television, audiences learned that his verbal talent was matched by his controlled repertory of dead-pan facial expressions and gesture. The program was similar to the radio show (several of the radio scripts were recycled for television, as was somewhat common with other radio shows that moved to television) but with the addition of visual gags. Lucky Strike was the sponsor. Benny did his opening and closing monologues before a live audience, which he regarded as essential to timing of the material. As in other TV comedy shows, canned laughter was sometimes added to "sweeten" the soundtrack, as when the studio audience missed some closeup comedy because of cameras or microphones in their way. The television viewers learned to live without Mary Livingstone, who was afflicted by a striking case of stage fright — after she had been in show business for many years already. Livingstone appeared rarely if at all on the television show (for the last few years of the radio show, she pre-recorded her lines and Jack and Mary's daughter, Joan, stood in for the live broadcast as the pre-recordings were played), and finally retired from show business permanently in 1958. Lucky Strike is a brand of American cigarettes, often referred to as Luckies. Lucky Strike cigarettes The brand was introduced by R.A. Patterson of Richmond, Virginia, in 1871 as a cut-plug chewing tobacco and later a cigarette. ...


In due course the ratings game finally got to Benny, too. CBS dropped the show in 1964, citing Benny's lack of appeal to the younger demographic the network began courting, and he went to NBC, his original network, in the fall, only to be out-rated by CBS's Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. NBC dropped Benny at the end of the season, though he continued to make periodic specials into the 1970s. CBS is one of the largest radio and television networks in the United States. ... 1964 (MCMLXIV) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1964 calendar). ... NBC (a former acronym for National Broadcasting Company) is an American television network headquartered in the GE Building in New York Citys Rockefeller Center. ... Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. was a television series that ran on CBS from September 25, 1964 to September 9, 1970. ...


In fairness, Benny himself shared Fred Allen's ambivalence about television, though not quite to Allen's extent. "By my second year in television, I saw that the camera was a man-eating monster," Benny wrote in his posthumously published memoir, Sunday Nights at Seven, which his daughter, Joan, finished after his death. "It gave a performer close-up exposure that, week after week, threatened his existence as an interesting entertainer."


Movies

Benny also acted in movies, including the Academy Award-winning The Hollywood Revue of 1929, Broadway Melody of 1936 (as a benign nemesis for Eleanor Powell and Robert Taylor), and notably, Charley's Aunt (1941) and To Be or Not to Be (1942). Benny often parodied contemporary movies and movie genres on the radio program, and the 1940 film Buck Benny Rides Again features all the main radio characters in a funny Western parody adapted from program skits. The failure of one Benny vehicle, The Horn Blows at Midnight, became a running gag on his radio program, although contemporary viewers may not find the film as disappointing as the jokes suggest (Benny plays the trumpet, not the violin). Academy Award The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars, are the most prominent and most watched film awards ceremony in the world. ... The Hollywood Revue of 1929: One of the earliest ventures into the new talkie format of motion pictures, this film, directed by Charles Riesner for MGM, brought together some top acts in a two-hour vaudeville show hosted by Jack Benny. ... Broadway Melody of 1936 is a musical film released by MGM in 1935, despite the title. ... Eleanor Powell, left, in Broadway Melody of 1938. ... Robert Taylor (August 5, 1911, Filley, Nebraska - June 8, 1969, Santa Monica, California), was an American actor. ... W. S. Penley as the first Charleys Aunt, Donna Lucia d’Alvadorez, performed at the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds in 1892. ... // North America Sergeant York Buck Privates, starring Abbott and Costello Tobacco Road Best Picture: How Green Was My Valley - 20th Century-Fox Best Actor: Gary Cooper - Sergeant York Best Actress: Joan Fontaine - Suspicion Adam Had Four Sons Blossoms in the Dust, starring Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon Bowery Blitzkrieg Buck... To Be or Not to Be is a 1942 comedy film about a troupe of actors in Nazi-occupied Warsaw who use their abilities at disguise and acting to fool the occupying troops. ... See also: 1941 in film 1942 1943 in film 1940s in film years in film film // Events Carole Lombard is killed in a plane crash when returning from a War Bond tour. ... The Horn Blows at Midnight is a comedy fantasy starring Jack Benny made in 1945. ... For Trumpet Winsock, see Winsock. ...


Benny also was caricatured in several Warner Brothers cartoons including Daffy Duck and the Dinosaur (1939, as Caspar the Caveman), I Love to Singa (1940, as Jack Bunny), Malibu Beach Party (1940, as himself), and The Mouse That Jack Built (1959). The last of these is probably the most memorable: animation giant Robert McKimson engaged Benny and his actual cast (Mary Livingstone, Eddie Anderson, and Don Wilson) to do the voices for the mouse versions of their characters, with Mel Blanc — the usual Warner Brothers cartoon voicemeister — reprising his old vocal turn as the always-aging Maxwell, always a phat-phat-bang! away from collapse. In the cartoon, Benny and Livingstone agree to spend their anniversary at the Kit-Kat Club — which they discover the hard way is inside the mouth of a live cat. Before the cat can devour the mice, Benny himself awakens from his dream, then shakes his head, smiles wryly, and mutters, "Imagine, me and Mary as little mice." Then, he glances toward the cat lying on a throw rug in a corner and sees his and Livingstone's cartoon alter egos scampering out of the cat's mouth. The cartoon ends with a classic Benny look of befuddlement. It was rumored that Benny requested that, in lieu of monetary compensation, he receive a copy of the finished film. Warner Bros. ... Daffy Duck and the Dinosaur is a 1939 Merrie Melodies animated cartoon short directed by Chuck Jones and produced by Leon Schlesinger Productions for Warner Bros. ... I Love to Singa is both the title of a song written by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg and a later Merrie Melodies animated short subject based on that song. ... Robert Bob McKimson, Sr. ...


Final Years

After his broadcasting career ended at last, Benny performed live as a standup comedian and also returned to films, with a cameo appearance in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World in 1963 and preparing to star in the film version of Neil Simon's The Sunshine Boys when his health failed. In fact, he prevailed upon his longtime best friend, George Burns, to take his place on a nightclub tour while preparing for the film. (Burns ultimately had to replace Benny in the film as well; he won an Academy Award for his performance, and the surprising but endearing career revival of George Burns lasted until his own death two decades hence.) Martin Scorsese appears briefly in an uncredited role in this scene from his feature film Taxi Driver. ... Its a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World is an American motion picture directed by Stanley Kramer about a madcap pursuit of $350,000 by a diverse group of strangers. ... // Events January 28 - Filming begins on Dr. Strangelove. ... Neil Simon (1966) Neil Simon (born Marvin Neil Simon July 4, 1927 in The Bronx, New York City), is a Jewish American playwright and screenwriter. ... The Sunshine Boys is a comic play by Neil Simon. ... George Burns[1], born Nathan Birnbaum (January 20, 1896 – March 9, 1996), was an American comedian and actor. ... Academy Award The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars, are the most prominent and most watched film awards ceremony in the world. ...


In October 1974, Benny cancelled a performance in Dallas after suffering a dizzy spell, coupled with a feeling of numbness in his arms. Despite a battery of tests, Benny's ailment could not be determined. When he complained of stomach pains in early December, a first test showed nothing but a subsequent one showed he had inoperable pancreatic cancer. Choosing to spend his final days at home, he was visited by celebrities such as Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra and Johnny Carson. Two days after his death, he was interred in a crypt at Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery in Culver City, California. Mr. Benny's will arranged for flowers to be delivered to his widowed wife, Mary Livingstone, every day for the rest of her life. Nickname: Location in the state of Texas Coordinates: Country United States State Texas Counties Dallas, Collin, Denton, Kaufman, and Rockwall Incorporated 2 February 1856 Government  - Mayor Laura Miller (D)[1] Area  - City  385. ... Pancreatic cancer (also called cancer of the pancreas) is a malignant tumour within the pancreatic gland. ... Bob Hope, KBE (May 29, 1903 – July 27, 2003), born Leslie Townes Hope, was an English-Born American entertainer who appeared in vaudeville, on Broadway, on radio and television, in movies, and in performing tours for U.S. Military personnel, well known for his good natured humor and career longevity. ... Francis Albert Sinatra (December 12, 1915 – May 14, 1998) was a jazz oriented popular singer and Academy Award-winning actor. ... For other people named John Carson, see John Carson (disambiguation). ... The Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery is located at 6001 W. Centinela Avenue, in Culver City, California. ... Motto: The Heart of Screenland Location of Culver City in California Coordinates: Country United States of America State California County Los Angeles Incorporated (city) 1917-09-07 [2] Government  - City Manager Jerry Fulwood [1] Area  - City  5. ...


Mary Livingstone died nine years later and was interred in the same crypt beside her husband. A cultural arts center, called the Jack Benny Center, was created in his memory in his hometown of Waukegan, Illinois. An enormous volume of Benny's classic radio shows remains available to old-time radio collectors even today, likewise video offerings of his television show. And many of the installments have transcended the limits of their time and place to prove one of the most enduring repertoires in American comedy. Image:JBC.jpegThe Jack Benny Center for the Arts, located in Bowen Park, Waukegan, IL is the Cultural Arts Division of the Waukegan Park District. ... Waukegan is a city in Lake County, Illinois, of which it is the county seat. ...


Running gags

Benny teamed with Fred Allen, of course, for the best-remembered running gag in classic radio history, in terms of character dialogue. (By far, the best-remembered running gag of sound was Fibber McGee's clattering, cluttered closet.) But Benny alone sustained a classic repertoire of running gags in his own right, including his skinflint radio and television persona, his continuing age of 39, and his (ahem) atonal violin playing. (His periodic violin teacher, Professor LeBlanc — played by the "Man of a Thousand Voices" Mel Blanc — often cried during their lessons ... when he didn't throw up his hands and threaten some variation of suicide or nervous breakdown.) Jim and Marian Jordan were featured in 1947 NBC promotional art by Sam Berman. ... Melvin Jerome Blanc (May 30, 1908 – July 10, 1989) was a prolific American voice actor, performing on radio, in television commercials, and most famously, in hundreds of cartoon shorts for Warner Bros. ...


A running gag in Benny's private life concerned George Burns. To Benny's eternal frustration, he could never get Burns to laugh. Burns, on the other hand, could crack Benny up with the least effort. An example of this occurred at a party when Benny pulled out a match to light a cigarette. Burns announced to all, "Jack Benny will now perform the famous match trick!" Benny had no idea what Burns was talking about, so he proceeded to light up. Burns observed, "Oh, a new ending!" and Benny collapsed in helpless laughter.


Benny even had a sound-based running gag of his own: his famous basement vault alarm, ringing off with a shattering cacophony of whistles, sirens, bells, and blasts, before ending invariably with the sound of a foghorn. The alarm rang off even when Benny opened his safe with the correct combination. The vault also featured a guard named Ed (voiced by Joseph Kearns) who had been on post down below before, apparently, the end of the Civil War, the founding of Los Angeles, and even the beginning of humanity. (In one appearance, Ed asked Benny, "By the way, Mr. Benny...what's it like on the outside?" Benny responded, "...winter is nearly here, and the leaves are falling." Ed responded, "Hey, that must be exciting." To which Benny replied (In a stunningly risque joke for the period), "Oh, no; people are wearing clothes now.") Flag Seal Nickname: City of Angels Location Location within Los Angeles County in the state of California Coordinates , Government State County California Los Angeles County Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa (D) Geographical characteristics Area     City 1,290. ...


In one episode of the Benny radio show, Ed the Guard actually agreed when Jack invited him to take a break and come back to the surface world — only to discover that modern conveniences and transportation, which hadn't been around the last time he'd been to the surface, terrorised and confused him. (Poor Ed thought a crosstown bus was "a red and yellow dragon.") Finally, Ed decides to return down to his post by the fathoms-below vault and stay there.


The Basement vault gag was also used on a The Lucy Show episode. Lucille Ball in still from a 1966 episode of The Lucy Show The Lucy Show was Lucille Balls follow up show to I Love Lucy. ...


A separate sound gag involved a song Benny had written, "If You Say I Beg Your Pardon, Then I'll Come Back to You." Its inane lyrics and insipid melody guaranteed that it would never be published or recorded, but Benny continued to try to con, extort, or otherwise inveigle some of his musical guests (including The Smothers Brothers) to perform it. None ever made it all the way through. The Smothers Brothers are an American music-and-comedy team, formed by real-life brothers Tom Smothers (born 1937) and Dick Smothers (born 1939). ...


In keeping with his "stingy" schtick, on one of his television specials he remarked that, to his way of looking at things, a "special" is when the price of coffee is marked down.


The explanation usually given for the "stuck on 39" running joke is that he had celebrated his birthday on-air when he turned 39, and decided to do the same the following year, because "there's nothing funny about 40". Upon his death, having celebrated his 39th birthday 41 times, some newspapers continued the joke with headlines such as "Jack Benny Dies - At 39?"


39er

In February 2006, Benny's name appeared in the news again when his fans petitioned to put this famous 39er on the US postal stamp after the standard postal rate for first class letter was increased to 39 cents.


Sources

  • New York Times, April 16, 1953, p43,"Jack Benny plans more work on tv."
  • New York Times, March 16, 1960, p75, "Canned laughter: Comedians are crying on the inside about CBS rule that public know of its use."
  • Jack Benny, Mary Livingstone Benny, Hilliard Marks with Marcia Borie, Doubleday & Company, 1978, 322 p.
  • Sunday Nights at Seven: The Jack Benny Story, Jack Benny and Joan Benny, Warner Books, 1990, 302 p.
  • CBS: Reflections in a Bloodshot Eye, by Robert Metz, New American Library, 1978.
  • The Laugh Crafters: Comedy Writing in Radio and TV's Golden Age, by Jordan R. Young; Past Times Publishing, 1999.

Footnotes

  1. ^ Jack Benny appearance on The Lawrence Welk Show, episode 1025: "Academy Awards" (1971)

The opening credits for The Lawrence Welk Show Lawrence Welk during a taping of The Lawrence Welk Show The Lawrence Welk Show is a musical variety show hosted by former big band leader Lawrence Welk. ...

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External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
Jack Benny
Preceded by
Bob Hope
15th Academy Awards
Oscars host
16th Academy Awards
Succeeded by
John Cromwell and Bob Hope
17th Academy Awards
Preceded by
Bob Hope and James Stewart
18th Academy Awards
Oscars host
19th Academy Awards
Succeeded by
Agnes Moorehead and Dick Powell
20th Academy Awards
Persondata
NAME Benny, Jack
ALTERNATIVE NAMES Kubelsky, Benjamin
SHORT DESCRIPTION comedian, vaudeville performer, and radio, television, and film actor
DATE OF BIRTH February 14, 1894
PLACE OF BIRTH Chicago, Illinois
DATE OF DEATH December 26, 1974
PLACE OF DEATH Beverly Hills, California

  Results from FactBites:
 
Benny, Jack (0 words)
Benny played a fictional version of himself, Jack Benny the television star, and the program often revolved around preparation for the next week's show--involving interactions between Benny and a regular stable of characters that included the program's announcer, Don Wilson, and its resident crooner, Dennis Day.
Despite his conceit and braggadocio, however, Jack Benny's video persona was uniquely endearing and even in many ways admirable.
As Benny's employee he was, after all, always in a nominally subservient position.
Radio Hall of Fame - Jack Benny, Comedian (220 words)
Benny Kubelsky was born in Chicago, Illinois, on February 14, 1894.
Highly polished scripts kept hammering away on Benny’s portrayal of himself as a stingy and vain man, concerned about his receding hairline and adamant that he was no older than 39.
Jack Benny was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1989.
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