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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Jack Benny

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Jack Benny (February 14, 1894 – December 26, 1974), born Benjamin Kubelsky, was an American comedian, vaudevillian, and actor for radio, television, and film. Widely recognized as one of the leading American entertainers of the 20th century, Benny played the role of someone comically "tight" with his money, insisting on remaining 39 years old despite his actual age, and often playing the violin badly.

Benny was known for his comic timing and his ability to get laughs with either a pregnant pause or a single expression, such as his signature exasperated "Well!" His radio and television programs, tremendously popular in the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s were a foundational influence on the situation comedy.

With Canada Dry Ginger Ale as a sponsor, Benny came to radio on The Canada Dry Program, beginning May 2, 1932, on the NBC Blue Network and continuing there for six months until October 26, moving the show to CBS on October 30. With Ted Weems leading the band, Benny stayed on CBS until January 26, 1933.

Arriving at NBC on March 17, Benny did The Chevrolet Program until April 1, 1934. He continued with The General Tire Revue for the rest of that season, and in the fall of 1934, for General Foods as The Jell-O Program Starring Jack Benny (1934-42) and, when sales of Jell-O were affected by sugar rationing during World War II, The Grape Nuts Program Starring Jack Benny (1942-44). On October 1, 1944, the show became The Lucky Strike Program Starring Jack Benny, when American Tobacco's Lucky Strike cigarettes took over as his radio sponsor, through the mid-1950s. By that time, the practice of using the sponsor's name as the title began to fade.

The show returned to CBS on January 2, 1949, as part of CBS president William S. Paley's notorious "raid" of NBC talent in 1948-49. There it stayed for the remainder of its radio run, which ended on May 22, 1955. CBS aired repeats of old radio episodes from 1956 to 1958 as The Best of Benny for State Farm Insurance, who later sponsored his television program from 1960 through 1965.




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17 comments:

  1. thanks for your effort of posting all those wonderful jack benny programs , this will give me hours of great listening !

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  2. thank you so much for posting these hilarious shows!

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  3. So happy you still have these since they're no longer on Archive. Thank you!!!

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  4. Really great to find such a large selection of Jack Benny shows and information. Love listening to them over and over.
    One question and request: Can these shows be put into several .zip files so they could be downloaded and saved in groups instead of one at a time?

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  5. thanks again for your generosity and time and effort to put all this up, you're the best, after jack benny , of course

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  6. Many many thanks!
    IMHO, Jack Benny has to be one of the greatest entertainers of all time! The humor is fantastic! Jack is always the "straight man" and pretty much the butt of all the jokes! Dennis Day seems to get all the best lines. Even though Dennis' persona is dumb as a brick, he always gets the best of Jack. The real Jack Benny was 180 degrees from his stage character. He was known as a very kind and generous man and treated all his stars very well. There's one show where they have a jam session. Kirk Douglas... I wish I could remember the the rest, all big stars at the time, but you wouldn't expect it, they were all very fine musicians! The gags are so funny. He offers his guests a soda, they reach into there pocket hand something to Jack. Jack opens a closet door and there's a pop machine. Someone else sez, "Jack, you told me I get two drinks when you sold me the ticket at the door". Sorry sez Jack. Another guest sez, "I need change". Jack opens sweater and has one of those little coin machines on his belt. And theres the catacombs under his house where hides money.... All funny stuff and suitable for the whole family!
    Anyway, Jack's the best, his humor is absolutely ageless! Rest in peace Jack!
    Peace and Blessings to all!!!

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  7. This is really fantastic and thank you so much for posting these shows. Only one thing - I can't get the zip file to download on any browser. Right clicking only saves it as an HTML file and clicking on the link takes me to a blank page. But Jack is worth downloading the shows one by one! :)

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  8. and i can't download one by one........they all come up with the same name. Any ideas as to what i am doing wrong? Thanks, all!

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  9. Does anyone know who the people are in the above 3 spot photo? Other than JB ofcourse

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  10. Jack, Mary Livingstone (a.k.a. Sadie Marks then Mrs Benjamin Kubelsky), and Eddie (rochester) Anderson. You are most welcome. To me Jack's shows are without equal. Listen to them in order to get all the running gags.

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  11. Can anyone tell me what years Jack's show was sponsored by Grape-nuts Glakes? I have a tape of a show purportedly from 1944. However, in Don Wilson's introduction he refers to Jack as star of television abeside the other usual media. Also Dennis appears on the program and I thought he was in the Navy in '44. This show has Barbara Stanwyck as a guest star and no WWII references which I consider a bit unuaual.

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  12. OK, thanks anyway but I found out in my own research that The American Tobacco Co. (Lucky Strike) took over the sponsorship on Oct. 1, 1944 and that Dennis was in the Navy from '44 -'46 so I guess the show is properly placed. It's just the "television" reference which eludes me.

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  13. Hello. When I try to download a radio episode, I am now taken to something called SkyDrive. What do I do from there? Thanks for any help.

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  14. Excellent. It appears to be fixed. Thanks for providing all these great shows.

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  15. Hi, I appreciate you sharing these great shows, but you should be aware that nothing after 1936 is currently available on Skydrive.

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  16. All the shows are back, now.

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References: Old Time Radio Researchers Group, Wikipedia, Frank Passage & Others OTR Logs, Archive.org, Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio by John Dunning, Australian Old Time Radio Group