IJBFC Chat - July 18, 2004
(Name of message originator in <> brackets at the beginning of each line; lines starting with > or no character are originated by Laura Leff)
> Hello gentlemen
<Gary A. Dunn> hello
<John> Hola, Laura
> How is everyone tonight?
<John> recovering from shopping with my wife. Talk about sticker shock
<afanofoldradio> hi laura ed kienzler back as afanofoldradio
<Gary A. Dunn> :)
> John - Expensive to replace the Maxwell, eh?
> Hi Ed! How's everything in your neck of the woods?
<John> Who's replacing? We're just adding to the collection.
<afanofoldradio> just as warm as it is every where else
> Ed - Yes, I've had the windows open all day. Nice...especially when the neighbors and their three small kids are out of town.
<afanofoldradio> ah noise been there and done that
> John - Well, if you want a steamer trunk, let me know.
> So did everyone have a chance to listen to the Benny-Allen montage for tonight?
<John> That's okay. My wife likes to collect empty boxes...just in case we need them for anything. They did come in handy when we moved from Orlando to Alabama a few months ago.
<Gary A. Dunn> not all of it
<afanofoldradio> i am working on it
> I didn't realize it had so much stuff until I started listening to it.
<John> Yep, listened to it last night
> OK, this makes me feel better! This is the first time I've come on the chat without hearing all of the show for discussion!
[Sun Jul 18 16:08:28 GMT-08:00 2004] kurt has no profile.
> John - I used to do that. But I finally cleaned out the garage and cured myself of it. But I still save padded envelopes.
<John> It took a while to download...kept going back and forth as far as % downnloaded.
> Hi Kurt!
<kurt> I, myself, found the program too large to download
> OK, I'll stick with the smaller stuff in the future.
> Well, for what people heard, what did you think?
<John> Did anyone else notice that the audience was a bit...hesitant in it's reaction during the first bit? It was alomost as if they didn't know how to react to Jack and Fred's jibes at each other
[Sun Jul 18 16:09:55 GMT-08:00 2004] JelloAgain has no profile.
<JelloAgain> hi everybody
[Sun Jul 18 16:10:06 GMT-08:00 2004] Keith Lilek: Klilek@kc.rr.com
> The Hollywood is On the Air sounded like just excerpts from the movie with Ken Carpenter edited in
> Hi JelloAgain and Keith!
<Keith Lilek> thanks for all you do Laura!
> Keith - It's my pleasure Keith, thank you!
<kurt> Laura does even more than you know!
<kurt> Like finding a Jack fiddle in Indiana!
> John - I think that may have been some canned laughter.
> Kurt - I may have you repeat that to a member who has repeatedly complained that I don't answer his E-mails fast enough.
<John> i was wondering about that, if it was recorded before an live audience or not.
> How many of you have seen "Love Thy Neighbor"?
<Gary A. Dunn> I have
<Keith Lilek> not me
> I was listening to it thinking, "I've heard this dialogue before...it's in the movie..."
> I should probably move "LTN" to a higher priority of DVD transfer.
> Gary - What do you think...was this movie excerpts or a recreation?
<Gary A. Dunn> excerpts
<Gary A. Dunn> do you have a clean copy of LTN?
> I had one, but the tape (Beta) wouldn't play for me eventually. So I got another one on VHS recently, but haven't looked at it yet.
<Gary A. Dunn> mine is about a c-
> I'll have to pull it and look. I have a good source for Benny movies, and he's always given me pretty clean stuff.
<Gary A. Dunn> I have a great copy but it is in PAL format.
<Keith Lilek> not to interrupt...Laura, I was surprised to hear of "The Rochester Show"...what else can you tell me about it?
> The "Chasing Rainbows" transfer is from him...I'm curious that no one has ordered it yet from the library.
> Keith - Not much other than what's on the shows. Anyone else have information?
<kurt> Chasing Rainbows is pretty creaky
[Sun Jul 18 16:16:04 GMT-08:00 2004] Ted L. Riggs has no profile.
> Kurt - It is, but it's also Jack's first movie.
> Hi Ted, welcome in!
<kurt> The timing of the Rochester solo shows is suspect
> Ted - No relation to Speedy Riggs, I presume.
<kurt> Oh, PLEASE be related to Speedy!
<Ted L. Riggs> Thanks, this is the my first time in the JB chat room.
<Ted L. Riggs> No relation, nope
> I was struck at the similarities between the Rochester show and Amos n Andy in thematic content.
<kurt> Dang. Then we won't ask you to say, "Sold American!"
[Sun Jul 18 16:17:44 GMT-08:00 2004] WMarie: WMarie
> Hello WMarie!
<WMarie> Hello everyone
<Ted L. Riggs> So thats who said that!
<kurt> Amos 'n' Andy was the only template at the time for a show featuring African-Americans.
<WMarie> my first visit a newcomer, happy to be here
<kurt> Well, him and F.E. Boone
> Ted - Both him and F.E. Boone
<kurt> Laura and I are joined at the quip!
> There's an echo in here
<Keith Lilek> Approx. what year was the Rochester show?
> Keith - 1950
> Kurt - True, but it was a spinoff of the Benny show, so they could have structured it in a variety of ways.
[Sun Jul 18 16:19:15 GMT-08:00 2004] WMarie has no profile.
> Kurt - I was just talking about that for the Yesterday USA spots this afternoon.
<kurt> Not for a show about an African-American. The "rules" were different then!
> WB WMarie...we have a few first-timers here, so welcome to everyone!
<John> I'm somewhat of a rookie, how long did Rochester's show run?
<WMarie> thank you Laura!
> Kurt - True, but it could have been situated more about his experience working in Jack's home.
<Ted L. Riggs> Thanks Laura!
<John> I'm a 1st timer, too. Unemployment has it's advantages
> John - I don't know of any more shows than the four we have. But you never know.
> John - I hear that...I chose to take time off at the start of this year and wrote two books during that time.
> The Benny shows make it sound like Rochester lives in Jack's home, but the Rochester shows have him living elsewhere.
<John> Mine is a result of us moving to Alabama for my wife's job. It's a bit more difficult to locate work here than in Orlando
<WMarie> I am new to some of these shows, but I love Rochester!
<Ted L. Riggs> Laura, were there any true spinoffs from the JB show, I mean ones that held the story line?
<John> Getting back on track, how long did Phil's show last? And didn't dennis have one, as well?
> Ted - Well, "A Day in the Life of Dennis Day" and "The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show". But they had their own storylines.
> John - I should know these things, but there's always been enough Benny to keep me busy. I'll let someone else answer that.
<kurt> Singers had it easier for spinoffs. Does Roch sing on his spinoff?
<Ted L. Riggs> I have a disc of the Mel Blanc shows and they were great. My son loves them.
> Kurt - Not much. It looks like it was intended as a strip show.
> Ted - Which ones...where he's a mechanic?
<Ted L. Riggs> yeah, he owns a fixit shop.
> Ted - I heard one of those maybe 15 years ago...can you say more about their structure and timeframe?
<Ted L. Riggs> You know, I'm looking make that fumbling for the disc now.
<Keith Lilek> I'm curious, I just bought the WC Fields film "You Can't Cheat an Honest Man" and Eddie Anderson is billed as Rochester?? Any thoughts as to why??
<Gary A. Dunn> I think the Blanc show was for one season?
> I'd answer that, but I know Kurt is dying to as well.
<kurt> Rochester was THAT popular as a character, is why
> Gary - I'd have to pull Jay Hickerson's guide to be sure.
<kurt> He was Eddie "Rochester" Anderson from 1940 on
> Keith - Even when he was in "Cabin in the Sky", he was billed as Eddie "Rochester" Anderson. Heck, it's even on his TOMBSTONE.
[Sun Jul 18 16:27:16 GMT-08:00 2004] ILUVOTR: ed kienzler
<Keith Lilek> Did the Kitzel show air before or after the Rochester show?
> WB Ed
<Gary A. Dunn> BRB dog needs to go out
> Keith - I don't have a date on the Kitzel show, but it sounds like about the same general timeframe.
<ILUVOTR> it's me god loves computers that burp on aol
> Dix Davis, who played Belly Laugh Barton, told me recently that Jack didn't want to make Rochester a permanent character. But he was so popular, he had no choice.
<JelloAgain> Well i'm looking forward to getting that Rochester & Kitzel material. I'm sending off an order with 2 blank cd's in tomorrow's mail, along with an order for the 39 Forever book.
> So after that, Jack would keep a popular character for a short while and then eliminate them for fear of taking on another "regular".
> JelloAgain - Sounds good to me...I've got a copy waiting.
<Keith Lilek> and a regular would cost too much...
<kurt> In SUNDAY NIGHTS AT SEVEN, Jack said he wanted to make Percy Kilbride a regular.
> Keith - That was another thing he said. Jack always paid above scale.
<ILUVOTR> true but for SAG
<Ted L. Riggs> Percy Kilbride - Pa Kettle
<Keith Lilek> I know...his reputation was very honorable...
<kurt> Regulars also led to stale repetitive gags, the equivalent of slow death in radio
> Kurt - He did appear for a while, but his character didn't have much depth.
<JelloAgain> Frank Fontaine was a semi regular too for a while.
<ILUVOTR> can you imagine pa kettle?
<kurt> I actually know one of the former Kettle kids.
> Even Minerva Pious was a semi-regular during the end of 1943 when Fred Allen was off the air.
<Ted L. Riggs> Hey, percy Kilbride was really funny
<kurt> Minerva Pious = Pansy Nussbaum
<ILUVOTR> more visual
> Ted - Have you ever seen him in "George Washington Slept Here"?
<kurt> She worked with Jack when Fred was off the air for his health.
> Kurt - Yeah, what was the deal on his health at that point?
<JelloAgain> It makes me so neeeervousss! That guy. Crazy Guikenheimer (sp) from the Jackie Gleason show years later
<kurt> Allen suffered from high blood pressure
<Keith Lilek> Wasn't that Joe Besser of Three Stooges Fame?
> Kurt - Gosh...of all things. *sarcasm off*
<ILUVOTR> was it the stress of radio and performing that caused health problems?
<JelloAgain> no, that was Frank Fontaine
<kurt> It's never been said. Obviously the stress of performing added to it. But in those days, there was no effective treatment for high blood pressure.
> JelloAgain - John L.C. Silvoney...are you sure? That line fits better for Joe Besser.
<ILUVOTR> except a vacation in Palm Springs
<kurt> Ya craaaaaaaaaasy!
<JelloAgain> You can see and hear him in the Bing Crosby flick "Here Comes The Groom", which was just released on DVD. He has a cameo during one of the songs.
> Well, read the section in "Treadmill to Oblivion" about putting together a radio show, and I think that would put any of us in the nut house.
<JelloAgain> His name was Frank Fontaine
> Hey everyone, Kurt dated Crazy Guggenheim once.
<ILUVOTR> hey neat!!!
<kurt> No, no. Just someone who, uh, looked like Crazy Guggenheim.
> Jello Again - Yes, Frank Fontaine played John L.C. Silvoney.
<kurt> A lot of my dates have connections to 1950s TV shows.
> To each their own, I suppose.
<kurt> The mother of one of them wrote a story done for the Loretta Young Show.
<ILUVOTR> did she doJB SHOW?
<kurt> Another one had a father who was a childhood pal of Jackie Gleason. She told me that Gleason used to work her father's name into his shows.
<kurt> So I got to pick her up, and Crazy Guggenheim gets into the car.
<kurt> Not one of my better evenings.
<John> yes, but a memorable one.
> No torrid affairs with June Cleaver, I suppose.
<JelloAgain> that reminds me....Cass Daley was also in the scene with Fontaine in the Crosby film!
<kurt> I kept hoping she'd salvage the evening with a nice song or two! Some syrupy ballad. Anything.
> JA - Which Crosby film?
<JelloAgain> Here Comes The Groom (1951)
> Kurt - Was she wearing the floppy hat and everything?
<kurt> I tried to reach June
<Ted L. Riggs> Does anyone know of any JB video releases coming up?
<John> Somehow torrid and June cleaver just don't go together.....Donna Reed, maybe, but not June Cleaver
> Torrid and Mary Livingstone do go together, but for different reasons.
<kurt> Let's just say she looked like Crazy Guggenheim and not get into the torrid details!
<John> Yes, I remember the stories from Sunday Nights at Seven
> Oh and apropos of nothing, Mike Amowitz asked me to say "hi" to the room for him tonight. He's out of town and can't be here.
> So what else Benny-wise is on everyone's minds? Questions? Comments? Stories?
<kurt> I want to know more about those pilot programs! Did Rochester have a sponsor?
> And no, Marlon Brando never appeared on the Benny show.
<John> Did anyone have a chance to listn to the whole show?
> Kurt - Franco American for two of them.
<JelloAgain> any news on releasing those later day Benny specials on DVD?
<JelloAgain> I know there was talk about the 20th anniversary special a while back
> JA - Paul Browstein has been trying to get them onto PBS or other syndication for some time, but so far, no luck.
<JelloAgain> he released the You Bet Your Life DVD set I think
> JA - Someone was talking about getting that released because of the Frank Sinatra content...haven't heard anything though.
<ILUVOTR> copywright problem?
> JA - Sure did.
<Gary A. Dunn> I purchased a copy of "new look" on e-bay
> ILUVOTR - No, just no interest.
<John> Reason i ask is that there was a bit were JB was hiring FA and asked if he was American. FA replied with what today would probably be characterized as racially insensitive to Japanese.
> Gary - How's the quality on it? Mine is rather shaky.
<Gary A. Dunn> Have yet to see it
> John - Yes, political correctness ain't what it used to be.
> Gary - If you have a network counter on the corner, you probably have the same one I do.
<kurt> Fred also did One Long Pan
<ILUVOTR> he was great
> And Jack did Charlie Chan
<Gary A. Dunn> ok, i will look
<John> I haven't listened to a lot of Allen, was that something regular in his act? I know that back then, especially during the war, bashing the enemy was accepted.
> Anyone know if "Jack Benny's Bag" can be had anywhere?
<JelloAgain> the 1981 compilation of Benny's color TV specials shows up on eBay quite often
<kurt> One Long Pan was done after the war as well. It was Allen's version of Charlie Chan.
> JelloAgain - Oh "A Love Letter to Jack Benny"?
<JelloAgain> Love Letter To Jack Benny it's called, with Hope, Burns and Carson
<JelloAgain> highly recommended
> I was in my earliest stages of Benny fandom at that point, and just about turned inside out when I saw it on the cover of TV Guide.
<JelloAgain> i have that tv guide issue!
<kurt> No other comic has received as much posthumous network TV recognition as Jack Benny
> Yes, isn't that something?
<kurt> No other comic has people contacting Laura, and talking to me, about a fiddle that's turned up in Indiana.
<John> Bob Hope did just pass away last year, so maybe he might catch up with Jack
<kurt> Too bad Jack didn't put his name in it.
> You'll probably never see anything like that for Bob Hope, George Burns, etc. Not because they don't deserve it, but I just don't think it'll happen.
<JelloAgain> not with the landscape of TV today, that's for sure
> Funny how Benny memorabilia seems to end up in Indiana. His Maxwell is there too.
<ILUVOTR> too visual
<kurt> Hope's legacy is with his movies, not his radio or TV programs.
<kurt> His fiddle is under a woman's bed. Appropro, no?
> Kurt - But Hope had quite a long string of specials. Used to be a big thing when I was younger.
> Kurt - Right next to his shoes?
<John> Hope had a contract with NBC for, what, 50+ years?
> Kurt - Well, as I recall it, George Jessel is entombed just above a woman. I always found that appropriate.
<kurt> When she told me it was under a woman's bed, I darn near blurted out, "Right where he left it?"
<John> Radio and TV inculded, correct?
<Keith Lilek> Appropo...can't you picture Jack staring into the audience after finding out his violin is under some women's bed!
<ILUVOTR> hope even did a simpson's episode
> That reminds me of a joke Jack used to do on his stage act.
> ILUVOTR - He did?
<kurt> The descendants of the woman refuse to speculate whether the relationship was romantic.
<ILUVOTR> that is what i heard when he died...
<ILUVOTR> not surprising
<JelloAgain> I remember that episode. "Hey this is Bob what the hell am I doing in Springfield Hope"
<ILUVOTR> everyone does
<ILUVOTR> great line
> The Simpsons even have a Frank Nelson throwback character.
<kurt> Hey, can you drop me off at that boat show?
> Oh, and Frank Nelson is on the Rochester show.
<kurt> Frank Nelson worked everywhere, didn't he?
> Let's see...how would Jack have been worked into the Simpsons...
<ILUVOTR> frank nelson was known to alot in the 1980's as a pitchman for McDonalds...
> Kurt - Well, I don't know if he was ever under a woman's bed...you'd have to ask Veola.
<JelloAgain> Nelson was on Sanford & Son a couple of times too
<John> He would have been Lisa's music instructor.
> John - Good call.
<John> Or mr. Burns' nephew.
<Ted L. Riggs> a quick visit for me, thanks and take care folks...TR
> John - Hmmm...George Burns was Mr. Burns' younger brother, so that would make...
> Take care, Ted! Thanks for stopping.
<ILUVOTR> take care ted...
<Keith Lilek> Thanks, everyone! gotta go for tonight! Keep laughing!
> You too, Keith!
<ILUVOTR> see ya keith...
<kurt> Small house tonight
> Kurt - It's not bad for summer.
<kurt> Have you spoken with the woman in Indiana?
> The chats are always smaller during the summer due to people being out and about, on vacation, etc.
<John> Yes, small but cozy ;)
<ILUVOTR> cookouts and such...
> Kurt - We've exchanged some E-mails.
[Sun Jul 18 16:52:13 GMT-08:00 2004] F.E. Boone has no profile.
> Hi F.E.! You just missed Ted Riggs.
<kurt> I couldn't turn up the grandmother in old records. They need to be really accurate about her name.
<John> Did anyone listen to the parodies that Jack and fred did of each other's shows? Jack's was pretty good, but Fred's was hilarious!
<F.E. Boone> I missed Speedy... Guess he's faster than I am....
> John - Was that on the segment with Tallulah Bankhead?
<ILUVOTR> oh yea the whistler one
<kurt> I don't recall the Fred Allen parody of Benny. When was it?
<JelloAgain> Jack was very good as Fred Allen...with the clothes pin over his nose
> He did that a LOT over the years.
<kurt> Starting in early 1936, wasn't it?
<JelloAgain> I read that in June 1974, when Jack guested on the Tonight Show for the last time, Rich Little was the guest host and got Jack to do his Fred Allen impression
<John> Laura - Yep. She did a parody of Rochester (Iforget what they called her) but she was good at it. Mary's character of "Seattle" was funny just because of the name.
> Kurt - Yes, with "Clown Hall Tonight".
> JA - Wow, I'd like to see that.
<JelloAgain> me too!
<Gary A. Dunn> I have it
> No one except OTR fans seems to remember Fred Allen any more.
> Oh, and check this out folks...
> my mother-in-law is a BIG Fred Allen fan.
<kurt> Carson would do Allen very rarely. He knew it was an ancient impression.
<kurt> Carson also could do a Lionel Barrymore impression.
<JelloAgain> you have that Tonight Show Gary?
<Gary A. Dunn> yes
<Gary A. Dunn> just the Benny segment with little
<John> That's because, I think, he died before his time. He's not big in the movies and his TV career didn't take off like Jack's did, he's just known from radio...which is a shame.
<Gary A. Dunn> e-bay
<ILUVOTR> little is great right next to frank gorshin...
<JelloAgain> I met Gorshin in May
> Could Fred Allen have survived in TV, and if so, how?
<JelloAgain> He's just a little guy! With a big talent
<kurt> Pat Weaver thought Allen could have succeeded with a talk show format.
<ILUVOTR> he was to audio
> And Frank Gorshin is probably best remembered for his appearance on "Star Trek". Go figure.
> Kurt - i'll second that emotion.
<F.E. Boone> Allen would be a good game show host, like Groucho
<JelloAgain> he was on Sullivan the first time the Beatles guested too
<John> He would have been good on late night TV, I think, because he had that smart aleck, acerbic wit that seems to be prevelant with late night hosts.
> I've heard some comparisons that Jay Leno is Jack Benny and David Letterman is Fred Allen.
<kurt> Allen was never well, though, and on live TV of the time, especially with the lighting, he looked like hell. Especially on his last appearances on the What's My Line panel.
<F.E. Boone> Frank is best known for the Riddler
> I still think that Jack and Carson are a better match.
> Kurt - No, he just naturally looked that way. :)
<kurt> Letterman's Stupid Human Tricks and Stupid Pet Tricks are a direct descendant of Allen's radio bits.
<F.E. Boone> He wore the glasses on What's My Line to hide the bags under his eyes
<ILUVOTR> including the bird in the theatre
<John> Laura - I see Allen in Letterman, but not much Benny in Leno.
> And Letterman's whole attitude and approach is more Fred Allen.
> John - I agree.
> Mr. Ramshaw (eagle)
> So does that make Paul Shaffer the equivalent of Portland Hoffa?
<John> Laura - with a splash of Steve Allen...hmmm, I think I see a connection between Letterman and people named Allen.
<ILUVOTR> including benny on a line about corn...
<kurt> Banter with bandleaders goes back to vaudeville.
<F.E. Boone> Paul's more like Harry Von Zell
> Kurt - Yeah. "How's the show going?" "Fine." "Well, I'll fix that."
> Who was Fred Allen's bandleader?
<JelloAgain> Was it Lud Gluskin?
<ILUVOTR> pete von something
> Oh, Peter Van Steeden
<JelloAgain> he must've fell off the map after Allen left the air
> I haven't heard a lot of Allen shows outside of the Benny guest shots, but I don't remember a lot of banter between Fred and Van Steeden.
<ILUVOTR> he would be mentioned but no dialogue
> There was a gag on Jack's show when he went to New York once that they'd borrowed Van Steeden's orchestra.
<Gary A. Dunn> I found Allen show hard to get into
<ILUVOTR> he was topical...
<Gary A. Dunn> i like his wit
<kurt> A lot of Allen's comedy was so topical, it doesn't date well.
> Say, while we're on the topic of Fred Allen, does anyone have an opinion on some of the biographies/autobiographies/letter collections on him?
<Gary A. Dunn> yeah
> Kurt - Sort of like Crazy Guggenheim.
<John> I haven't seen any bios on Allen.
> If there's one that's better than another, or a better read, etc.?
<JelloAgain> Allen wrote a book called Treadmill to Oblivion I think
<kurt> I did NOT make out with Crazy!
> Fred's books are excellent reads and I must reread them.
<F.E. Boone> I need to buy Treadmill To Oblivion, I see it on ebay once in a while
> There's also Much Ado About Me, about his vaudeville days.
> He died before finishing it.<kurt> Allen wrote very well, and without artifice.
Artifice is definitely something that I don't associate with Fred Allen.
<ILUVOTR> he loved satire
> ILUVOTR - Like his Gilbert and Sullivan take-offs.
> Anyone know how Allen's Alley started? I need to reread "Treadmill".
<John> Gotta go..bye-eye
<ILUVOTR> he was at his best when jack showed up and tried to win a radio contest
<kurt> Started in the early 1940s. The characters came and went over the years. He discarded a few.
> BTW...tonight on Yesterday USA we're airing the Fred Allen Show with "King For a Day"
<JelloAgain> well, it's been fun guys and gals...I gotta log off myself
> ILUVOTR - That's the one
<JelloAgain> Hope to be back next month
> Take care, JA!
<JelloAgain> bye Laura
<ILUVOTR> where is everyone echo echo echo
> Kurt - True...Falstaff Openshaw was eventually replaced by Ajax Cassidy.
> ILUVOTR - *Sound of crickets*
<ILUVOTR> alan reed could play anyone
<kurt> Now it's really small in here.
<kurt> Including Fred Flintstone
> Kurt - Small but knowledgeable.
> Kurt - Is Fred Flintstone in here?
> Dennis Day could play anyone.
<kurt> (sound of feet starting a car)
<ILUVOTR> he was doing cartoons to the end
<Gary A. Dunn> anybody have a copy of The Rounder?
> Gary - I have the script
> Not the actual script, but the content
<ILUVOTR> what's the date
<Gary A. Dunn> me too, the cut sheet
> About 1930
<Gary A. Dunn> TCM plays it
<ILUVOTR> oh my too soon for me
> I don't get TCM, so I'm stuck.
> I was wondering about that one too.
<ILUVOTR> TV yuck...
<Gary A. Dunn> someday i will have the vcr ready when it plays
> Since it is pretty small, do we want to call it good for this month and let people go enjoy the summer evening?
<Gary A. Dunn> sounds good
<ILUVOTR> shucks i was getting started
<kurt> Well, I've had a wonderful evening all the same! Night, all!
<Gary A. Dunn> night
> Night, Kurt!
> Take care, see you next month!