IJBFC Chat - September 11, 2005
(Name of message originator in <> brackets at the beginning of each line; lines starting with > are originated by Laura Leff)
> Hello folks!
<Brad from Georgia> Hello, LL!
<Maxwell> Hey LL! How are you?
> Wow...good crowd already!
<Gulliver> Same here in Bham. (And that's what I like
about the south.)
<Gulliver> Laura! Great to "see" you!
<Brad from Georgia> Waiting with bated breath...hope you are feeling much better, LL!
> Hi all...I'm doing pretty well. My doctor said on Friday that I'm healing nicely.
<Brad from Georgia> Good on yer, girl!
<Gulliver> "healing nicely" is not bad.
<Maxwell> That's good to hear.
<Brad from Georgia> Oh, dear, was I being sexist?
> Yes. I can even start exercising again, as long as I don't do too much too quickly.
> Brad - Not at all...why would that have been sexist?
<Brad from Georgia> Take it at an easy pace. We missed you!
> Thank you...I missed you all as well!
<Brad from Georgia> Well, you know, "girl" and all...though I am pretty old....
<Maxwell> When you're my age, anybody under 40 is "girl."
> Hope no one here has been affected by the hurricaine.
> Brad - Not at all. Someone called me "Miss" last night, and I just think it's funny.
<Brad from Georgia> We got rain, some wind, but weathered it fine.
> Not bad when someone calls you "girl" or "miss" at 36.
> Hi Teresa - Are you a first-timer here?
<Maxwell> We could have used some of the rain. We're back in a drought...something line -10 inches for the year.
> Hi Barbara!
<Teresa Matthews> yes i am
<Barbara> Hi everyonne! Good to have you back, Laura.
<Maxwell> I was carded once when I was 50. Boy that felt good!
> Teresa - Welcome in. We'll get kicked off in a minute, just knew that I'd have a health update here.
<Brad from Georgia> Welcome, Teresa. Hope you have a good time!
> Barbara - Thanks...it's good to be back.
<Teresa Matthews> thank you i am sure i will
<Maxwell> Welcome, Teresa. Hope you have fun.
> So, who listened to the Freddy deCordova interview for last month...er...tonight!
<Gulliver> I did!
<Maxwell> I listened to it last month.
<Brad from Georgia> I did, too--some time back.
> Teresa - What area of the country are you in?
<Brad from Georgia> My memory may be hazy....
<Teresa Matthews> south
<Gulliver> He sounds so much like Larry King it was sometimes confusing!
<Barbara> I listened so long ago I forgot what it said. But I just read his book Johnny Came Lately, tho.
> Teresa - Ah, very good. We're often well-covered in the south.
<Maxwell> I remember he had a lot more to say about Carson than about Jack.
> Barbara - What did you think of it?
<Brad from Georgia> And that's what we like about...oh, you know.
<Gulliver> Yeah, it's Teresa, Brad, me, and Wonga.
<Sal Hepatica> That's what I like about the south
<Barbara> I enjoyed the book. He's quite a modest fellow. Had a little to say about Jack but mostly about Carson.
> Gulliver - If you count Indiana as the south (being from Michigan, I do!).
<Maxwell> Anything south of Naptown is south.
<Gulliver> I count everybody with a warm heart as being from the South. :)
<Brad from Georgia> LL, I was recently on Prince Edward Island in Canada. By their reckoning, Toronto was part of the
> Freddy autographed my copy of the book when I interviewed him in his office. Woo hoo!
<Barbara> Fred actually had more to say about Mary than he did about Jack.
> Brad - Hope you got some good oysters while you were there.
> Barbara - Clue us in for those who haven't read the book.
<Brad from Georgia> Wonderful seafood! Lobster season was just ending.
<Maxwell> No oysters in months without the letter "r".
<Barbara> He told about Mary's shopping and how she has a black belt in it. I got the feeling that he wasn't crazy about her but
was too much of a gentleman to say so.
> Maxwell - Oh right. I forgot...
<Brad from Georgia> Maxwell--that's why the months of Mary, Juner, Jurly, and Argust were invented.
> Barbara - That's probably very true. Mary was starting to get into her reclusive phase by the time Freddy started directing the
> Oh...let me make a general announcement just in case it's needed...
<Barbara> That's a nice picture of Fred and Jack. Do you remember it, Laura?
> Last time we were invaded by a troll, so if that happens, here's what you do..
> Click once on the name in the right-hand panel
> Then click above on People, then Ignore.
> You won't see any more comments from them.
> Barbara - Which one was it/
<Barbara> What's a troll?
<Maxwell> You'll know it when you see it because it isn't pleasant.
<Brad from Georgia> A troll is someone who is rude and derails a conversation.
<Maxwell> This one was using rather obscene user names, iirc.
> A troll is someone who invades a discussion maliciously to make unwanted (often sexual) and generally off-topic remarks
<Brad from Georgia> Like a really, really bad Phil Harris.
<Barbara> He and Jack were standing outside by a road or something. Fred said it was his favorite picture.
> Brad - LOL
<Sal Hepatica> Sounds like Robin Williams
<Maxwell> I keep thinking of the guy who used to play the heckler on Milton Berle's TV show.
> Sal - Robin Williams is at least funny. Trolls often aren't.
> Barbara - I'm sure I've seen it, but I'm not conjuring an image.
<Brad from Georgia> Maxwell--Arnold Stang?
<Sal Hepatica> Arnold Stang, I like that guy
<Maxwell> No, there was some other guy...I think it was after he left NBC and had a short-lived show on ABC.
> MAKE UP! WHAP!
> Ned Miller used to play Jack's heckler in vaudeville.
<Brad from Georgia> Ah, I don't remember the second guy. I remember Arnold Stang making a "puppet" of his hand and saying,
"Oh, chip chip chee," to Berle's complaints.
<Barbara> I didn't realize that DeCordova was 53 before he married. I'm surprised that a handsome guy like that wasn't scooped
<Maxwell> I barely remember Uncle Milty's original show. I remember the singing Texaco guys, and Berle dressed like a
woman....and some gal saying, "It's bigger than both of us."
> Barbara - He was certainly seen with many beautiful women.
> Maxwell - Are you sure that last one wasn't from Jack's 1945 camp shows?
<Maxwell> Why get married when you can date gorgeous women?
<Brad from Georgia> Hello, Flapsaddle! Switchboard not busy tonight?
<Flappsaddle> Hello...no we're slow tonight
<Barbara> Yes, he was friends with just about everyone who was anyone. Said he never met Spencer Tracy, tho.
<Gulliver> Laura, I wanted to tell you I recently saw the first of Toni Marcus' appearances on the JB tv show, and I laughed and
laughed. What can you tell us about her or how she came to be on the show?
> Hi Flapsaddle!
<Maxwell> It's definitely a TV memory of Berle.
<Flappsaddle> Hi Laura...how are you doing?
<Maxwell> Hi Flappsaddle.
> Flapsaddle - Pretty good, thanks for asking. Still recovering, but doing well.
<Flappsaddle> Hi Maxwell...running good these days?
<Maxwell> Putt, putt, putt...cough!
<Flappsaddle> That is great to hear Laura
<Brad from Georgia> Woops--sorry for leaving out one of your p's, Flappsaddle. I left out the main one, too.
> I've noticed that the first occurrence of that name is actually Clapsaddle, which sounds like it could have been something skated
by the censors.
<Brad from Georgia> LL--I'd censor that!
<Flappsaddle> I started to call myself Gertude Gearshift...lol
> There's a Christmas Shopping show where Jack dresses Phil up as a little boy when Don is playing Santa (and supposedly had
to take off 20 pounds to do it)
<Sal Hepatica> You can be Gertrude next time
> And Jack plays his mother.
<Flappsaddle> will do Sal
<Maxwell> Only if Sal comes as I. Pana.
<Sal Hepatica> I have a different name every month
> I can't remember Phil's first name, but the last name is Clapsaddle.
[Sun Sep 11 16:22:23 GMT-08:00 2005] Alex Buck: Fan from KC
> Sal - Are you formerly the Gas Man?
<Flappsaddle> probably Guzzlebucket
> Hi Alex!
<Brad from Georgia> LL--if I recall, DeCordova indicated that Jack's later shows weren't done before a live audience because Jack
had "slowed up" some. True?
<Alex Buck> Hello All.
<Brad from Georgia> Hiya, Alex!
<Barbara> You did a great job on the Jack Benny Times, Laura, especially the cover picture of Jack and Cora Salisbury.
<Maxwell> Hi Alex
<Sal Hepatica> I was the Gas Man one month, yes
<Flappsaddle> Hiya Buck
> Brad - True. And that happened as far back as the late 50s, I think.
<Alex Buck> just got back from Wichita showing off our little girl to the extended family
<Alex Buck> good to be here
<Sal Hepatica> I was Ozzie Nelson last month, but the chat was postponed
> Barbara - Thank you. I was really thrilled to get that original. (And as you know) It's autographed by Jack on the back as
"Compliments of Salisbury and Benny"
<Flappsaddle> Cora...what a gal
<Flappsaddle> she knew talent
<Alex Buck> Laura - good to hear you're doing better
> Sal - My apologies on that to you and everyone. Obviously my impending surgery was already taking a toll on my addled brain.
> Alex - Thanks very much.
<Brad from Georgia> Oh, speaking of which--I recently attended a convention where a vendor was selling autographs. One was a
Jack Benny, clipped from an autograph album. I bought it and hope it's genuine!
<Maxwell> How much warning did you have that you were going to have the surgery?
> Flappsaddle - And a beautiful one as well, as the picture bears out. What eyes!
<Barbara> As far as I know, Jack's shows were done before a live audience, but he did go to cue cards.
> Brad - If you want to send me a scan of it, I can give you an opinion.
<Flappsaddle> She doesn't hold a candle to Jack's baby blues though...lol
<Brad from Georgia> LL--Will do--will have to wait until I get to school tomorrow, though!
<Alex Buck> So was Jack right or left handed?
> Maxwell - Well, I'd had pain as far back as late March. But my doctor said it was overexercise or constipation.
> Alex - Right
<Flappsaddle> Right ...at least he played his fiddle that way
<Alex Buck> good choice
<Brad from Georgia> LL--sounds like your doctor was the pain.
<Maxwell> Sounds like my doctor.
> Maxwell - But I went into the ER on Tuesday afternoon, they sent me home that night and I had the worst night of my life unable
to lay down but crying in pain all night
> Maxwell - Then back early Wednesday morning because I couldn't take it any more...diagnosis later that day and surgery by
<Maxwell> Wow...pretty quick once you went back.
> Flappssaddle - I'm pretty sure he was right handed anyway...have seen him signing autographs that way.
<Brad from Georgia> Oh, man, Laura--I'm sorry to hear how you suffered.
> Well, I'm glad it's over and I'm glad it went well. And if you knew what they removed from me, you'd understand in spades why I
was glad to get rid of it!
<Flappsaddle> I hear he carried his wallet in his right hand pocket....however few can verify that
<Maxwell> I don't think I want to know.
> Barbara - Can you verify that? About Jack's wallet.
<Alex Buck> Flap - Ha, Ha
> Maxwell - You probably don't.
<Brad from Georgia> Flappsaddle--that's because no one ever SAW Jack's wallet.
<Barbara> No, I'm afraid I never saw him remove his wallet.
> Short arms and carries his money low in his pockets.
<Brad from Georgia> Hmmm.
> I know he held his script in his right hand.
<Maxwell> "It's not that Jack Benny is tight. It's just that he has short arms and deep pockets."--Fred Allen
> Maxwell - There you go.
<Flappsaddle> good ole Fred
<Barbara> I think I read that he didn't carry much money with him.
<Maxwell> I heard Jack quote that in an interview.
<Flappsaddle> looks like a short butcher peeping over two pounds of raw liver
<Brad from Georgia> Hmmm--what a lousy line. But it's all I can THINK of without my writers.
<Maxwell> He thought is was one of Fred's best jokes during the feud.
> Barbara - But he was also a generous tipper, so he must have carried enough.
> Fred Allen looks like a convertible with the top halfway down.
> I've been finding that gag used over and over again.
> Hey Teresa...how did you get interested in Jack Benny?
<Flappsaddle> Hang your hat on my mooserack Laura
<Maxwell> Teresa, you 'll notice how much we say on topic here....
<Teresa Matthews> thru a friend
> Flapp - Har har...
<Barbara> According to DeCordova's book, Fred MacMurray was the cheap one. Yes, Jack was most generous. He used to give
us $5 at Christmas, and in the 50's $5 bought you a nice dinner.
> I've heard that Bob Hope was pretty cheap in real life.
<Flappsaddle> It buys a gallon of gas these days
<Maxwell> $5 would get you a lot of food in the '50s.
<Alex Buck> DeCordova also had some nice things to say about Burns & Allen
<Brad from Georgia> I once heard a fairly famous director call Jack Webb "the cheapest man in Hollywood."
> Teresa - I presume that it was through recordings of the show, not from Jack being on the air.
<Flappsaddle> that director never met my husband
<Sal Hepatica> I guess that made Jack Webb a cheap drunk
<Barbara> He didn't really say anything not too nice about anyone that I can think of.
<Alex Buck> I remember from one of George's books that he used to "embarass" Gracie by referring to him at parties as Freddie
with the big D
<Flappsaddle> man...you were so lucky Barbara...to have actually met Jack
> Freddy was the consummate gentleman. Notice how he ducked King's question about whether Jack was difficult.
> Alex - And in fact, it's a little d! deCordova!
> Jack actually fired Freddy at least once or twice in fits of pique.
<Flappsaddle> it's not the size of the d that matters Laura..
<Maxwell> Or as Don Rickles used to say, deCooveda, deCavada.
<Brad from Georgia> LL--didn't Jack fire everyone occasionally?
> Maxwell - Oh that's right! I had forgotten that.
> Brad - Maybe not everyone...I never heard of him firing Irving Fein.
<Flappsaddle> what about Mary?
> I don't think he ever fired Mary.
<Flappsaddle> ever fire her
<Alex Buck> too bad
<Barbara> He wouldn't dare!
> Flap - Ah, you anticipated my answer!
> I don't think he ever fired Dennis or Don. And I only know of one of his writers that he fired, and that only recently.
<Brad from Georgia> Somehow, though, I can hear Jack erupting: "Gosh, my timing was off! I've had it with me! Benny, you're
<Barbara> He got pretty mad at Irving Fein over losing the booking in Las Vegas didn't he?
> Barbara - Ah, that's right. Good point.
<Alex Buck> money?
> Barbara - Why don't you tell that story so that everyone's "in" on it.
<Barbara> What writer did he fire, Laura? Can you say?
> Barbara - Ha ha...YOU'RE the one who knows! :)
<Brad from Georgia> Come on, Barbara...dish....
> Barbara - You dish first, then I'll tell the writer story.
<Maxwell> I'm all ears...and that looks pretty strange.
<Brad from Georgia> Oh, goooood!
<Barbara> Irving Fein wanted a free room for him and his wife and the hotel didn't want to do it so they cancelled Jack's future
show. Jack would comment on how Irving loused up the booking.
> Barbara - Do you remember about what year that was?
<Teresa Matthews> Sorry Laura, I was reading too close, air programs and tv shows
<Barbara> Oh boy, probably in the 60's. Are you talking about George?
> Teresa - OK, so you were aware of Jack when he was alive.
<Teresa Matthews> no, i was in ingnorance
> Barbara - Well, to take a tip from Freddy, I won't say which writer it was. But here's the story sans the writer's identity.
<Flappsaddle> Why did Jack keep Irving all those years...?
<Brad from Georgia> I was in Ignorance once. Mighty pretty country around there.
<Sal Hepatica> It pays to be ignorant
<Brad from Georgia> Sal--my students agree with you.
<Maxwell> You beat me too it, Sal.
> Flappsaddle - I did some research into Jack's stage late in his life. And Jack was working like a madman right up until the end.
So Irving was definitely doing his job.
<Maxwell> So do mine, Brad.
> Jack's stage = Jack's stage work
<Sal Hepatica> Have you ever heard those old shows, "It Pays To Be Ignorant".
<Alex Buck> Buddy Hacket said that Jack isn't really dead; he's hiding from Fein
> Teresa - Don't feel bad. Jack died when I was 5, and I was in ignorance as well. My mother always used to tell a story about
how she tried to change that and failed.
<Maxwell> Just once or twice.
<Flappsaddle> I figured he must have liked Iving to loan him out to George
<Brad from Georgia> Sal--yep.
> Alex - And that's understandable when you see the positively grueling schedule he had in 1974. One-night stands and constant
<Flappsaddle> Larry Fein or Irving?
<Alex Buck> Perhaps better on the road then at home with Mary
> Flappsaddle - Irving
> Alex - I wondered about that.
> OK, so here's the writer firing.
<Flappsaddle> lol....Larry's hair was scary you know
> I found this out by discovering a letter that Jack had written to the individual in question.
<Maxwell> There must be a lot of game here, I saw a sign that said "Fine for hunting."
> It seems that Hickey Marks was an increasingly strong influence in the writing of the specials and Jack's stage shows.
> Hickey was Mary's brother, and had been the producer of the radio show back in the 40s and 50s.
> And apparently this writer had taken umbrage with that.
> This is not completely surprising, since Hickey was not highly-regarded by a lot of people. Some said that he would have a hard
time finding a job were it not for his association with Jack.
> But Jack was friends with him, and Hickey sometime accompanied Jack on those long car trips.
> So Hickey was apparently putting in more ideas (including the roller-skating penguins), and this writer didn't like that and was to
the point of throwing occasional temper tantrums.
> And basically Jack told him that he wasn't going to tolerate that, nor his aspersions on Hickey, and that he just wasn't going to
put up with it any more.
> As far as I know, that decision was never reversed, as I don't know of a case where the writer wrote for him after that time.
> So that's the dish.
<Alex Buck> how about that
> I'll have to tell you some time about Jack's appearance (or non) in South Africa.
<Brad from Georgia> I don't know about Jack's avoiding Mary--the few people who I have met who actually saw Jack in
performance seemed to think he really came alive and energized from being in front of an audience.
<Flappsaddle> Jack would stand up for the people he cared about....
> Brad - Yes, that's definitely true.
> That 1974 schedule was harder than vaudeville...at least there you'd play somewhere for a week, or at least a split-week.
> So what else Benny-wise is on everyone's mind this evening?
<Brad from Georgia> I think I mentioned once that a musician I knew worked in an orchestra for which Jack did a benefit. He said
they worried about Jack at rehearsal--kind of frail--but he was 39 again when the spotlight
<Brad from Georgia> came on
> Brad - Yes, something about hearing "Love in Bloom".
<Alex Buck> I thought it interesting that deCordova was listing possible replacements for Johnny Carson like Leno and
Schandling (could anyone imagine that?) but never mentioned Letterman
[Sun Sep 11 16:47:14 GMT-08:00 2005] KM99:
> Alex - I think Letterman was out of the running by that time.
<KM99> Hiya folks
> KM99!!!!! How are ya man?
<KM99> Hey. It'
<Brad from Georgia> Hello, KM99!
<KM99> It's good to be here again.
<Barbara> Love ya, KM99!
<Maxwell> Hi KM99.
> Alex - I think when he started his own show, he was no longer being considered.
<Sal Hepatica> Laura-Eddie Carroll is going to be signing autographs at the Hollywood Collectors and Celebrity Show Oct 1 and 2
<Flappsaddle> Jello KM99
> Sal - Yes, that's right.
<Alex Buck> Oh. I couldn't see Schandling pulling off the Tonight Show. Then again, I can't see Conan O'Brien at it either. I miss
<Barbara> Letterman very much wanted the Tonight Show. he thought NBC double crossed him.
<Brad from Georgia> I got a "Jiminy Cricket" autograph from Eddie for my little girl, the Disney puppeteer. She's starting a "Wall
of Fame" of voice actors in her office.
<Sal Hepatica> I miss Steve Allen too, stupid car wreck took his liife too soon
> Steve Allen died in a car crash? I don't think I heard that. I knew he was dead, but not how.
<Alex Buck> You know, he was at the Buster Keaton Festival a few weeks before the wreck. I've got some grainny pictures him
on stage in my home town
<Brad from Georgia> Eddie was amazed when I told him that his "Jiminy" signed photos were going for as much as $150 at the
San Diego ComiCon.
<Sal Hepatica> He had a wreck then died later of a complication from the wreck
> Dang. What a loss.
<Brad from Georgia> Sal--Had internal injuries that the doctors missed, right?
<Alex Buck> It was such a minor wreck, that no one knew anything was wrong
<Barbara> His wife is still pretty active.
<Alex Buck> something like, he the car was backing out of the driveway, or something nutty like that
> I just saw Don Rickles in person up in Maine.
<Sal Hepatica> Something like that, something the doctors could have saved his life if they'd have seen
> Well, "just" meaning a few days before I went to the ER
<Brad from Georgia> I saw Steve Allen a few years back in my home town, in the same theater where Eddie will present
"Laughter in Boom" in March.
> Where's Jack Paar? Jack B. discovered him.
[Sun Sep 11 16:51:58 GMT-08:00 2005] Maxwell: Oops!
> Steve Allen's toupee attacked me once.
<Sal Hepatica> Jack Paar died
<Alex Buck> Bob Newhart is playing the Ameristar here in KC on Sept 24 but by the time I found out the best tickets I could get
was nose bleed section
<Barbara> Sorry to leave you, but my husband wants his dinner. Jack Paar died, I think.
> Sal - Ah right...I couldn't remember if he was still with us.
<Maxwell> Newhart is going to be here in Joliet in a couple of months.
> I want to interview Newhart.
<Alex Buck> back in his ole' stomping grounds eh?
<Maxwell> Or at least about 30 miles away from them.
<Brad from Georgia> LL--Jack Paar died in January, 2004.
<Alex Buck> Newhart should have some good Benny stories but I haven't heard anything too spectacular on the biographies I've
seen of him
> Brad - I wonder if he's still crying over it.
<Alex Buck> ohh
<Brad from Georgia> Now cut that out!
> Alex - Did you see the PBS special on him?
<Alex Buck> Yes I did. Not too bad
<Alex Buck> I think the A&E biography was better though
<Maxwell> I missed about the first 25 minutes of it. Completely forgot it was on.
<Alex Buck> We picked up the first season of the Bob Newhart show on DVD a few months back.
> It was kind of funny that I sort of know Lawrence Epstein who had a lot of air time on it. I helped him get the approval to write a
book about George Burns.
<Brad from Georgia> I saw Newhart perform live way back when I was in college. Of course, he was still a CPA back then, but I
watched him do my taxes.
<Brad from Georgia> No, I kid. He was doing college stand-up shows, and I saw one.
<Alex Buck> I think you can pick up a copy of the button down mind album off of amazon for like $10
<Sal Hepatica> I think it's funny that on the Bob Newhart show, the character's name is Bob Hartley and in the show Newhart, the
character is Dick Lowden. In both cases, the character's name is not in show title
Alex - Ive got a couple of those.
<Alex Buck> I might make the Newhart recording one of my mean hard to
find Christmas gift items. My inlaws about killed me when I asked for the Ernie
Kovacs DVD set
<Maxwell> I thought it was refreshing in the Newhart show that he didn't have his real first name. How many shows can you think of where the name of the character has the same first name and the same initial..
<Maxwell> as the last name?
<Maxwell> At least in the first show, Newhart's name wasn't something like Bob Newton.
<Brad from Georgia> I'm gonna have to catch up when this chat is posted. I stepped away to settle an argument between our cat and the cat next door, and the screen refreshed!
<Alex Buck> I can remember watching the end of the 1980's sitcom and not understanding it
<Maxwell> What do your in-laws have against Ernie Kovacs/
<Sal Hepatica> They don't like the Nirobi Trio?
<Maxwell> Or Percy Dovetonsils?
<Alex Buck> The studio audience was going nuts and I had to have my parents explain to me why
<Laura Leff> Teresa - Jack Benny discussion tends to spawn other comedy discussion...but as long
as everyone's enjoying themselves, it's OK with me.
<Brad from Georgia> "Where are you from, Private?" "Nairobi, Ma'am. Isn't everybody?"
<Laura Leff> Or people walking out of the bathtub?
<Maxwell> I luuuuuv the Firesign Theatre.
<Brad from Georgia> What's all this brouhaha?
<Alex Buck> Max - Just that its not something you can pick up at the local Best Buy. i can just imagine the dumb looks the teenagers gave my mother in law when she asked about it
<Sal Hepatica> Or hitting a kettle drum with the drumstick, only to
find the drum is full of milk
<Teresa Matthews> yea, i was beginning to wonder if it was jack i came to learn about
<Maxwell> Tennessee Ernie Kovacs?
<Laura Leff> Teresa - Please, feel free to ask questions.
<Maxwell> Brouhaha? hahaha!
<Alex Buck> Stick around Teresa, its an education
> Ah, someone please send me about the last screen page. I had a screen refresh.
<Maxwell> You didn't miss anything.
<Brad from Georgia> LL--it's those darn cats.
<Teresa Matthews> i am here for the duration, to observe and listen to new things
<Sal Hepatica> It's Ernie, speaking from the grave
> Teresa - You've got plenty of experts here...lots of answers, I'm sure.
> Brad - That was a Disney movie.
<Alex Buck> Well, lets see. Ernie was a guest on the Benny show once
<Brad from Georgia> Oh, great. Now I'm gonna get sued by a mouse.
> What was the name of the 45 minute show that he did? Eugene?
<Maxwell> I don't remember that one.
<Maxwell> Yeah. Eugene.
<Maxwell> All pantomime, iirc.
<_bill> ll sending
> Alex - Yes, I think we even have that in the library.
<Alex Buck> before he died, there was talk of doing a feature length silent movie about eugene
> Thanks, bill.
> Maxwell - There was even a message at the front about "In this world of noise and talking, we offer you 45 minutes of silence."
<Maxwell> ABC never quite knew what to do with him when he was there in the '60s. He was on a panel show, "Take a Good
<Maxwell> He introduced silent movies on a series called "Silents, Please."
> I think of Ernie Kovacs as doing for television comedy what Jack did for radio comedy.
<Maxwell> Finally they just let him do those specials, and they are classics.
<Alex Buck> complete master of the medium
> Kovacs took unique aspects of the medium and worked them into his comedy.
<Brad from Georgia> LL--Nice insight. Like Jack's creative use of silence in radio.
> Jack took unique aspects of radio, such as silences and sound effects coupled with patient timing, and created things like
"Your money or your life" or the vault.
<Alex Buck> executives hated him because budgets were only starting places
> Brad - Yes, exactly.
<Maxwell> And his Dutch Masters cigar commercials were hilarious.
> Alex - Yes, imagine building the scene in Eugene where he pours the milk. Everything, including the camera, would have to be
on a tilt.
<Alex Buck> the ernie quote that comes to mind is that his best ideas came to him at 2:45 for a 3:00 meeting
<Brad from Georgia> BTW, I recently took some radio writing/performing instruction with Garrison Keillor and the cast of Prairie
Home Companion. Keillor floored me: "You realize you're writing for a dead medium."
> You know, I have to admit that I haven't seen the Benny show yet with Kovacs. Has anyone?
> Alex - At least they didn't come at 5:00.
<Maxwell> If I did, I've completely forgotten it.
> Brad - Was it with Keillor in person?
<Maxwell> Or just a hologram?
<Brad from Georgia> I can't remember seeing it, either--probably did, I was a Benny/Kovacs fanatic. LL--Yes, in person.
> Maxwell - Yeah, did he have a big "H" on his forehead?
<_bill> ll that show hasn't circulated much i think shokus only had int in vhs and the library copy if you have it
<Brad from Georgia> Took seven and a half hours of courses. Most fun was with Fred Newman, the mouth-sounds guy who's also
on "Between the Lions" on PBS.
> Brad - It's not dead in Europe.
> Bill - OK, I knew it was out there. Just not enough hours in the day.
<Brad from Georgia> LL--I'm surprised that Keillor, with 4,000,000 listeners per week, thought that.
<Alex Buck> I saw a snipit where Jack complements Ernie on his creative shows and wishes that his writers were so creative.
Ernie turns to Jack and says "you have writers?"
<Sal Hepatica> Maybe he doesn't like competition
> Brad - But what other show of that type has that?
> Alex - That sounds a little like the Rod Serling guest shot.
<Brad from Georgia> Sal--I write for the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company. We're Keillor's competition the way a daisy threatens a
<Maxwell> There really isn't all that much of that kind of radio anymore, though...a few things on NPR/PRI, some religious
broadcasts that are dramatic...not much else.
> And let's ask the BIG question...why is that?
<Maxwell> Because we get our drama from TV.
<Maxwell> And our comedy.
<Brad from Georgia> Yes...but wait until this Halloween, when the ARTC presents my groundbreaking thriller, "Farm Report of the
> Why not theatre of the mind? The pictures are better...
<Maxwell> It's too bad. I love OTR because I love to visualize what's going on.
<_bill> people won't sit still long enough to listen
<Maxwell> You have to work at it.
<Maxwell> people don't like to work anymore.
<Maxwell> At least not on their entertainment.
<Maxwell> Why aren't there silent movies?
<Maxwell> Same thing.
> Maxwell - I think you've hit it there.
<Brad from Georgia> We recently did a live performance of "The Weapons Shop" at DragonCon in Atlanta. We had about 500 in
the audience...not bad for a radio show.
<Alex Buck> i'm a workaholic and find that I can enjoy listening to something but can't tear myself away from what I'm doing to
> Maxwell - That people don't like to work any more. At least American audiences.
<Sal Hepatica> Probably because people can't TiVo their radio to listen to it after it's on
<Maxwell> I remember Walter Kerr wrote a book about silent comedians about 30 years ago....He talked about being exhausted
after viewing them.
<Brad from Georgia> One of our critics once wrote in a review, "I just don't like audio drama. What am I supposed to look at?"
> Say, you know who I just got some E-mail from and who's a big Benny fan? Neil Gaiman.
> Brad - The sound effects man, silly.
<Brad from Georgia> LL--Wow! The Sandman himself!
<Maxwell> I think what Kerr said about silent movies is also true for radio.
> Brad - Yeah, is that cool or what?
<Maxwell> That is cool!
<Brad from Georgia> LL--Gaiman is very cool! I was on a panel with him once, and none of the girls in the audience even
LOOKED at me. One of the guys did, but, you know....
> I almost had a heart attack when he said that he was really enjoying our newsletters. I knew he had them, but hey...
> Brad - LOL
<Maxwell> Speaking of which, I really enjoyed the last one.
<_bill> with timing being so important i wonder if tivoing radio would really work (thinking of podcasting where you sort of could)
> Maxwell - Thank you.
<Brad from Georgia> LL--I agree with Max on the last one. great job.
> Maxwell - Being chair-bound has its advantages.
> Brad - Thanks much.
<Maxwell> I hear ya.
<Brad from Georgia> LL--Wonder if Gaiman's friend Terry Pratchett likes radio, too? The two of them keep talking about doing
another novel together.
> Bill - Good point. And I don't know what the hit rate on Crispy.com's site is for downloading.
<Maxwell> Speaking of which, I need to remember to email you a change of email for the newsletter. I had to fwd it to myself at
my other address because it wouldn't load.
<Alex Buck> Well fellahs, gotta go. The boy just woke up from our road trip. Gotta unpack the bags and get ready for Monday.
Catch up with you all next month.
<_bill> ll not high it hasn't been updated in years
> Brad - Gaiman said his new book is the only funny one since Good Omens. I told him that I'm a Pratchett fan.
<Maxwell> Later Alex!
> Take care, Alex!
> Bill - Really? I thought he was regularly putting up stuff. Since I have pretty much all of it, I don't pay attention.
<Brad from Georgia> LL--Darn, I wish I'd known that! I picked up an autographed Pratchett book in Canada for a friend of
mine--and there were two! I could've gotten you one!
> Brad - Dang...well, maybe next time.
<Brad from Georgia> Pratchett is doing a US book tour this fall--he's going to be in CA for about six or seven days, but nowhere
<Maxwell> Still hanging in there Teresa?
> Brad - Hmmm...I'll have to look for it. Gaiman's going to be within walking distance of my office on September 30.
> Yeah, I was going to ask about any other Benny topics people wanted to introduce.
<Teresa Matthews> paying attention most definite
<Brad from Georgia> LL--Well, tell him to walk right in, sit right down, and talk JB!
<_bill> will you be returning to yusa this or next month?
> Brad - I'll probably bring him paper copies of the first two issues from 2005. I E-mailed him the latest one.
<Brad from Georgia> I've been thinking about all Jack's USO tours in WWII. Bob Hope gets all the press, but Jack really did a lot
for the servicemen.
> Bill - At the end of this month. Walden and I just talked about it. But hey, you haven't had to endure my singing for quite a while.
> Brad - Jack did pretty much as much numbers-wise as Bob did in WWII.
<Maxwell> Jack didn't write any books about it, though.
<_bill> loking forward to it Bill Bragg was saying they were changing the Sunday linup glad you still have a spot
> Maxwell - True. But Jack certainly did leave an impression with the servicemen.
<Brad from Georgia> One of the bios says that after Jack passed away, Mary found copies of thousands of letters he'd sent to
the families of wounded GIs. Such a thoughtful thing to do!
> Bill - Oh really? Did Biel get in THAT much trouble last week? ;)
<Maxwell> I can easily imagine him doing that, though.
> Brad - That's it exactly. And that he helped relay communications between boys/girls overseas and their families.
<_bill> ll no more like they had been doing the same thing for 20 years or so and get more donations when they rotate the tapes
> Brad - I think it wasn't his letters to the GIs, but letters from them back to him thanking him for his kindness in relaying
> Bill - Variety IS the spice of life.
<Brad from Georgia> I don't want to badmouth Bob Hope--he did wonderful things--but I've never heard that Hope took the time to
send letters to families like that.
> Brad - I heard some talk from people who were in the troupe with Bob that they couldn't figure out how he could go to the
hospitals so much and see all the torn-up guys there.
> It seems that he had some mechanism for being an entertainer but keeping a human distance from them. But that's just what
<Maxwell> I heard an interview with Frances Langford telling about how going into the hospitals liket hat just tore her up.
<Brad from Georgia> I have heard that Hope would pause outside a ward to pull himself together before breezing in with "Hiya,
fellas, don't get up."
> I found a letter Jack sent to a friend after he'd been back from Korea (he played several hospitals) and said that he'd have to see
his friend in person to talk about what he'd seen.
> Maxwell - I don't know how it couldn't. Heck, Dan and I just watched "Band of Brothers" and that was hard enough.
<Brad from Georgia> I've been listening to the WWII-era Benny broadcasts. I'm surprised at how many shows passed before they
began to mention the war. The show did broadcast on 12/7/41, after all.
> Yes...I wondered if that would come up in the discussion tonight, since it's so often used as a comparison point to the media
coverage of 9/11.
<Brad from Georgia> The recording I have does indicate the war is on, but only through announcements about emergency
> Brad - Right...there's no mention of the war and the audience laughs just as loudly. And they were in LA.
> I'm told that some people thought the Japanese were coming over the horizon to kill them at any moment.
<Brad from Georgia> Makes sense, though. I'm sure that at that juncture Jack knew that mentioning the attack might trivialize it
and would not be in the best of taste.
<Maxwell> I don't know if people really knew what to make of what was going on that day.
> Maxwell - Yes, I was just going to mention that. It wasn't like the instantaneous news of today.
<Maxwell> It's not like they knew that most of the Pacific fleet had been destroyed at that point.
<Brad from Georgia> Max--my parents told me that they knew it was war as soon as the news hit.
<Maxwell> Sure, but they didn't know the extent of the damage or any of that.
<Brad from Georgia> My dad was just a shade too old for the draft--literally a matter of weeks. His younger brother died in France
sometime after D-Day.
<Maxwell> My parents heard about it when they came out of a movie, and they knew it was war.
> Well, I wonder if it's sort of like what was going on in early 2003. The possibility of invading Iraq hung around for a long time
before it actually happened.
> Same thing with WWII...lots had been happening ever since, when was Kristallnacht, 1937?
<Brad from Georgia> Well, all Europe was at war, and Japan and China had been fighting for a while. I suppose everyone knew it
was a matter of time.
<Maxwell> They'd instituted the draft the year before. In fact the first enlistments from that draft were about to expire.
> So it was something that was on everyone's mind, just a question of when the tipping point would come.
<Maxwell> Japan and China had been at war since '36 I think.
[Sun Sep 11 17:27:44 GMT-08:00 2005] Flappsaddle:
> Hi Flap...thought I might have offended you!
<Maxwell> There was still a sizable portion of the population that was isolationist, even in '41.
<Maxwell> Even on the morning of 12/7/41.
<Maxwell> That all changed pretty quickly.
<Brad from Georgia> Max--you're right. I knew some older people when I was a kid who insisted that we should never have been
involved in the war against Germany--just Japan.
> Maxwell - And in a way, having gone through a war with Germany just 20 years earlier, it's understandable.
<Maxwell> There was the German-American Bund here, too.
> BTW, "Band of Brothers" is an excellent series.
<Brad from Georgia> I recalls when "sauerkraut" was called "Liberty cabbage."
<Maxwell> I remember reading the biography of Lou Gehrig that the movie with Gary Cooper was based on....
<Maxwell> In the forward, Bill Dickey makes it a point to make sure that everybody knew that Gehrig had nothing to do with the
> Maxwell - True...people were closer to their roots at that time.
<Brad from Georgia> LL--Agree on "Band." One of my former students became a historian of the 101st and got a gig as tech
adviser on the series. He wept when describing some of the scenes to me, before it aired.
<Flappsaddle> Gotta go Gang...it's been fun
> Brad - Wow...amazing. I believe it
<Maxwell> Later Flap;psaddle.
> Take care, Flappsaddle!
<KM99> Seeya Flappsaddle
<Flappsaddle> later guys take care
<Brad from Georgia> Probably time for me to retire as well. LL, I'll try to remember to take my Benny autograph in tomorrow and
scan it! Thanks!
<Maxwell> Later Brad.
> Brad - OK, thanks for stopping! Always good to talk with you.
> Should we call it a wrap? Seems like a lot of people are cycling out.
<Maxwell> Looks like the ranks are dwindling.
<Brad from Georgia> LL-Highlight of my month, I assure you! Bye, all!
<KM99> Goodnight folks.
> Night, KM!
> Guess that's it. Take care, bill, Maxwell!
<Maxwell> Good night whoever is left...LL, _bill....
> And good night Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are...