IJBFC Chat - March 7, 2010

(Name of message originator in [] brackets at the beginning of each line)

[Laura Leff] Hi folks!

[Brad from Georgia] Hiya, boss!

[ed k] i dont patronize the folks who own the movie houses here in Springfield illinois as they are too far from my house

[ed k] hi LL

[Laura Leff] Do they show anything you'd want to watch?

[Brad from Georgia] LL, we were wondering if the Oscars would siphon off chatters tonight.

User mackdaddyg has entered this room.

[Brad from Georgia] Hi, MDGDG.

[Laura Leff] Hi Mack!

User Steve -shimp- has entered this room.

[ed k] no the last time i went to a theatre was to buy my neice a gift certificate in 1996

[Laura Leff] Brad - I was wondering about that too. Seems that something is always going on the first Sunday of the month.

[Laura Leff] Hi Steve!

[Brad from Georgia] Hi, Steve!

[mackdaddyg] Hello one and all! Great to finally get a chance to attend of these!

[Steve -shimp-] Hi Laura, all ...

[Laura Leff] Welcome in, Mack! Glad you could join us.

[ed k] next month is easter sunday?

[Laura Leff] Is it?

[Brad from Georgia] I think you're right. The fourth.

[Laura Leff] Oh good grief, so it is.

[ed k] i dontnow LL im speculating

[Laura Leff] OK, I'm pushing off a week next month then.

[Brad from Georgia] So the eleventh?

[Laura Leff] Sure.

[ed k] ok

[Brad from Georgia] Woiks for me.

[Laura Leff] See, I couldn't begin to tell you when the Super Bowl is. So that would never show up on my radar screen.

[Brad from Georgia] Barbara and I have been too poor this year to go to the movies, so we don't care about the Academy Awards.

[Steve -shimp-] Well, if THE HORN BLOWS AT MIDNIGHT isn't up for an Oscar, I'm not watching anyway ...

[Laura Leff] So anyhow...if we want to do a concentrated chat tonight and break off early for people to watch the Oscars, I'm OK with that.

[ed k] really...

[Laura Leff] Steve - Oh hey, here's an amusing aside...at least to me

[Steve -shimp-] do tell

[Brad from Georgia] You know, somebody could do a remake of Jack's movie--that's all the rage--and give it an adult twist: THE PORN SHOWS AT MIDNIGHT.

[Laura Leff] I was running shows yesterday and Friday, and I noticed something in the show where Jack reminisces about last New Year's Eve.

[Steve -shimp-] (groaning at Brad)

[Laura Leff] Now maybe everyone's seen this because this show has been available for a while

[Laura Leff] But there's a movie marquee in the set, which is never mentioned in the dialogue

[ed k] oh brad....good one

[Laura Leff] that says "La Trompette sonner a Minuit"

[Steve -shimp-] Oh, yeah, I caught that too!

[Brad from Georgia] HA! Qu'elle chose!

[mackdaddyg] Hey! That's pretty clever use of a marquee.

[Steve -shimp-] Is that in the live version or the filmed version, I can't recall

[Laura Leff] I kept waiting for someone to say something about it, or a joke about a French version of Horn (French Horn?)

[Laura Leff] Steve - Live version...I'll have to look at the filmed version

[Brad from Georgia] Would have been better if some chimpanzees in berets were putting the title up. You know...marquee chimps.

[Laura Leff] OUCH!

[Steve -shimp-] Oh, Brad's on a real roll tonight...

[ed k] brad again...

[Brad from Georgia] We're on spring break.....

[Laura Leff] *slap*

[ed k] rim shot

[Laura Leff] that's as close as I can get to a rimshot

[Steve -shimp-] ba-dum-bump ... psssh

[Brad from Georgia] Ok, the show tonight...I gotta say if I found a lady with the sulty voice that Rochester's friend had, she could caddy for me any time.

[Laura Leff] So what did folks think about the show for tonight?

[Brad from Georgia] Who was Rochester's "caddy," Laura?

[Steve -shimp-] That's a fun one

[Laura Leff] When we did the recreation of this show, I played that role.

[mackdaddyg] Great show as always. Nice writing and timing.

[Brad from Georgia] Just one line, but so sexy!

[Laura Leff] Brad - Um...I'd have to pull 39F and see if it's credited

[Brad from Georgia] It was a very good show. Hang on, got the book right over here. BRB.

[Brad from Georgia] Ah, just credited as Theresa.

[Laura Leff] Sorry, wish I had more than that.

[mackdaddyg] Mel Blanc was in very nice form in this one.

[Steve -shimp-] I'm always a fan of when Phil "hears" malapropisms, "The Duke of Wellington? He's got a great orchestra!"

[Laura Leff] Mack - Har har

[Brad from Georgia] Okay, the si-sy routine was very neat.

[Laura Leff] That's a quart for each of us!

[Steve -shimp-] Oui. Wow.

[Brad from Georgia] Did everyone think that Phil's entrance was very low-key for him?

[Laura Leff] Yes, this was a nice flip-around of si-sy

[mackdaddyg] I had to listen twice to get the gallion joke. Classic!

[Laura Leff] Also, the rehearsal script that we used in Waukegan splits off at El Supremo's entrance and becomes almost a completely different script.

[Steve -shimp-] They couldn't apparently carry "oui, wow" to include an equivalent of "Sue" though ...

[Brad from Georgia] Here's some trivia that I actually looked up. It concerns Mel's line "I'm also a woodpecker."

[Laura Leff] Woo

[Brad from Georgia] Mel voiced Woody Woodpecker in only the first for WW cartoons in 1940-41.

[Laura Leff] Well, Mel was a woodpecker until whatshisname's wife took over the role

[Laura Leff] Walter Lantz, I think

[Laura Leff] Mel did the Woody Woodpecker record with the Sportsmen too

[mackdaddyg] I believe Lantz is correct. He was the hotshot behind those cartoons.

[Laura Leff] Wasn't it his wife who did the long-term WW voice?

[Laura Leff] I think there was even a lawsuit over it

[Brad from Georgia] LL, no he wasn't; Ben Hardaway (the artist who did Bugs Bunny) took over Woody after Mel. Then there was some other voice artist, and Grace Stafford Lantz took over in 1950.

[Laura Leff] OK, so she was involved, just not in the 40s

[Brad from Georgia] LL--That's the trivia; Walter Lantz reused Mel's Woody laugh in every cartoon but didn't pay him for it.

[Brad from Georgia] So in 1951 Mel sued Lantz.

[mackdaddyg] Really?!

[Laura Leff] Oh sorry, I'm spoiling your story. I'll shut up

[Brad from Georgia] And the reference on the show probably sprang off the lawsuit. Eventually Lantz settled out of court with Mel.

[Brad from Georgia] It's always Mel's voice saying "Guess Who?" and doing the laugh in the titles of the cartoons, no matter who voices Woody.

[mackdaddyg] Very cool on the writers' parts if that's the case.

[Laura Leff] Brad - Interesting! Didn't know that

[Steve -shimp-] Slightly off topic, do you know there's a Woody Woodpecker cameo in each of George Pal's movies?

[Brad from Georgia] Did I mishear Dennis's line, or did he actually say, "Wheech one of you Communists is zee capitaine?"

[Brad from Georgia] Steve--Yep, that's the first time Grace Lantz voiced him.

[Laura Leff] They did that now and again. There's a story about Jack on some radio show around the time of the smuggling case--although I don't think it's the regular series--where a snake menaces him and Jack says, "Come on, I'm in enough trouble already."

[Brad from Georgia] Destination Moon.

[Laura Leff] Steve - Really?

[Steve -shimp-] Yep, Destination Moon's the first one... a long cartoon segment

[Laura Leff] Brad - That's a mishear. I can't remember what the original line was, but can look it up.

[Brad from Georgia] Bob Heinlein really enjoyed the Woody cartoon.

[Steve -shimp-] But there's a little image of Woody in all of Pal's other movies, War of the Worlds, When Worlds Collide, etc.

[Laura Leff] Kind of like Nina in Hirschfeld or Hitchcock in his own movies

[Steve -shimp-] Yep, same idea. But Pal and Lantz were friends, it was a little hat tip to his buddy.

[Laura Leff] Cool!

[Steve -shimp-] And that's tonight's Oscar night movie trivia....

[ed k] they are going to make a hitchcock film remake

[Brad from Georgia] There were a lot of "manhood" gags in tonight's show. The line about Lady Barbara getting the crew worked up, Jack asks "Why?" and Phil says "You wouldn't understand."

[Laura Leff] Let's see if I can find that line. I think I put the recreation script on line

[Brad from Georgia] And of course the repeated "Naturally" line.

[ed k] with jamie foxx

[Laura Leff] Commoners...not Communists

[Steve -shimp-] That's terrible casting, Jamie Foxx looks nothing like Hitchcock.

[Brad from Georgia] Neat reworking of the "check bounced" gag--three times. And Dennis had a nice topper. Thanks, LL--I thought that in '51 no radio network would use "communist" in a comedy show!

[Laura Leff] Wrong shaped cone and wrong flavor

[Steve -shimp-]  LL

[Laura Leff] Here's the link to the rehearsal script: http://www.jackbenny.org/Waukegan/Wa ... 20original.htm

[Laura Leff] You don't need to look at it now, just for future reference.

[mackdaddyg] That will be cool to read. Thanks!

[Laura Leff] Sure. What I have is Jack's script with his handwritten notes in the margins. not a lot, but enough to recognize his handwriting. Bought it years ago.

[Laura Leff] When we came to certain gags

[Brad from Georgia] Just bookmarked it. Thanks! I liked the gags about Don, too--not as strained as some were, though "Look at that man eating that shark" was one of those weird word-visuals.

[Brad from Georgia] Phil got a great reaction with his "You don't think I LIKE to drink, do ya?"

[mackdaddyg] Do a lot of those old scripts still exist?

[Laura Leff] We'd have what was in the rehearsal script, Jack's notes, and what ended up on air. Then we had to choose.

[Laura Leff] Mack - I wish more of them did. Most of the rehearsal scripts got trashed and only the broadcast copies exist.

[Laura Leff] I've actually got a lead on some in-progress Benny scripts...if I can secure my job situation this week, I'll follow up on it.

[ed k] phil liked the song "What i like about the south" though is from indiana

[mackdaddyg] A shame, but no surprise. I reckon they didn't see them as historically important back then.

[Brad from Georgia] I just finished touching up "Dancer in the Dark," the show that the Atlanta Radio Theater is recording in May. My late collaborator Tom Fuller wrote the script. I've made a few changes to maintain character names, etc.

[Steve -shimp-] Laura, were the script pages color coded like movie scripts?

[Laura Leff] You also wouldn't want to get your copies mixed up. People were supposed to throw their script on the piano or table when they were done with the rehearsal.

[Brad from Georgia] I'm supposed to play the lead in it. Not a romantic lead, a crotchety 75-year old archaeologist from Miskatonic University.

[Laura Leff] Steve - I don't think so, although I haven't looked at that script since I transcribed it for 2002 Waukegan. Just straight mimeo paper

[Brad from Georgia] Anyway, it was interesting working with Tom's own copy of the script and trying to decipher his notes, some made during rehearsal while he was actually reading a part.

[Laura Leff] Brad - Ah yes, Titus Moody move over.

[Steve -shimp-] Interesting, you'd think they might get mixed up once in awhile

[Laura Leff] Steve - Especially when Mary drops her pages on the floor.  

[mackdaddyg] Always entertaining!

[Laura Leff] Most radio actors had some methodology for keeping their scripts in order. Clips, books, etc.

[Brad from Georgia] LL--My touchstone for approximating the New England dialect is "Pep'ridge Fahm remembahs."

[Laura Leff] Brad - There you go. Parker Fennelley is the very essence of New England!

[ed k] mary and molly mcgee were nervous when it came to their respected shows

[Laura Leff] I even have a couple handwritten notes from him somewhere.

[Brad from Georgia] Parker Fennelley can't lose.

[ed k] molly would sit down to do her lines

[Laura Leff] Yes, say more about Molly McGee. I've heard a little but don't know much.

[mackdaddyg] I'm always amazed that Mary was so nervous. She does an excellent job on each show.l

[Brad from Georgia] George Burns thought that Mary was exaggerating her stage nerves.

[Laura Leff] Al Gordon recently told me a story, but he told me via phone and I wasn't recording it...

[Laura Leff] That he saw Mary collapse one time, and Jack didn't move a muscle.

[mackdaddyg] Wow.

[Laura Leff] Al asked if Jack wanted to go over to Mary, and he said, "She's got people taking care of her."

[ed k] their daughter would stand in for her during the later shows when mary would pre-record her lines

[Laura Leff] Now this wasn't what happened every time, but apparently it happened that time.

[Steve -shimp-] Ever seen a Tennessee Fainting Goat? That Mary story puts me in mind of them...

[Laura Leff] Ed - Jeanette Eymann too

[mackdaddyg] I guess that would get a bit tiresome from time to time.

[ed k] thanx LL

[Brad from Georgia] In one of George Burns's books, he maintains that Mary could "faint on cue" just for attention.

[Laura Leff] Ed - Sure. Sorry if I stole your thunder!

[ed k] no i am not mad at you LL i didnot aboutthe other actress

[Laura Leff] Brad - Not surprising. Mary was insecure in a lot of ways.

[mackdaddyg] Really? Insecure?

[Laura Leff] Ed - OK...Jeanette was the script secretary. You can hear her on one recording of the last radio show that was done before Mary's lines were dubbed.

[Steve -shimp-] Insecure in the way that comes out as overbearing and overcompensating

[mackdaddyg] Ah. Such a shame.

[Brad from Georgia] Marian Jordan (Molly in the Fibber McGee series) had an alcohol-abuse problem that for a time made her miss a number of shows.

[Laura Leff] Right. Insecure about her performance. Insecure about her looks. Insecure about what she has...if someone gets something, then Mary needs one bigger or five of it.

[ed k] molly would sit down so the papers would not rattle when she did her parts

[Laura Leff] Brad - Yes, I've heard just the tip of the iceberg (goldberg?) on that, but haven't had time to delve into it.

[Brad from Georgia] She fought it--she was in rehab when rehab wasn't cool, and the fact was concealed from the public.

[Laura Leff] One wonders if that's part of the reason that Jim Jordan refused to ever listen to the shows after they stopped.

[Brad from Georgia] I'm sure it was, LL.

[Steve -shimp-] Wow, hadn't heard that he refused to listen to them again.

[Laura Leff] Marion Jordan...the 1940s Amy Winehouse?

[Laura Leff] OK, maybe not.

[ed k] she was in rehab in 1938 when the show was known as fibber and company

[Laura Leff] Brad - (side joke) Like K9 and Company?

[ed k] they called it an illness

[Steve -shimp-] I need to spend more time with Fibber and Molly. I usually enjoy them but rarely seek out those shows for some reason.

[Brad from Georgia] Jim was fiercely protective of his wife and her reputation. He seemed devoted to her, and I think the shows brought back memories of her struggles.

[Laura Leff] Some crossover in the supporting actors, like John Brown and Arthur Q. Bryan.

[mackdaddyg] You know, the Mary stuff reminds me...I was re-reading a book recently with a bunch of interviews from radio writers. One of them really went off on Dennis Day being cheap.

[ed k] aqb the first elmer fudd

[Laura Leff] Mack - Really?

[Steve -shimp-] Ooh, do tell!

[Laura Leff] Dish, dish

[Steve -shimp-] Dennis did have an army of kids to feed.

[Brad from Georgia] I think I read that too, mack--"What Jack pretended to be, Dennis was."

[Laura Leff] I've never heard that from anyone else.

[Brad from Georgia] I've also heard that Bob Hope could be incredibly tight.

[ed k] how many kids did dennis have LL?

[Brad from Georgia] In a financial sense, I mean.

[Laura Leff] Brad - Oh heavens, yes.

[Laura Leff] Ed - 10.

[mackdaddyg] Yes, and I'm kicking myself for not remembering the title. Jack is on the cover. The guy only went off for a sentence or two. Said something about Dennis taking a bunch of writers somewhere to eat, then he waited for someone else to pick up the check.

[Brad from Georgia] Dennis had his own MacNamara's Band.

[Laura Leff] Bob Hope never, ever tipped anyone. Figured it was their privilege to be serving him.

[ed k] my mom had 11 the baby boom era

[Brad from Georgia] I briefly met Hope in the late sixties.

[Steve -shimp-] I've heard that about Hope too somewhere

[Brad from Georgia] Just a handshake and a howdy.

[ed k] where at brad

[Brad from Georgia] University of Georgia. He did a stand-up show there.

[Laura Leff] I was about six feet away from Bob Hope one time...he was leaning over George Burns' shoulder and saying something to him (George was seated).

[Brad from Georgia] Also met Bill Cosby, who was a lot more outgoing and pally with us stage crew.

[Laura Leff] Brad - That's nice to know. He's very aloof as a performer.

[Laura Leff] I went to the grand reopening of the Waukegan Genesee theatre and Bill Cosby was the star.

[Brad from Georgia] Dionne Warwick was on the bill with Bill. She was so drunk she did only three songs before someone led her off.

[ed k] ouch!!!

[Steve -shimp-] Too funny.

[Laura Leff] I would have liked to see Jack work with Bill Cosby. I think they were on a talk show together, IIRC.

[mackdaddyg] Re: Dennis being cheap... the book is called The Laugh Crafters: Comedy Writing in Radio and Tv's Golden Age. It's a great read. Don't have my copy nearby, so I can't recall who said it.

[Laura Leff] The two Jell-O spokesmen.

[Steve -shimp-] Yeah, I've seen that clip of Cosby and Jack

[ed k] oh yes LL

[Laura Leff] Mack - Oh man, I think I've got that book. Just haven't gotten around to reading it.

[Brad from Georgia] "Hey, hey, hey! Looks like the gang is gonna try to borrow some money from Mr. Benny. Stick around. You might learn somethin'!"

[Steve -shimp-]  

[mackdaddyg] It's a great read, some more than others, but well worth seeking out.

[Brad from Georgia] Yes, I've read that!

[Laura Leff] *Those of us who grew up in the 70s laughing at Brad's line*

[Laura Leff] I'm too busy writing books to read them.

[mackdaddyg] Russell to Jack: "Man, you're definitely NC...No Class!!"

[Laura Leff] So other stuff about tonight's show? I think we drifted away from it a bit

[Steve -shimp-] I'm sure that clip of Jack and Cosby is on youtube. They seem to have some background together, not like they just first met on the show

[Brad from Georgia] Back to the show...I laughed out loud at the cannon gag ("The wind was against us") thought I've heard the show many times.

[Brad from Georgia] Though, I mean.

[Laura Leff] Mack - Oh, I recently saw the Benny show with Dick Clark as a guest.

[Laura Leff] Jack is trying to ask Clark how to appeal to teenagers.

[Laura Leff] Jack goes to Clark's office, and he has a very young receptionist.

[Brad from Georgia] I was a big fan of the Hornblower books when I was a teen. The movie frankly dogged it.

[Laura Leff] The receptionist is telling Clark that Jack is there, and Clark is trying to remember who he is. She says, "Well, he's pretty..." and draws a square in the air with her fingers.

[mackdaddyg] Ha!!

[mackdaddyg] L 7.

[Laura Leff] It's a darling episode. Clark brings out this group of kids, and they have no idea who Jack is.

[mackdaddyg] Man, Jack was the original Dangerfield. No respect!

[Laura Leff] They all look at him blankly, then one of them says, "Oh...I think I've heard my parents talk about him."

[Steve -shimp-] And now people say the same thing about Dick Clark

[Laura Leff] Then later an old woman comes in, is happy to meet Jack and says that her parents like Jack.

[mackdaddyg] Some of those age jokes are timeless.

[Brad from Georgia] Oh, something else about tonight's show. I recently read an academic paper (by a pro, not a student) analyzing "postmodern comedy." The cases in point were Spike Milligan and Monty Python.

[Laura Leff] Sorry, I tried to throw it back to tonight's show and then broke the request myself!

[Brad from Georgia] The writer made the point that Milligan and the Pythons were the first sketch comedians NOT to write a finish for a gag.

[Laura Leff] Brad - Funny...I just watched "The Mouse that Roared".

[Brad from Georgia] Milligan and the Pythons would just declare, "This is silly" and stop without a big finish.

[Brad from Georgia] However--here's Jack doing it ten years earlier!

[Laura Leff] Well, Jack beat them to that.

[Brad from Georgia] Jack was postmodern before postmodern was cool!

[Laura Leff] Well, if you take a look at the rehearsal script, there was supposed to be a big sword fight, etc.

[Laura Leff] So I have a strong feeling the show was running long and they just needed to cut it.

[Brad from Georgia] Oh really? Timing problem?

[Laura Leff] But Jack still gets credit for having that as a finish, regardless of the inspiration!

[mackdaddyg] Hate to bow out early, but I've got a few things to take care of. It was nice to meet you all here. Hope to check back in sometime soon. Have a good evening!

[Brad from Georgia] Yep, I agree!

[Steve -shimp-] That's an interesting contrast between Jack and the Pythons - both could *sseem* very anarchic and chaotic but they each worked very tightly scripted.

[Laura Leff] Enjoy, Mack! Thanks for joining us!

[Steve -shimp-] thanks for stopping mack, a pleasure

[Brad from Georgia] Especially Cleese!

User mackdaddyg has logged out.

[ed k] bye mack come back soon

[Brad from Georgia] John Cleese always complained that the others were too casual about NOT thinking all the way through and nailing down a script.

[Steve -shimp-] I've heard him cite Jack as an inspiration a couple of times.

[Laura Leff] Cleese does?

[Steve -shimp-] Yes.

[Laura Leff] Sorry, cleared my screen and lost your line before that.

[Laura Leff] Interesting. I knew he was an inspiration to Benny Hill, but didn't know about Cleese.

[Laura Leff] I wonder if Stephen Fry likes Jack.

[Brad from Georgia] I've heard from someone who worked with the Python reunion TV show in Colorado that Cleese nad Terry Gilliam still were ragging at each other about ad-libbing. Cleese was agin' it.

[ed k] benny hill very funny when shown on PBS in the 80's

[Laura Leff] Well, Fred Allen is Exhibit A on the good and bad points of ad libbing

[Brad from Georgia] I always got a "Red Skelton" sort of vibe from Benny Hill. I thought he was funnier than my wife. Thought he was funny, I mean.

[Laura Leff] When you ad lib, you can't be sure if the gag will work or not, if the timing is right, if you could have done it better

[Steve -shimp-] Boy, I have to say I get a big nothing from Benny Hill.

[ed k] did most of Allen's ad libs cause his show to go long?

[Laura Leff] I'm going to watch more Benny Hill one of these days.

[Laura Leff] Ed - It was generally that.

[Brad from Georgia] I think the ad-lib problem was one reason Jack didn't much like working with Groucho Marx on the radio.

[Laura Leff] Some people are great at ad libs, like Groucho Marx.

[Laura Leff] GMTA

[ed k] could not even get the commercials from kenny delmar for the show was too long

[Laura Leff] Brad - You've probably heard the story of Jack "firing" Groucho as a guest star, right?

[Brad from Georgia] On the other hand, Jack was great at working with on-air flubs, whether his own or others'.

[Brad from Georgia] Think I have, LL, but tell it.

[Laura Leff] But see, the only one who's ad libbing there is Jack--when there's a blooper,.

[Laura Leff] Well, basically the script was delivered to Groucho, and he ranted and complained about it

[Laura Leff] And finally Jack said, "We don't need you" (or words to that effect) and Groucho was cut.

[Laura Leff] When Groucho finally asked about it some time later, Jack told him (approximately) "You don't insult my writers, and you work from the script you're given."

[Laura Leff] Groucho did, and it's an incredibly bland little guest appearance.

[ed k] he does show up with george burns danny kaye and sinatra singing jack's song

[Laura Leff] But even with Groucho, when they filmed You Bet Your Life, it's a much longer show that they edited down.

[Brad from Georgia] Good for Jack. I've read that Groucho was a real kvetcher when it came to writers. He alienated Sid Perlman, who had as good a handle on Groucho's character as any writer.

[Laura Leff] Ed - That's a very good point. And that's a good appearance.

[Laura Leff] I'm thinking of the card game appearance.

[Brad from Georgia] Yes, I listened to that show not all that long ago. Sort of lame California-rain gags.

[Laura Leff] "Who the hell picked this key, Dennis Day?"

[Brad from Georgia] Ah, the Old Groaner...

[Laura Leff] Brad - And Groucho sounds fairly emasculated [sp?].

[ed k] were any of the mourners at JB's funeral from the radio or TV series...LL?

[Laura Leff] Ed - Oh yes, quite a few of them.

[Laura Leff] All the writers were there (except the ones who were dead, of course)

[Laura Leff] Pretty much all the cast...Roch, Don, Dennis, Phil, Mary

[Laura Leff] Frank Nelson, Mel Blanc

[Laura Leff] Fred deCordova

[Laura Leff] Probably lots more

[Laura Leff] Just thinking of people that I knew were there

[ed k] i knew decordava was there

[Laura Leff] Freddy. I still miss him.

[Brad from Georgia] Milt Josefsberg mentions a Groucho adlib during WWII that bothered Jack (in his book The Jack Benny Show). Benny read a news story about the Japanese sinking two U.S. tankers.

[Laura Leff] Freddy did the eulogy for Mary.

[Brad from Georgia] Groucho said, "What kind of ships?" "Tankers." "You're welcome." Benny just gave him a cold look (this was off the air, of course)

[ed k] he had a great laugh offstage on the tonight show

[Laura Leff] You know, Groucho in vaudeville introduced Jack to one of his favorite humor writers: Stephen Leacock.

[Laura Leff] And Leacock has become one of my personal favorite written humor authors.

[Brad from Georgia] Ah, the Canadian Sid Perlman.

[Laura Leff] Good job, Brad. Happy someone knows him!

[Brad from Georgia] I bought a lot of Leacock's books when I was in college and found a used-book store that had lots of humor books.

[Laura Leff] Did you ever read "Nonsense Novels"? It's my favorite and was the book that Groucho loaned to Jack.

[Laura Leff] I rarely laugh out loud at humor that much.

[Brad from Georgia] Yep, I did. That was a really early one, pre-WWI if I remember.

[Laura Leff] This was back when the Marx Bros and Jack were on the same bill of the Orpheum circuit.

[Laura Leff] Brad - Yes. Although the cover illustration on my copy looks like it's Hitler reading to a woman.

[Laura Leff] So what else Benny-wise is on folks' minds tonight?

[Laura Leff] Sorry, lost the previous line in a screen clear. Repeat please?

[Steve -shimp-] It's an interesting question about who influenced Jack, the Marxes et al. Usually we think of THEM as being the influences, but it isn't often discussed where they found inspiration.

[Brad from Georgia] I said Leacock was one of Robert Benchley's favorite writers, too. Benchley was a funny guy.

[Laura Leff] Brad - Ah yes, thanks. Definitely!

[Laura Leff] Jack -> Frank Fay, for one.

[Brad from Georgia] Who was it that Jack credited with originating his walk? Frank Fay?

[Brad from Georgia] GMTA again.

[Laura Leff] Also...darnit...I can never remember this guy's last name...Jack Lescoulie?

[Brad from Georgia] Yes, that's right.

[Laura Leff] Brad - Yup, that's it.

[Laura Leff] Hey, we're BOTH right!  

[Laura Leff] So many of the comedians before Jack were more like Weber and Fields, knockabout slapstick.

[Brad from Georgia] "Bob Hope and I walk EXACTLY the same way. Except he cups his hands. He looks like a headwaiter expecting a tip."

[Laura Leff] Fay was one of the first to start doing the smart-aleck, suave emcee routine.

[Brad from Georgia] Absolutely, Mr. Gallagher?

[Laura Leff] I think Lescoulie was going in that direction as well.

[Laura Leff] Then a bunch of people started picking up on that--Jack, Bob Hope, Georgie Price, Fred Allen (plus juggling...he may be more in the W.C. Fields realm)

[Laura Leff] I've got this mental image now of Jack wearing Don's pants and talking to Bob Hope.

[Laura Leff] Talk about a baggy-pants comedian.

[Brad from Georgia] Ed Wynn?

[Laura Leff] Ed Wynn was the perfect fool...something kind of different.

[Brad from Georgia] He broadcast for Texaco, you know. The perfect fuel.

[Laura Leff] Almost more in the Eddie Cantor vein.

[Laura Leff] But Eddie Cantor was closer to Yiddishkeit.

[Brad from Georgia] Like Al Jolson.

[Laura Leff] Like Fanny Brice

[Brad from Georgia] Funny...Jolson was revered by everyone, but his charm has always eluded me. I think it's because he "sells" too hard.

[Laura Leff] Al Jolson's my favorite singer. He's an atrocious actor unless he's playing himself, or in "The Jazz Singer".

[Laura Leff] Brad - Have you heard the shows with Oscar Levant? I love those.

[Brad from Georgia] Jolson died of a heart attack that came on while he was playing cards with some friends. His last words were "Boys, I'm goin'...and I had a great hand."

[Laura Leff] He died at the Westin Saint Francis here in San Francisco...I looked up at it and thought about that when I was over there a couple weeks ago.

[Brad from Georgia] LL--Can't stand to watch or listen to Oscar Levant. I can't settle down for hours.

[Laura Leff] Brad - Oh! Too bad. I love Levant as well.

[Brad from Georgia] He just makes me very jumpy.

[Laura Leff] Makes you want to trip and fall into a coma?

[Brad from Georgia] Makes me want a drink to steady my nerves.

[Laura Leff] Oh...FWIW...has anyone else here seen the TV show where Levant guest stars?

[Brad from Georgia] And I don't drink.

[Steve -shimp-] I don't think I've seen that one Laura

[Laura Leff] OK, I'll save it for 39FV3. I've finally unravelled a mystery.

[Brad from Georgia] Oh, Laura--tell us about the new shows that will be available on the site.

[Laura Leff] Oh yes...well, they're all transfers from Jack's 16mm copies...this I think you know.

[Laura Leff] And they're from 1954-1956.

[Brad from Georgia] Yes, that I knew.

[Laura Leff] I've just started watching them myself.

[Laura Leff] There's one I saw elsewhere, which is the TV version of "How Jack Found Rochester"

[Laura Leff] It's not the radio script, which used Amos n Andy

[Brad from Georgia] Good era. Wouldn't happen to include the "Uranium Prospecting" show with Mary, would they? I haven't seen that for thirty years or more, but I remember it fondly.

[Laura Leff] But it's a take off on the original show, where Jack is talking with him as a train porter.

[Laura Leff] Brad - I think we've already got that one in the library.

[Steve -shimp-] I have a copy of that uranium one somewhere Brad. Good episode

[Laura Leff] We've got the San Diego Naval Base show...I'm sending a copy of that to Leigh Snowden's daughter, who's wanted it for years.

[Steve -shimp-] Mel is on a billboard advertising Mexico.

[Brad from Georgia] I'll have to scrape together some dough and order some eps. I've worked on collecting the movies to this point.

[Laura Leff] Got the Sarah Churchill guest show...

[Brad from Georgia] You know, I always thought that by the time I was sixty I'd have more disposable income.....

[Laura Leff] The Frances Bergen and William Holden show

[Brad from Georgia] Oh, I remember that one too!

[Laura Leff] Which was later redone with John Wayne and Jaye P. Morgan

[Laura Leff] Dore Schary guest

[Laura Leff] Just scanning the labels for stuff that's immediately recognizable.

[Laura Leff] And there's a mystery version of Goldie, Fields and Glide that's not the original broadcast, but looks like a rework at a later date. I've got to figure it out.

[Laura Leff] They've got it misdated as 3/21/54.

[Laura Leff] But it's not.

[Brad from Georgia] I wonder if Jack ever watched his old shows. Maybe he lent them to Jim Jordan, and Jordan gave him old "Fibber McGee" records.

[Laura Leff] Hey, there you go.

[Steve -shimp-]  

[Laura Leff] I know there's a picture in Look of Jack listening to one of his transcription discs and looking kind of blissful

[Brad from Georgia] I actually recall the very short-lived "Fibber McGee and Molly" TV show. The closet gag worked much better on the radio.

[Laura Leff] As did the vault

[Steve -shimp-] Didn't they recast Fibber and Molly for TV?

[Laura Leff] I finally saw the Gisele vault show. Yes, it did work better in radio.

[Laura Leff] They recast Amos n Andy...

[Brad from Georgia] Yep. Bob Sweeney and Kathy Lewis, I think.

[Steve -shimp-] I think I've only seen the clip of Gisele in the vault with a VERY wobbly set.

[Laura Leff] Is that because of Marion Jordan's nerves?

[Brad from Georgia] Age, I think.

[Laura Leff] Steve - yeah, that's it. Looks kind of like Doctor Who.

[Brad from Georgia] Though Hal Peary did appear on the show--not as Gildersleeve, but as Mayor LaTrivia, IIRC.

[ed k] the vault was shown on the TV show but in later shows they would use the radio show sound effects

[Steve -shimp-] I like the vault in "The Mouse that Jack Built". That's my mental image.

[Laura Leff] I think the "Here's Lucy" vault is the best.

[Laura Leff] Steve - Yeah, animation's good that way.  

[ed k] yes brad they were tv 's fibber and molly

[Brad from Georgia] The FM and M TV show was probably very late fifties, very early sixties. I had heard only one or two radio eps.

[ed k] 1959

[Laura Leff] I'm surprised someone wanted to do it that late.

[Brad from Georgia] Yep, I knew I was just a shaver.

[Laura Leff] Brad - So you were at least twelve.

[Laura Leff] Not sure when you started shaving.

[Laura Leff] So any requests for next month's show?

[Brad from Georgia] I was twelve in Oct. 1959. I started shaving when I was five, but just my eyebrows.

[ed k] they once showed in on WGN mostly after a cubs game when they had 25 minutes or show to kill

[Brad from Georgia] Let's see, April...How about a tax show?

[ed k] april 11th four days to go?

[Laura Leff] OK, but not the one that's always played with the men coming to ask about Jack's entertainment deduction.

[Steve -shimp-] Back in the radio days, tax day was in March.

[Brad from Georgia] "But those trips to the bank were FUN."

[Laura Leff] Unless you really want it. Just seems like that's been in circulation so much that everyone's heard it a thousand times.

[Laura Leff] OK, let me see what I can do for tax season.

[ed k] great LL

[Steve -shimp-] Anything's good with me.

[Brad from Georgia] No, that's OK. Steve--Ellery Queen had a short story called "The Ides of Michael McGurk" about tax day. Really dated now.

[Laura Leff] OK, well thanks for stopping, and enjoy the Oscars!

[Brad from Georgia] Depends on March 15 being tax day.

[Laura Leff] Yes, I have to answer the question once in a while about tax day being in March.

[Brad from Georgia] Goodnight, all!

[Steve -shimp-] Funny how time slips away!

[Steve -shimp-] See you all next month.