IJBFC Chat - July 11, 2010

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

[Hawaii_Steve] I listened to the military show with Benny & Crosby. Very amusing.

[Laura Leff] Hi folks!

[Brad from Georgia] This month it's a "Command Performance" show from 1943, Jack hosting with guest stars Bing Crosby and Harpo Marx!

[Hawaii_Steve] Aloha from Hawaii.

[Brad from Georgia] Hi, Laura! Steve's new.

[Laura Leff] Gee, small crowd tonight!

[Brad from Georgia] Yes, but what a select one.

[Laura Leff] Yes, welcome Steve! Glad you could make it.

[Laura Leff] Only the best of the best...  

[Brad from Georgia] Think the World Cup has anything to do with the small crowd?

[Laura Leff] Brad - Kind of doubt it, since most of our folks are US.

[Hawaii_Steve] Hi Laura. It's Steve from Hawaii. The guy who's looking for the Benny Show with Jack Webb. Remember me?

[Laura Leff] And the game's over.

[Laura Leff] Steve - Absolutely...I know exactly who you are!

[Laura Leff] I apologize that we don't have more people here yet.

[Laura Leff] But Brad can sub for four or five people...

[Hawaii_Steve] I work for ESPN radio. This morning, I broadcast the World Cup to all of Hawaii. Spain won.

[Brad from Georgia] BTW, the Radio Spirits calendar page for July has a photo of a very skinny, young Jack Webb at the mike as "Jeff Regan, Investigator."

[Laura Leff] And stranger still, since I sent out a broadcast announcement mentioning this chat.

[Brad from Georgia] I thought the Facebook announcement would bring in a few folks too!

[Laura Leff] You'd think!

[Brad from Georgia] Steve, my son works for howstuffworks.com. He's a "broadcaster" of sorts--podcasts, anyway.

[Laura Leff] Well, let's talk about the Command Performance show and see if we get anyone else...if not, we'll call it good for the month.

[Hawaii_Steve] Very good. The business has changed a deal during the past few decades.

[Laura Leff] Steve - Yes, I used to work in radio in the 80s

[Laura Leff] But nothing on the scale that you do...just local stations.

[Brad from Georgia] Funny little show--Jack characteristically soldiers through when Bing ad-libs. And that Harpo! What a mike presence....

[Hawaii_Steve] I just listened to the Command Performance. Very funny. Especially Harpo and Gary Cooper.

[Brad from Georgia] Yup.

[Laura Leff] I'd heard the Harpo appearance clipped out in Marx Brothers sets, but this was my first time for hearing the whole thing in context.

[Hawaii_Steve] Crosby was a sharp cookie, in his day.

[Laura Leff] A lot of entertainment packed into a half hour

[Brad from Georgia] I remember Gloria Gibbs from the fifties. I think in '42 she had just adopted her stage name. She was born, IIRC, Francine Lipschitz.

[Hawaii_Steve] CP was an enjoyable show. What is the date of the show?

[Laura Leff] I think there were four songs, plus a bunch of comedy. As opposed to one song on Jack's show

[Laura Leff] Georgia Gibbs

[Brad from Georgia] It was summor of '42.

[Laura Leff] Her nibs

[Brad from Georgia] Georgia, right. "Her nibs, Gloria Gibbs." I think Jimmy Durante gave her the nickname, no?

[Laura Leff] 5/3/42

[Hawaii_Steve] Where was CP broadcast from?

[Brad from Georgia] Georgia Gibbs, doggone it!

[Laura Leff] Brad - That's right

[Brad from Georgia] I come from Georgia, you'd think I'd remember.

[Laura Leff] Steve - They were likely done from Armed Forces Radio Service studios

[Brad from Georgia] I missed some of Crosby's asides, because Jack read over them, but the audience seemed to like them.

[Laura Leff] But I'm just realizing that I don't know a lot about that. I should ask the person who used to be one of the editors for them!

[Hawaii_Steve] Where was the studio located?

[Laura Leff] The term "a chain" must have meant something, since Jack gets such a laugh with "she came over to fix a chain"

[Laura Leff] Steve - Not sure. Just realizing I don't know a lot about that. But with the talent they had, it had to have been Los Angeles.

[Brad from Georgia] LL--that woud be to repair a toilet. Remember the toilet from "The Godfather?" It flushed with a pull chain.

[Hawaii_Steve] LL, that's what I was thinking?

[Brad from Georgia] In '42 that was kinda naughty humor. Sort of like Titus Moody referring to a "two-holer" outhouse....

[Laura Leff] Brad - Oh yes, I knew what it meant. I guess I didn't think about a toilet getting a laugh!

[Hawaii_Steve] I'm listening to the Benny Show now. I'm at the Frank Nelson intro. Very funny.

[Laura Leff] Well, I set it in my mind to see if we got more folks by 5;15...it's 5:15.

[Brad from Georgia] Steve--I really liked that show--it was the last of the season that year, and it showed Jack's wonderful generosity in letting others get the laughs.

[Laura Leff] Would you like to stay, or consider this "found time" and save it for next month?

[Brad from Georgia] Well, have you found Steve's "Jack Webb/Benny" show?

[Laura Leff] Brad - Oh, I've seen it.

[Laura Leff] It's just not somewhere that I can get it out of the archive yet.

[Brad from Georgia] I'd be happy to chat for a few, if you two are game.

[Brad from Georgia] LL--TV show, I guess?

[Laura Leff] Brad - Yes, they do a Dragnet-Charlie Chan combination.

[Hawaii_Steve] Sure. Let's go.

[Brad from Georgia] Oh, sure, I remember that coming up before!

[Brad from Georgia] That's the one delayed because of the copyright question over the Chan character, right?

[Laura Leff] Oh and Steve...you may be interested to know that I discovered a series of letters in my files with arguments back and forth about the widow of Earl Derr Biggers complaining.

[Laura Leff] Brad - They didn't delay it, but she complained afterwards.

[Brad from Georgia] Got it.

[Laura Leff] Gaslight rebroadcast outside the immediate New York-wired areas was delayed.

[Hawaii_Steve] The NYT reported that Biggers' widow sued Benny, Webb, and CBS. They used the Chan character without her permission.

[Laura Leff] Steve - She wanted payment, really. They settled out of court, but unfortunately, my letters don't go that far.

[Brad from Georgia] Are either of you familiar with the old "Secret Squadron" TV show? Used to be sponsored by Ovaltine, you sent in labels and got a decoder to decipher secret messages on the show (gimmick first used on "Little Orphan Annie" on radio).

[Laura Leff] I was struck that they had the audacity to say that there was no merit to her claim, and that the name alignment was just sort of coincidence. No way.

[Hawaii_Steve] LL, I would love to read the letters. Can you scan them and email them to me? Or ...

[Laura Leff] Brad - I'm familiar with the gimmick

[Hawaii_Steve] Not familiar with SS. Please explain.

[Laura Leff] Steve - Actually, I'm going to use them in Volume 3 of "39 Forever". So I'll have them available probably early next year.

[Brad from Georgia] In syndication, the show was changed to "Jett Jackson," and everytime Captain Midnight's name was mentioned, it was dubbed over with "Jett Jackson." They could've done the same with Chan--called him Mr. Moto!

[Hawaii_Steve] LL, very good.

[Hawaii_Steve] Brad, that's funny.

[Laura Leff] Brad - That sounds as clunky as the animation where the real human mouths were superimposed on still drawings.

[Brad from Georgia] Steve--a fifties TV show. Captain Midnight was a former USAF jet fighter pilot who went independent with his own plane and became a soldier of fortune.

[Brad from Georgia] LL--It was!

[Hawaii_Steve] Question. Have you guys every tried playing a show during the chat room discussion?

[Brad from Georgia] I don't remember that, but I don't always make it to the chats.

[Laura Leff] Steve - I haven't. I would end up either focusing on the chat or the show--not both.

[Laura Leff] I know some people listen while being on the chat.

[Brad from Georgia] LL--I guess the dance in Army boots was one of the "You asked for it" gimmicks. Servicemen would write in to the show with requests--"Let us hear the sound of a steak cooking," and so on.

[Hawaii_Steve] This is only my second chat room. So excuse me if I talk out of turn.

[Laura Leff] Brad - Ah, I remember the video of the steak cooking.

[Brad from Georgia] Steve--that's impossible. It's all stream of consciousness! You're doing great.

[Laura Leff] Steve - Oh, no way to talk out of turn. Everyone just blurts out.  

[Hawaii_Steve] At the Chan Chat Room, we start at the same time we started today.

[Brad from Georgia] And if I think of a pun--

[Laura Leff] Then look out

[Brad from Georgia] "Inspector Lookout, of the Yard." "Lookout of the Yard!"

[Hawaii_Steve] For the first 1/2 hour, it's social time. Then at the 30 minute mark, we play a movie.

[Laura Leff] Ah, I don't have the controlled technology to make everyone listen at the same time. Oh well. We make people own it ahead of time.

[Hawaii_Steve] It's a bit difficult watching a Chan mystery and keeping up with the chat discussion. Radio should be easier to do.

[Brad from Georgia] A little odd that the late great Eddie Carroll, who performed as Jack Benny for years, also helped to originate the cartoon series "The Amazing Chan Clan." Wrote it too, with his partner Jamie Farr.

[Laura Leff] Brad - Yes, good point!

User yhtapmys has entered this room.

[Hawaii_Steve] Brad, I didn't know that. That's wonderful.

[Brad from Georgia] Once when I was chatting with Eddie on the phone, I idly flipped through the channels on TV. Boomerang was showing an episode of the cartoon, and I asked Eddie if he still got residuals. He laughed and said, "I wish!"

[Laura Leff] Well, at the risk of sounding like I'm trying to get out of the chat...I've been struggling to try and watch TV shows for Volume 3. So if it's possible to reallocate my time back to working on that, I wouldn't be unhappy.

[Brad from Georgia] Hiya, yht! Steve is new in the room.

[Laura Leff] Hi Yht!

[Brad from Georgia] Aw, let yth at least say hello!

[yhtapmys] Hi, Brad. Just got back from the ball game.

[Brad from Georgia] Who took you out to that?

[yhtapmys] Hello Hawaii_Steve

[Laura Leff] Yht - Who was playing?

[Hawaii_Steve] Hi yhtapmys.

[Brad from Georgia] Never mind who was playing. How were the peanuts and Cracker Jack?

[yhtapmys] Vancouver and Yakima

[yhtapmys] Geez, is the connection slow.

[Brad from Georgia] Oh. Soggy peanuts.

[yhtapmys] No peanuts. Two foot-longs.

[yhtapmys] Or is that feet-long?

[Brad from Georgia] Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. Yakima has a TEAM?

[Laura Leff] I was waiting for someone to say it

[yhtapmys] They have had for years, Brad.

[Brad from Georgia] And they are the Yakima--what?

[yhtapmys] Bears.

[yhtapmys] Have been since, the 40s I think.

[Laura Leff] Funny...not a lot of baseball in Hawaii

[Brad from Georgia] Now, see, I would have gone for the Yakima Yaks. And you'd have a great theme song, if Benny Hill doesn't have the music tied up.

[Laura Leff] Wonder why

[yhtapmys] There used to be, Laura.

[Hawaii_Steve] On the new DVD set of Saturday morning cartoon, there is an interview with Jamie Farr and his writing partner.

[Laura Leff] Brad - Ha ha ha

[yhtapmys] They moved from Rainbow Stadium to the big park and that killed them.

[Hawaii_Steve] Would that be Eddie?

[Laura Leff] Yht - What, did a volcano hit it?

[yhtapmys] Moved to Las Vegas, I think.

[Brad from Georgia] And Vancouver has a team, too, huh? Aren't they like, you know, a foreign country?

[Laura Leff] Vancouver, WA?

[Brad from Georgia] Steve--Yes, that would be Eddie.

[yhtapmys] No. The stadium was too big for the crowd they got.

[Brad from Georgia] Oh, I thought Vancouver was in Lichtenstein for some reason.

[Laura Leff] Steve - Or it should be Eddie...I'm not aware he had another, but it's possible.

[Laura Leff] Wah

[Brad from Georgia] Eddie said some of the hardest work they ever did was writing a new rock song every week for Charlie Chan's children to perform!

[Laura Leff] Vancouver, Wah

[Brad from Georgia] And the Vancouver team is the Vancouver--what?

[Hawaii_Steve] I just finished listening to the Benny program. That's the first one I heard where Jack introduces the entire cast and writers. Very nice of him.

[yhtapmys] Canadians. Have been since '78.

[Laura Leff] Steve - Yes, isn't that a pip? Not often you get to hear some of those folks speak.

[Laura Leff] Yht - Well, that's creative as all get out.

[Brad from Georgia] Steve--That's what I really like about that particular show. It's very reminscent of some of the early radio shows when Jack was more of the MC/houst and less of a character.

[Brad from Georgia] Though that said--I love Jack's character in the great shows from the forties and early fifties.

[Laura Leff] Brad - You'd enjoy a similar television show that's around Christmas, and Jack is giving out gifts to all the cast and crew. It's Mel's first appearance back after his car accident, and he's in a wheelchair.

[yhtapmys] Laura, the team was named for the beer because of a naming deal with Molson's.

[Hawaii_Steve] On that episode of the JB Show, I have met three people. When I lived in L.A., I worked in the entertainment industry. I met Milt Josephberg, George Balzor (sp?), and Frank Nelson.

[Laura Leff] Yht - Oh, OK. I thought they were just being obvious.

[Brad from Georgia] LL--I'd love to see that. When I get some money again, I'm ordering "Laughter in Bloom" and a bunch of the new shows.

[Laura Leff] Balzer

[yhtapmys] Laura, it meant free beer for the media after the game.  

[Laura Leff] Brad - I wish I had a copy of that show. I saw it at UCLA.

[Hawaii_Steve] LL, thanks. I going from memory.

[Laura Leff] Yht - I can well imagine!

[Laura Leff] Steve - No problem.

[Laura Leff] Josefsberg, BTW...

[Brad from Georgia] yth--My dad was a big minor-league baseball fan and used to take me to Atlanta Crackers games. I used to have a baseball autographed by Bob Montag, but I don't know what's become of it.

[Laura Leff] Montag spelled backwards is Gatnom.

[Brad from Georgia] Of course, this was the minor leagues. It took Bob two strikes before he connected with the ball to sign it.

[yhtapmys] Geez, Brad, they had some good teams in there.

[Laura Leff] Brad - That's OK. The Red Sox are kind of like that too. We do our best work with two outs.

[Brad from Georgia] When I was in elementary school, I had the notion that Bob Montag owned the Montag Glue Company.

[Laura Leff] At the risk of being a killjoy...it's 5:34.

[yhtapmys] Ponce de Leon Park, wasn't it?

[yhtapmys] Richmond was Rickwood.

[Hawaii_Steve] LL, how did you come to select JB as a subject to honor?

[Brad from Georgia] My dad actually pitched against the Crackers in an exhibition game. Didn't do too well, as I recall. Yth--yes. It's a shopping center to day. World Foods is there.

[Hawaii_Steve] I love Benny too. I have many books, radio shows, and TV episodes of his.

[Laura Leff] Steve - The full version of the story is in our FAQ, but in short, I enjoyed the Warner Brothers' cartoon "The Mouse that Jack Built" when I was a child. Then it went from there.

[yhtapmys] The park here was put up in '51; the old one is now an on-ramp to a bridge.

[Brad from Georgia] And I used to watch the TV shows when I was a kid.

[Hawaii_Steve] Oh, what a wonderful cartoon. Yes, I kow that one.

[Brad from Georgia] I always liked "Malibu Beach Party," too, though not until I was an adult did I recognize more than three or four of the stars.

[yhtapmys] I really don't like Lescoulie's Benny.

[Hawaii_Steve] Benny's radio shows are classics. They are the perfect example of sitcom writing. The characters, the pacing, the music, etc. Just perfect.

[Laura Leff] I like Ned Sparks and Fanny Brice in "Malibu Beach Party"...always makes me laugh.

[Laura Leff] Yht - I'm not crazy about it either.

[Brad from Georgia] I think Lescoulie is passable as Benny--"Isn't this piece be-yoo-tiful, Winchester?"

[Laura Leff] He's too nasal. He's doing Jack in 1933.

[Hawaii_Steve] When I was in college, CBS radio a mini-Benny summer series. Remember?

[Brad from Georgia] "I don't WANT to be buried in sand...."

[Laura Leff] Brad - Making me laugh just quoting it.

[Hawaii_Steve] This was in the mid 1970s. Four or six classic B&W episodes. I recorded them on reel-to-reel videotape.

[Brad from Georgia] "Aw, shaddup, you old crab!"

[Laura Leff] Steve - The TV reruns?

[Laura Leff] Brad - Yeah, quick interjection from Mel, IIRC...

[Hawaii_Steve] This was on network TV. Not the reruns from WOR in New York. CBS played them as a summer replacement series around 1976.

[Brad from Georgia] I still get misty when I listen to the Benny tribute done just a few days after Jack's death on TV. It closes with Jack and Gisele MacKenzie's violin duet.

[Laura Leff] Steve - Yes, I think that was in July-August 1977. I watched one of them recently. Do you remember if they ran the commercials in B&W as well?

[Laura Leff] The copy I saw was all in B&W, including the commercials, which I remember from my younger years. Stuff like Gleem Toothpaste, etc.

[Hawaii_Steve] No B&W commercials. CBS broadcast it as a normal series, including contemporty commericals. The comm's were in color.

[yhtapmys] Laura, four shows ran, starting August 9, 1977.

[yhtapmys] Originally broadcast 1961-64.

[Hawaii_Steve] The thing I remember of the 1977 series is the end of the credits. Seeing the CBS eye open and close. I had never seen that before.

[Laura Leff] Steve - OK, that's what I thought. Figured that it was just the copy I saw, not that the shows were aired that way.

[Brad from Georgia] LL--How long did radio rebroadcast old Benny radio shows as "Best of Benny" after the radio show's run ended? I have a Radio Spirits CD set that seems to be mostly "Best of Benny."

[Laura Leff] Yht - Thanks. I knew it was in August, but couldn't remember when it started.

[yhtapmys] Thank Google. I just went through some old newspapers.

[Laura Leff] Brad - For two years, I believe. Take a look in Volume 2 and I list what shows were rebroadcast when.

[Brad from Georgia] Will do, boss.

[Hawaii_Steve] Yhtapmys, isn't google news wonderful? Thanks.

[yhtapmys] It's not complete, Steve, but it helps on occasion.

[Laura Leff] Thoughts on a show for next month? Apparently Command Performance doesn't bring them in.

[Laura Leff] Although Jack is playing in Afghanistan right now.

[yhtapmys] If I had time, I'd try to transcribe a few more for the Forum.

[Hawaii_Steve] CP was wonderful. Very funny with the mix of personalities.

[Brad from Georgia] August, August....hmmm. Nothing exactly springs to mind, sorry.

[Laura Leff] I'll come up with something non-series.

[Brad from Georgia] Maybe a desert show?

[Laura Leff] Like Jell-O?

[Brad from Georgia] Yes, a desert dessert show.

[Laura Leff] Have some sand-flavored Jell-O

[yhtapmys] Strawberry, Cherry, Orange, Lemon and Sahara.

[Laura Leff] But I don't WANT to be buried in sand

[Hawaii_Steve] Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the Best of Benny continue on CBS radio until 1959 or 1960? The first run episodes ened during the summer of 1955. Am I right, LL?

[Brad from Georgia] "What hotel are you stopping at, Jack?"

[Laura Leff] Steve - They started up after the May 1955 sign off of the regular series...let me grab Volume 2 and have a look

[Brad from Georgia] Laura--how about the infamous "grass reek" episode, or have we talked about that already?

[yhtapmys] Heh. "Best of Benny" played on radio in Glasgow in 1958. I guess the Scots liked someone cheaper than they are.

[Brad from Georgia] "Och, laddie, ye gave a grrrrrand show. 'Twas all we could do not to laugh out loud."

[Laura Leff] I stand corrected...I didn't include "Best of Benny" in Volume 2. But it ran from 10/28/56 to 6/1/58

[yhtapmys] Yikes. Benny did a tour of Japan in 1960 with Arthur Godfrey. That must have been something.

[Laura Leff] I wonder if anyone got fired in the course of that

[Hawaii_Steve] On the Chan Chat Room, we see when somebody is typing, but not on this site. Correct?

[yhtapmys] "You've just hear Jack's swan song...."

[Brad from Georgia] I can see them now...doing "Dueling Banjos" with uke and violin.

[Laura Leff] Brad - I'm open to it, but I like to keep the regular series shows for fall-late sprint

[Laura Leff] spring

[Laura Leff] Steve - correct

[yhtapmys] Sprint?! Just ONE rehearsal!

[Brad from Georgia] Very good, LL. I don't know the non-series stuff all that well, so it will probably be new to me. Just not that horrible SF show. SO badly written.

[Laura Leff] Sorry...was running too fast

[Laura Leff] Brad - Jack on Doctor Who?

[Brad from Georgia] Jack's on first?

[Hawaii_Steve] For years, I have been doing research on entertainment in Honolulu.

[Laura Leff] Jack as a space alien?

[Brad from Georgia] Steve--tough, tough job, but someone has to do it.

[Brad from Georgia] LL--Yes, a Martian.

[Laura Leff] Brad - You don't like that show?

[Hawaii_Steve] I stumbled across an article about Jack playing a concert in Honolulu in the early 1960s.

[Brad from Georgia] LL--I think it's very poorly written, is all. The jokes are labored, and though Jack does his best, he's given little to do and the show leaves him flat at the end.

[Laura Leff] 3/20/60 McKinley Auditorium

[Brad from Georgia] Wow, LL!

[Hawaii_Steve] The poster for the concert is classic JB illustration (folded arms and staring). Very cool.

[Laura Leff] Steve - Would love to see that poster!

[Laura Leff] With the Honolulu Symphony, George Barati conductor

[yhtapmys] Ha. Just looked at the hilight listings for Jack on "Soldiers in Greasepaint."

[Brad from Georgia] Steve--I used to teach with a musician who was in an orchestra for which Jack did a benefit show in--dang it, never can remember--Baltimore? Boston? He always gushed over what a nice guy Jack was, how approachable.

[Hawaii_Steve] LL, we'll have to do some trading.  

[yhtapmys] "..plus Noel Coward entertaining the boys." I'll bet he did.

[Brad from Georgia] Mad dogs and Englishmen go out for a little fun..."

[yhtapmys] Brad, it was probably St. Joe.

[Laura Leff] Steve - I'm game!  

[Laura Leff] Brad - I recently saw the Sportsmen singing that

[Laura Leff] Well, folks...let's call it good for July.

[Laura Leff] We got in a good hour, even with a small crowd!

[Brad from Georgia] Okay. Come back again, Steve. It's usually busier than this! Summer break, I guess.

[Laura Leff] Thanks for sharing part of your mid summer with us!

[Laura Leff] Yes, Steve...would like to have you next time around!

[yhtapmys] Beautiful weather up here today. In the 80s.

[Brad from Georgia] "It's so nice to have this time together." I tug my ear and I go.....Buh-bye!

[Laura Leff] Bet it's beautiful where Steve is too!

User Brad from Georgia has logged out.

[Laura Leff] Take care folks!

[yhtapmys] It doesn't change a lot there over the summer, I imagine.