IJBFC Chat - May 1, 2011

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

[Laura Leff] Hi folks!

[Brad from Georgia] Hi, Laura!

[KayLhota] hi Laura!

[Maria] Hi Laura

User Judy R has entered this room.

[Brian Baker] Ditto

[Brad from Georgia] Hi, Judy!

[KayLhota] Hi Judy

[Judy R] Jello again!

[Laura Leff] Hi Judy

[Brian Baker] Me too

[Laura Leff] Good crowd tonight...

[Frank Lhota] Hi Laura Hi Judy

[Laura Leff] How's everyone doing?

[Judy R] hiya eveybody!

[Judy R] just got off work

[Brad from Georgia] Well, we survived the tornadoes!

[KayLhota] I'm glad to hear that, Brad.

[Laura Leff] Brad - Yeah, any damage sustained?

[Judy R] I have family in Alabama. No word from them.

[Brad from Georgia] Not around here. My wife's home county got hit hard--fifty houses destroyed, a couple of deaths.

[Brian Baker] I'm on the brink of a very swollen Ohio River

[Laura Leff] Wow

[KayLhota] oh my! I hope your family is okay

[Brad from Georgia] Yes, everyone's checked in. Both our children live in the Atlanta area, and the storms went right around Atlanta.

[Laura Leff] So let's see...we've got Georgia, Massachusetts, Ohio, and California on line...

[Maria] Colorado.

[Brian Baker] Indiana

[Laura Leff] Brian - Oh sorry...Ohio *River* and I assumed the state

[KayLhota] Yes, Frank and I live just outside of Boston and the weather has been cool and quiet for a long time.

[Judy R] I've seen may here in Oklahoma. One of my Uncle's survived the May 3, 1999 mess

[Laura Leff] What other parts of the globe are covered tonight?

[Judy R] hmm? any good weather forcasts?

[Brad from Georgia] We're in the high seventies during the day, about sixty at night.

[Brian Baker] That's about perfect

[Laura Leff] So it sounds like you all know about our honored guest for this evening.

[Judy R]  

[KayLhota] Very honored to have Maria with us!

[Judy R] *applauds*

[Laura Leff] Yes, with the show for discussion tonight, it's fun to have the third generation with us!

[Brad from Georgia] Yes, and I just told everyone I interviewed Joan for the book last week. Don't tell Joan, but I plugged my recorder in wrong and didnt' record her! But I took notes.

[Maria] Except that I haven't seen the show!

[KayLhota] Yes, very much so!

[Maria] I won't tell.

[Judy R] oops!

[Brad from Georgia] Darn earphone plug and mike plug are the same size....

[Judy R] I do have a copy of "Sunday Nights at 7" It's wonderful

[Laura Leff] So any comments on the show for this evening, or questions for Maria directly? Happy to go either direction.

[Brad from Georgia] Joan got lots of laughs in tonight's show. In fact, she far outshone some of the regulars.

[Brian Baker] Brad, you self-publishing, or going with Bear Manor Media?

[Brad from Georgia] Bear Manor. Contract's all signed!

[KayLhota] Oh, I can share that several years ago I got to be a reading partner with a book for the blind audio of "Sunday Night's at Seven"

[Brad from Georgia] That must have been an interesting experience, Kay.

[Brian Baker] Good move, Brad!

[KayLhota] Very enjoyable, Brad.

[Laura Leff] Hello cj...if you're having any issues talking on the chat, just double-click on my name in the right-hand list of names.

[KayLhota] Strictly volunteer reading for a little radio station in Marshfield, MA

[Laura Leff] And the audio is part of the IJBFC audio library now.

[Brad from Georgia] I recently read a book for my blind brother-in-law (it isn't scheduled to be on Books for the Blind, and he loves the series). Unfortunately, I didn't care for the book myself....

[Laura Leff] Maria - Do you feel like your mother ever seriously aspired to being an actress?

[KayLhota] Thank you for including it, Laura.

[Maria] No.

[Maria] She has never mentioned it in any context so I don't think it ever appealed to her.

[Laura Leff] There are a lot of stories about some performers (I'm thinking of Groucho Marx specifically) pushing their children into performing

[Brad from Georgia] Groucho really wanted Melinda to be in show business.

[Laura Leff] but that doesn't seem like something your grandparents would have done.

[Maria] Definitely not in our family.

[KayLhota] Groucho pushed Melinda, not Arthur or Mirium Marx

[Brad from Georgia] BTW, we lost Arthur Marx not very long ago.

[Judy R] oh?

[Brian Baker]  

[Laura Leff] Yes, that's true.

[Brad from Georgia] Yes, he died on April 14.

[KayLhota] About a week ago. He was 89 years old

[Judy R] is he at find a grave?

[Brad from Georgia] Don't know, Judy.

[Laura Leff] Maria - I don't get the sense that you or any of your siblings ever tended toward the performing arts either.

[KayLhota] I never thought to look Judy.

[Maria] I got the closest -- have a cinematography degree from the AFI. No one else had any interest and, unfortunately, none of us had any talent.

[Judy R] i'll give a look later.

[Brad from Georgia] Gee, Maria, that's never stopped a whole host of stars!

[Maria] Brad, good point!

[Laura Leff] Have you ever used that degree, even as a hobby?

[Maria] I worked in the industry or around 5 years after getting the degree and then bagged it. Too much work.

[Judy R] you could help with restorations of old shows.

[Frank Lhota] ... and the only talent that stars like Paris Hilton have cannot be shown on TV.

[cj] Maria does your mom ever come here to chat?

[Maria] I have started writing though so that's my latest endeavor.

[Maria] I don't think Mom has ever joined a chat.

[Laura Leff] Nope, Joan has not joined here.

[Brad from Georgia] A friend of mine was supposed to join us tonight. I think he forgot.

[Laura Leff] What are you writing? Can you share?

[Maria] Right now, I'm writing about what being Jewish means to me and was starting to write a bit about Hillcrest. That's kind of what got me thinking about joining the chat tonight -- kind of nostalgic for that period of my life.

[KayLhota] Oh, the history of Hillcrest would be wonderful!

[Maria] I have started a piece about what it's like to be related to a very famous person, but it keeps shifting.

[Judy R] yes

[Brad from Georgia] Hillcrest is a great subject.

[Maria] It's not so much about the history of Hillcrest as what part that played in my childhood.

[KayLhota] Maria, that kind of story is right up my alley! I would love to read it and learn your perspective!

[cj] How old are you Maria? If you don't mind me asking?

[Brad from Georgia] I'd buy it in a minute.

[Laura Leff] Your grandfather took you there I assum?

[Laura Leff] assume?

[Judy R] me too

[Frank Lhota] Keep in mind that the standard answer to "How old are you?" is 39.

[Laura Leff] Does Hillcrest still exist? I was in LA some time back and turned on Hillcrest figuring I'd find the golf club, but then never did.

[Maria] I'm 53. And yes, Hillcrest is still there. Played tennis there the summer before last.

[Maria] Both sets of grandparents were members and I went there far more often with my paternal grandparents. I remember playing tennis there one day and looking down through the fence and seeing Granddad walking by with his golf clubs.

[Laura Leff] Good for you! Too bad Irving Fein isn't still up for playing tennis there...

[Maria] Granddad Benny.

[Brad from Georgia] LL--you can find it at 10000 W. Pico Boulevard.

[Maria] I was afraid to ask if Irving is still alive. Sounds like he is.

[KayLhota] Oh my! Maria, I had guessed that we might be around the same age, but I will be 54 in July. I'm still 53!

[Judy R] he is?

[Maria] Grad, it's not the sort of place you can just walk into.

[Laura Leff] Yes he is. He's going to be 100 this year!

[Brad from Georgia] Even if you're a grad?

[Maria] Wow!

[Maria] Meant Brad, sorry.

[Judy R] man!  

[Brad from Georgia] 'Sokay.

[Laura Leff] Brad - Ah, I was in the wrong direction!

[Judy R] we've lost so many radio greats and their staff over that past few years.

[Laura Leff] Not surprising, considering the relative era.

[Brian Baker] They lived FULL lives!

[Laura Leff] Norman Corwin seems to still be going strong, though.

[Maria] Btw, if I ever DO write about being related to a famous person, I will be sure to mention y'all and how weird it is to have people know so much about me and my family.

[Laura Leff] Maria - is the Hillcrest more of an article or a book?

[Judy R] i'm glad my dad introduced me to old time radio. he brought home many recordings from armed forces radio when he was in the navy.

[Laura Leff] Maria - I can understand that. I do try to be respectful, since I know it would be strange having a complete stranger doing such deep research on one of my grandparents.

[Judy R] or is that ON the Navy? Hmm...

[KayLhota] I hope our knowing doesn't make you uncomfortable, Maria. I hope you understand the love and appreciation that goes with the knowing!

[Laura Leff] V-Discs!

[Maria] LL -- not either. I've talked about it a bit in a piece I wrote about playing tennis since that's where I learned to play and spent countless days there playing.

[Maria] Now, it's just referenced as a place where Jews could go when other clubs wouldn't take them.

[cj] I just listened to The Easter Parade Episode last night. I must have heard it twenty times. That one and Snow White and the Seven gangsters are my favorites.

[Maria] LL and Kay, I understand the love and appreciation and know that it is respectful.

[Brad from Georgia] They did make an exception for Danny Thomas, though!

[Maria] Yes, but I think that was a bit later.

[Maria] Plus, according to Granddad, he looked Jewish.

[Judy R] i recieved "Jack Benny's Neighbors" cd set last christmas. it is hilareous

[Brad from Georgia] I always liked Groucho's response to a restricted swimming pool: "My daughter's only half Jewish. Can she go in up to her waist?"

[Judy R]  

[Maria] Brad, it's a great line, but I don't recall there being a pool there.

[Laura Leff] Judy - Glad you liked it. Obviously the credit goes to Jack and the cast, but I did some consulting on that set.

[Laura Leff] Brad - Actually, that's a flip of a story...

[Brad from Georgia] It was supposed to be a Gentiles-only club, Maria, not Hillcrest.

[Judy R] that's how I found this site.  

[Brad from Georgia] Okay, Laura, flip it!

[Brian Baker] Maria, if you're in the Chattsworth area, look up Stu Shostak. He hosts an Internet radio show for Baby Boomers. He can do a 2-hour interview with you, make you feel at ease, you can promote your book there. And he's Jewish, as a bonus.

[Laura Leff] Groucho wanted his son to swim somewhere that didn't take Jews, so he said, "My son is only half-Jewish, can he go in up to his waist?"

[Brad from Georgia] Son, daughter, it's still funny....in a painful sort of way.

[Maria] Brian: thanks. If I ever have a book, I'll look him up. Right now, I'm a long way from there.

[KayLhota] It's stories like the restrictions that make you proud of the pioneers, and glad to live in today times.

[Laura Leff] Brad - OK...thought you were inferring it was Hillcrest!

[Brian Baker] Look him up anyway. He's on Facebook.

[Brad from Georgia] No, I wasn't implying that.

[Judy R] besides hillcrest, many went to golf down at palm springs. it was a beautiful place when i went there over 20 years ago.

[Laura Leff] Brad - Yah...I'm back with the program now.  

[Brad from Georgia] Jack seemed to love his vacations in Palm Springs.

[Laura Leff] They had a house there

[Judy R] i could see why.

[Laura Leff] Maria - Did your grandparents spend as much time in Palm Springs later in life?

[Judy R] my maternal grandmother lived over in palm desert.

[Maria] I was there a couple of months ago with Michael. A friend of his knows the man who bought Granddad's old house there and he was kind enough to let us go and check it out.

[Brad from Georgia] Yes...Mary went there, telephoned Jack back in Hollywood, and said, "Close the window. I can still hear you practicing your violin."

[Laura Leff] I think of your grandfather as being on the road all the time, and your grandmother didn't travel much.

[Laura Leff] Maria - Very cool!

[Maria] I don't recall them going to PS after they sold the house. It was wonderful when they had it though. Spent a lot of time there with Janet and Freddie DeCordova.

[Laura Leff] Brad - Ah, that's Eddie Carroll's joke.

[Brad from Georgia] Yeppers, LL!

[Maria] The only travel I recall was for work: Las Vegas, Reno, etc.

[Laura Leff] Maria - When did they sell the house? The Palm Springs house, I presume.

[Frank Lhota] Yeppers?

[Maria] LL, I can't believe you don't know. I actually don't recall but was still a teenager.

[Brad from Georgia] That's Southern for "you're right, Ma'am."

[Laura Leff] Maria - Oh, I've got plenty to learn.  

[Laura Leff] I have a postcard with a photo of their Palm Springs house, though.

[Judy R] my grandmother did mention one time that when she was going to UC Santa Barbara, Jack did a show there.

[Maria] Michael made a complete ass of me. He had set it up in advance that we could go in and look around but didn't tell me that. We drove into PS and I actually suggested that we stop there.

[Brad from Georgia] Maria--Joan said what she liked best about Eddie's show was it gave a good sense of what Jack was like informally, at home...his stage presence wasn't that different from his everyday personality.

[Laura Leff] Yes, your grandfather's schedule late in life is just crazy. I keep thinking that I'll be able to fill a database with where he was day-to-day because he was always filming something or travelling somewhere or performing on stage.

[Judy R] I don't recall exactly when, but it was the 1930's or 1940's

[Maria] Michael agreed and when we got there, I suggested we ring the door bell. Meanwhile, he had already set it up and made it seem like it was all my idea. Regardless, it was amazing to be there again.

[Laura Leff] Judy - Really? He performed at UC Santa Barbara that early?

[Laura Leff] I think they did a radio show from Santa Barbara...

[KayLhota] Is Michael a practical joker, or just a tease, Maria?

[Judy R] I can't remeber exactly when, but she did remember seeing him.

[Laura Leff] Maria - How funny...Michael is always so quiet that it's hard for me to think of him playing a joke like that!

[Maria] Kay, normally not either, but I guess more of a tease. He definitely got me on that one. I can't believe I fell for it.

[Maria] LL: He's come out of his shell quite a bit lately -- actually quite a lot of fun.

[KayLhota] That's wonderful!

[Laura Leff] Maria - I guess I'll just have to get a few drinks in him some time.  

[Maria] He doesn't drink.

[Laura Leff] OK, then Shirley Temples.

[Maria] That's my favorite drink.

[Laura Leff] The gathering at Hillside didn't seem like the time for light banter.

[Maria] No. Sorry I wasn't there. Dont' know if you knew, but my father is there -- not far from Granddad. Too hard for me to go there, I'm afraid.

[Maria] He sent me the pictures though. Thanks so much for doing that.

[Judy R] Maria, do you keep in touch with the Burns family? I love George and Gracie as well.

[Laura Leff] Maria - You know, I didn't know that. Is he in the mausoleum?

[Laura Leff] Maria - Absolutely.

[Maria] LL: Yes, just down the hall from Granddad.

[Maria] Judy: No. Saw George in 1986 before I moved from LA to Colorado to say good-bye, but never really knew Sandy and Ronny (their kids).

[Laura Leff] Maria - The hallway towards the central garden, or the hallway when you're coming in from the front door?

[Maria] I think from the front door. Been a long time since I've been there.

[Judy R] brb

[Laura Leff] Maria - OK. I'll have to look for him next time. There are some enclaves off that hallway, and he's probably in one of them.

[Maria] Okay. If you do, put a rock down for me please.

[Laura Leff] I was just there last month dropping off a couple items that people had sent for the "Penny for Benny" gathering, but there was construction and I didn't get there until the mausoleum was closed.

[Maria] I'm sorry I got everyone off topic. Do you want to go on to the show now? I really should get back to my writing.

[Laura Leff] Maria - Hey, when you're here, *you're* the topic.  

[Brad from Georgia] And we're honored to have you with us.

[Maria] Thanks.

[KayLhota] Very much so!

[Laura Leff] (Fortunately, the Hillside folks are great and they got the stuff to the right location.)

[Laura Leff] Maria - I will absolutely put a rock for you next time I'm there.

[Laura Leff] I need to take Dorothy Ohman there one of these days.

[Laura Leff] She hasn't been there since the funeral.

[Judy R] find a grave #81. It's kind of hard to see where the other corridores are from the photos

[Maria] I don't know who that is.

[Judy R] For Jack

[Laura Leff] Maria - Dorothy? She was your grandfather's secretary after Bert Scott.

[Judy R] it's a memorial web site I use for genealogy.

[Laura Leff] And she's a lovely, lovely lady.

[Maria] Oh -- didnt recognize her last name.

[Laura Leff] Judy - Is that Buddy Rudolph's grave?

[Judy R] let me check.

[Laura Leff] Maria - What else is going on in your life these days?

[Laura Leff] Is the ice cream store getting ready for the season? Or am I out of date in that?

[Maria] Still have the ice cream store. Added a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory to it. We're just coming into the ice cream season but have had horrible weather on the weekends for the past few weeks, which really hurts.

[KayLhota] The weather has been really nuts this year across the US

[Laura Leff] Is Rocky Mountain Chocolate a local chain?

[Maria] They're out of Durango but there are tons of them in CA.

[Laura Leff] Interesting...I'll have to keep an eye out for them.

[Maria] Yeah, now that you know the name, you'll come across one pretty quickly I think.

[Brad from Georgia] Try the Granny Smith caramel apple.....

[Laura Leff] When I connected through Denver a couple months ago, I picked up some huckleberry chocolates. But it was touristy stuff. I'm sure you've got much better material.

[Judy R] now you're making me want ice cream!

[Maria] The caramel apples are outstanding!

[KayLhota] yeah, I'm getting hungry for it too!

[Brad from Georgia] Sure are. Yum.

[KayLhota] Fortunately, I live across the country, so I am able to stick to my diet for now!

[Brad from Georgia] I love blueberries so much that I set out two blueberry bushes in our backyard. We're going to have a small crop this year!

[Laura Leff] Dang...and all I've got is a tray of moussaka that came out of the oven a bit ago and some chorizo empanadas I made yesterday...

[Brad from Georgia] NOW we're sidetracked....

[Judy R]  

[Laura Leff] Maria - There are some cute stories about your grandfather and kids late in life

[Laura Leff] where he'd want something sweet, like ice cream, and "share" it with them.

[KayLhota] awww

[Maria] Yeah, but he was diabetic so he wasn't supposed to eat sweets.

[Laura Leff] He was trying to manage his diabetes, but still wanted the ice cream or chocolate.

[Laura Leff] Did he ever do anything like that with you?

[Maria] Not that I recall.

[Laura Leff] OK, he may not have been trying to manage it as much when you were that age.

[Brad from Georgia] Maria, a lot of comedians are always "on." Did Jack often make you laugh?

[Laura Leff] Was there ever an outing with just the two of you? Or was it always with Michael as well?

[Maria] Brad: Granddad was NOT funny in person. He never made me laugh. I did, however, make him laugh.

[Maria] LL: We never did anything with just the two of us.

[Judy R] he seemd to crack up easily

[Brad from Georgia] Give us an example, please, Maria.

[Maria] He definitely cracked up easily.

[Maria] LL: Thanks.

[Maria] Brad: Once, when he was doing a show in Vegas, he had an act of three sisters on with him. He would introduce them, ask a few questions and then go off stage while they would do their act.

[Judy R] I'd listen to some of the radio shows, and sometimes it was easy to hear Jack laugh in the back

[Laura Leff] The Chicken Sisters

[Judy R] Oh yes

[Maria] I became friendly with one of the sisters and started changing her lines to try to crack him up.

[Laura Leff] (the original name...probably the Smothers Sisters by the time you saw it)

[KayLhota] Oh, this story sounds like a doozy!

[Maria] Don't remember the name, but Iris Adrian was one of the actresses.

[Laura Leff] Yes she was. Let me see if I can get a couple more for you...

[Judy R] enlighten us

[Maria] One time, I had the woman, whose name was Peggy, say her name was Maria instead. It stopped Granddad short and he said, "Maria? That's a nice name."

[Laura Leff] Peggy Mondo

[Maria] Another time, I got her to change a line. Unfortunately, I can't remember what I had her say, but Granddad started laughing so hard, he started slapping his knee, then almost hit the ground then walked off stage because he couldn't contain himself.

[Maria] Yes, Peggy Mondo. She was great -- really loved her and she was a blast -- totally went along with me on trying to crack him up.

[Laura Leff] In the Frank Remley article in the Times, they commented that if he slapped his knee three times, you knew you had a hit!

[Maria] I felt kind of guilty so stopped doing it after he had to walk off stage. But I'm sure the audience thought it was great.

[KayLhota] I love hearing stuff like this.

[Brad from Georgia] Sounds like Jack's reaction to Frank Nelson's "Drear Pooson" ad-lib.

[Judy R] Yea!

[Brad from Georgia] I know it wasn't really an ad-lib, btw.

[Laura Leff] Maria - Do you know Peggy Mondo's role's "pedigree" in that routine...that is, who originally played that role?

[Maria] Don't know -- hadn't realized that wasn't the original act.

[Laura Leff] BTW, Peggy Mondo plays the large woman in the television re-do of the Marilyn Monroe episode with Jayne Mansfield.

[Maria] Although now that you mention it, I think I did know that but don't know who the original was.

[Laura Leff] Maria - That act was originally written in the early 30s by your grandfather's first radio writer, Harry Conn.

[Laura Leff] It was called the Chicken Sisters then, but later updated to the Landrews Sisters, then finally the Smothers Sisters.

[Maria] I think it probably was the Smothers sisters when I saw it. I didn't realize it had been written by Granddad's writers.

[Laura Leff] And the role of the "large girl" was originally played by Mary Kelly, who was your grandfather's sweetheart in vaudeville and Gracie Allen's roommate. She was much less heavy back then.

[Maria] Granddad would do two-week runs in Vegas and Reno and we would be there for a week of it, so I had a lot of time to get friendly with his "side acts."

[Judy R] There was the episode "Honolulu Trip" where heJack was on a cruise ship. Wasn't that Peggy on there as well?

[Laura Leff] Judy - That's her.

[Judy R] I thought so. I knew she was familiar

[Brian Baker] I liked the shows where the large girls weren't afraid to flaunt their comedy chops.

[Laura Leff] Yeah...picked up her name in my notes on a run from 5/23 to 6/10/72 at the Sahara--they were doing that act then.

[Maria] So I was 15 at the time -- that sounds about right.

[Laura Leff] You probably know that an abusive marriage (the one she went into when she broke up with your grandfather) and related alcoholism contributed to her weight problem, and she needed a job. So she auditioned for his radio show.

User cj has logged out.

[Maria] When Granddad would play there, we would be put up in the penthouse of the hotel, which was the entire top floor of the hotel. You needed a key in the elevator to get to that floor. Always loved walking onto the elevator and putting the key in.

[Maria] LL: I assume you're talking about Mary Kelly? Sad story there -- for both her and Granddad.

[KayLhota] that does sound like the ultimate of special\

[Laura Leff] Looks like Caterina Valente was also on the bill...

[Maria] Yeah, I was a total snot about it too.

[Laura Leff] Maria - Yes, that's right.

[Laura Leff] Hey, you were 15...a lot of us were snots about things at that time!

[Maria] Yep.

[Judy R] Staying at 39. Although going to be 41

[KayLhota] I'll be 54 in July

[Maria] I really do have to get back to my writing assignment -- it as due yesterday. Does anyone else have any questions or comments before I check out?

[Laura Leff] I've got a "Pshanon" as the third person in that act...Maria, does that ring a bell for you?

[Brad from Georgia] Ah, I'm older than the whole two of yez.

[Maria] LL> No.

[KayLhota] I remember seeing Jack Benny when he was still on CBS

[Laura Leff] Maria - OK. I may have the full name elsewhere and just abbreviated it there.

[Maria] LL: If I recall, the third person wasn't very important -- it was mostly Peggy and Iris.

[Maria] I think the third person was the straight person.

[Laura Leff] Right...the "tough girl" and the "large girl". The third one is usually pretty and quiet.

[Laura Leff] There was a line to her something like, "Well, you don't look like them. Are you really sisters?"

[Laura Leff] And she'd say, "I don't know if they are, but I am."

[Laura Leff] Or something similar to that.

[KayLhota] Funny  

[Maria] Sounds right.

[Laura Leff] Pop quiz for the room...

[KayLhota] yes?

[Brian Baker] go

[Laura Leff] Name the song that the sisters always sang.

[Brian Baker] dang

User Frank Lhota has logged out.

[Laura Leff] I don't think they ever varied that, even when they changed the name of the act.

[KayLhota] nope.

User Frank Lhota has entered this room.

[KayLhota] Oops we lost Frank

[Judy R] whoops

[KayLhota] that wasn't supposed to happen! He's on a better computer!

[Judy R] banana peel on floor

[Frank Lhota] Oops. Sorry

[Laura Leff] Wow...I thought that was an easy question.

[Maria] Something about strolling?

[Maria] Daisies?

[Laura Leff] Maria - Yes, "walking" is part of the name.

[Frank Lhota] Actually, I was tossed out by the idle time timer.

[Brian Baker] All I'm hearing is that bad singer Jack always tunes to across the radio dial.

[Judy R] oh man.

[Brad from Georgia] I know it wasn't "Walking after Midnight."

[Laura Leff] Brad - No, it wasn't that!

[Maria] That's pretty good that I got the walking part. Must be in a vestigial part of my memory.

[KayLhota] Sara Berner, Brad

[Laura Leff] "Did You Ever See a Dream Walking"

[Brian Baker] ah, yes

[Maria] YES! I remember it!

[KayLhota] So, they used to sing that?

[Brad from Georgia] Now I always think of the Popeye cartoon with Olive Oyl caught in a building under construction when I hear that title.

[Laura Leff] Maria - I'm sure after you've seen it so many times, you kind of know what's coming and tune out!

[KayLhota] I know, Brad. I had to sing that song straight, and I had a hard time keeping Popeye out of my mind!

[Judy R]  

[Laura Leff] Anything else for Maria? Really glad you could join us.

[Brad from Georgia] Thanks, Maria!

[KayLhota] I'm so thrilled to have Maria join us, and I hope you will feel welcome to come again

[Brian Baker] Thank you, Maria!

[Judy R] Thanks! I can't wait for the book

[Maria] Okay, I'm outta here. Thanks to everyone for keeping Granddad alive. I'll see if I can get Michael to join sometime.

[Laura Leff] That would be great

[KayLhota] that would be wonderful\

[Laura Leff] You know, play a joke on him

[Judy R] yea!

[Laura Leff] Trick him into coming into the chat room...

[Brad from Georgia] Hah!

[KayLhota] hey, just chatting is fun

[Maria] Ooh -- good idea. I'll have to work on something.

[Laura Leff] Make it look like it's his idea

[KayLhota]  good Laura

[Judy R]  

[Laura Leff] We'll go easy on him, I promise.

[Brad from Georgia] We will be polite.

[Laura Leff] For a change.

[KayLhota] hey, he is among friends and nice people

[Brad from Georgia] As opposed to the way we usually are....

[Brian Baker] Oh?

[Laura Leff] Thanks again, Maria, and all the best!

[Maria] I'll see what I can do. He's pretty busy but I think he'd enjoy it.

[Maria] Okay LL, talk to you soon.

[KayLhota] thanks for joining us Maria!

[Laura Leff] If I know in advance, I bet we could get quite a crowd.

[Maria] You're welcome. Bye bye.

[Brian Baker] *applause!"

[Maria] LL: I'll let you know next time.

[Brad from Georgia] You know, when we're in Califonia, I gotta get me one o' them caramel apples....

[Laura Leff] Maria - Looking forward to it.

User Maria has logged out.

[Judy R] *Applause* Standing ovation

[Brad from Georgia] Very nice of her!

[Judy R] BRB

[Laura Leff] Wooooooooo!!!

[KayLhota] wow, that was a nice surprise tonight

[Laura Leff] Yeah, sorry that I was late...was on the phone.

[Brian Baker] Glad my first attendance got this special guest for free!

[Laura Leff] Well, a special welcome then Brian!

[Brian Baker] Thank you!

[Laura Leff] So...thoughts on the show for discussion tonight?

[Laura Leff] Almost a let-down after that.

[Brad from Georgia] Joan Benny surprised me during the interview--she said she didn't think Eddie's vocal performance was close to Jack (Rich Little nailed him, she said), but overall she liked Eddie's performance for giving a true sense of Jack's personality.

[KayLhota] I will say that her book about Hillcrest sounds like such a neat idea. I hope she follows through.

[Laura Leff] Someone asked for a show about the May Company for May, so that's why we got that one.

[Brian Baker] The show is bursting with domestic comedy.

[Brad from Georgia] Poor Pauline...she didn't get many laughs. But Joan rocked!

[KayLhota] She's adorable in the radio broadcast

[Brian Baker] Who played Pauline?

[Laura Leff] Doris Singleton

[Laura Leff] I have to look up if this is Blance Stewart's last appearance...she died not that long thereafter...

[Brad from Georgia] The "sign a new lease gag" just...died.

[Brian Baker] D'Oh! I forgot. She was a guest on Shokus. Shame on me!

[Laura Leff] Brad - Yes, that surprised me too!

[Brad from Georgia] Now I'd bet you'd never get the Dennis Day suicide gag on most TV shows today.

[Brian Baker] OMG! How true!

[Brad from Georgia] Wonder what Philsie was up to during that show? Don mentioned him in the intro, but he wasn't in the show.

[Laura Leff] OK not...she was on until 3/23/52.

[Brian Baker] Loved how Benny tried his darnedest to avoid Dennis' routine!

[Brad from Georgia] Unless that was Phil singing the Lucky Strike commercial.

[Brad from Georgia] Joe Kearns as the druggist, right?

[Laura Leff] Brad - It almost sounds like him laughing at certain points, but I think that's Remley.

[Brad from Georgia] LL--I thought that too at one point!

[Laura Leff] Brad - Right.

[Brad from Georgia] Good punch line--"Here's your bottle of arsenic--on the house."

[Laura Leff] And Mel Blanc as a very downplayed man buying Luckies.

[Brad from Georgia] Yes, I noticed Mel.

[Brad from Georgia] Gee, though, the thought of Dennis dating Joanie....

[KayLhota] Yes, Mel was very straight for him

[Laura Leff] Brad - Talk about robbing the cradle.

[Brad from Georgia] Well, Dennis was always the "kid" as long as he was on the show.

[KayLhota] well, it made the sketch more sketchy

[KayLhota] he sounded like a very nice boy for Joanie to go out with

[Brian Baker] And he looked the part to a T.

[Laura Leff] I'm trying to remember who played the role on TV

[KayLhota] It's been a few years since I last saw the TV episode

[KayLhota] 5 or 6 years, I think

[Brian Baker] May I jump tracks to Mary's stage fright?

[Laura Leff] Leon Tyler

[Laura Leff] No wonder I couldn't remember it.

[Brad from Georgia] I did like the Rochester "got caught bending the cans" gag.

[Laura Leff] Brian - By all means yes.

[Brian Baker] If Mary was afflicted with stage fright, by that I presume television, how was she able to cope with as many TV shows as she did?

[Laura Leff] Brian - Because she only appeared on ones that were filmed in the studio without an audience.

[KayLhota] I think because the shows were filmed

[KayLhota] Laura said it

[Brad from Georgia] So it wasn't stage fright, it was audience fright.

[Laura Leff] And she had stage fright on radio too.

[Brian Baker] Did her aging contribute to that?

[KayLhota] She got more anxious as she got older

[Brad from Georgia] Sort of like Isaac Asimov, who wouldn't fly. He said, "I'm not afraid of flying at all. It's crashing and burning that terrify me."

[Brian Baker] Ok. That covers it.

[KayLhota] Joan said in her book that Mary's hands would grow beet red in nervousness as the time approached for her to go on

[Laura Leff] There you go. What other Benny topics on the docket tonight?

[Brad from Georgia] Kind of a radio thing...the Atlanta Radio Theatre performed "The Dancer in the Dark" this afternoon. I was the, um, lead.

[Brian Baker] I dunno. I've compartmentalized Benny. It's tough to pull any one.

[KayLhota] mary also did her share of fainting after a show

[Laura Leff] One of the steno women at CBS recalled that Jack would hold his cigar under Mary's nose sometimes during the broadcast. I wonder if the secondhand smoke relaxed her a little.

[Brian Baker] Steno?

[KayLhota] stenographer

[Brad from Georgia] Stenographer.

[Brian Baker] Got it... too late.

[Brad from Georgia] Shorthand note-taking expert.

[KayLhota] the smoke may have been a little like a smelling salt

[Laura Leff] I can always tell pages of Jack's scripts that she typed...they have her initials in the lower right corner!

[Brad from Georgia] I wondered the other day if you can still buy carbon paper....

[Laura Leff] Brad - You need some?

[KayLhota] I fainted once, and smelling salts are ammonia. The ammonia just sent the blood up into my head!

[Brad from Georgia] I don't see why, but I was curious if it was still even made.

[Laura Leff] I have an old typewriter that needs Rochester to dip the ribbon in grape juice again.

[Frank Lhota] The last typewriter factory in the world just closed. It was in India.

[Brad from Georgia] I fainted once after surgery. Got up, started to the bathroom, woke up with a black eye and a bloody nose.

[KayLhota] ouch!

[Laura Leff] What a shame. Someone's doing a documentary on the typewriter and is using a clip from Jack's TV show.

[Laura Leff] Brad - Someone apparently didn't want you in there!

[Frank Lhota] When was the last slide rule made?

[Brad from Georgia] That's what I get for having my tonsils out at age 30.

[Brian Baker] You got a pic of Jack on the typewriter.

[Laura Leff] Brian - The one of him in the hat? I love that shot. I also love the winning caption!

[Brad from Georgia] Frank--I still have my slide rule from college. It has Roman numerals, though. I went to college a LONG time ago.

[Judy R] have to go. have an emergency. catch y'all next time!

[Brad from Georgia] Bye.

User Judy R has logged out.

[Laura Leff] That's like Jack's joke about being born in Waukegan so long ago that the mohel (ritual circumciser) was an Indian. He used a tomahawk.

[Brian Baker] tee hee

[Brad from Georgia] Like Mel Brooks in Robin Hood: Men in Tights.

[Frank Lhota] He only took tips.

[Brian Baker] The mini-guillotine

[Laura Leff] I want to say the punchline of a classic mohel joke, but it probably wouldn't mean much to a lot of you!

[Laura Leff] And it would take too long to explain it.

[Laura Leff] Anyway...

[Brad from Georgia] Jack also had a Roman numeral gag: He's in the supermarket and finds a can of soup for ten cents. But the expiration date is "MCLXV." "Gee, soup that old can make you sick...but at a dime a can, I'll risk it."

[Brian Baker] Love it.

[Laura Leff] That reminds me of looking for tea in my friend Joe's kitchen (Kay/Frank - You've met him) and finding stuff that had expired in the 80s. This was maybe six years ago.

[Laura Leff] At least I never got sick on his tea.

[Laura Leff] So what other Benny topics for tonight?

[Brad from Georgia] I have a Coca-Cola, unopened, from 1964.

[KayLhota] tea just dries out

[Laura Leff] Brad - Don't have a Coke and a smile.

[Brad from Georgia] Joan gave me all of her children's e-mails so I can interview them for the Eddie Carroll bio.

[Brad from Georgia] They all saw the show and all have positive things to say, she told me.

[KayLhota] that's nice

[Laura Leff] Brad - Ah, that will be good. Especially the ones in the Boston area...they had a good time at Eddie's show.

[Brian Baker] How, if at all, did Mary's stage fright affect her radio tenure. Such as on-the-road shows?

[Brad from Georgia] She was fun to talk to.

[Laura Leff] Maria first saw him at the Waukegan statue unveiling.

[KayLhota] I wish I had known about Eddie Carroll's shows in time. I would have liked to have seen him perform.

[Laura Leff] Brian - I talk about that in some depth in the introduction to Volume 2 of "39 Forever." But in summary...

[Brad from Georgia] Oh, I'm excited about going to California for the interviews next week--I get to interview Goofy!

[Laura Leff] There were little stretches of time where she doesn't appear at all, then comes back.

[Laura Leff] Most of the road shows (except for New York and some during the war)

[Brian Baker] But enough about your state of mind, who will you talk to, Brad (Bob Hope-ism)

[Laura Leff] were close to home and didn't require much travel. Or were travel to places that Mary wanted to go, like Palm Springs.

[Brad from Georgia] Marian Jordan used to miss "Fibber McGee and Molly" performances now and then, and it was blamed on "a cold," but sadly, she had alcohol problems.

[Laura Leff] Ultimately there are a couple shows that she recorded from home, but I think more of the time when she didn't want to appear, they just didn't include her.

[Brian Baker] P-A-L-M-S-P-R-I-N-G-S Vacuum cleaner, raak!

[Brad from Georgia] LL--Am I remembering correctly that Mary hated to fly on planes?

[Laura Leff] Brad - Mary didn't like to travel much, period. I can't recall if she had a specific plane phobia, but I don't think of her flying much.

[Laura Leff] As opposed to Jack, who happily jumped in the car and would drive accross country.

[Brian Baker] P-A-L-M-S-P-R-I-N-G-S Palm Springs. PALM SPRINGS? RAAAAAK!!!!

[Frank Lhota] Does she share Issac Azimov's fear of crashing and burning?

[Brad from Georgia] Jack seemed to get a kick out of little things--like discovering a little town that had "the biggest ball of twine in America."

[Laura Leff] Mary is more like a fear of other people...or general insecurity...

[KayLhota] I'm more under the impression that Mary had fear of leaving the house

[Laura Leff] Or the best chicken-fried steak.

[Laura Leff] Kay - She became increasingly reclusive, wanting to stay in her bed ordering everyone around and having her drinks brought to her on a silver tray.

[Laura Leff] Not getting out of bed until the afternoon...if then.

[Brad from Georgia] Dick Cavett tells a story about being with Jack when a whole crowd kidded him about being cheap, underpaying Rochester, etc. Jack just smiled and went along with the gag....

[Laura Leff] Her little sphere of power.

[Laura Leff] Brad - Oh, is this the one I put in the President's Message a few issues ago?

[KayLhota] the staying in bed kept her from having to deal with the people outside, and the being waiting on was a comfortable pampering that kept her in control

[Brad from Georgia] Until they were alone, then said, "Ya know, kid, sometimes you just wanna tell these people to go XXXX themselves."

[Laura Leff] That's it.

[Brad from Georgia] Cavett cracked up. He said he'd never heard Jack use that word before.

[Laura Leff] Oh, Jack used that word plenty when he was comfortable with someone!

[Brad from Georgia] (though I think he did later)

[KayLhota] I feel sorry for Mary. She was pretty and had enough talent to co star on radio with Jack Benny and get solid laughs as a comedienne

[Brad from Georgia] Cavett said in the bit I heard that this was his first long meeting with Jack.

[Laura Leff] I mean, he wasn't Dennis Hopper in "Blue Velvet" or anything, but he was quite comfortable with that word.

[Brian Baker] Beverly Washburn told a Jack curses story.

[Brad from Georgia] Well, Jack used a few choice Yiddishisms too, in private.

[Laura Leff] Kay - As someone pointed out to me, there was something interesting in the house where she grew up. All three of the kids had odd histories.

[Laura Leff] Brian - Please share!

[KayLhota] please

[KayLhota] Babe and hillyard seemed okay as far as I had heard

[Brian Baker] Beverly was the child actress who played Margret Truman on the TV show.

[Brian Baker] I think she was also a Beverly Hills Beaver

[Brian Baker] During a rehearsal, and I'm paraphrasing

[Laura Leff] Kay - Babe was somewhat colorful, got arrested a couple of times (or at least once). Poor Hilliard has a lot of vocal detractors.

[Laura Leff] Brian - That's right.

[Brian Baker] She asked Jack, What if I screw up?

[Laura Leff] Kay - But from all the stories I've heard, Hickey earned his detraction very well.

[Brian Baker] Jack said some diplomatic words and concluded, "And if you screw up, F--- it!"

[KayLhota] wow.

[Laura Leff] He said that to her when she was a little girl?

[KayLhota] yes.

[Brian Baker] Maybe when she was a young adult. They were long time friends.

[KayLhota] I see.

[Laura Leff] Brian - Yes...I have a harder time envisioning him saying that to her at "Margaret Truman" age, but maybe in a later role.

[Laura Leff] But that's not to say it couldn't happen!

[Brad from Georgia] I like the attitude. This afternoon one of our actors completely missed his cue...and we were reading from scripts! So I covered the line and we went on. He was embarrassed later, but we said essentially, "Forget it."

[Laura Leff] Thanks for sharing...I don't think I'd heard that story before

[KayLhota] No. I remember hearing the story of the little girl on his radio show, that he shook up so much in telling her how to perform that she threw up before the show

[Brad from Georgia] I'll be that made Jack feel awful!

[Laura Leff] Kay - Was that Beverly or someone else?

[KayLhota] I forget the little girl's name, but I have it written down somewhere.

[KayLhota] This was about 1945

[Brian Baker] I hate to keep sounding like a commercial, but I learned that from Stu Shostak's weekly Internet radio show, which are available at his archives at shokusradio.com. Look for the interviews with Beverly Washburn, and also with Eddie Carroll. somewhere in

[Laura Leff] There weren't a lot of young girls on the show...maybe it was the actress playing Phil's daughter.

[Brian Baker] the 2008, 2007 pages.

[KayLhota] let me look it up.

[Frank Lhota] Kay is indeed looking it up.

[Brad from Georgia] Coming up on ten p.m. here and my doggy is begging me to let him out. Guess I'd better go! Had a great time, all.

[Laura Leff] Brian - Wonder if he's got the one of Eddie Carroll and me on his show, where I essentially say, "Good to be here" at the start and "Hey, my pleasure!" at the end. The rest was Eddie telling stories. Why mess up a good thing? I know my place.

[Laura Leff] Any requests for a show for next month?

[Brian Baker] Yes, he does. That's the Eddie show. I save almost all his shows.

[KayLhota] episode 4/1/45 little girls name is Joan Dehner

[Laura Leff] I'm sure Stu would be happy to know that!

[Brian Baker] At least I'm reasonably sure it's Eddie.

[Laura Leff] Kay - Good job! And hey...I don't have a name credit on that role. But I do now!

[KayLhota] she understood that Jack Benny didn't mean to upset her, but being the star of the show he was concerned that it all go perfectly

[Brian Baker] The B Washburn interview is 3/26/08

[Laura Leff] Wait...Joan Dehner or Joan Delmar?

[KayLhota] Delmar

[Laura Leff] I just pulled my working copy and had that written in

[Brian Baker] The E Carroll interview is 8/1/07

[KayLhota] Icouldn't read my own scribble'

[Laura Leff] So maybe I *have* heard that story before!

[KayLhota] yes, i told it a few years ago

[Laura Leff] Kay - My apologies.

[Laura Leff] So any requests for a show for next month? Or my call? (You know that's dangerous)

[KayLhota] I figured you may have forgotten it, and I don't mind telling it again since I learned about it

[Laura Leff] Sounds like it's my call...

[KayLhota] yes, I think so

[Laura Leff] OK, no problem.

[Brian Baker] How about the program where Don first hires the Sportsman for Jack?

[Laura Leff] Brian - Hmmm!

[Laura Leff] OK, I'm game for that.

[KayLhota] okay

[Laura Leff] Thank you!

[Brian Baker] Yes. Loved their early Hmm....

[Laura Leff] Anything else, or are we good for May?

[Brian Baker] Later Hmmmmms seems rushed, and lost their novelty.

[KayLhota] it has been a lot of fun and an unexpected surprise tonight

[Frank Lhota] I have nothing more to add.

[Brian Baker] Sounds like a good time to call it a might.

[Laura Leff] Brian - Probably because it had become a "catch phrase" by then.

[Laura Leff] Yes, we might.

[Laura Leff] Thanks for stopping, folks! It's been great. See you next month!

[KayLhota] bye bye