IJBFC Chat - December 8, 2013

(Name of message originator in <> brackets at the beginning of each line)

<BradfromGeorgia>: Hi, boss!

<LauraLeff>: Hi folks

<R_Hookie>: Hi Al's granddatghter!

<LauraLeff>: Geez...when will they take down the Halloween theme?

<Josef>: Hi Laura!

<R_Hookie>: Hi Laura

<LauraLeff>: Al...as in Al Gordon?

<algranddaughter>: yes. You probably don't remember meeting me, but we met at Al's funeral.

<LauraLeff>: Aha! Were you the one with the pet?

<BradfromGeorgia>: Nice of you to join us.

<R_Hookie>: Reunited and it feels so good

<LauraLeff>: I remember you play the harp...is that right?

<algranddaughter>: Yep! Jack the dog who jumped on you.

<algranddaughter>: That's my sister, but close!

<LauraLeff>: Gotcha...I remember you!

<LauraLeff>: Welcome in! Glad you joined us.

<LauraLeff>: How's everything with your family?

<BradfromGeorgia>: We liked your grandfather's work, very much.

<algranddaughter>: Thank you! I'm so glad to connect with this stuff, especially since I really discovered my passion for writing once Al died.

<Josef>: Agreed Brad

<LauraLeff>: Are you trying writing yourself?

<algranddaughter>: My family is doing really well, thanks! We're actually exploring Benny stuff again because the 100th anniversary of Beverly Hills is coming up and my dad has been asked about Jack several times.

<algranddaughter>: I am trying writing. Comedy, like Al.

<LauraLeff>: Wonderful!

<LauraLeff>: If there'

<BradfromGeorgia>: Good luck!

<LauraLeff>: If there's anything I can do to help re Jack, just let me know.

<R_Hookie>: we expect to see some of your work

<algranddaughter>: Thank you! It's mostly been my dad reminiscing about the old days. haha

<LauraLeff>: Mind if I "give you the mike" to share some memories of your grandfather?

<algranddaughter>: Of course!

<BradfromGeorgia>: It's always exciting to launch out on a new path. Hang in there and work hard!

<R_Hookie>: yes please

<Josef>: yes

<BradfromGeorgia>: Yes!

<LauraLeff>: A hush falls over the crowd

<algranddaughter>: I actually listened to the recording you posted. It sounded just like Al. That's how he talked. Like, on the phone or in person. I can always tell his writing. He was just a naturally funny guy and he was SO FAST when it came to jokes! He always talked about his days with Jack and he clearly missed that time in his life.

<algranddaughter>: haha I'm trying to think of other noteworthy stories...other than that his nickname was "The Little Shit" because he was the youngest in the group and, if I know Al, a bit of a smartass.

<LauraLeff>: Yes, by this time it was mostly your grandfather and Hal who were writing the radio shows, and the rest of the staff was starting to focus more on television

<algranddaughter>: Exactly. My dad walked through as I was listening and mentioned that.

<LauraLeff>: They reused some stuff from earlier shows...like Mary buying something for Jack was Rochester buying it on a prior show.

<LauraLeff>: And then they punched up other things.

<algranddaughter>: Interesting. I've only seen so many episodes because only so many have been released and I never seem to get over to UCLA.

<LauraLeff>: What's your earliest memory of your grandfather?

<BradfromGeorgia>: Did Al ever mention anything Jack gave him for Christmas? Shoelaces? Dates stuffed with nuts?

<LauraLeff>: Gopher traps?

<R_Hookie>: $2 wallet?

<Josef>: Oil paints?

<algranddaughter>: He lived right near us, and I used to go swimming over there. He and my grandmother were the "cool grandparents." Probably because Al was so funny! He never mentioned Christmas gifts, but I know Jack gave him books at one point or another!

<BradfromGeorgia>: (Trivia I gleaned from "Phineas and Ferb": the plastic and metal tips on shoelaces are called Aglets. And they have their own theme song.)

<R_Hookie>: Books? Like the Beverly Hills Phone Book?

<algranddaughter>: what?! must google that. haha

<LauraLeff>: Yes...they ARE called aglets!

<BradfromGeorgia>: Yes. Yes, they are.

<algranddaughter>: lol. I think Jack hoped my grandfather would sit down and read every now and then!

<LauraLeff>: Where were your grandparents living back then? I only know him living over by Century City.

<LauraLeff>: Al doesn't strike me as much of a reader.

<algranddaughter>: They lived in Westwood for years, but the pool was in Century City. He moved right before I was born (in 93).

<algranddaughter>: And no, I don't think I ever saw Al read so much as a cartoon!

<LauraLeff>: I'm trying to think of how to ask this...I know your grandmother had Alzheimer's, but I don't know when she went to the Motion Picture Home

<LauraLeff>: So did she live in Century City, or was her move to the home the reason Al moved to Century City?

<algranddaughter>: Oh, probably about ten years ago. No, Al moved to Century City with Char. She lived there for at least 7-8 years.

<LauraLeff>: Al's apartment clearly had a stylized touch that I wouldn't think he did, if I may say that!

<algranddaughter>: No, no! That was so my grandmother.

<LauraLeff>: Aha...say more about your memories of her.

<algranddaughter>: Well, she was a total glamour girl. My grandmother loved to get her hair and nails done and play bridge. She was the grandmother who always had a plate of cookies out and wanted to hear what was going on with us. And she had amazing taste in decorating. I loved that place!

<LauraLeff>: Yes, it was very, very stylish! Al never gave me an official tour or anything...we just sat at the dining room table and talked.

<LauraLeff>: But I base it on what I could see from there.

<algranddaughter>: Yeah, that dining room table...we did everything there when we were kids!

<LauraLeff>: Charlotte wasn't originally from LA, was she?

<algranddaughter>: No. She was from Minnesota. Trivia fact: Through her, Nate Berkus is my 3rd cousin!

<LauraLeff>: Do you know how she went from being from Minnesota to LA "glamour girl"?

<LauraLeff>: Asking that as a midwesterner myself.

<BradfromGeorgia>: Laura, could I ask if there's any way to deep-six the background? I'm really interested, and this is so hard to read....

<R_Hookie>: I've heard of him from somewhere....

<algranddaughter>: Her whole family was that way. I get the vibe that was just the way they were, especially since her parents were immigrants.

<algranddaughter>: Nate Berkus is Oprah's protege and an interior decorator. http://widget02.mibbit.com/smileys/yel02.png

<LauraLeff>: And funny to think of Al, who was pretty devotedly Brooklyn-esque, connecting with a glamour girl...

<LauraLeff>: Brad - I wish. If I knew, I'd have done it long ago.

<R_Hookie>: .I thought something like that

<LauraLeff>: Or maybe vice-versa...a glamour girl connecting with a Brooklynesque comedy writer...

<LauraLeff>: Do you remember stories about how they met?

<BradfromGeorgia>: Didn't he host a TV show that had something to do with Oprah?

<algranddaughter>: It's pretty mundane...they met through a family friend. She still calls every now and then.

<algranddaughter>: Nate did have his own show!

<LauraLeff>: I remember you and I talked about how Al loved animals.

<algranddaughter>: Seriously obsessed with animals! When my dad and aunt were growing up, they had a bunch of pets. He was in love with my dog. I used to take him over there to entertain him.

<R_Hookie>: what kind of dog?

<algranddaughter>: Shih tzu!

<BradfromGeorgia>: Bless you!

<LauraLeff>: Make up your own punch line there

<R_Hookie>: I have a Jack Russel Terrier Mix

<BradfromGeorgia>: My son has a purebred Jack Russel Terrorist.

<algranddaughter>: Aww! I inherited the animal obsession.

<R_Hookie>: I just bought her a sweater and boots for the cold

<BradfromGeorgia>: We have two unabashed mutts. And proud of 'em.

<LauraLeff>: I think you said you had rabbits at one time, right?

<algranddaughter>: I love Jack Russells in part because I'm a major Frasier fan and Eddie was a Jack Russell.

<algranddaughter>: Good memory! We did. We had...3? At once. Then Al gave us 2 several years later.

<LauraLeff>: Yes, Frasier made that breed very popular

<R_Hookie>: Eddie was cute

<LauraLeff>: I have 3 now.

<BradfromGeorgia>: I used to write books in the series about Wishbone, the Public TV Jack Russell.

<R_Hookie>: you did?

<BradfromGeorgia>: Wrote fifteen of the suckers.

<algranddaughter>: Rabbits are such good pets!

<Josef>: Brad, really?

<BradfromGeorgia>: Yes, really. You could look it up.

<LauraLeff>: Do you still just have Jack the dog now, or are there more?

<algranddaughter>: Brad, that's awesome!

<LauraLeff>: Yes, people who haven't had rabbits as pets don't fully appreciate it.

<Josef>: I probably read them, actually

<algranddaughter>: It's just Jack the dog and our pet bird, Norm.

<R_Hookie>: I was a little old, but I saw it was on TV

<BradfromGeorgia>: First one of mine was "Be a Wolf," and the second was "Salty Dog."

<LauraLeff>: Norm. Love it. After Norman Abbott?

<algranddaughter>: Norm Peterson, actually. We're all comedy buffs around here.

<BradfromGeorgia>: NORM!

<R_Hookie>: NORM!!!!!!!!

<LauraLeff>: No surprise there

<R_Hookie>: Where everybody knows your name

<LauraLeff>: If you had to pick one story that jumps to mind if you were to think of an "essential...that's so Al" story, what would it be?

<LauraLeff>: Personal memory or anything.

<Josef>: Just realized, Brad, I have Salty Dog in my book collection.

<algranddaughter>: Oh, my gosh. Obvious one: when I was 10, my parents and sister and I went on vacation. Al called my dad and was talking about how he wanted to do something interesting, so I guess he decided that the "interesting" thing to do would be to pay a cab driver to bring him to join us on our vacation! We went to the zoo or something and came back to find...

<algranddaughter>: Al in our room! It was so Al, and that became a traditional vacation spot for us. We went there at least 10 times with him.

<LauraLeff>: Where was it?

<algranddaughter>: Coronado.

<LauraLeff>: I was waiting for you to say Palm Springs. http://widget02.mibbit.com/smileys/yel02.png

<algranddaughter>: Oh haha! We went there with him a lot when I was a kid because both my dad's parents and my mom's parents used to vacation there. Al was pretty close to my mom's family, actually, because my parents were longtime friends when they got married.

<algranddaughter>: Ooh...my mom just chimed in with a question for all of you.

<BradfromGeorgia>: Josef-Treasure Island is my favorite book from my youth...so I demanded to be allowed to write the Wishbone version!

<algranddaughter>: To quote her, "which is the episode where Jack is on a tour of BH and gets off the tram when they get to his house?"

<LauraLeff>: I'll let the room take that one.

<LauraLeff>: Looking for a date of the show?

<BradfromGeorgia>: Hah--I just think of it as what you just said! It's a radio show, don't remember the year, but it was the first of the season that year.

<algranddaughter>: Title, actually! She was referencing it and she couldn't remember.

<algranddaughter>: It was the radio show, then. Interesting...

<LauraLeff>: No title, actually...other than "The Lucky Strike Program"

<BradfromGeorgia>: "Jack Doesn't Talk Because He's On a Tour Bus."

<LauraLeff>: Titles were done more for the television episodes.

<LauraLeff>: But let me double-check that

<algranddaughter>: Ooh. Got it. Makes sense! I will pass that info along.

<BradfromGeorgia>: Yes, the individual shows are known by date rather than title (radio shows).

<Josef>: That's awesome, Brad! I used to read those books all the time, and watched the show. Those were some of my favorite memories because no one could get into my reading world.

<algranddaughter>: Thank you for that!

<LauraLeff>: 9/11/49 is the date

<algranddaughter>: I feel like my cousin has some of your books, Brad. She has all of her childhood books.

<BradfromGeorgia>: I'm honored!

<algranddaughter>: Ok, I'm going to let her know.

<BradfromGeorgia>: Steve!!

<steve-shimp->: Hey all. It's still Halloween in here!

<Josef>: Hi Steve!

<BradfromGeorgia>: Yes, darn it.

<R_Hookie>: Hey Steve

<steve-shimp->: Sorry I am a bit late, lost track of the time

<LauraLeff>: Hey Steve, yeah I wish I could do something about that

<LauraLeff>: The Halloween background, I mean

<BradfromGeorgia>: Better than walking along the railroad and losing time on the track.

<R_Hookie>: the room will be Thanksgiving in time for Easter

<steve-shimp->: Oh, it's kinda Halloween year round in my house so I don't mind.

<LauraLeff>: Let me double-check that script if I have it electronically to make sure there's no title

<BradfromGeorgia>: I nearly had a joke there...

<steve-shimp->: Though I did put up the Xmas tree today.

<BradfromGeorgia>: We haven't done that yet. I'm giving finals next week at the college....

<LauraLeff>: It's a BBDO show, for anyone who wants to laugh about that

<algranddaughter>: Since I'm a Halloween addict, I'm pretty cool with the background, but I can see how, color-wise, it can be kind of annoying to read.

<LauraLeff>: Looking at the script now

<BradfromGeorgia>: Oh, oh, may I share something personal?

<LauraLeff>: Actually, if everyone scrolls to the bottom and clicks "Colours" and selects white, that seems to be the most readable

<steve-shimp->: as long as it doesn't involve rashes or surgical detail Brad

<LauraLeff>: Sure, Brad

<LauraLeff>: No title. Just "The Jack Benny Program"

<BradfromGeorgia>: My daughter's expecting! I've known for a while, but she and her husband made it public on Thanks;giving. First grand child.

<algranddaughter>: Thank you so much, Laura.

<steve-shimp->: Congratulations Brad!

<algranddaughter>: Congratulations, Brad!

<LauraLeff>: Mazel tov

<R_Hookie>: so where's Judy?

<Josef>: Congrats Brad!

<steve-shimp->: And thanks for the color tip Laura

<BradfromGeorgia>: Thanks. My wife's gonna spoil that kid so much...

<R_Hookie>: so, dates stuffed with nuts....

<LauraLeff>: Glad she's feeling better

<LauraLeff>: And I just double-checked that the episode wasn't done on television. I'm not seeing that it was.

<algranddaughter>: Wow, you are full-service! Thank you for checking on that!

<BradfromGeorgia>: Yes, Barbara finally discovered she didn't have a lingering sinus infection..but an abscess from a damaged tooth root (a tooth that had been root-canaled).

<R_Hookie>: that's good

<LauraLeff>: Hey, all part of the job.

<steve-shimp->: Oh boy, I have a lot of that dental surgery around the sinuses on the horizon. Yeech.

<LauraLeff>: So yes...thoughts about the show for tonight?

<steve-shimp->: I have to fess up I did not do my homework - loading it right now.

<BradfromGeorgia>: Ah, the show! Another triumph for Mel!

<LauraLeff>: And if you think of anything else related to Al or your family, just throw it in. We're all interested!

<Josef>: One of my favorite shows, Laura. I just love Mel's performance

<BradfromGeorgia>: Did I nod off, or was Rochester not on the show that week?

<algranddaughter>: Thanks! I did listen to the show, though, and it was hilarious.

<R_Hookie>: I didn't hear Rochester

<Josef>: Brad, I think you're right. He wasn't in Palm Springs

<steve-shimp->: which Christmas shopping one is it? I know them all pretty well.

<Josef>: the dates

<steve-shimp->: Oh, love it.

<LauraLeff>: No Rochester.

<steve-shimp->: boo

<steve-shimp->: as in "booooooo..." not a Halloween "Boo!:

<Josef>: I just love the slow build and by the time Jack is going over to the date department, the audience is already in stitches

<LauraLeff>: No singer either

<BradfromGeorgia>: It was the fourth one, I think. Mel references the others--shoelaces and the other gifts for Don. This year's is dates.

<R_Hookie>: was the Maxwell out of gas?

<algranddaughter>: Still a total classic, though. Sad these things aren't better circulated!

<R_Hookie>: that 1 gallon didn't last...

<Josef>: Yeah, shoe laces, wallet, dates, then oil paints. Believe that's the order

<LauraLeff>: Not enough Texaco stations in the desert

<BradfromGeorgia>: In this one Mel attempts to shoot himself, but is nervous and misses.

<LauraLeff>: gopher trap

<Josef>: Almost forgot that one

<R_Hookie>: last week I bought a gallon of gas, for my snow blower, and I thought of Jack

<LauraLeff>: Mel references that as last year

<Josef>: That's right

<BradfromGeorgia>: Mel's on pills to calm him down. Took them all at once, and didn't take them out of the bottle.

<Josef>: Love that

<algranddaughter>: I was laughing so hard by that point.

<steve-shimp->: Mel says "he first came into the store in 1946"

<LauraLeff>: I think these are interesting from a comedy structure standpoint...because people are looking forward to familiar gags, but you have to keep them fresh.

<BradfromGeorgia>: I noticed they used "Mr. Blanc" as the character's name.

<LauraLeff>: There still has to be an element of surprise

<BradfromGeorgia>: That has to be one of Nelson's most exaggerated renditions of "Yessssss!"

<LauraLeff>: Brad - I was thinking that too

<LauraLeff>: It's like someone goosed him on the line

<algranddaughter>: What makes something like this really interesting to me is that we still see this kind of episode all the time. This is essentially a reversal of that scene from Love Actually, the one with Rowan Atkinson and Alan Rickman.

<Josef>: Yes, Brad.

<steve-shimp->: I'd like to see the other TV Christmas shopping other than the 1960 one that is the common one in circulation.

<R_Hookie>: everyone's gone white but me....

<LauraLeff>: Hookie - You can change that if you want

<BradfromGeorgia>: And the witch STILL annoys me.

<R_Hookie>: Ok, just did

<Josef>: yay

<steve-shimp->: Jeanette Eymann just got a mention.

<R_Hookie>: that ain't as white as you folks

<BradfromGeorgia>: We tripped the light fandango...turnin' cartwheels 'cross the floor....

<LauraLeff>: Was anyone else just thrown out?

<LauraLeff>: Or was that just me?

<Josef>: I was thrown out earlier

<algranddaughter>: So there were only two TV Christmas shopping episodes? I've definitely seen the 1960 one. I actually made my grandfather watch it with me.

<steve-shimp->: I'm still here in transylvania

<R_Hookie>: I'm here

<LauraLeff>: Could someone who wasn't thrown out do a ctrl-A and send me the chat text?

<BradfromGeorgia>: I caught a couple of contemporary references: the Lurline was an ocean liner that cruised between LA and Hawaii. It had recently been refurbished after WWII.

<steve-shimp->: I'll send it to you Laura

<LauraLeff>: How was it to watch one of the shows with your grandfather? Did he tell stories about it, comment on the jokes, etc.?

<LauraLeff>: Steve - Thank you.

<Josef>: The contemporary references throw me now and then. But that's also what made me read history more

<LauraLeff>: I know they referenced the Lurline on another show

<LauraLeff>: Wondering if it was the Marilyn Monroe show or something like that

<algranddaughter>: That was so much fun! He did tell stories. Nothing specific. Just general "oh, this is the line I wrote" and stuff like that.

<LauraLeff>: I wonder if he wrote the comments about Jeanette being so pretty in the show for tonight

<BradfromGeorgia>: They mentioned Raymond Lowey in the commercial--graphic artist who was famous for his ads. He designed the Christmas Luckies carton.

<Josef>: I think the other Christmas episode is on Youtube, because I've seen it

<LauraLeff>: When I mentioned to him that Jeanette was still around, his mood completely changed. It felt like he was sweet on her. I connected the two of them, but I don't know if they actually met.

<LauraLeff>: I know they spoke on the phone.

<LauraLeff>: I should ask Jeanette some time.

<algranddaughter>: I have no idea. Is she still around? I was under the impression everyone from the Jack Benny days was gone, Irving being the last.

<LauraLeff>: No, I think Jeanette just moved from the Valley to inland, and I got her updated address when her issue of the newsletter came back to me.

<algranddaughter>: Wow. Good to know there's still someone out there!

<LauraLeff>: I guess if you think about it, Jeanette is now Jack's last living writer.

<steve-shimp->: I'm glad she's still around Laura, I remember awhile back you had not heard from her in awhile and were concerned

<BradfromGeorgia>: Well, there's Harry Shearer. He's still going strong on "The Simpsons," but of course he was a kid actor.

<LauraLeff>: I was concerned for a while that something had happened to her, but then I got the updated address and resent the newsletter.

<algranddaughter>: I'll have to tell my dad. He'd probably be happy to hear that.

<LauraLeff>: Yes, if you count the kids, there's a bunch of them still around.

<steve-shimp->: Don't resent the newsletter, Laura, it is fantastic. LOVE the newsletter http://widget02.mibbit.com/smileys/yel08.png

<LauraLeff>: Please do. And tell everyone that I said, "Hi."

<LauraLeff>: Steve - Thanks much! I need to generate one this month.

<algranddaughter>: Oh yeah. But Al was the youngest next to them...in fact, my mother and Mike Rudolph went to school together. That shows you how far off they were.

<algranddaughter>: Of course!

<BradfromGeorgia>: Oh, geeze, I've got to resubscribe. This has been such a crazy last six weeks...

<R_Hookie>: is there a new newsletter?

<steve-shimp->: When Shirley Mitchell passed last month I think she was the last adult "regular" from the radio show

<Josef>: I need to resubscribe as well

<LauraLeff>: Hookie - Not yet...need to do it this month.

<LauraLeff>: Steve - Yes, I can't think of another one right now.

<R_Hookie>: WHEW... I thought I was left out

<LauraLeff>: Want me to double-check your subscription status while we're here?

<steve-shimp->: Doris Singleton I think was second to last, and she went a year or two ago.

<Josef>: When I was in seminary those newsletters saved me from some boring moments in class

<LauraLeff>: I don't even consider Doris a regular.

<R_Hookie>: I think I'm re-subscribed

<steve-shimp->: She clocked a good run of "Paulines" for a little while.

<steve-shimp->: But, no, not like the "regular" regulars.

<algranddaughter>: Shirley Mitchell...when she died, we were sad. She and my mom had become "next door neighbors" at the hairdresser and we were sad to hear she was gone!

<LauraLeff>: Hookie - Yep, you're subscribed via E-mail.

<R_Hookie>: thanks

<LauraLeff>: On the show for tonight, the Phil Harris jokes just never play with Bob Crosby

<R_Hookie>: they didn't

<LauraLeff>: Thx Steve...just got it

<Josef>: No, they don't.

<BradfromGeorgia>: They plugged Drambuie. Wonder if they got a case that Christmas as thanks!

<R_Hookie>: the Remily joke just didn't seem to work

<LauraLeff>: Even though Crosby is talking about Remley, a line like "He never quite gets past dinner" just doesn't have the punch.

<Josef>: It just feels weird hearing Bob talk about his "motley" band that he inherited

<LauraLeff>: Brad - Oh, I'd bet money on it.

<LauraLeff>: Tack's son told me they had an extra garage for all the free stuff they used to get

<algranddaughter>: My dad just came through. He is so happy to hear that Jeanette is still alive--he just tried to look her up the other day! He was, apparently, a guest at her wedding.

<steve-shimp->: Phil had some big shoes to fill in terms of being a larger than life character.

<Josef>: I think that's why Jack says a lot of Remley jokes in some of the later shows.

<BradfromGeorgia>: Some time let me tell you how Mickey Spillane once tried to give me a case of beer.

<LauraLeff>: If you want her address, drop me an E-mail at president@jackbenny.org.

<algranddaughter>: Thanks! I'll tell him to do that.

<LauraLeff>: Brad - Is that like Nichelle Nichols force-feeding you a kiwi?

<LauraLeff>: In the show for tonight...who do you miss more...Rochester or Dennis?

<R_Hookie>: didn't he make Mike Hammer?

<steve-shimp->: Rochester

<R_Hookie>: yes Rochester

<BradfromGeorgia>: Sort of. He lived in Murrell's Inlet, SC, and he invited me to drop in once when I was in Myrtle Beach. He had a garage full of Miller Lite.

<BradfromGeorgia>: He tried to talk me into taking a case, but I don't drink.

<Josef>: Oh, good question Laura. But definitely I missed Rochester more. He's always fun when shopping for Jack.

<BradfromGeorgia>: Neither did he...he'd become a Jehovah's Witness, but he was doing beer commercials and they kept sending it.

<steve-shimp->: In shows like these where Jack meets a bunch of insane people, Rochester serves to balance as a "reality check"

<Tony>: hello

<R_Hookie>: Hi Tony

<Josef>: Dennis is better when visiting Benny than when he's "out" with him

<steve-shimp->: Hi Tony

<BradfromGeorgia>: Hookie--Yes, he wrote the Mike Hammer novels.

<Josef>: Hi Tony!

<BradfromGeorgia>: Hi, Tony!

<Tony>: hi Josef, STeve, Hookie

<Tony>: Hi Brad

<R_Hookie>: Ok, thanks Brad, I thought so

<R_Hookie>: with all of the teens and twenties I work with I feel so old talking about this stuff

<LauraLeff>: Hi Tony

<BradfromGeorgia>: I set up a telephone interview with him once for a convention, and when I was in the neighborhood I called him, and he said, "Hey, drive down." Nice guy. Cynical about publishing, though.

<Tony>: Hi Laura (face in the misty light)

<algranddaughter>: I'm only 20! But I admit that I'd feel differently if I didn't have a connection. Although it's hilarious, regardless.

<BradfromGeorgia>: I regard myself as in my extremely late twenties.

<steve-shimp->: LOL Brad

<LauraLeff>: So if you were charged with getting other younger people interested in Jack, what would you do?

<R_Hookie>: I'm 29 with years experiance

<R_Hookie>: ence

<BradfromGeorgia>: Chroma-Key Justin Bieber into one of the specials?

<Josef>: Yeah, most of my co-workers are younger than me--including my boss--(weird since I'm 28) so I always feelold when talking about musicals, movies, etc

<algranddaughter>: GET THE SHOWS OUT THERE! That's the main thing holding them back. My friends all watched Lucy, Bewitched, etc. as kids.

<algranddaughter>: And how is no one here 39?!

<Tony>: i agree al

<R_Hookie>: sorry for the misspelling..... I'm having wine

<BradfromGeorgia>: Manishevivitz?

<steve-shimp->: I'm surprised how many younger folks find Jack Benny.

<LauraLeff>: The television shows, you mean? Like getting them on somewhere like TV Land?

<Tony>: when i was 12 my local station showed jack exactly once a week, sunday night at 11:30

<Josef>: Laura--when I was in college, we weren't allowed to watch TV or go see movies so I was bale to get a lot of my friends into old shows

<Tony>: I used to sneak downstairs and watch

<algranddaughter>: Exactly. Me TV would be such a great one, if they could put together a syndication package.

<steve-shimp->: Even Laura and I are more or less "second generation" Benny fans, not around for much of the original run

<LauraLeff>: I don't know the age of everyone in this room, but I know enough to day that the average is probably somewhere around 39 (literally).

<BradfromGeorgia>: I mentioned the very cute video of two teens doing a "Jack and Giselle" bit--link's on the Forum, "Jack Benny Today" category.

<Tony>: Jack was on CBN for a while

<steve-shimp->: Yep, I'm 40

<BradfromGeorgia>: Well....I just got my first Social Security check....

<LauraLeff>: I'm 44

<Tony>: about 10 years ago two cable networks in Canada were showing Jack Benny

<steve-shimp->: Jack died when I was a year old.

<LauraLeff>: And Jack's on Antenna TV now

<R_Hookie>: I'm stickin' to 29 until I'm 50, then I'll be 34

<Josef>: I got into Benny because my Dad had some cassettes lying around, and I was curious, and boom. Benny fan

<LauraLeff>: But I don't know how many teens and 20-somethings turn on Antenna TV

<BradfromGeorgia>: Nice spin on the 39 joke on tonight's show..."It's his second time around." "I think it may be his third...."

<Tony>: In the summer of 1977 cbs showed four Benny eps in prime time

<algranddaughter>: I don't even know where Antenna TV is. But I will say this much: my friends who've seen Jack Benny thought he was hilarious.

<LauraLeff>: I wish there was more I could do with NBC to get them to appreciate the value of a syndication package on this

<Josef>: A lot of people become Benny fans--or fans of anything older--through other people

<Tony>: someone must own the syndication rights. Those stations in Canada got them from somewhere.

<LauraLeff>: That's really rewarding to hear that!

<BradfromGeorgia>: Jack's humor doesn't age the way, say, Bob Hope's radio shows have.

<R_Hookie>: you need more pull with NBC

<Josef>: Watching 3 hours of Jack would've been better than what NBC did this week anyway, and funnier.

<LauraLeff>: NBC has the syndication rights of the shows they own

<Tony>: yes, Jack played a character while Hope told jokes.

<algranddaughter>: It's on NBC, then, but they must just not see it as important.

<Tony>: That's tautologous, Laura.

<LauraLeff>: NBC just doesn't see anything before 1980 as worth putting attention towards.

<R_Hookie>: NBC could put those shows on COZI

<Josef>: I had to research Hope's jokes to get them. Don't have to do that with Jack

<steve-shimp->: So many people watch stuff via streaming now, it would be nice if they could throw the shows on something like Hulu or whatever the NBC equivalent is

<BradfromGeorgia>: algranddaughter, have you seen the LOST TV DVD set that Laura helmed?

<algranddaughter>: I honestly can't imagine that NBC would encounter such a great expense if they tried to put a deal together.

<LauraLeff>: Tony - It is, but you don't want to get me started on copyright arguments with NBC, CBS, etc.

<Tony>: I don't think the series was ever owned by the network.

<algranddaughter>: Brad, I haven't, actually! I've seen several episodes at the Paley center and some that were on a DVD someone else gave my mom.

<Tony>: Jack & Mary had their own production company J&M that made them and owned them.

<LauraLeff>: I totally agree with you, and I'd be happy to volunteer my time towards helping it become a reality. They just look at other properties and think they can get more "bang for their buck" there.

<BradfromGeorgia>: It's a very nice collection!

<BradfromGeorgia>: (I get a small kickback on all sales made through this chat)

<LauraLeff>: Do you want me to send you a copy?

<LauraLeff>: Tony -Right, but J&M got sold to MCA, which got sold to Universal, which got sold to Vivendi, which got sold to NBC

<algranddaughter>: Ooh, how much are they?

<BradfromGeorgia>: Ah, so I get one and a half per cent of nothing. Well, it beats getting none at all....

<LauraLeff>: Don't tell anyone, but I'll give you one free.

<LauraLeff>: Just E-mail me a reminder.

<Tony>: Do we know if copyright was renewed on the episodes?

<steve-shimp->: In 2013 Jack would be giving Don a "lost episodes" set but would go back and forth on getting the one with the bonus disc from Shout or ordering it cheaper from Amazon.

<LauraLeff>: Sorry to steal your royalty, Brad

<algranddaughter>: Wow, thank you so much!

<LauraLeff>: Tony - It was on some episodes, but not all. And that's part of where we get into arguments about ownership.

<steve-shimp->: mel would be at some distribution center somewhere

<Josef>: lol Steve.

<BradfromGeorgia>: You get a very nice easter egg...a TV version of "The Horn Blows at Midnight" that's better than the movie! But so's a root canal!

<steve-shimp->: getting text messages from Jack changing his order.

<Josef>: Mel would be the guy on the phone at Amazon going over shipping rates with Jack

<LauraLeff>: Would Mel be in Bangladesh?

<R_Hookie>: orders over $35 get free shipping

<steve-shimp->: Tijuana

<BradfromGeorgia>: "Oh, my goodness gracious, Mister Benny, by Ganesh you have to stop doing this!"

<LauraLeff>: Just contemplating comedy of Jack driving some operator in India crazy...

<algranddaughter>: haha

<Tony>: I'm looking through copyright.gov now and see many renewal records

<Josef>: Having to decide on two-day, three day, or buying something else for free shipping

<algranddaughter>: kind of like Jerry Seinfeld and Babu.

<LauraLeff>: Tony - Yes, I've listed the status in Volume 3 of "39 Forever"

<Tony>: no, Jack would call up and Frank Nelson would answer. Yeeeeeeessssss?

<LauraLeff>: Although it seems that some have been renewed that I wasn't able to find previously.

<Josef>: Then Nelson would put Jack on "hold"

<steve-shimp->: The Nasal singer would be the waiting music.

<Josef>: yes Steve!

<LauraLeff>: Thinking of Sara Berner singing some sort of Indian pop song

<BradfromGeorgia>: A Bollywood number!

<LauraLeff>: Come to thing of it, that may not be too different.

<steve-shimp->: Well, those have a kind of nasal style anyway

<steve-shimp->: exactly

<Josef>: then somewhere in there you could do a Gertrude and Mabel bit, taking a survey after the order's completed

<LauraLeff>: It is fun to envision her in a sari doing one of those dance numbers with a chorus line behind her

<R_Hookie>: I love it

<steve-shimp->: Mister Benny's IM window is popping up again...

<steve-shimp->: Jack ordering from amazon on the maxwell equivalent of a computer - a TRS 80 or Commodore 64

<LauraLeff>: Jack would want to access Facebook on a Commodore 64 computer

<R_Hookie>: K-pro

<LauraLeff>: Echo

<Tony>: I'm not sure if anyone but Harlow is still alive who worked on the show

<Tony>: a couple of the Beavers

<LauraLeff>: Harlow's gone.

<Tony>: Harrison Ford of course

<Tony>: Harlow's dead?

<LauraLeff>: Don't make me think about it. I missed interviewing him because we were both busy.

<LauraLeff>: Yep, Dale White left us a few years ago.

<BradfromGeorgia>: "Oh, Rochester! This computer is awfully slow!" "Look inside at the wheel, Boss. Maybe the squirrel died."

<LauraLeff>: More than a couple of the Beavers.

<Josef>: lol Brad!

<steve-shimp->: Boss, you put a tape of Lum and Abner in the cassette drive.

<LauraLeff>: "At least I don't have to dip the ribbon in grape juice any more..."

<Tony>: well I posted a list of people I found on imdb about 12 years ago and there were like two left. Dale White, Maury Thompson,a nd I think one other guy.

<BradfromGeorgia>: Gee, I WONDERED why I kept getting those popups for the Jot 'em Down store.

<LauraLeff>: Maury Thompson...trying to remember...?

<Josef>: No, but Rochester would have to take the ends off the paper from the old printers

<LauraLeff>: Oh yeah the tractor holes

<Josef>: yes

<LauraLeff>: At least Jack's computer doesn't use punch cards

<algranddaughter>: Primitive computers...*sigh*

<Tony>: Holy cow, he was over 30 when he played Harlow

<Josef>: No, probably 5 1/2 floppy discs

<R_Hookie>: "we'll save those stripes...."

<Tony>: I was thinking Harlow was about 15

<LauraLeff>: Tony - No, he had the ability like Dennis of seeming much younger than he was.

<steve-shimp->: Did Don have real-life kids?

<LauraLeff>: Nope

<LauraLeff>: Multiple wives, but no kids

<Tony>: well he's dead now, but he went on to be director of the Lucy Show

<BradfromGeorgia>: I understand Dennis reverted to Eugene McNulty in later years. I guess he didn't legally change his name.

<steve-shimp->: I know Lois and that Eastern European princess, right?

<LauraLeff>: Steve - There were a couple others, I believe.

<BradfromGeorgia>: Of course, neither did Eddie Anderson--though he always was billed as Eddie "Rochester" Anderson in later appearances.

<LauraLeff>: Folks on either Facebook or the Forum chased them down

<LauraLeff>: Owen Patrick Eugene McNulty

<Tony>: I don't know what it said on his ID but he was always known professionally as Dennis Day

<steve-shimp->: Eddie was usually billed as Eddie "Rochester" Anderson everywhere but the Benny show, even during the show's run.

<LauraLeff>: Once you've got that kind of recognition, no sense going back.

<steve-shimp->: Makes me wonder how comfortable he was with not using his real name on Jack's show

<Tony>: his grave has both on them http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=day&GSfn=dennis&GSbyrel=all&GSdyrel=all&GSob=n&GRid=1541&df=all&

<LauraLeff>: Even on his gravestone

<BradfromGeorgia>: But not in "Gone with the Wind." 'Course, that was early....

<LauraLeff>: Anderson's that is

<LauraLeff>: Yeah, that was pre-Rochester

<Tony>: Dennis's wife died earlier this year

<LauraLeff>: That would be a bit too prescient

<Josef>: I almost always rget Rochester ws in Gone with the Wind

<LauraLeff>: By the way, I've talked with a number of Dennis' kids and they're great.

<Josef>: *forget

<BradfromGeorgia>: Playing a character much older than his real age.

<steve-shimp->: Geez, I wonder how many grandkids Dennis has.

<LauraLeff>: You know, I didn't get a count on that.

<R_Hookie>: wasn't Dennis's family all in the !st Farewell Speical?

<Tony>: obit for his wife says 19

<steve-shimp->: That's a lot of McNulty DNA out there in the gene pool.

<LauraLeff>: Ah Irish Catholic

<algranddaughter>: Well, 10 kids having 19 grandkids...isn't technically all that many kids. That's 2/person, with one having only one.

<Tony>: that's not so many considering 10 children

<Tony>: jinx, al!

<steve-shimp->: Yes, I suppose so.

<LauraLeff>: I teased one of my choir directors a few months ago that he's probably the only Episcopalian with an Irish Jewish female tenor in his choir.

<algranddaughter>: Ha! Yes! Great minds think alike!

<steve-shimp->: Ann Blyth, his sister-in-law is still around too I believe.

<Tony>: is the Irish Jewish female tenor you?

<LauraLeff>: Yep

<BradfromGeorgia>: In a Hallmark shop recently I heard a Christmas carol on the PA that I thought was Dennis...wasn't, though. It was a lady singer.

<Tony>: I've got Dennis's christmas album with Jack dressed as Santa on the cover

<LauraLeff>: Ah yes. There's not much Jack on the recording, but it's a fun item.

<steve-shimp->: Isn't that the one where one of the kids has a black eye too?

<BradfromGeorgia>: Well, I'm gonna have a half-Irish grandchild. Or maybe more than that. My grandfather on my mom's side was Anglo-Irish.

<steve-shimp->: I always thought that was a little odd

<Tony>: the founder of Shakey's Pizza described it as an Italian restaurant owned by a Swede serving German beer in an English pub atmosphere

<algranddaughter>: I knew an Italian guy who always joked that he'd start his own kosher pizza place (he hasn't...yet)

<LauraLeff>: Sounds like the old line of "A minister, a priest, and a rabbi walk into a bar, and the bartender says, 'What is this, a joke?'"

<R_Hookie>: kosher pizza... I'm in

<Tony>: I don;t think pizza can be kosher

<LauraLeff>: Tony - Why not?

<Josef>: lol Laura

<algranddaughter>: Well, I mean, there's Negila here in LA.

<Tony>: would have to leave off either cheese or meat?

<LauraLeff>: Tony - Yeah, just can't combine them.

<algranddaughter>: Definitely no meat. But cheese is ok. There's kosher cheese!

<R_Hookie>: ouch

<LauraLeff>: I'd think you could make a margherita pizza kosher

<steve-shimp->: a bacon cheeseburger one, not so much.

<LauraLeff>: Or soy cheese might work. Don't know how it melts

<BradfromGeorgia>: I like pizza without cheese. Nice tomato sauce, mushrooms, olives, peppers....mmmm.

<algranddaughter>: We definitely have at least one kosher pizza place in Los Angeles.

<algranddaughter>: But I'd love a kosher margherita pizza!

<Tony>: yuk yuk yuk, and i don't mean that in the good way

<LauraLeff>: Pepperoni is a bit out of the question

<Tony>: whose granddaughter are you, al?

<steve-shimp->: the more margaritas you have, the more kosher the pizza looks.

<LauraLeff>: Tony - Al's.

<BradfromGeorgia>: "So why haven't you dropped in? You're maybe ashamed of us? Don't answer, eat, eat, you're too thin."

<Tony>: lol, I just ate pepperoni on the way to the chat.

<Tony>: Al who?

<algranddaughter>: Pepperoni is waaaay out of the question!

<algranddaughter>: Al Gordon, Tony. http://widget02.mibbit.com/smileys/yel02.png

<LauraLeff>: That sounds like a knock-knock joke

<Tony>: Al Gordon! He's one of the new writers.

<LauraLeff>: Al be seeing you in all the old familiar places

<R_Hookie>: nice song Laura

<LauraLeff>: I love it. We still call them the new writers in this room.

<algranddaughter>: Yep! That's my grandfather! Except he never wanted to be called "grandpa." So I had grandma and grandpa and Al and Char.

<Tony>: Two weeks before he died, Jack was still referring to Goldman & Gordon as thw new writers.

<algranddaughter>: lol. I love it!

<BradfromGeorgia>: Everybody was a kid to Jack.

<LauraLeff>: Tony - Oh I know it. Just love that we carry on that tradition because we know that

<BradfromGeorgia>: Even President Truman...

<LauraLeff>: To George Burns too

<LauraLeff>: What can you do when your Social Security number is 2?

<Josef>: Well Jack was 39 when he started in radio back in '32, right?

<Tony>: Goldman & Gordon went on to work for Johnny Carson.

<LauraLeff>: Josef - Not quite...he was born in 1894

<Tony>: He was 39 in '33

<LauraLeff>: And many others

<R_Hookie>: I watched George in The Sunshine Boys last night

<Josef>: Oh. well I was close

<LauraLeff>: Josef - True.

<BradfromGeorgia>: Carolyn Carroll said Eddie loved talking to Burns...she thinks because Burns always called him "Kid."

<Josef>: Just glad I didn't use that kind of math at work yesterday http://widget02.mibbit.com/smileys/yel02.png

<algranddaughter>: Al and Hal worked all over the place...separately, together, with others. I've seen a lot of Al's stuff. Less so with Hal.

<LauraLeff>: Let's see...Tony Orlando and Dawn

<BradfromGeorgia>: Didn't Al win an Emmy for a .... Carol Channing, was it?...special?

<LauraLeff>: Didn't Al write part of a Sanford and Son episode?

<LauraLeff>: Barbara Mandrell and the Mandrell Sisters

<LauraLeff>: (I'm sure someone is looking him up on IMDB now)

<R_Hookie>: I know he wrote some Three's Company and many others

<Tony>: I just heard Tony Orlando interviewed on the radio the other night

<algranddaughter>: Oy, I just got booted. But I'm back.

<LauraLeff>: I helped reconnect your grandfather with Tony Orlando at the Paley Center...I think I told you about that at the funeral.

<R_Hookie>: Firefox?

<steve-shimp->: Someone on Sanford and Son liked Jack - I love seeing Redd Foxx do the same bits with Frank Nelson.

<Tony>: 561-09-5480 was Jack's SSN

<algranddaughter>: Yes! Al used to tell the story about Tony Orlando. About how he saw him and started jumping up and down and kissing him.

<algranddaughter>: No, not even! I use safari.

<BradfromGeorgia>: We were asking if Al didn't win an Emmy for a special, and I think it was with Carol Channing.

<LauraLeff>: But that's not as funny as 2

<Tony>: lol, i know

<LauraLeff>: Brad - I think you're right

<algranddaughter>: He did win for a Carol Channing special! Good memory. But I found that out AFTER I got to drive Carol Channing to her hotel. Which is a completely different story.

<LauraLeff>: Not to mention for the Benny show

<R_Hookie>: I'm on Chrome now

<LauraLeff>: I remember seeing two Emmy's on the display

<LauraLeff>: Do tell

<algranddaughter>: Three, actually. Two for Benny and one for the Carol Channing special.

<BradfromGeorgia>: My college roommate and his wife were in theater in NYC and got to know Carol Channing well...but never introduced me. Or even got me comps to "Phantom," which my roommate's wife was IN.

<LauraLeff>: OK, was thinking he got two for the Benny show

<BradfromGeorgia>: Cheapskates.

<R_Hookie>: I think my anti-ad stuff keeps booting me on Firefox

<Tony>: Jack is frequently reported as incorrectly having died in Beverly Hills

<LauraLeff>: When I got booted, I got an error to update Flash. It looked suspect.

<BradfromGeorgia>: I use Chrome and had to install Ad Blocker. New laptop. I hate Windows 8, by the way.

<LauraLeff>: Tony - Where do you think he died?

<algranddaughter>: Carol Channing? My mom's side of the family is kind of cool. They have an orchestra, and Carol flew in to perform and needed a ride from the airport. My mom volunteered us because I'm such a huge fan, so we drove Carol and chatted with her for about an hour. So cool! But my dad told me about the special after. http://widget02.mibbit.com/smileys/yel36.png

<LauraLeff>: Chautauqua?

<Tony>: Bel Air, which is part of Los Angeles

<algranddaughter>: Wait, it wasn't at the house in BH?

<BradfromGeorgia>: LL-That is suspect. There's malware that does that. Also urges you to download an HD viewer.

<Tony>: no, they sold the house in BH in 1965

<LauraLeff>: Tony - Hmmmm....I don't think so.

<algranddaughter>: Oh. Didn't know that.

<Tony>: 1002 N. Roxbury Dr.

<Tony>: Jack died at the house on Charing Cross Rd. adjacent to the Playboy mansion

<LauraLeff>: He died at 10243 Charing Cross Rd.

<LauraLeff>: Hm

<LauraLeff>: OK, now I'm going to go downstairs and pull my letter from Mary that has the address on it.

<BradfromGeorgia>: Wait, that's in London.

<LauraLeff>: Let's see what that says. BRB.

<Tony>: There is no address in Beverly Hills with a number like 10243

<algranddaughter>: There's a Charing Cross in Bel Air. That makes sense. But not Beverly Hills, no.

<algranddaughter>: It's just outside BH

<Josef>: Wow, I'm falling asleep over here. So, I guess I should probably sign off.

<steve-shimp->: For those of us in the rest of the country...it's all LA!

<algranddaughter>: That makes sense! BH isn't technically LA, though, and I just heard some stories about Beverly Hills independence today.

<R_Hookie>: I'm still in Sioux Falls

<LauraLeff>: 10231, not 10243, sorry

<LauraLeff>: It just says Los Angeles

<algranddaughter>: Yeah, that's Bel Air.

<LauraLeff>: Thanks for stopping, Josef!

<algranddaughter>: But Bel Air doesn't get listed as a city on addresses. It's part of LA

<steve-shimp->: As far as I'm concerned LA starts just north of San Diego and ends a few miles into Santa Barbara.

<Tony>: what are people from Sioux Falls called?

<Josef>: You bet, Laura! You have a great Holiday season and Merry Christmas/Happy New Year all!

<R_Hookie>: "Folks"

<steve-shimp->: Bye Josef!!

<BradfromGeorgia>: So long!

<algranddaughter>: Goodbye, Josef!

<BradfromGeorgia>: Say, what about next chat? What should we listen to?

<LauraLeff>: OK...I was never sure where the line was, and when you're driving through, I think of Bel Air as the gated community north of Sunset.

<Josef>: Bye algranddaughter! Great meeting you!

<steve-shimp->: Please not one of those old man/baby new year ones.

<Tony>: bye granddaughter

<LauraLeff>: Yeah, New Tenant

<steve-shimp->: by algranddaughter, thanks for stopping!

<BradfromGeorgia>: Aw, I'm the only one who likes those...

<steve-shimp->: noooooo new tenant

<R_Hookie>: bye grandauter

<LauraLeff>: Are you leaving, algranddaughter?

<Tony>: My aunt lives in Sioux Falls

<LauraLeff>: Thought you were just saying goodbye to Josef

<BradfromGeorgia>: Rose Bowl show maybe?

<R_Hookie>: oh, welcome back

<steve-shimp->: Oh, lol sorry algranddaughter, totally misread that one.. Please stay1

<algranddaughter>: Oh, no! I said goodbye to Josef. Sorry!

<Tony>: well hello again granddaughter

<algranddaughter>: hi again!

<LauraLeff>: I"m hearing Rose Bowl...other thoughts?

<Tony>: would there be any interested in discussing a provocative chapter alleging that the Jack Benny character was gay?

<BradfromGeorgia>: I tell ya...I wanna hear a show with some grand recipes for Jell-O.

<R_Hookie>: anything you pick, I'll enjoy listening to

<LauraLeff>: Oh the McFadden article?

<steve-shimp->: Yeah, I'm up for a "draw one outta the hat" and see what we get

<Tony>: I wrote a negative review of it on Amazon

<steve-shimp->: I think we get in a rut of trying to do a season-appropriate show

<BradfromGeorgia>: I don't think it would make any difference, actually. Funny is funny.

<Tony>: was that the author's name? doesn't sound familiar

<LauraLeff>: OK...let me see if I can find a "non traditional" new years' episode

<Tony>: no, Alexander Doty was his name.

<LauraLeff>: Tony - OK, good. I haven't been able to make it all the way through the McFadden article yet. Partially because it's boring and partially because it's whacked.

<LauraLeff>: I may as well tell people to go read "The CanniBalS"

<Tony>: well if you give me your e-mail address i will send you a scan

<BradfromGeorgia>: Is that the one I sent you, Laura? Or referred you to?

<Tony>: afk

<LauraLeff>: president@jackbenny.org

<LauraLeff>: Brad - I can't remember who sent it to me. It may have been you. Have known about it for some time.

<LauraLeff>: Thanks!

<LauraLeff>: This has been a pretty solid Benny chat...we haven't gone off topic much at all. Kudos to all of you.

<BradfromGeorgia>: Yes, I think I mentioned it and got a copy to you. I agree--badly written and not very well-researched.

<BradfromGeorgia>: Ooh, I love kudos! Chop them up and blend them into cherry Jell-O!

<LauraLeff>: Bad Benny research is almost as hard for me to read as watching a bad Benny impersonator. Maybe more so.

<algranddaughter>: Bad any research is a pain to read. I can only imagine how annoying it must be when you actually know the subject!

<steve-shimp->: I wrote this on the forum but I've been watching some of the "Dobie Gillis" set and there's a recent interview with Dwayne Hickman

<LauraLeff>: Yeah, it's hard to not want to yell and throw things.

<R_Hookie>: I find it irritating

<steve-shimp->: talking about how he stole from Jack Benny

<steve-shimp->: His little Bennyisms are actually pretty fun on the show..

<BradfromGeorgia>: Yes, I read one OTR book that claimed the Benny show was racist because Rochester was the only actor who used a stage name rather than his real name in the billing.

<LauraLeff>: I was reading the Carl Reiner book, and he misquotes the "Your money or your life punchline."

<steve-shimp->: aside from Dennis Day, Mary Livingstone...

<LauraLeff>: I was reading it on a plane and let out an involuntary disgusted "AWWWW!!!!"

<algranddaughter>: I do get really sick of flawed logic, and some of that stuff is just flat-out stupid.

<LauraLeff>: Then I apologized to the person next to me for startling them.

<LauraLeff>: It's like they started with their own judgement, and then put the show through so many funhouse mirrors to make it look like it's supported.

<LauraLeff>: So what else Benny-wise is on everyone's mind?

<steve-shimp->: Welcome to 80% of academic writing!

<BradfromGeorgia>: I can see Dwayne Hickman's reactions as very Benny-inspired: MAY-nard!

<LauraLeff>: Yeah *sish*

<LauraLeff>: sigh

<algranddaughter>: Ken Levine, a tv comedy writer with a genius blog, wrote a great article recently on people attributing symbolism where there is none.

<steve-shimp->: Zelda! Now cut that out!

<BradfromGeorgia>: Now, now, I'm an academic.

<BradfromGeorgia>: True, I did get a weird letter once from a reader who saw all sorts of symbolism in one of my books that somebody other than me must have put there.

<LauraLeff>: I commented on that a lot when I was in college in classes that were analyzing various films.

<steve-shimp->: Oh, I was in grad school at Berkeley...been in that world and happy to have a little balance to have lived in it and outside it too.

<LauraLeff>: They'd come up with some grand, drawn-out analysis of what the director meant in a particular scene, and a lot of the time it sounded like crap to me.

<LauraLeff>: Now maybe someone like Welles or Kubrick really did mean all that stuff because they thought about it.

<BradfromGeorgia>: I prefer to call attention to touches like the beginning of "Rear Window," where in one panning shot we get the character's name, injury, profession, and how he was injured. Lots of visual info.

<LauraLeff>: But I kind of doubt that George Stevens did.

<algranddaughter>: it really depends. Ken's blog was framed on the idea of MASH symbolism, because he was a writer on that show. And, hint, there wasn't any intentional symbolism there.

<LauraLeff>: Not insulting Stevens' intelligence or anything...I just don't think most stuff is supposed to be that deep.

<algranddaughter>: I always thought about that when I was doing book reports as a kid. "Did this author expect this kind of analysis?"

<BradfromGeorgia>: I don't think Shakespeare intended much of the symbolism imputed to him. He loved the language and its richness does the rest.

<LauraLeff>: I find some parallels in my own research. You ask someone about some tiny detail, and they don't remember it. They were just living their life.

<steve-shimp->: At the end of the day the umpteenth marxist (or whatever) analysis of whatever literary work just says a lot more about the writer than the work.

<BradfromGeorgia>: I expect Shakespeare's chief thought when he wrote "Hamlet" was "I hope this pays well enough so I can have the roof repaired."

<LauraLeff>: And I try to respect that. They weren't analyzing or archiving their own existence.

<LauraLeff>: At least, not before Facebook.

<LauraLeff>: Well said, Brad.

<algranddaughter>: There are so many cases. That happened in one of my creative writing classes. The professor commended one student on the "deep symbolic meaning" in her story, and she looked at the professor and said, "...ok."

<BradfromGeorgia>: An impression of Karl Marx: "Capitalism? That's the most ridiculous thing I EVER hoid."

<LauraLeff>: I think if you're actively trying to write something deep like that, you'll most times end up being obscure or not understandable because you're thinking too much.

<R_Hookie>: why am I hearing Groucho in my head?

<Tony>: http://widget02.mibbit.com/smileys/yel40.png

<algranddaughter>: well, not always. Look at a show like Mad Men.

<LauraLeff>: Just tell the story. The audience will decide what it means to them.

<algranddaughter>: but yes, in general, especially if the writer isn't skilled enough to do it.

<LauraLeff>: OK, point taken. But I don't know how much they intend the symbolism either.

<BradfromGeorgia>: The greatest writers, I think have the best sense of character and story. The rest follows.

<LauraLeff>: I remember hearing an interview with some of the writers, and them talking about how they were drawing on their own childhood experiences

<LauraLeff>: Like when the mother goes out and shoots the birds that belong to the neighbor

<LauraLeff>: Someone's mother actually did that, or someone in their neighborhood did.

<BradfromGeorgia>: Didn't everyone's mother do that?

<BradfromGeorgia>: There wasn't a bird standing within a quarter mile of our place.

<BradfromGeorgia>: They used to split up around our house when migrating.

<BradfromGeorgia>: Got worse the year after Dad gave her a tommy gun.

<algranddaughter>: It really is all about a sense of character (i.e. the ability to create interesting PEOPLE, not 2D people on a page) and story. That's what matters. The rest comes with that.

<R_Hookie>: my Mom used a glue gun

<LauraLeff>: Exactly. I think the comic strip "Dykes to Watch Out For" is a great example of that. You end up caring so much about the characters like they're real people.

<BradfromGeorgia>: Those work pretty well, but a mucilaged mallard is a mucky mess.

<LauraLeff>: And there aren't a lot of comic strips that can do that.

<algranddaughter>: I mean, part of what makes us love these shows for years is that we love the characters.

<LauraLeff>: And Jack's show is a perfect example of that.

<steve-shimp->: absolutely

<algranddaughter>: exactly!

<LauraLeff>: In that context, do people feel like they "cared" about Bob Hope or Fred Allen?

<BradfromGeorgia>: For me the first great English storyteller was Geoffrey Chaucer, because his people are all so real.

<algranddaughter>: Very true, Brad. Pretty much anyone we're still reading hundreds of years out is in that category.

<LauraLeff>: I defy anyone to say that they really cared about Portland Hoffa's character

<steve-shimp->: Not in the same way Laura - Hope and Allen never really showed their vulnerabilities like Jack and his characters did

<Tony>: chapter has been sent to you, madame president

<LauraLeff>: Thank you, Tony!

<BradfromGeorgia>: Even in light reading--P.G. Wodehouse was wonderful with language, but it's characters like Jeeves and Bertie that make me re-read his work.

<LauraLeff>: Is there another vintage show where you can really say that you cared about the characters?

<LauraLeff>: Fibber McGee and Molly

<LauraLeff>: Leave it to Beaver

<LauraLeff>: I'm not saying these as examples for myself

<R_Hookie>: I Love Lucy

<algranddaughter>: Well, depends on how far back you want to go. I think it's hard NOT to care about Lucy.

<LauraLeff>: just fodder

<steve-shimp->: Good examples

<LauraLeff>: Brady Bunch?

<R_Hookie>: Barney Miller

<algranddaughter>: aww, yes, they were so sappy and corny in a great way

<LauraLeff>: Mary Tyler Moore. I'm giving that as an example.

<algranddaughter>: and I cared about Andy Taylor and his family.

<Tony>: yes, I agree people identify with characters onn the brady bunch

<algranddaughter>: AHHH you have stumbled upon a major MTM fan here.

<BradfromGeorgia>: MASH. I thought the last episode was weakly written...but I cried.

<Tony>: that's why it's lasted so long while other shows disappear

<LauraLeff>: Good taste

<Tony>: mary tyler moore another one like that, and mash, and cheers

<LauraLeff>: Bob Newhart

<steve-shimp->: MTM is terrific

<R_Hookie>: and Alice

<Tony>: I am from Minneapolis you know http://widget02.mibbit.com/smileys/yel06.png

<algranddaughter>: http://widget02.mibbit.com/smileys/yel02.png

<LauraLeff>: Ironic

<Tony>: Alice is a series people forgot about instantly

<LauraLeff>: Kiss ma grits

<R_Hookie>: who could forget Mel?

<LauraLeff>: Even Diff'rent Strokes, same era

<LauraLeff>: Full House was just sappy to me.

<BradfromGeorgia>: My wife's crazy about "The Big Bang Theory." Having been to a lot of SF conventions, I warm up more slowly...I know people like those characters.

<Tony>: never watched it

<R_Hookie>: not a big fan

<LauraLeff>: Youwin big twubble, mistah

<algranddaughter>: Full House. Man, how many times did I see those episodes as a kid?

<Tony>: The Golden Girls is another one where ppl got into it

<algranddaughter>: I love Parks and Recreation. I care about those characters. Same with 30 Rock. They were lovable weirdos!

<LauraLeff>: Brad - I saw part of an episode, and I just found it painful. Haven't gone back.

<algranddaughter>: Golden Girls, for sure. And Frasier.

<Tony>: Example of forgettable sitcom: One Day at a Time

<BradfromGeorgia>: Um...I wrote a Full House book too, but hated doing it. Don't ask.

<algranddaughter>: Wait, I own some of them. The Full House books.

<R_Hookie>: I have ODaaT on DVD, season 1

<Tony>: Was there a season 2?

<LauraLeff>: I used to watch One Day at a Time

<R_Hookie>: not yet

<Tony>: Some companies release season 1 and then never get around to season 2. Little or no interest in those series.

<LauraLeff>: Jeffersons

<BradfromGeorgia>: I wrote the one about the adults leaving and the kids...having a party. They turned down my outline and gave me that crappy one to write from.

<algranddaughter>: All in the Family!

<Tony>: Some series had incredible ratings but bombed in syndication like Cosby

<algranddaughter>: Brad, ok, now I have to go check my Olsen Twins book collection.

<Tony>: People didn't want to see those episodes again/

<R_Hookie>: I have the whole series

<Tony>: No one tells the president what to do!

<LauraLeff>: Yeah, the episode of Archie dealing with Edith's death will tear you apart. But I think that was Archie Bunker's Place.

<algranddaughter>: Roseanne. You actually cared about them, even if she was bitter sometimes. They were very real people.

<BradfromGeorgia>: Ah, well, past ten here and I get up at five for my first final... Goodnight, all!

<R_Hookie>: anyone remember Little House?

<steve-shimp->: I tend to turn off sitcoms when they go too "dramatic" with the characters

<Tony>: I never liked Roseanne. TV usually doesn't present blue collar Americans in a favorable way.

<steve-shimp->: It usually rings false to me

<LauraLeff>: That's an interesting point. I watched Cosby religiously first-run. But you're right, I have no interest in turning on reruns.

<LauraLeff>: Star Trek

<Tony>: According to TV< blue collar people are stupid, evil, to be hated.

<algranddaughter>: Goodnight, Brad! Good luck with finals! I feel your pain on this one.

<LauraLeff>: Night, Brad! Glad to have you here!

<R_Hookie>: good night Brad

<steve-shimp->: Bye Brad!

<Tony>: Yes, I remember LHOP. That's another one that holds from generation to generation.

<algranddaughter>: Roseanne is one that I watch because I found out that my aunt worked on it.

<LauraLeff>: Star Trek I got into the characters more on Deep Space Nine, because there was really a larger storyline and development.

<R_Hookie>: I recently bought Father Murphy

<Tony>: I recently bought The Lucy Show complete and then Amazon offered a black Friday deal on it http://widget02.mibbit.com/smileys/yel36.png

<LauraLeff>: I had to watch Little House in self-defense because it was so popular when I was growing up.

<Tony>: It was set in Minnesota too http://widget02.mibbit.com/smileys/yel06.png

<LauraLeff>: And Bablyon Five is a good one for caring about characters.

<Tony>: LHOP, I mean.

<R_Hookie>: yes Tony, we're neighbors

<LauraLeff>: So what else? Or are we good for this month?

<Tony>: Part of LHOP was set in Dakota Territory, Hookie

<LauraLeff>: Again, very solid chat folks. Thank you.

<R_Hookie>: and several of the books

<steve-shimp->: I'm good to hang it up for the month. Thanks all! Happy holidays all around.

<LauraLeff>: Thanks algranddaughter...it was really good having you here. I hope you join us again.

<R_Hookie>: ok, folks. good night, and see you soon

<algranddaughter>: Thank you all so much for having me! This was really great, and I'm so glad to see that so many remember Al!

<LauraLeff>: Most definitely!

<LauraLeff>: OK folks...see you next year.

<R_Hookie>: thanks for the memories