IJBFC Chat - March 6, 2016

(Name of message originator above the comment)

Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:00 PM

howdy folks, I am happy that we have a meeting to fill up the time before the last Downton Abbey episode. And I wonder how Jack and Company would parody this show on their show. Jack would be the totally inept Daddy Downton. Too bad Mary could not be BOTH Cora AND Grandma Downton (ie the wonderful Maggie Smith). Mary has the attitude to be Dame Violet...


Josef Silvia·5:01 PM

Hello! That sounds fun. I've never actually seen Downtown Abby, sadly.


Judy R·5:01 PM

Jell-O everybody ! *hugs*


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:02 PM

the first season is the best, much like an Edith Wharton novel. The rest...is all melodrama and sentimentality....


Josef Silvia·5:02 PM

Hi Judy!


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:02 PM

Hello Judy and Josef!

and Steve too


Josef Silvia·5:02 PM

Hi Steve, Hi Kathy!


Steve Archer·5:02 PM

Hi Everyone


Judy R·5:02 PM

downton abby? I tried to watch it. couldn't get into it


R. Hookie·5:02 PM



Steve Archer·5:02 PM

Hi there Hookie


Josef Silvia·5:02 PM


R. Hookie!


Judy R·5:02 PM

Jell-O *hugs*


Steve Archer·5:03 PM

Cherry Jell-O with stuffed olives to all


Judy R·5:03 PM

ol steve



R. Hookie·5:03 PM

Sorry I missed so many chats...


Steve Archer·5:03 PM

Hopefully everyone made it for their Washington's Birthday parties.

You did have them, right?


Judy R·5:03 PM

me too hookie


Josef Silvia·5:03 PM

Me too, Hookie. This is my first chat in months


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:04 PM

so glad to have the clans gather!


Judy R·5:04 PM

hey, a big late happy anniversary to the US Navy Seabees! 74th anniversary yesterday!


HipChat·5:04 PM

Hi @BuckBenny! Welcome to Hipchat. You can @-mention me by typing @HipChat and I'll tell you what HipChat can do!


R. Hookie·5:04 PM

Now.... where's Laura?


Steve Archer·5:05 PM

Hiya Buck


Judy R·5:05 PM

hiya buck!


Buck Benny·5:05 PM

He all, it's been awhile!


Josef Silvia·5:05 PM

Hi Buck!


Judy R·5:05 PM

*with andy dvine voice*


Buck Benny·5:05 PM



R. Hookie·5:05 PM

Howdy, Buck


Steve Archer·5:06 PM

Was it just me or did we have the same show 2 months in a row?  I think we were supposed to be on the fourth Yosemite show.


Buck Benny·5:06 PM

Anyone chatch Jack on Johnny Carson last Sunday from 1973?


R. Hookie·5:06 PM

I recorded it


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:06 PM

one last Downton reference, Rochester would make a FABULOUS Carson


Judy R·5:06 PM

yea, I have watched that one a long time ago


Laura Leff·5:06 PM

Hey folks!


Steve Archer·5:06 PM

Wasn't last Sunday still 2016?


Josef Silvia·5:06 PM

Hi Laura!


Steve Archer·5:06 PM

Hi Laura


Judy R·5:06 PM

laura! *hugs*


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:06 PM

the Yosemite journey DID go on forever...


R. Hookie·5:06 PM

Hi Laura!


Laura Leff·5:07 PM

Hey, I love all these folks in the room!!!


Buck Benny·5:07 PM

Hiya Laura


Laura Leff·5:07 PM

Yeah, we really didn't talk about the show last month, so I kept it on for this month.


R. Hookie·5:07 PM

Hold on... be right back...


Steve Archer·5:07 PM

The feeling is Mutual. But often NBC and CBS too.


Laura Leff·5:07 PM



Josef Silvia·5:08 PM

Glad to be able to catch up a month :)


Laura Leff·5:08 PM

So how's everyone doing tonight?


Buck Benny·5:08 PM

The Yosemite trip is my favorite Benny Story arc of all time!


Laura Leff·5:08 PM

Yes, welcome back Josef!


Josef Silvia·5:08 PM



Judy R·5:08 PM

i'm about to be a godmother again :)


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:08 PM

congrats, Judy!


Laura Leff·5:08 PM

Other than the Ronald Colman oscar, there aren't a lot of serial stories like this...


Judy R·5:08 PM

thanks :)


Laura Leff·5:08 PM

Mazel tov, Judy!


Buck Benny·5:08 PM

Doing great, but son's got the flu


Josef Silvia·5:08 PM



Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:09 PM

I am impressed that in the Yosemite arc that they didn't obsess about where Rochester would sleep


R. Hookie·5:09 PM

On a personal note, I think my neighbors moved out!


Steve Archer·5:09 PM

I had a third grade teacher who pronounced Yosemite as rhyming with "dynamite"


Judy R·5:09 PM

thanks all


Steve Archer·5:09 PM

Congrats Judy


Laura Leff·5:09 PM

Mazel tov, Hookie!!!!!


R. Hookie·5:09 PM



Buck Benny·5:09 PM

Laura, do you know why they never revisited this concept again?


Laura Leff·5:09 PM

Buck - Well, it takes some pre-planning to create an arc like this that can sustain.


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:10 PM

good question, Buck!


Laura Leff·5:10 PM

And my understanding is that they mainly took the shows week-to-week.


Steve Archer·5:10 PM

I think they shouldn't have had Jack speak after the crash and made it a real cliffhanger like a Republic Serial.


Judy R·5:10 PM

long serial bit then


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:10 PM

and the shows were live, if you missed it, you could not catch up with missed plotlines


Steve Archer·5:10 PM

Then we find out the next week that he gets offered the hot chocolate.


Laura Leff·5:10 PM

Also you didn't have TIVO or reruns back then, so if you missed a week, you missed part of the story.

Yeah, what Kathy said.


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:10 PM

yeah, what Laura said


Laura Leff·5:11 PM

Steve - Yes, although that may have made it overly dramatic.


Josef Silvia·5:11 PM

Right, which is why Don is reminding us of what happens each week


Laura Leff·5:11 PM


And why Doctor Who does the same thing.


Judy R·5:11 PM

mmm snickers


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:11 PM

which they could have done more with in the Mean Old Man episode(s)


Judy R·5:11 PM

and milky way


Laura Leff·5:11 PM

Off-topic comment...been enjoying the variant Snickers labels.


Buck Benny·5:11 PM

I also think that the concept might have got lost in the writer change from Beloin and Morrow to the new crew


Judy R·5:11 PM

lol me too


Laura Leff·5:12 PM

If Jell-O did the same, I wonder what they'd put on the label...


Judy R·5:12 PM

shake me


Laura Leff·5:12 PM

Buck - Maybe, but Morrow and Beloin didn't do it too much either.


Steve Archer·5:12 PM

I wonder if they plotted out all four at once or just wrote them all week-to-week.


R. Hookie·5:12 PM

Some of us are trying not to think about candy... thank you...


Laura Leff·5:13 PM

There's always room for Jell-O.


Steve Archer·5:13 PM

Not that there are a lot of complex story arcs going on or anything.


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:13 PM


Buck Benny episodes, trying to figure out why they found that so fascinating to continue for so long


Laura Leff·5:13 PM

Steve - I don't know for sure.  Kathy - You see anything in the files on this?


Buck Benny·5:13 PM

Yeah, but it was right before the war, then the whole show changed it's focus until after the war, easy to lose a concept


R. Hookie·5:13 PM

Well, I ate a bag earlier and feeling the guilt


Laura Leff·5:13 PM

Kathy - Well, in a clipping I saw from the early days, they noted that if they were short of ideas for a week, they could always reach for Grind Hotel.  Which they did.


Josef Silvia·5:13 PM

Yeah the mid to late 30s I feel like

Buck Benny was a prevailing theme


Laura Leff·5:14 PM

Hookie - A whole bag of Snickers?


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:14 PM

From what I've seen, they keep figuring out that its better NOT to have continuing plotlines, and to mix it up more


R. Hookie·5:14 PM

Well, a variety


Steve Archer·5:14 PM

As the Maxwell Turns


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:14 PM

exactly about Grind Hotel, they must have run out of ideas for months to continue BB for so long. They DID love Andy Devine's voice, so kept him on week after week


Laura Leff·5:14 PM

I don't think it was that much of a prevailing theme...I bet if I counted up the shows with that as the skit, I probably would have ten, or no more than fifteen.

Yeah...they also reached for "Who Killed Mr. X?" all the way through Murder at Romanoffs and the Dick Van Dyke TV episode.


Josef Silvia·5:15 PM

I love Jack, but for some reason I'm not Andy Devine's biggest fan so

Buck Benny was hit or miss for me.


Buck Benny·5:15 PM

Wasn't the Cowboy serial a fairly new concept when the skit was created?  I mean Roy Rogers and Gene Autry just started to mine that territory in the mid 1930's right? So

Buck Benny was trendy?


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:15 PM

yikes, Laura you are right, and it gets less funny each week...


Laura Leff·5:16 PM

Hookie - If you've got a Krackel, Dark Chocolate, or Reeses' left...send it my way.


Judy R·5:16 PM

like the "walking man" episodes. I remember one of the jb episodes, where jack lost a card game to Rochester and ended up doing the housework

dennis mentioned about it


Steve Archer·5:16 PM

That's the last time I'll play gin rummy with you, Judy!


Laura Leff·5:16 PM

Well, that was more a continuing thing on another show...


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:16 PM

This could be a leftover from Harry Conn, who was really into "odd" or unusual voices as a way to help radio jokes get over


R. Hookie·5:16 PM

I got peanut butter cups and sweetarts


Judy R·5:16 PM

lol steve, I play a mean game of gin rummy


Buck Benny·5:17 PM

Have you heard the Gene Autry radio show with Jack as guest playing Buck Bennny?


Judy R·5:17 PM

no buck


Laura Leff·5:17 PM

Buck - I don't know that it was new...I remember seeing Westerns back to the early 30s


Josef Silvia·5:17 PM

No I haven't, Buck. But being an Autry fan as well, I have to hear it!


Laura Leff·5:17 PM

Buck - No!

I haven't heard it...tell us about it.


Steve Archer·5:17 PM

That sounds intriguing Buck


R. Hookie·5:17 PM

About how many of these "mini-series" were there?


Laura Leff·5:18 PM

Well, we've got a knowledgeable crew...how many can we name?  We've got two.

And what qualifies?  Does the one where Jack and Rochester are looking for Jack's golf ball at the end of one ep and the beginning of the next count?


R. Hookie·5:18 PM

It could, I guess


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:18 PM

Grind Hotel, the one about the girl who has to go to the city to earn money to pay the Parent's rent


Laura Leff·5:18 PM

Oh, I got one!  Tom Sawyer!


Josef Silvia·5:18 PM

Wasn't there the song "When you say I beg your pardon, I'll come back to you" a little miniseries of sorts? Then Jack hits his head and becomes un-stingy.


Steve Archer·5:18 PM

Ronald Colman's Oscar


R. Hookie·5:18 PM

I was just about to ask that


Judy R·5:19 PM

the Oscars one where jack borrowed Ronnie's oscar


Buck Benny·5:19 PM

I posted it over in the form about a years ago.  It has great sound quality!  Fun show!  Done when Jack Stole Gene's timeslot when he switched to CBS, kind of a payback.


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:19 PM

Mr X, Tom Sawyer YES, and Jesse James


Laura Leff·5:19 PM

So what's the difference between a serial and a running gag, like "When You Say I Beg Your Pardon"?


Buck Benny·5:19 PM



R. Hookie·5:19 PM

I guess primary story line


Steve Archer·5:19 PM

Sounds like a good one for a chat discussion sometime Buck


Laura Leff·5:20 PM

So noted...


R. Hookie·5:20 PM

and airiing back to back


Laura Leff·5:20 PM

So with Tom Sawyer...one could say the classroom bits that they did.  Since the series degenerates into that.


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:20 PM

involving a continuing plot and sometimes a new character for a while, like Andy Devine, or the strange boarder, or Herman Peabody the insurance agent

eeeeek I found the schoolroom bits not their best, BUT it was a strong tie back to a standard vaudeville routine


Steve Archer·5:21 PM

It's a messy blurry line.  Would the I Can't Stand Jack Benny contest count as a serial?  I wouldn't think so.


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:21 PM

oh that is one of the BEST


Laura Leff·5:21 PM

Steve - I agree


Judy R·5:22 PM



Laura Leff·5:22 PM

What about the Beverly Hills Beavers then?


Judy R·5:22 PM

several episodes withthem


Josef Silvia·5:22 PM

Aren't they more like recurring characters?


R. Hookie·5:22 PM

I'd say guest cast


Buck Benny·5:22 PM

I think of all the mentioned plots as story arcs, as well as taxes and Don's contract disputs


Laura Leff·5:22 PM

Oh yeah, Jack needs to hire a new quartet.

Don't give up the ship?


Judy R·5:23 PM

the new your trip episodes


Josef Silvia·5:23 PM

Yeah, the quartet episodes went on a while.


Buck Benny·5:23 PM

Yep, and the replacement of Dennis too


Judy R·5:23 PM

new york


Laura Leff·5:23 PM

Oh! Oh!  The I Can't Stand Jack Benny Because contest!


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:23 PM

so, these are all recurring BITS, not long narrative arcs. I think we can say that after the Yosemite, that the Oscar theft was one of the few long-term ones


Steve Archer·5:23 PM

The show's structure can't really be categorized so easily, one of the reasons why it holds up.  It has aspects of self-contained and continuing series


Laura Leff·5:23 PM

Kathy - That's where I am.  But I think the "I Can't Stand" contest counts.


R. Hookie·5:24 PM

Agreed, I guess


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:24 PM

I think you all are SO correct, and Jack was quoted many times as saying he and his writers liked to change things up, so we listeners would never know what to expect


Josef Silvia·5:24 PM

I think one of the reasons people wanted to keep hearing it each week was they always left you with a reason to tune in next week, however slight, but nothing overly serialized all the time beyond the obvious two or three.


Laura Leff·5:25 PM

Right.  There were common ideas, like Si-Sy, the vault, Jack listens to sports on the radio, etc.


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:25 PM

how different from a sitcom tied to one place and theme. I always argue that Benny's show was one of the most experimental and what they call "meta" today


Laura Leff·5:25 PM

Or "I Stand Condemned"


Judy R·5:25 PM

carmichal the polar bear episodes


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:25 PM

I love the I Stand Condemed skits!


Laura Leff·5:26 PM

Kathy - Very well put.  I was saying earlier today that while Jack is credited with the invention of the sitcom, I'm not 100% sure that he's fully there.

OK, everyone blow up over that.   :)


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:26 PM

no sitcom could do what Benny often did, break the fourth wall to talk to us the audience about script reading screwups or things he found funny


Josef Silvia·5:26 PM

Yeah. One of my favorite skits is when they do The Killer a few times with different people playing "The Killer."


Laura Leff·5:26 PM

I personally credit Amos n Andy with that.


Buck Benny·5:27 PM

I ran a "I can't Stand

Buck Benny because..." contest on the anniversary of the original episodes a couple of months ago.


Steve Archer·5:27 PM

Definitely not the "situation resolved in 30 minutes and never spoken of again".  You have the "shows about nothing", sometimes a little situation in the opening half that is wrapped up before the skit, and then these occasional continuing sagas that crop up over a season or a number of episodes.


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:27 PM

I agree, Laura! But Amos n Andy did not break fourth wall the way Jack did from the start. His show is so modern, not easy to categorize


Laura Leff·5:27 PM

So I've expressed my opinion...what do others think of the concept of Jack inventing the sitcom?  Discuss.


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:28 PM

I would claim that all sitcoms as well as all late night talk shows owe Jack a bow for creating what they have


Judy R·5:28 PM

there were so many vaudeville comedians in radio, it really is hard to say who started the sitcom first


Buck Benny·5:28 PM

Don't know if he created the sitcom, but he sure perfected it!


Laura Leff·5:28 PM

Kathy - And in the early days, it was all over the map.  Sometimes it was more music, sometimes you had some story like the budding romance between Jack and Mary, sometimes it was someone breaking Jack out of jail, and sometimes a spoof skit of a movie or "Who Killed Mr. X" etc.


R. Hookie·5:28 PM

If not 'invent' then certainly improved


Josef Silvia·5:28 PM

Jack is half variety, half sitcom, but while I don't think he invented the sitcom (I too would credit Amos and Andy with that), he definitely re-envisioned it and improved it.


Laura Leff·5:28 PM

Kathy - Agreed.


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:28 PM

Jack WAS one of the first to create ongoing characters (Yes A&A did it earlier). But it was so different from the flat joke telling of other 1932 comics


Steve Archer·5:28 PM

When I think of sitcom as in "situation comedy", where it's all about some (contrived) plot - I really think I Love Lucy.

So many lesser shows aped that format, not so many borrowed from Jack's.


Laura Leff·5:29 PM

Exactly.  You have people like Ed Wynn or Joe Penner just having funny dialogue with the people around them, with little story.


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:29 PM

I so agree w your great ideas, Laura!  Jack created a flexibility that few TV shows today can attempt


Laura Leff·5:29 PM

Kathy and I are in violent agreement.   :)


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:29 PM



Laura Leff·5:30 PM

I think breaking the fourth wall was an inherent part of the live radio broadcast, though.


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:30 PM

I like to talk about this w my students, that radio's invisibility let Benny and his writers and cast do amazing things that even Seinfeld and Friends and Arrested Development can't do. Maybe the Simpsons


Laura Leff·5:30 PM

If someone blows a line, you can't redo it.  And if you're on a comedy show, you may as well go with it.


Buck Benny·5:31 PM

To me the Jack Benny Radio show is the finest example of weeky comedy in an medium?  agreed?


Laura Leff·5:31 PM

Kathy - For example?  I know less about the other shows.


R. Hookie·5:31 PM

I think Jack's TV shows could be divided into "sitcoms" and "variety" shows, depending on the episode.


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:31 PM

LIVENESS! Yes Laura that is what I have been trying to get students to understand, and they have a problem with it, in a world of a million retakes


Laura Leff·5:31 PM

Can you compare it to a stage play?  Would that make the jump for them?


Judy R·5:32 PM

like the gunsmoke radio show with William Conrad. years ago in a ninterview he mentioned he did a major flub in an episode when the show was live.


Buck Benny·5:32 PM

Also some say how do we have the shows taped if it was live, to that I reply like Saturday Night Live? Duh!


Laura Leff·5:32 PM

Hookie - Very much agreed.  One week is "Where's Jack?"  "He's out in the hall..." and the next is "Let's go down to Jack Benny's house in Beverly Hills where..."


R. Hookie·5:32 PM



Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:33 PM

the only shows my students see live are Superbowl and Academy Awards. Not ones about creating comedy on the fly. Analogies to standup work better, but even then the scripts are memorized


Laura Leff·5:33 PM

Buck - LOL

Kathy - Have you ever thought of having them recreate a show?


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:34 PM

great idea!!! I have several volunteers already to help me recreate some of the best un-recorded Benny shows from 1932-34


Laura Leff·5:34 PM

Buck - That's hard to extend to any medium.  I often have said that Jack invented radio comedy, because he was so effectively able to use silences.  But I think Ernie Kovacs created television comedy, doing things that couldn't be done on a vaudeville stage or radio.


Judy R·5:34 PM

thtat would be fun


Buck Benny·5:34 PM

Laura in case I never get the chance again,  I think you have done more to keep/enhance Jack's legacy than anyone else, and I truly;y thank you for that!


Laura Leff·5:34 PM

Kathy - There ya go.

Buck - *blush*  Thanks very much for the kind words!  Very much appreciated!


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:35 PM

atleast the students LOVED hearing a Benny radio skit (Colbert and Rathbone ) and then seeing the TV version. Some of the 125 had paid attention and could tell me how Benny and writers/crew had tried to inject more visual humor into the radio skit


Laura Leff·5:35 PM

Say, thoughts on Frank Nelson in tonight's show?


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:36 PM

what Buck said, yes!


Judy R·5:36 PM

as the doctor


Steve Archer·5:36 PM

It's a little shocking hearing Frank so low key


Laura Leff·5:36 PM



Josef Silvia·5:36 PM

Yeah, Nelson wasn't....well, Nelson.


Judy R·5:36 PM

sucha change of character


Buck Benny·5:36 PM

Hey Laura, where did you get the uncirculated Jack Benny scripts, and did you know that some are Don's personal copies?


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:36 PM

I agree with Steve, I am more used to Frank being over the top annoying


Laura Leff·5:36 PM

Yeah...in some of his earlier appearances, he's downright unrecognizable.


Steve Archer·5:36 PM

You can hear the rude just trying to bust out though! :)


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:36 PM

haha Steve


Laura Leff·5:36 PM

Buck - Kathy, would you like to respond to that?   :)


Judy R·5:37 PM

it sounded like mary doing the voice of his grandmother on the ski slope


Steve Archer·5:37 PM

an oooooooooooooooooooooooh! bubbling right under the surface.


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:37 PM

Hiya Buck, I am getting them from the LIbrary of Congress, Benny's archives at UCLA, and the Tobacco Documents collection online


Laura Leff·5:37 PM

Wasn't that Blanche Stewart as the waitress?  I didn't look it up...

*reaching for Volume 1*


Judy R·5:37 PM

I think so laura

sounded like her


Buck Benny·5:38 PM

Hiya Kathy, more to come I hope?


Laura Leff·5:38 PM

No!  The waitress was Mary Kelly!

Blanche Stewart was the grandmother skiier!


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:39 PM

you betcha, Buck! There are some doozies, and I hope to get both scripts and a few recreations up and available in the coming months


Laura Leff·5:39 PM



Judy R·5:39 PM

ok. she sounded like mary


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:40 PM

that was her job! She was one of the first radio performers hired to be a permanent back up/stand in, is that correct? 1932?


Buck Benny·5:41 PM

Just did a podcast about her, way sad that she died so young and is mostly forgotten.


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:41 PM

where can I find that, Buck? Want to hear!


Judy R·5:41 PM

lol. cat just stole my dads chair. she laid right down on it and won't give it up. lol


Laura Leff·5:42 PM

Kathy - Correct.  In fact, pitching in for Mary who was out with laryngitis is how she was signed as a permanent supporting cast.

I found a clipping on that which I copied out of Jack's scrapbooks.

Judy - That's a cat for you.

So what else about the Yosemite show?


Steve Archer·5:43 PM

Mary L comes across awfully nasty in these shows to my ears


Buck Benny·5:43 PM

Kathy, It's on my podcast, but doesn't give to much info on her because there isn't much info on her, but it's mostly my praise for her work.  It's an intro to an 80 year old episode where sh takes over for Mary and does a stellar job with her Mary impression right down to the laugh.


Judy R·5:44 PM

well time for me to call it early. been down sick with allergies. *HUGS* everybody. catch ya all next month ;)


Judy R left the room (user disconnected)


Steve Archer·5:44 PM

Bye Judy

Gone already!


Laura Leff·5:44 PM

Steve - Agreed.  This is the first time her character really gets to be a you-know-what


Josef Silvia·5:44 PM

Bye Judy!


Laura Leff·5:44 PM

Have a...oh...oh well...


Steve Archer·5:44 PM

Later she would just be there to burst Jack's balloon, but here it's sort of unprovoked aggression.


Laura Leff·5:45 PM

I have to say that some of the stereotypical "negro" humor of Rochester in these shows still bothers me a bit.

"Don't get lost in the snow"  "Boss, who me?"



Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:45 PM

yep. I so agree with you, Laura. Sadly, it was par for both the radio and film industries


Josef Silvia·5:45 PM

Yeah or the Rochester waking up and dreaming about crap games


Laura Leff·5:46 PM

Steve - And it's very consistent, with her constantly going after Jack.


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:46 PM

the way that the writers were obsessed with calling out skin COLOR in these days is horrifyingly fascinating


Buck Benny·5:46 PM

Hey Lara, how big of a file can we attach in this chatroom?


Steve Archer·5:46 PM

I actually thought that, "who me" not to apologize for it - could have been worse.  Other comedians would have had the white comic make the joke.  Here it's Rochester pointing out he's a bit different from the other white cast.


Laura Leff·5:46 PM

Or in the previous episode Jack not being able to see him because it's dark, and asking Rochester to "smile or open your eyes."


Steve Archer·5:46 PM

Took a little of the sting out of it for me.


Laura Leff·5:47 PM

Buck - Dunno.  Let's find out!


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:47 PM

you are so RIGHT, Steve!! The Benny show was one of the most sensitve shows out there, others were FAR worse


Laura Leff·5:47 PM

And a Central Avenue reference.

Oh, and who believes that Don was a good skier?


Josef Silvia·5:48 PM

Those stuck around for a while too


Laura Leff·5:48 PM

Yeah, I think the jokes about Rochester slowly phased out during the war, and then were not heard again afterwards.


Josef Silvia·5:48 PM

Well, it was radio......in TV, no I wouldn't believe Dion could ski



Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:49 PM

I very much agree, Laura, the writers got smarter (except for the big oooops of reusing a 10 year old script on a 1950 NY visit)


Laura Leff·5:49 PM

It was less than 3 years prior to this episode and before the establishment of Rochester's character that he plays a waiter and during a song about Jell-O declares "Make mine watermelon!"  *Facepalm*


Buck Benny·5:49 PM

Gene Autry Melody Ranch Podcast 1949-01-01 Guest Jack Benny (

Buck Benny).mp337.6MB

I'll try and post the Gene Autry with Jack as guest.


Laura Leff·5:49 PM

Hey hey!  Looks like it worked!


Buck Benny·5:49 PM

Did that work?


Josef Silvia·5:49 PM

Thanks Buck!


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:49 PM

thank you Buck!


Steve Archer·5:50 PM

Nice, will have to listen to that later!


Laura Leff·5:50 PM

Yay Buck!


Steve Archer·5:50 PM

Thanks Buck


Buck Benny·5:50 PM

Somebody try and download it and tell me if it worked


Josef Silvia·5:50 PM

Downloading it now will let you know


Laura Leff·5:50 PM

Same here


Buck Benny·5:51 PM

Sorry it's such a large file, but the sound quality is worth it


Laura Leff·5:51 PM

Say...per the question that came up about the gag with Dennis of Jack

Got the file


Josef Silvia·5:51 PM

Yep it worked Buck!


Buck Benny·5:51 PM



Laura Leff·5:51 PM

Starts with Jack playing Love in Bloom from the 2-49 show?

So Jack saying, "Where's Dennis?  ......Oh."


Steve Archer·5:52 PM

I've got it too


Laura Leff·5:52 PM

Does anyone interpret it as something other than Dennis going to the bathroom?

Or...going to do what one does in the bathroom?


Josef Silvia·5:52 PM

Question......where exactly is Dennis supposed to be when Jack says "Oh?" I've always thought the bathroom too.


Laura Leff·5:52 PM

That's the only thing I can think of.


Buck Benny·5:52 PM

Laura do you have the audio for the complete Tonight Show from 1973-07-20 with Jack as guest.  If not I'll upload that.  I used to just have the interview section, but now I have the whole thing.

Definately Dennis going to the bathroom and it's hilarious!


Josef Silvia·5:53 PM

The studio audience apparently loves the line, took me forever when I was to younger to figure out where Dennis was.


Laura Leff·5:54 PM

Buck - Looks like not.  Bring it on!   :)

Oh...there's a point where there's an extended laugh, and it sounds like someone in the cast was breaking up at one of Dennis' lines.


Steve Archer·5:55 PM

the studio audience is going nuts at a few lines that seem not to deserve such a huge laugh "I've got your sailboat here" for example


Kathy Fuller-Seeley·5:55 PM

I hate to chat and run, but its the last night of Downton Abbey, I imagine Jack would have had fun parodying the show!


Kathy Fuller-Seeley left the room (user disconnected)


Steve Archer·5:55 PM

Bye Kathy!


Josef Silvia·5:55 PM

One thing about becoming a Jack Benny fan at age 16, I am now finding a lot of jokes funnier as an adult than I did then.


Laura Leff·5:55 PM

Man, everyone's cutting and running tonight...

Josef - I hear that.


R. Hookie·5:56 PM

Sorry... I'm kind of in and out here....


Josef Silvia·5:57 PM

Well, one particular thing, half the jokes about Phil Harris' drinking went right over my head as a kid. So when I had my church parody Jack Benny back when I was 17, I had Phil say some drinking lines. My dad (the minister) said, Phil can't say those lines. And told me why.


Steve Archer·5:57 PM

So Phil was pretty much silent?!


Laura Leff·5:57 PM

You should have had him say, "J'ai manger la fenetre."

I remember asking my mother who Remley was.


Buck Benny·5:58 PM

Rats 50 meg limit!  Maybe I can lower the sound quality a little to fit.


Josef Silvia·5:58 PM

Well, I basically I to find Phil lines that didn't have drinking references and actually did hav him use the "I ate the window."


Laura Leff·5:58 PM

Buck - Or break it into two files.

Josef - Ha!

I think you could do "That's What I Like About the South"


Josef Silvia·5:59 PM

I disn't have those episodes at the time. Only had like three cassette albums of Jack Benny back then.



Laura Leff·5:59 PM

Josef - Ah, I remember those days too.


Steve Archer·5:59 PM

Back when people had childrens' parties for Washington's Birthday.



Buck Benny·6:00 PM

Laura, do you know why Blanche Stewart left the show in the middle of the 1940's then cam back in 1948?


Laura Leff·6:00 PM

A long-time member has recollected a Howdy Doody show where Buffalo Bill has the kids raise their glasses of milk to salute a picture of Eisenhower.

Buck - A really good question...let me double-check something...


Steve Archer·6:01 PM

I heard Ike liked the harder stuff like strawberry sody pop


Laura Leff·6:02 PM

Buck - Well, I think she ultimately left the show because she died...

Buck - And I'm actually not sure if she got married or was working elsewhere during that time.  Be right back, let me look up something on the fly.

(The fly is so knowledgeable...)


R. Hookie·6:03 PM

Hmmm... trust my fly......


Laura Leff·6:03 PM



R. Hookie·6:04 PM

Not that one...


Laura Leff·6:04 PM

Well, it looks like Blanche hardly worked at all in radio from early '43 to '48.

My guess would be that she got married and then divorced, but let's see if I can prove that theory out.


Buck Benny·6:04 PM

Maybe she had a baby?

Stayed at home to raise it for a few years>


Steve Archer·6:05 PM

Her obit (posted on the forum, thanks Google) noted she was injured in a fall and then implies she came back to radio after recovering


Laura Leff·6:05 PM

That's what I'm thinking.  That sort of thing.

Aha!  Good work, Steve.


Buck Benny·6:06 PM

Nice Steve!


Josef Silvia·6:06 PM



Laura Leff·6:06 PM

IMDB doesn't give any marital info on her.


Steve Archer·6:06 PM

Blanche P. Stewart

Special to the New York Times

LOS ANGELES, July 25--Mrs. Blanche P. Stewart, who won fame in the early days of radio, was Brenda of the team of Brenda and Cobina, died today at her home here. She gave up continuous broadcasts after being injured in a fall ten years ago, but she had been active intermittently in radio until a few days ago.

Mrs. Stewart began her radio career in New York on the Jack Benny shows and later came to Hollywood. She also appeared with Bob Hope, Fred Allen and
George Burns and Gracie Allen.

She leaves a sister, Mrs. Ann Miller, and two brothers, Anthony O'Mellan, a sea captain of New York, and Leo J. O'Mellan, operator of a radio station at Erie, Pa.

Show more


Laura Leff·6:06 PM

She was an incredible talent.


Buck Benny·6:06 PM

What about Harry Baldwin, I have a picture of him joining the armed services with Jack and Mary at his side then he neer cam back to the show.  Did he die?


Laura Leff·6:07 PM

Another very good question.  I haven't chased that one down yet.


Buck Benny·6:07 PM

She was Brenda? Cool!


Laura Leff·6:08 PM

Buck - Remind me...are you on the Facebook group?  That would be a perfect place to post that question, I'm sure someone would take the challenge.


Buck Benny·6:08 PM

What facebook group?


Steve Archer·6:08 PM

Interesting Blanche is listed as a "Mrs." and doesn't have the same last name as her brothers, but no mention of a husband.  Perhaps he predeceased her.


Laura Leff·6:08 PM

Buck - The International Jack Benny Fan Club Facebook group.  Very, very active.

Steve - I don't think so.  I think it was her stage name.

IMDB gives a different birth name.

And Mrs. was often given to older women, just like the term "Senora."


Josef Silvia·6:09 PM

Yes, we post pics, coversate, I've been more active on the FB page than I have in the chat rooms


Laura Leff·6:09 PM

Even if they weren't married.


Buck Benny·6:10 PM

No I just go to the forum and watch the paint dry on my fonts, while I wait for no one to repy


Steve Archer·6:10 PM

Aha.  Yes, O'Malley in the obits and Omelian on IMDB.  Close enough for journalism!


Laura Leff·6:10 PM

There's been tons of energy there lately with some enthusiastic participants and me being off work and posting from the 1000+ clippings I've been sorting.


Buck Benny·6:11 PM

Hmmm... maybe I have a new hangout!


Laura Leff·6:11 PM

Buck - You know, I'm as guilty of that as anyone.  I check once in a while and see if something new has been posted, but it seems like the Facebook group is the place to be now.


Josef Silvia·6:11 PM

I always check it on the train after work. Lots of fun.


Laura Leff·6:11 PM

Buck - We would love to have you there.

Thanks, Josef.


Josef Silvia·6:12 PM

You bet


Buck Benny·6:12 PM

Oh, I'll be there, baby! You can bet your sweet bippy on that.


Laura Leff·6:12 PM

It's such a great group...I found a caricature drawing from the Great Temptations, with the notation "At the Shubert Detroit" and I posted on the FB group if anyone could triangulate when they played there.  And within minutes, someone had an answer for me (last week of November, 1926).

(May not have been the Shubert, but you get it.)


R. Hookie·6:12 PM

I'm sorry about not being more active... I've got a distraction.


Laura Leff·6:13 PM

Hookie - Say hi to Penny for us.  Or Bernie and Hillary.


Steve Archer·6:13 PM

Someday I'll be dragged kicking and screaming onto Facebook.


Buck Benny·6:13 PM

Bad distraction or good sitraction?


Laura Leff·6:13 PM

Steve - Yeah, I still say "good for you" for not letting it be a time sink for you.  But it's been pretty darned good for the club.


Buck Benny·6:14 PM

What is the best singing performance by Dennis?  Anyone?


Steve Archer·6:14 PM

I'm sure - and I'm sure I'm missing out!


Laura Leff·6:14 PM

Buck - Hmmm...the first that comes to mind is "Vesti la Giubba" on the Rod Serling TV episode...


Buck Benny·6:15 PM

Sorry never seen that episode other than the Serling section.

Make Love With My Guitar?


Laura Leff·6:16 PM

I think it's "a Guitar," but still double-entendre...

If you want an Irish song, the one that comes to mind is "An Irishman Will Steal Your Heart Away" from one of the New Year's shows.


Buck Benny·6:17 PM

Funny how Making Love has such a different conotation in the past


Steve Archer·6:17 PM

That's a good one

Or multiple "Clancy Lowered the Boom"s


Laura Leff·6:17 PM

Buck - No kidding.  In "Horse Feathers," Thelma Todd says to Zeppo, "Are you making love to me?" and Zeppo is fully clothed.


Buck Benny·6:18 PM

Did a whole podcast on Phil saying "Hey Jackson, what does WTF mean?"


Josef Silvia·6:18 PM

I love Clancy Lowered the Boom


Laura Leff·6:18 PM

Steve - I thought about that one, but the visuals on "Irishman" are so fun that it's hard to beat.

*Wondering if Dennis ever did Clancy on TV*

Buck - I think I remember hearing that in my car and probably amusing other drivers as I drove with my mouth hanging open as far as it could

Looked it up...Dennis never did Clancy on TV.  But one of the Beavers did.

So what else Benny-wise is on your minds tonight?


Steve Archer·6:20 PM

I had a head scratcher like that in watching an episode of Dark Shadows from 1968 where a character says "I can't reach him, he doesn't have his cell phone".


Laura Leff·6:21 PM

That's interesting...


Buck Benny·6:22 PM

Tonight Show 1973-07-20 Guest Jack Benny (96-44.1).mp344.3MB

Here we go!  Enjoy it has Joe Namath and Elke Summer too!


Laura Leff·6:22 PM

I guess the technology does go back to WWII

Yay!  Thanks very much!


Steve Archer·6:22 PM

It was a blooper as the character was in jail in a cell, so it was just some scrambled dialogue (the show was basically done live), but it did give me pause!


Laura Leff·6:23 PM

Very prescient.  Ala Star Trek.


Steve Archer·6:23 PM

Yeah, look at those clunky old flip-phones Spock trots around with.


Buck Benny·6:23 PM

Now that Johnny Carson is on seven nights a week on Antenna TV, I'm hoping to find even more great Jack episodes!  I really want Mary's appearance from 1978 with The Rose story!


Steve Archer·6:24 PM

I thought most of those Tonight Shows had been erased.


Laura Leff·6:24 PM

Steve - We were watching the remake of "Ocean's Eleven" last night, and I said, "Motorola must have paid good money for the product placement of all the Star-Tac phones...that's what everyone is using!"


R. Hookie·6:25 PM

I watch Johnny every night.


Buck Benny·6:25 PM

Found a great JAck interview on Merv Griffin from "72 I think!  Jack talks about all his movies.


Laura Leff·6:25 PM

Some of them were...supposedly the first one with Groucho is gone.


Steve Archer·6:25 PM

Did they stop erasing them after a certain date, or was it haphazard?


Laura Leff·6:25 PM

Hey, out of curiosity, what's the best Jack interview you ever heard?


Buck Benny·6:25 PM

most everything from 1974 on exists, but earlier than that is mostly missing.


Steve Archer·6:26 PM

I like the David Frost one you have in the library Laura.


R. Hookie·6:26 PM

Many of the first 10 years shows were "wiped."


Laura Leff·6:26 PM

I know that Carson owns most of them, and you can license clips from them.  Their site is simply killer for searching the shows.

Steve - That's the one that I think is the best too.


Buck Benny·6:26 PM

I like the one with Him a Mel on the tonight show


Laura Leff·6:27 PM

But we still have Ed Ames throwing tomahawks.  And George Carlin doing the Hippy Dippy Weatherman.  And they're in black and while.



R. Hookie·6:27 PM

A few of the early episodes were found thanks to guests who had been given a copy.


Steve Archer·6:27 PM

It would have been interesting if Jack had done something more in-depth and substantial more mid-career say in the 40s or '50s.


R. Hookie·6:27 PM

And there's kinescope


Buck Benny·6:27 PM

Those were saved because they used them for best of shows that were made and saved before the great purge


R. Hookie·6:28 PM

... out again.... be back soon...


Buck Benny·6:28 PM

Most of the audio for the entire run of Johnny Carson is saved in the Library of Congress due to making the audio available for the armed services


Laura Leff·6:28 PM

Steve - Definitely, but from all the clippings that I've handled over the past couple months, I sense that it was still more like the studio system.  A lot of well-controlled articles and publicity.

Buck - Oooo...


Steve Archer·6:29 PM

Yep.  And, there really wasn't any kind of "entertainment scholarship" the way there is now.  It wasn't a subject really considered worthy of documenting.

That is really good to hear Buck.


Laura Leff·6:30 PM

There was a point later in Jack's life when he walked into his office and saw Irving and someone else working on some piece of publicity.  Allegedly, Jack said, "Don't make me sound like a g*d-d*mned saint."

And boy oh boy, do I understand what he probably meant.


Steve Archer·6:31 PM

I wonder if there were any tapes made of the sessions with Zolotow that led to Sunday Nights at Seven - and wasn't Jack working with Hickey on a book toward the end?

Probably long crumbled to dust if they were taping those conversations.


Laura Leff·6:31 PM

On watching "The Manchurian Candidate" recently, I pointed out the line of "Raymond Shaw was the kindest, gentlest, bravest man I ever knew."  Interviewing people about Jack is like that.


Buck Benny·6:32 PM

One of the early interviews that I like the best is the one where he and Don recreate his first ever appearance on radio from the Ed Sullivan show


Laura Leff·6:32 PM

Steve - I don't think Jack was working with Hickey, although he was considered part of the comedy writing crew.  Much to the chagrin of the other writers.

Steve - Oh, and I need to ping George Balzer's son to see what's up.


Steve Archer·6:33 PM

OK, maybe mismatched memory.  I seem to recall he was working with Hickey on a autobiography project after Mary nixed the Zolotow manuscript.


Buck Benny·6:33 PM

I also like his short interview on the 2oth Century Train from 1946


Laura Leff·6:33 PM

Steve - You may be right and I've just forgotten.

Buck - I think I need a memory jog.  Which one is that?


Steve Archer·6:33 PM

And perhaps some of that ended up in the Marcia Borie book somehow.


Laura Leff·6:34 PM

Steve - Certainly possible.  Interesting to contemplate.


Steve Archer·6:34 PM

If only because they would have had to sit down and dive into topics deeper in time than the usual talk-show anecdotes.


Laura Leff·6:35 PM

Yeah, and probably more honestly because it wasn't intended for public release.


Josef Silvia·6:35 PM

sorry guys i gotta go! talk to you all next month and fb!


Laura Leff·6:35 PM

OK...should we call it good for this month?  Don't have to ask for a show...


Josef Silvia left the room (user disconnected)


Steve Archer·6:35 PM

I think some of this might actually be in the Marcia Borie book, I'll have to give it a look and report back.


Laura Leff·6:35 PM

Steve - Please do!


Steve Archer·6:36 PM

OK, I am good with winding down.  Good night all!


Laura Leff·6:36 PM

OK, thanks for stopping folks!

Buck - Hope to see you on FB!


Steve Archer left the room (user disconnected)


Buck Benny·6:36 PM

let me get you a couple more shows first.


Laura Leff·6:36 PM

Bye Hookie and Penny...



R. Hookie·6:36 PM

Good night folks!!!


Buck Benny·6:36 PM

Do you have the merv griffin?


R. Hookie left the room (user disconnected)


Laura Leff·6:37 PM

Which one?


Buck Benny·6:37 PM

1973 where he talks bout his movie career


Laura Leff·6:38 PM

Don't think so.


Buck Benny·6:38 PM

let me at least give you that one, it's nice


Laura Leff·6:38 PM


Thanks very much.


Buck Benny·6:40 PM

04 Merv Griffin Show 1973-04-27 Jack Benny, Mel Ferrer, and Twiggy.mp335.5MB

Here you go.  I'm looking for the 20th Century train one


Buck Benny·6:40 PM

I think I posted the video for this over in the forum


Laura Leff·6:41 PM

I need to take a closer look at that.   :)


Buck Benny·6:41 PM

02 nate_gross_show_1946-06-09_nate_gross_with_jack_benny.mp33.4MB

Found it


Laura Leff·6:41 PM

Cool...got it.  Thanks again!

Thanks again for joining us...look forward to chatting with you again!


Buck Benny·6:42 PM

Have fun see you on Face Book!  I still want an interview with you at some point for my podcast


Laura Leff·6:42 PM

We will do it!