Posted ByGerry O. on January 21, 2004 at 22:19:56:
In Reply to: Dennis Day's replacement ? posted byAlan S on January 21, 2004 at 13:10:21:
: Ran across this bit in a 'Baton' magazine from Dec 1944...
: "Although Jack Benny is being very secretive about his new show , we heard that Danny O'Neil was to take the Dennis Day spot and that Don Wilson would come back and announce after all. Which makes everybody happy 'cause the program wouldn't sound right without Don and his hearty laugh."
: Anyone know if Don was planning on leaving the show?
: Alan S
Perhaps the idea of Don Wilson leaving Jack's show wasn't actually Don's....
Jack's "new show" was probably referring to the change in sponsorship from General Foods (Grape-Nuts Flakes) to Lucky Strike. Many times a new sponsor would insist on changing announcers so the new announcer would be more identified with the sponsor's product, and not considered as a "holdover" from the previous sponsor.
A good example of this was when Fred Allen changed sponsors, going from Bristol-Myers (Ipana and Sal Hepatica) to Texaco. At that time (and for the past several years), Texaco had been using Jimmy Wallington for it's various "Texaco Star Theatre" programs, and they considered Jimmy to be the official "Texaco" announcer. Because Wallington's voice was so closely identified with Texaco gasoline, Texaco insisted that Fred use Jimmy for his announcer. Fred HAD wanted to use Harry Von Zell, who had been his "Bristol-Myers" announcer, but he had to give in.
Von Zell stayed with Bristol-Myers and became the announcer on THAT sponsor's new "Time to Smile" program, which starred Eddie Cantor...and Harry stayed with Eddie for many years thereafter (even after Eddie changed sponsors, going from Bristol-Myers to Pabst Blue Ribbon).
So again, the idea of replacing Don Wilson as Jack's announcer may have been one that the American Tobacco Company had been considering.
I don't know why Danny O'Neill didn't replace Dennis Day on Jack's show (Of course, Larry Stevens was given that position), but I DO know that Danny was the regular vocalist on Eddie Cantor's program around 1947.
The reason COULD be that Danny O'Neill had a tenor voice that sounded a LOT like Dennis', while Larry Stevens had a very different type of sound.