Posted ByFrev on February 19, 2004 at 10:42:18:
When my theater group were first discussing the radio shows we would try and recreate, Jack Benny was a given from the very beginning because the scripts were so well written and the shows were so funny. One of our directors had some reservations about including the Rochester character because in these times he wouldn't be considered 'PC'.
Since I've read up on the history of Jack and the show and have an extensive collection of the radio shows, I explained that with very few exceptions in the earlier shows, Rochester always came across as a very positive character and in many ways was Jack's equal. In the shows, it's very obvious that the Rochester character is smarter than the Jack character.
This waylaid our director's fears, and when we performed the show in front of an audience and the actor playing Rochester, who happens to be black himself, did the voice, he got a great ovation, the audience loved him.
The experience underscored the importance of Rochester to the Jack Benny show. It's a shame that the 'PC Police' might view Rochester as a negative stereotype today. If anyone is intolerant today, it's those who push 'politcal correctness' and treat with disdain as wonderful and positive a comic creation as Rochester and the genius of Eddie Anderson who gave Rochester life.