Ronald Colman Corrections

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Posted ByGerry O. on January 19, 2002 at 22:08:56:

In Reply to: Re: Ronald Colman posted byTanya Shaw on January 19, 2002 at 21:14:54:

: : : Most people know how Fred Allen became such a hot topic
: : : and hit on the JB Show (for those of you who don't know,
: : : it began in Jan. 1937 when Fred mentioned on his own
: : : show that Jack couldn't play the song "The Bee" on his
: : : violin as well as Fred's 10 year old guess star who
: : : played the violin quite well). But how ever did Jack
: : : get Ronald and Benita Colman on his show? When did they
: : : first appear on the show? Were Jack and Ronnie great
: : : friends? I found out a while back that they were NOT
: : : neighbors as the show indicates. So what's the story?

: : : Cheers!
: : : Tanya

: :
: : Ronald and Benita Colman first guested on Jack's show in 1946. It was the show where Jack opened up his swimming pool for the season, and the latter half of the program had Jack practicing his violin with Professor LeBlanc, and the sound drove next door neighbor Colman NUTS!
: : That program was such a hit that the Colmans were brought back more and more...eventually they were almost thought of as semi-regulars.
: : Jack liked to have a famous star as a neighbor because he could get a lot of script mileage out of borrowing things from the neighbor, the neighbor trying to avoid Jack, etc.
: : Colman was probably cast as Jack's neighbor because he was so proper, so refined that it would be very funny to have him lose his cool
: : when it came to pesty Jack.
: : Actually, I have heard some Benny shows from the early 40's where Basil Rathbone is cast as Jack's neighbor, and that's a funny match too.
: : During Jack's TV series, he tried to have a "Ronald and Benita Colman"-type next-door neighbor relationship with Mr. & Mrs. Jimmy Stewart, but for some reason I never found that combo to work as well.
: : I am a big fan of Jimmy Stewart and respect his work, but he was just too much of a nice "regular guy" to be really funny when being bothered by Jack...It worked much better with such "proper gentlemen" as the aforementioned Rathbone and Colman, as well as Claude Rains and Herbert Marshall (who also guested on the Benny program).
: : Ooops...Here I am being long-winded again...Sorry...As Jack used to say, "We're a little late, so Good-night folks!"
: That first show Ronald Colman appeared on in 1946....
: was that in Jan. 1946? I'm thinking about that
: episode in Feb. 1946 when Ronald Colman read the
: winning letter of the "Why I can't stand Jack Benny"
: contest following Isaac Stern's concert. Was that
: right after Colman started appearing on the show?
: Do you know the date of the first episode Ronnie
: appeared in? Thanks in advance and thank you for
: your great response above! :-)
: Tanya

OOOPS....Sorry Tanya...In reviewing my Jack Benny Radio Log, I discovered that I jumped the gun on the Colman's first Benny appearance.
The show which I referred to (Jack practicing his violin) was broadcast on 4/14/46...However, the Colman's first appearance was actually on 12/9/45, right in the midst of the "I Can't Stand Jack Benny Because..." contest. The couple made such a hit that they guested again two weeks later (on 12/23/45) as guests at Jack's special Christmas dinner...Sorry for the mixup!

I always found it hilarious that Jack was so completely OBLIVIOUS to the fact that Ronald Colman couldn't STAND him! (Benita merely tolerated Jack). Whenever the Colmans would go over to Jack's house to complain about something, Jack would treat them like long-lost friends:

"Why, Ronnie...Benita...What a surprise! Come in...COME IN!!!"

Yes, the Benny-Colman neighbor relationship added a lot of good laughs to Jack's program through the years!

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