Jack and Mary's Social Circle

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Posted ByGerry O. on March 11, 2002 at 10:48:47:

In Reply to: Re: Did Jack often socialize with members of his cast? posted byRadioMaster on March 10, 2002 at 23:27:23:

: : I have often wondered if Jack and Mary socialized with any of his cast ie Phil Harris, Don Wilson,Sheldon Leonard,etc.Did he and Mary separate their personal lives from that of the cast and crew?I recall reading that Jack often ran around with the guitarist in the band.

: Jack generally did not socialize with the members of his cast. He did not look down on them, but Mary made sure that their social outings were with 'top drawer' people like Louis B.Mayer (MGM Studios), Clark Gable (Carole Lombard), among the more famous movie stars, stars of vaudeville and of course, George and Gracie.
: During the war roadtrips to California bases, it was a totally different set of circumstances. I believe one of the more famous books about Jack tells a story about Jack driving and Frankie Remley (the supposed guitar player) telling Jack a story so funny, Jack had to pull off of the road and let Frankie drive (LL could confirm this). This was not a "social outing" per se, and was concerning his "work".
: When they did broadcasts from remote places, the cast and crew would eat together but I don't think they slept in the same hotel.
: Jack was on very friendly terms with his cast and crew but this should not be confused with his social life.

: RM

I've heard and read that Jack and Mary had very different standards when it came to socializing with show biz folk....

Jack had no problem with hanging out with old buddies from the vaudeville days and swapping stories....However, Mary felt compelled to socialize with the "movers and shakers" who were popular in the then-present day realm of show business.

One of my favorite "Jack and Mary" stories took place when they were hosting daughter Joan's "Sweet 16" party.
Joan invited many of her young teenaged friends, and there was live entertainment. Mary made sure that the big names of the then-present day world of show biz attended and performed....Frank Sinatra, Dinah Shore, Tony Martin, etc.
However, it happened that Jack's old vaudeville buddies, the husband-and-wife team of Blossom Seeley and Benny Fields were staying at the Benny home as houseguests and were at the party.
Blossom and Benny were ready to get up and do their old vaudeville song-and-dance routine (much to fellow guest George Burns' urging), but Mary was horrified....She took Joan aside and warned her that her teenaged friends wouldn't like the old-hat shenanigans of the couple. Joan felt guilty about not asking the couple to perform, so she asked Papa Jack what to do...and Jack enthusiastically said, "Why, of COURSE we're going to have them perform!"
Blossom and Benny got up and did their old standards, and the teenagers went WILD (so did the adults)...The two old troupers were the surprise hit of the party!
I understand that the embarrassed Mary wanted to fall right through the floor when the team was "strutting their stuff" for the crowd, but that's a GREAT story which illustrates the difference in "social acceptance" of Jack and Mary.

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