Posted ByGerry O. on April 11, 2002 at 21:13:13:
In Reply to: Speaking of Kenny Baker...Here's A Question.... posted byGerry O. on April 04, 2002 at 22:25:09:
In listening to those "Texaco Star Theatre" shows again, I've come up with an idea of why Kenny Baker left Jack Benny's program for the less popular (and lesser-quality) Texaco program.
There were some episodes of both series which overlapped in time...Kenny made his first "Texaco" appearances as kind of a guest star while he was still a regular on Jack's show. While he was singing "Hit Parade"-type popular songs of the day on Jack's show, his musical range was allowed to expand on the Texaco shows....He sang selections from "Porgy and Bess", "The Mikado" and similar fare...music that NEVER would have made it on the Benny program. It's interesting to note that after Kenny's first song as a "Texaco" guest, host Adolph Menjou went CRAZY, yelling things like "BRAVO! BRAVO! ENCORE! ENCORE!", while the audience applauded wildly (with help from the studio prompters, no doubt). All Kenny seemed to get on the Benny show was Jack saying, "That was Kenny Baker singing 'Moonlight And Shadows', and very good, Kenny!". Could it be that the Texaco brass was appealing to Kenny's ego by making him think that he was the new Caruso?
We'll never know for sure just what happened, but it IS interesting to note Kenny's different treatment on the two programs...of course, after a while the Texaco folks began treating Kenny like just another radio tenor!