Jack Muses, 1958

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Jack Muses, 1958

Postby Yhtapmys » Wed Aug 10, 2011 11:50 pm

This interview coincides with Jack appearing on Georgie Jessel's show. It's fun speculating if Jessel was the "visitor."

Jack Benny Gives Friend Story Idea
NEW YORK, Oct. 15 (AP)—Jack Benny ordered some hot coffee sent up to his hotel suite the other day during a visit to New York.
“Please,” he told room service, “make it so hot that you can’t carry it.” Hanging up the telephone, he said to a visitor, “To be honest about it, that line is stolen from George Burns.”
“That reminds me of a story,” said a friend of Benny. “There was this kid three, four years old who seemed perfectly normal in every way except that he wouldn’t talk. His parents were worried sick about it. They did everything possible, but the kid wouldn’t say a word.
“Finally one morning when they served him his cocoa, he tasted it and yelled, ‘Gee, that’s too hot!’ His parents burst into tears of joy, kissed him and asked, ‘Why haven’t you ever spoken before, dear?’ The kid said, ‘There hasn't been anything to complain about before.’”
Benny, laughing, said he could use that joke. The visitor told Benny’s friend he could use it too and would try to rush it out before Benny did.
Calm In 26th Year
Benny was philosophical about the loss of a new joke. After all, he knows millions of them. Besides, he’s a very philosophical guy—extraordinarily calm and unharassed in his twenty-sixth year of radio and television. Calmer, really, than Perry Como.
Without belaboring that joke which may be told to everybody by the visitor, you might say Benny has never sounded off a great deal because he doesn’t feel he’s had anything to complain about.
Week in and week out his Sunday CBS-TV show is the most visible half-hour comedy show on the air. He doesn’t worry about “changing format” problems because the format of the show always is changing from week to week anyway. What are his working habits on the program?
As he tells it, they sound more like playing habits. His staff and writers have been with him a long time; they know one another thoroughly.
“Sometimes you have a show in a couple of hours,” Benny says. “Sometimes it’s a couple of weeks before it’s together. It doesn’t matter who gets the ideas. We’re all working together. I guess I work, but I also have time to play golf and some days I get in a couple of hours’ practice with that—” he pointed to his violin on a table.
The first 10 years are the hardest, he feels. He used to work like a dog after he began his radio program in 1932, “scared every week that they’d fire me if it wasn’t the best show ever.” But after nine years on television he doesn’t worry any more.
Starts Myth
Why did he start the happy myth that Benny is the most tight-fisted man in the world?
“It began as an accident on radio,” he said. “I did a couple of jokes about being tight and it caught on. Apparently everybody has a skinflint in his family. I went on with it because people
demanded it — I had to. It was like being carried along by an avalanche. And now it’s a permanent fixture of me as an entertainer.”
The waiter brought in coffee. Benny tipped him heavily. The waited left with a shocked expression.
That waiter must have worn gloves to carry the coffee. Benny thought it barely warm enough, but his visitor scalded his tongue.
“Serves you right for stealing jokes,” Benny said mildly.

P.S. Jack was endorsing American Airlines at the time. I found a picture of him in a newspaper ad but it's not good enough to post.

transcribed by yhtapmys
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