Jack vs Godfrey

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Jack vs Godfrey

Postby Yhtapmys » Sun Apr 26, 2009 12:35 am

You already know who's won this contest. But here's a story from the Chicago Tribune.

Unlike Godfrey, Jack Doesn’t Fire Them

[November 8, 1953]
THE BENNY WAY: Altho Arthur Godfrey got sufficiently heated up to fire Julius La Rosa and Archie Bleyer because of outside activities, there are stars in the radio-TV world who don't believe in limiting their supporting entertainers. Consider the case of Jack Benny. He's been a top radio figure for 20 years and he’s doing well in television. Yet he never has demanded exclusive association from his supposting figures. As a result, Frank Parker, now with Godfrey; Kenny Baker, and Dennis Day, Benny singers, were free to engage in outside activities. They met with varying degrees of success. So far as we know, Benny never fired any of them.
Parker left him because he preferred to live on the east coast. Kenny Baker wanted to go onto the New York musical comedy stage, where he had a considerable success. Benny then built up Dennis Day, who had been a St. Patrick’s cathedral (New York) choir boy. When Dennis was called into service, Benny replaced him with Larry Stevens, but he took Dennis back as soon as he was out of the army (unlike Godfrey, who did take Bill Lawrence back).
FREEDOM: Furthermore, Benny let Dennis Day develop his own radio show, A Day in the Life of Dennis Day, which was popular for years. And since TV Dennis has had a couple of series of his own.
Then, there’s the case of Phil Harris. Long Benny’s band leader and stooge, Benny let him and Alice Faye, his wife, build a show of their own and follow Benny on the air, inheriting his audience. When Benny later transferred to CBS, Harris and Faye stayed on NBC with their own show.
Even tho Benny ultimately lost Harris, he never expressed any concern because Harris had in a sense become a competitor.
There have been many others. Eddie Anderson, who plays Rochester, has been permitted to make many outside guest appearances. Artie Auerbach, who played Mr. Kitzel, became famous for the role and earned a good living in theaters for years.
Last year Benny introduced Giselle MacKenzie, the young Canadian songstress and comedienne, to television. This year she had the opportunity to become the new singing star of the Hit Parade. We've heard no complaints from Benny because she made the switch.
AND WHY: Benny always has held to the view that if his folks are seen and heard elsewhere they remind folks of the Benny show. They serve as “press agents” for the master. And he is a master, for only a year or two ago the amusement critics of the nation acclaimed him as the greatest entertainment figure of the last 25 years. On top of this, Jack is a generous and unselfish guy in both his personal and professional life. He’s quite delighted to have people whom he started up the ladder reach the top themselves.

transcribed by yhtapmys
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