THE 1944-1945 SEASON
The season begins with the same returning cast: Jack, Mary, Eddie Anderson, Phil Harris, and Don Wilson. There is a new sponsor, however:the American Tobacco Company, makers of Lucky Strike Cigarettes, whose ads at the beginning and the end of each program feature F.E.Boone and Speed Riggs as the auctioneers, with Kenny Delmar, Del Sharbutt, and Basil Ruysdael as the commercial announcers.  The slogan is "LS-MFT", which stands for "Lucky Strike means fine tobacco".  They are also "So round, so firm, so fully packed, so free and easy on the draw".  Cigarettes mark a significant difference from Jack's previous sponsors, Jello and Grape Nuts. Larry Stevens joins the program as a replacement for Dennis Day, who is in the Navy.  The show finished 7th overall in the ratings for the year, the worst drop in years.  Were people taking time adjusting to the slightly different direction the new staff of writers were bringing? Did they miss Dennis Day?  The year-end Hooper rating was 24.2
Notable shows this year include the first appearance of Larry Stevens (November 05, 1944), the Christmas "tree trimming" episode with a special appearance by old friend Andy Devine (December 24, 1944), and the incredible triple debuts on January 07, 1945 of Jack's money vault, the train station "tout" and the train to Anaheim, Azusa and Cucamonga. Also please note that there was technically only thirty four episodes this year....there was no show number twenty-nine,as it was pre-empted by the President's death. However, the scripts for the show continue with the April 22, 1945 show numbered as program thirty so that is how we present the log here.

{latest revision: January 21, 2015}
1.    10/01/44            JACK LOOKS FOR A REPLACEMENT SINGER

Show Introduction:  (the same up to episode 8): "The Lucky Strike program...starring Jack Benny...with Mary Livingstone, Phil Harris, Rochester, and yours truly, Don Wilson."

Don's Introduction: "And now we take you to Jack Benny's home in Beverly is early morning...Jack is still asleep and Rochester is in the kitchen preparing breakfast".
The Show:   The episode opens with Rochester in the kitchen when the phone rings:

Rochester:   "Hello, Mr. Benny's residence. (audience applause)  Mr. Benny's residence, start of stage, screen, and whether you go out or stay home, he's got you trapped. Who? Oh, hello Sam, am I glad you called, hurry right over...and return that suit I rented you, the boss is back~!  I know your week ain't up yet, but I'll give you the money pronto, pro-rata, and providin' I'm alive when you get here....that's right...and Sam, I wish you'd pass the word along to the rest of my clientele....goodbye.  Well, I guess I'm safe now....uh-oh, I'll have to dig up some excuse about Mr. Benny's tuxedo...doggone, when I rented it out for Jerome, how did I know they was gonna cremate him~?!  Oh well, I'd better prepare breakfast before the boss wakes up".

Joe Kearns shows up as the milkman, and discusses the new sponsor (Lucky Strikes) with Rochester. When Jack finally wakes up, he asks Rochester what they are having for breakfast:

Rochester:  "If this was last season, I could mention it"
Jack:  "If this was last season, you'd HAVE to mention it~!"

While Rochester takes a phone call, Mary arrives at Jack's house, and missed Jack so much during the off-season that she gives him kisses on the front porch~! Rochester tells Jack that the phone call was from their new sponsor,  George Washington Hill, which of course makes Jack nervous, wondering what he could have wanted. Phil and Don (Harris and Wilson, not the Everly Brothers) stop by Jack's house to welcome him back. Jack decides that he and Mary should go visit the sponsor.

When they arrive they ask Hill's secretary (Bea Benaderet) to tell Mr. Hill that they are there. Jack tells the secretary to let him know that it's "Be-nny...Be-nny...with men who know comedians best, it's Benny, two to one~!" (a play on the current Lucky Strike slogan).

Hill (played by Russell Hicks) says he will see them in a few minutes, he's in a conference. It turns out the conference is with Fred Allen. When the audience applauds twice after Allen's first lines, he ad-libs "You see Mr. Hill, with Allen you get two receptions to one~!" Allen is trying to convince Hill that Jack's show will flop. After Allen leaves, Jack and Mary are shown into the office.

After Jack nervously talks with Hill, Fred Allen pops back in and sees Jack. The two men start off nicely enough but soon begin arguing.  Jack starts getting all worked up, and when Hill suggests "Jack, why don't you and Fred shake hands and.." Jack responds:

Jack :  "You shut up~! Now listen, Allen, I wanna tell you....oh oh my goodness~! I said that to my sponsor~! Mr. Hill, I didn't mean to say shut up to you, I just meant to say be quiet...I mean, please be quiet...I mean I didn't mean it at all...I'd never say a thing like that to you~! (the ending music begins to play softly) Mr. Hill....Mr. Hill...don't stand there with your back to me...Fred...Freddy boy, please tell Mr. Hill I didn't mean it~!"

Jack continues to plead with Mr. Hill as the episode fades out.

For the closing "tag" Jack and Mary discuss the need for a replacement singer for Dennis Day (still in the Navy). Jack says that next Sunday he would like to talk to Frank Sinatra.

Note:   This episode is often confused with that of 10/29/1944. Note how similar this episodes introduction is to that one (episode 5), and also to episode 25.

Note:   This first episode for a new sponsor, the American Tobacco Company, is the first to feature the show's new theme song, a mixture of  "Love in Bloom" and "Yankee Doodle Dandy".

Note:  Being the first show for the new sponsor, this episode features the first appearances of Kenny Delmar, LA "Speed" Riggs, FE Boone, Del Sharbutt and Basil Ruysdael, all heard in the opening commercial for Lucky Strikes. This very first commercial also introduces the "LS-MFT" slogan (Lucky Strike means fine tobacco), Riggs' and Boone's auctioneer chant. the claim that "independent tobacco experts" consistently select Lucky Strike tobacco, the  "it's Luckies two to one" slogan, and the "so round, so firm, so fully packed" slogan. All in just over a minute. It's obvious right away that the American Tobacco/Lucky Strike commercials will be a whole lot different than the Jell-O/Grape Nuts Flakes ads of the last few years.

This is a nice, but not hysterically funny, start for their new sponsor.  Jack's nervousness and eagerness to please whoever his current sponsor is (Mr. Mortimer with Jell-O, George Washington Hill with American Tobacco, etc)is usually good for some dependable laughs. 

A recurring theme of the next few programs is the need to find a new singer to replace Dennis Day.

Note:  There is no song sung in this episode.
2.    10/08/44            JACK OFFERS FRANK SINATRA DENNIS' JOB
Don's Introduction:  "And now, we take you to Jack Benny's house in Beverly is Saturday night, and Jack has invited Mary over to spend a pleasant evening".

The Show:   The program begins with Jack having Mary help him straighten out his household expenses; Mary would rather go to the Palladium and dance. After he finds out that Rochester had a wild party in the house while he was gone, Jack receives a telegram from George Washington Hill:

"Dear Jack, please forget about what happened in my office last week.... you have nothing to worry about. You have a three year contract and my lawyers told me I can't get out of it...unless you breach clause number 3-A regarding a singer.  Sincerely yours, George W. Hill"

Jack tells Mary he isn't worried about Hill breaking the contract because he has a singer in mind, and wrote a letter asking him to come for an interview; Frank Sinatra.

While waiting for Sinatra, Phil Harris stops by, and then they're visited by Herman Peabody, the insurance salesman (Mel Blanc). He wants Jack to look over a new life insurance policy they're offering; it only costs $2.00 a month until you die; after you die, you only have to pay $0.25 a month. Then Don Wilson calls Jack and manages to get in a plug for Lucky Strikes.

Suddenly Mary realizes:

Mary:  "Hey Jack, wait a minute, I just thought of something"
Jack:  "What?"
Mary:  "Frank Sinatra isn't even in town, he's in New York~!"
Jack:  "Allright, so he'll come a little.....WHAT?"
Phil:  "Hey~! Mary's right, Jackson...Sinatra is in New York...this is Saturday Night and he's doing the Hit Parade program"
Jack:   "But that's impossible"
Mary:   "His program is on right now...tune in the radio and see"

When they turn on the radio, they hear Frank Nelson doing a commercial:

Frank Nelson:  "Ladies and you suffer from upper plate wobble, hmmm? Do your friends avoid meeting you because your uppers avoid meeting your lowers? If so, try a bottle of Sympathy Soothing Syrup...Remember folks, Sympathy spelled backwards is Yhtapmys...Y-H-T-A-P-M-Y-S"
Sportsmen:  (singing) Yit Yit Yatapamiss/Yit Yit Yitapamiss/Yit Yit Yitapamiss/Drives your blues awayyyy.."
Frank:  "So remember friends...years of research in our own private laboratories has established the fact that when you pass the age of will be thirty six"

(This is the first appearance this season, and the third appearance overall, of the Sympathy Soothing Syrup gag, after 05/21/1944 and  05/28/1944).

They finally tune in to the correct broadcast:

Announcer:  "And now, for his final selection on tonight's 'Lucky Strike Hit Parade', Frank Sinatra sings 'All The Things You Are'". (Frank then sings the song over the radio).

Jack tries to call New York to speak to Sinatra and gets the telephone operator girls,  Mabel and Gertrude (Sara Berner and Bea Benaderet), who tell him the line is busy. After a few minutes Sinatra calls Jack:

Mary:  .."gee, Frankie, your voice sounds just as nice over the phone as it does on the radio"
Sinatra:  "Well, thanks Mary"
Mary:  "You know the reason Jack put in this call for you is because he'd like to have you as the singer on his program"
Sinatra:  "Gee, that'd be swell...I'd love to be on Jack's show...then I'd get to see YOU a little more often"
Mary:   "Ohh Frankie it's a good thing I'm not the type of girl that gets excited...because if I was, I'd be SO SO excited (laughs)"

Jack takes the phone from Mary and asks Frank if he'd like to sing on the program. Frank says it sounds interesting, but that there's the question of money. Jack offers Sinatra what Dennis Day was making after five years on the program: $35 a week. Frank turns it down:

Sinatra: "I'm sorry, Jack, but I can't accept that salary. You see a man gets into the habit of eating three meals a day"
Jack:  "What did you say, Frankie?"
Sinatra:  "I said I'm in the habit of eating three meals a day"
Jack:  "Well, brother, I've seen you and...NO, I'M NOT GOING TO SAY IT,  I'M NOT GOING TO SAY IT~!"

Before Jack can finish talking to Frank, the time bomb that he has set on his phone to stop any calls over three minutes long goes off.

In the closing "tag" Jack tells Mary that next week they'll be broadcasting from the Army Air Base at Gardner Field.

Guest Star:   The guest is Frank Sinatra.
3.    10/15/44            FROM GARDNER FIELD TAFT CALIFORNIA
Don's Introduction: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, from the Army Air Base Gardner Field, near Taft, California...we bring you our Master of Ceremonies...the one and only..."

The Show:     Don's introduction of Jack is interrupted by two soldiers (Mel Blanc and Wally Baker) who are protesting what they've been supplied with so far for entertainment:

Mel Blanc (as sarge):  "Okay...look Fatso, we can't do anything about what time they make us go to bed or what time they make us get up...but week after week they blow a bugle, line us up, march us into this hall to listen to what they cal "entertainment"...
Wally and Mel:  "And we're sick of it~!"

The two soldiers then tell Don that the "fellas have appointed us as a committee to pass on the entertainment":

Mel:   "So listen, tell us who you're gonna bring out here, and we'll tell you if it's okay"
Don:   "Well, all right...if you must know it's none other than Jack Benny".
Wally:   "Jack Benny, huh?  Whaddaya think, Sarge?"
Mel:   "I dunno...what do YOU think?"
Wally:   "'s either him or spending a half hour in Taft".
Jack Benny:   "Hmmm.."
Mel:   "Aww, let's give him a break...maybe he brought some dames with him."
Wally:   "Okay, Blubber, you can bring on your star"
Don (finishing intro):   "Thank you.  And now, ladies and gentlemen, from the Army Air Base at Gardner Field, near Taft, California...we bring you the one and only...Jack Benny~!"

I love how many euphemisms for "fat" the two soldiers manage to work into talking with Don. 
Jack then finally comes out for his opening speech, and opens with a joke he "made up" on the way to the show: why are second lieutenants so young?  because they're picked from an infant-tree~!   The two soldiers don't find the joke very amusing.

After Mary arrives and chats briefly with Jack, the "Door Guy" (Harry Lang) shows up:

Door Guy:  "Mr. Benny?"
Jack:  "Yes?"
Door Guy:   "On behalf of the United States Army Air Force stationed at Gardner Field, I wish to present you with these wings."
Jack:  "Wings?"
Door Guy:   "Yes...I'm sorry the rest of the chicken got away~!  Goodbye".

Then Phil enters and introduces himself:  "Okay, fellas, start beatin' them chow-tongs together, Harris is here~!" Mel Blanc knocks on the door and plays his second role of the program:

Mel:   "Mr. Benny?"
Jack:   "Yes"
Mel:   "Did some silly guy come in here a while ago and present you with a pair of chicken wings?"
Jack:   "Yes, but I threw 'em away"
Mel:   "Oh...well, would you mind telling me where you threw 'em?"
Jack:   "Why are you hungry?"
Mel:  "No, I'm the chicken"
Jack:   "What?!"
Mel:   (makes chicken sounds)

This is a good example of what colleague Graeme Cree calls a "radio joke": this scene would obviously never work in a visual medium such as TV or film.  After an orchestra number, Jack says he thought Phil was supposed to sing during the song. Phil protests that he has enough to do without singing, and asks Jack when he's going to hire a singer for the program. Jack says he tried to hire one last week; he doesn't want to go into the specifics, but of course Mary does, and tries to get Jack to tell the gang what happened. When he refuses, Mary decides to tell them, and we "flash back" to last Thursday night, when Mary ate dinner at Jack's house. Mary asks Jack what he's going to do about finding a replacement singer for Dennis Day. Jack replies that he hasn't given up hope of hiring Frank Sinatra, but Mary tells him he should forget about Sinatra because he has too much radio work already.  Jack then asks Mary if she wants to hear a new record he side is singer John Charles Thomas singing "When My Boy Comes Home"...and on the other side is Spike Jones' "I Kissed the Butcher's Daughter Til Her Old Man Put Up a Beef". Jack then "plays" the John Charles Thomas song.

After the song, Mary suggests that Jack try to get Thomas as the singer for the show.  Jack thinks it's a great idea and wants to go see him right away, so Rochester drives Jack and Mary to Thomas' house. When Jack knocks on the door Frank Nelson answers as the butler (and gives a good example of his signature "ee-yessssss") and lets Jack and Mary in. John Charles Thomas greets them and Jack asks him to be the singer on the program. Jack says he pays Dennis $35 a week and offers Thomas a little more,  but before Jack names the price Thomas' butler enters and Thomas pays him his weekly salary of $100.  Jack rethinks his offer and tells Thomas that on second thought, he has a feeling that they can't get together after all.  Thomas says he couldn't take the job anyway, but offers to appear on one program, and asks Jack what he'd like him to sing. Jacks asks for "Cherie Berie Bee", so they "rehearse" the song, with Jack turning his part into a LSMFT commercial.

Note:   After the closing Lucky Strike commercial, the script indicates "switchover to Hollywood for Jack Benny sign off", as usual, but the script ends there and there doesn't seem to have been a sign off this week. Also, the apparently only circulating copy of the episode is the AFRS broadcast, which replaces "Cherie Berie Bee" with JCT singing "Darling Nellie Grey", and also lacks a Jack Benny sign-off. 

Note:  The song is spelled "Cherie Berie Bee" in the script, but it is most likely "Cheerie Beerie Bee"

On Location: From the Army Air Base at Gardner Field, near Taft, California (if you couldn't tell from Don's intro~!).

John Charles Thomas' Song:   John Charles Thomas sings "Cherie Berie Bee" with Jack.

Note:  This link to the National Archives OPA (Online Public Access) contains Navy film # NPC 5748,  National Archives # 77647:  "Jack Benny and Entertainers at PT Base; Views of PT Base, Camp Area and PTS Underway, 10/11/1944". This is a 7 minute, 35 second long black and white, silent film of Jack and his troupe performing at what I am assuming is the Army Air Base at Gardner Field. The film quality is extremely rough, looking like a 5th generation copy of a VHS bootleg. The Jack Benny segment is from approximately 00:32:16 to 00:34:56. Of course it's very fascinating to see Jack and the gang at work on location during the war; hopefully a lower-generation copy will show up one day:

4.    10/22/44            CAPTAIN O'BENNY
Don's Introduction:   "Hello everybody, this is Don Wilson. {applause--music up and fades}. Ladies and gentlemen..let's move the clock back ten minutes and see what happens before a radio program goes on the now we take you back-stage to Jack Benny's dressing room, where Jack is relaxing".

The Show:   As per Don's intro, the show begins as a look at what happens "backstage" a few minutes before the show goes on the air.  The play is featuring "That fearless, crime-busting Master Detective, Captain O'Benny".  The guest is Cliff Nazarro, as a singer auditioning for the show.;  Jack still wants to get Sinatra as the new singer.  Mel Blanc has a role as Herman Peabody, insurance agent.  At the close of the episode, Jack makes a plea for the War Fund Drive.

Note:   A strange opening introduction by Don Wilson for this episode, as the greeting "Hello everybody, this is Don Wilson" seems to have made it's only appearance this week. Was it an attempt at a new sort of show opening?

5.    10/29/44            ALLEN'S ALLEY

Don's Introduction:  "And now, ladies and gentlemen, let's go out to Jack Benny's house in Beverly Hills...Jack has invited the gang over for a late Sunday breakfast...and right now he's in the kitchen getting things started".
The Show:   Fred Allen appears, along with his cast members from his radio show; Minerva Pious John Brown (both also briefly Benny regulars), Charles Cantor and Alan Reed; Jack and Fred go down to Allen's Alley to find a new singer for the show. Appearing in their roles as residents of Allen's Alley, Minerva Pious plays Mrs. Nussbaum, John Brown is John Doe, Alan Reed is Falstaff Openshaw, and Charles Cantor is Socrates Mulligan. Martha Tilton also appears, and sings "The Trolley Song".  Jack also pays tribute to the U.S. Navy. 

Guest Stars:   Fred Allen, Minerva Pious, John Brown, Charles Cantor, Alan Reed, and Martha Tilton

Note:   Since we've noted that Jack Benny Show semi-regular Verna Felton played Wilma Flinstone's mother, semi-regular Mel Blanc played Barney Rubble, and semi-regular Bea Benaderet played Betty Rubble, we should note that Fred Allen show regular Alan Reed, who guests this episode, played Fred Flintstone.

This episode if often confused with that of 10/1/1944, as noted above. This one begins with Don Wilson's intro as also noted above.

There was a network  line break from 7:02-7:07pm EST; a line break of 5 minutes is a fairly significant amount of time.  The ultimate "technical difficulty", a line break usually results in complete silence, followed by piano playing.  The transcription of the episode is missing the un-broadcast five minutes; from the script, here is what was missed in the Eastern part of the U.S.:

Jack:   "Now, let's see...I want the gang to have a nice breakfast...I think I'll start 'em off with some good old California orange, I think they'd like sliced orange better...yup, that's what I'll do, I'll slice it"
{cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut...stops}
Jack:  "Whew~! Oh well, there's no use in stopping now, I might as well slice the other half...yeah."
{cut, cut, cut, cut, cut, cut}


Jack:  "Gee, look what time it is, the gang'll be here any minute...I oughta start mixing the pancake batter"
{sound effect}:   door buzzer
Jack:   "Oops, the door"
{few footsteps, then door opens}
Mary:   "Oh I'm sorry, Miss, I thought this was Mr. Benny's..."
Jack:   It is, it is~! This is an apron I'm wearing~! Can't you see?"
Mary:   "Jack, I'm only kidding"
Jack:   "The gang is coming over for breakfast, and I've been in the kitchen preparing it...that's why I'm wearing this apron"
Mary:   "Well, you don't have to over do it...roll down your pants legs~!"
Jack:   "What?...Oh...ha ha ha...I rolled 'em up a little while ago and I forgot to pull 'em back down again"
Mary:   "Jack, I can understand your wearing an apron...but why did you roll your pants legs up in the first place?"
Jack:   "The milkman was here and I tried to get some butter out of 'im~! That's why"
Mary:   {laughs}
Jack:   "What are you laughing at?"
Mary:   "Jack, with those legs you couldn't fool anybody"
Jack:   "Oh no? Look in the icebox, sister, look in the icebox"


(from the Index Card Catalog of the NBC Collection at the Library of Congress--Motion Picture, Broadcasting & Recorded Sound Division)
6.    11/05/44              GUEST: AMOS AND ANDY

Don's Introduction:  "And now, ladies and gentlemen...if you have nothing else to do, let's go to Jack Benny's house in Beverly Hills..."
The Show:   Amos and Andy (Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll) guest star, briefly. Joseph Dunninger, a mind-reader, also appears: Jack and Mary go to see his show. Dunninger informs Jack about a young man working at a gas station that could be the new singer....Larry Stevens.  Mel Blanc again plays Herman Peabody, insurance agent;  Minerva Pious plays  Mrs. Nussbaum. Larry Stevens joins the cast as the singer. The circulating copy of this program has terrible audio quality, but this is a funny episode. 

Guest Stars: Freeman Gosden, Charles Correll, Joseph Dunninger

Larry's Song:    Larry sings "I'll Be Seeing You/April in Paris"

Note:    This program features the first appearances of Larry Stevens, and the character of Pauline, Mary's maid.

Don's Introduction:  "Ladies and gentlemen...after the thrills, action and excitement of the recent hectic election, there has been a terrific let-down...and here he is, Jack Benny~!"

On Location:   From Muroc Army Air Base, Muroc Dry Lake, California.

The Show:   Jack wants to throw away the script and ad-lib.  Mary reads a letter from her mother.  Larry Stevens makes his second appearance, singing "Let Me Love You Tonight".  Jack offers him a salary of $22.50 a week.  At the close Jack makes a plea for the Army Nurse Corp. The speed of the show on the circulating copy sounds too fast.

Larry's Song:   Larry sings "Let Me Love You Tonight"
8.    11/19/44            FROM CORONA NAVAL HOSPITAL

Show Introduction:  Larry is added to Don Wilson's cast introduction at the beginning of this episode:
"From the U.S. Naval Hospital at Corona...we bring you the Lucky Strike program...starring Jack Benny..with Mary Livingstone, Phil Harris, Rochester, yours truly Don Wilson, and our new singer, Larry Stevens"

Don's Introduction: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, as you all know, one of America's great naval heroes, Captain James Lawrence, once said "Don't give up the ship" now we bring you a man who wouldn't give up anything...Jack Benny~!"
On Location:   The show is broadcast from the Corona US Naval Hospital, California.

Guest Star:   The guest is harmonica player Larry Adler, who plays "Holiday for Strings" with the Orchestra.

The Show:   Jack and Don start an argument over who said "Don't Give up the Ship"; this will be a running gag the next few weeks.  Larry Stevens sings "What a Difference a Day Makes", and is introduced as a cast member at the beginning of the show for the first time.   At one point during the discussion with Larry and Mary, Jack nearly misses his line and everyone cracks up.  Mel Blanc appears as a sailor, and Sara Berner plays the telephone operator.

Flubs/Ad Libs:

Jack:   "That was 'Holiday for Strings' played by Larry Adler. And Larry, you certainly played a mouthful. You know Larry, that's a fascinating instrument.
Larry:   "You're right, Jack, you know this is an instrument that really gets you"
Jack:   "What do you mean?"
Larry:   "Well, I know a fellow who loved the harmonica so much he married a girl with every other tooth missing"
Jack:   "Oh, I see...well, now that I think of my Aunt, I guess my Uncle was in love with a bass fiddle...that gag's no good at all! (laughter) Anyway, Larry that number you just played....that number you...Larry, that number you just played was terrific.
Mary:   "Yes it was, Larry...I enjoyed it very much"
Larry:   "Why thanks...and say, Mary, I meant to tell you...that's a very pretty outfit you're wearing.
Mary:   "Well, thank you, Larry"
Larry:   "But isn't that material awfully thin?"
Mary:   " fact when I bought it, my dressmaker said those famous historical words.."
(brief silence)
Jack:   "What was that?"
Mary:   "Don't give up the slip"
Jack:   "Gee, I nearly missed my cue there, didn't I? I thought Larry was supposed to say 'what was that', pardon me, Larry.."
Larry:   "I was all set to jump in"
Jack:   "Listen, you didn't have to...anyway...(laughter) hey, you're all right, you can be on my show again, bud, you're all right. Anyway, Mary you didn't have to say 'don't give up the slip',  you know you didn't have to start that all over again"
Don:   "Well I'm glad you did, Mary"

Larry's Song:   Larry sings "What a Difference a Day Makes".

Note:   Presumably the show must have been running late, as there is no closing "tag" by Jack. The audio quality of the circulating recording is pretty atrocious, although it's hard to determine how much of that may be due to the original broadcast being done on location, away from the studio..
Don's Introduction: "Well, ladies and gentlemen, last Thursday was Thanksgiving, so let's turn back the clock and show you how Jack Benny and his gang spent the day...our scene opens in Jack's home in Beverly Hills, and at the moment, Rochester is straightening up the house".

The Show:   The program opens with Rochester singing his version of "Night and Day"

Rochester:   "Night and Day/I am the one/Thanksgiving comes and goes/But I'm never done/I'm workin' all the time/I'm nothin' but a one-man assembly line/Night and Day/Day and Night!"

Jack is going to Mary's house for a Thanksgiving party and asks Rochester to help him get dressed. As Roch tells Jack about the tough moths living in his closet, the insurance salesman Herman Peabody (Mel Blanc) shows up at the door to wish Jack a Happy Thanksgiving.

Mary calls to ask what's taking Jack so long to get to her house, as the whole gang is already there except for him. Before he hangs up Mary asks Jack to bring her some flowers:

Jack:   "Okay, Mary, I'll bring you half a dozen roses"
Mary:   "Only a half a dozen? But Jack, they don't cost much"
Jack:   "Well, no, the roses alone don't, Mary...but you're going to the expense of the entire dinner, why should you spend any more...after all. you're doing enough"
Mary:   "Jack, I meant for YOU to buy the roses"
Jack:   "oh...oh...oh oh oh OH! Well, Mary, you didn't have to beat around the bush, why didn't you just come out and say so? Of course I'll bring 'em...goodbye"

Over at Mary's house, it turns out that Phil has brought the band with him (naturally) so we get a band number, "(There'll Be a) Hot Time in the Town of Berlin".  The song, written by John deVries and Joe Bushkin, copyrighted on October 26, 1943, was a hit record in 1944 for Bing Crosby with the Andrews Sisters, among others. Phil, Larry and Don are enjoying the music...Phil calls for another band number and Don asks if he can play the drums. Phil agrees and as they launch into "I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby", Don attacks the drum kit and we hear a very loud cymbal. Mary's comment "Don, take that cymbal off your head, you look like Dragonseed",refers to a 1944 film about a Chinese village attacked by the Japanese Army.

As Mary is talking in the kitchen with her maid Pauline, Phil comes in to offer to help set the table. Mary thanks Phil but says she hired a butler for the day (what DOES Jack pay Mary?) Shortly after Jack finally arrives, and is greeted by the gang. Jack lets in a visitor at the door, assuming he's a guest, only to find out that he's actually Carl, the new butler (Frank Nelson). Then we get Larry Steven's song, "I'll Walk Along" (a current hit for Dinah Shore).

When Mary announces that dinner is ready in the dining room, the gang start a conga line:

(loud crash)
Jack:   "Don, if you can't control it, don't swing it~! For heavens sake..."

When the gang ask Jack to make a speech, Jack brings up forgetting their differences. When Mary says they've never had any real arguments, Jack reminds her of last week, when he and Don had an argument over what Naval hero said "Don't give up the ship".

Jack:   ..."Now, Don found out he was wrong, and I'm not going to rub it in. It's all over. So, if we'll just..."
Don:   "Wait a minute, Jack...I wasn't wrong"
Jack:   "So if we'll just..."
Don:   "It was Captain James Lawrence who said 'Don't give up the ship'"
Jack:   "No, no, Don, it was John Paul Jones. So if we'll just..."

The argument revs up again between Jack and Don, and as Jack tries to finish his speech the while asserting it was John Paul Jones, the closing music eventually drowns him out.

In the closing tag, Jack tells Mary that he has to go appear on Joe E. Brown's radio program, which this week is celebrating Brown's forty-forth anniversary in show business. And the flower delivery boy (Mel Blanc) finally shows up.

Larry's Song:   Larry sings "I'll Walk Alone".
10.   12/03/44            JACK GETS MAD AND GOES HOME

Don's Introduction:
Don:  "And now, ladies and gentlemen, we bring you a man whose name for years has been the epitome of show business...a man who went from Waukegan to vaudeville" 
Mary: "From vaudeville to radio".
Phil: "From Broadway to pictures."
Mary: "From pictures to Broadway".
Don: "And now, since he has no place else to go, would you please let him come into your home for just half an hour?  Thank you and here he is, Jack Benny~!"

Guest Star:   Walter Winchell is the guest star.

The Show:   Mel Blanc  has a part as a reporter for Esquire magazine, trying to find out Jack's true age.  Mary reads a letter from Dennis Day, who requests that Larry sing "I'm Making Believe". Jack is still insisting that John Paul Jones said "Don't Give up the Ship".

Larry's Song:   Larry sings "I'm Making Believe"
11.    12/10/44          FROM SAN BERNADINO, CALIFORNIA

Don's Introduction:
Don:  "And now, ladies and all modesty, I think you'll agree with me when I say that our radio program boasts an unusual array of talent"
Jack:   "We have nothing but the best"
Don:   "For instance...our orchestral ensemble is conducted by that learned symphonist...that gifted Maestro...Phil Harris"
Jack:   "That's right, folks, Phil is a great musician. Why Spike Jones doesn't grab him is beyond me....continue, Don."
Don:   "And for our singer of songs, we have Larry Stevens. A newcomer who in addition to being a great singer is sincere, unassuming and ingratiating"
Jack:   "Well he better be. After all, I'm paying him twenty-two fifty a week.  And that ain't cactus, brother~! Go ahead, Don"
Don:   "Next, and with a feeling of pride, I'd like to point to the feminine side of our roster...the lovely, beautiful, charming and irresistible Mary Livingstone"
Jack:   "That's right, fellas, she was just voted Miss Hubba Hubba Hubba of 1944....sounds like the auctioneer there for a minute, eh?...continue, Don"
Don:   "And now, last but not least, I'd like to pay tribute to the man...the one man who is responsible for bringing this program into your home Sunday after Sunday"
Jack:   "Yes, sir, Sunday after Sunday. Neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor storm shall stay this courier from his appointed rounds. I copied that off a Post Office. The Cucamomga branch...go ahead, Don, don't keep them waiting"
Don:   "This man, whose talent is summed up in one word...genius...has the rare faculty of knowing what the people want and seeing that they get it"
Jack:   "Oh Don, please"
Don:   "So now we present the one man chosen by the sponsor for this all-important job....and here he is, our producer, Bob Ballin~!"
Jack:   "WHAT?"
Jack:   "Bob Ballin? Now wait a minute....hey, what's this all about? Wait a minute...wait a minute~!!"
On Location:  The show is broadcast from the Air Technical Service Command in San Bernadino, California. 

Guest Star:   Dorothy Lamour.

The Show:   The crowd roars when Jack gives Dorothy Lamour a kiss for her birthday.  As noted in the introduction, Bob "Air Technical Command"Ballin, the actual producer of the Jack Benny program, also appears after being introduced by Don Wilson.  Don introduces the entire cast and Bob Ballin...except for Jack, whose introduction keeps being interrupted.  Mel Blanc appears as the reporter from Esquire magazine returns, still trying to find out Jack's true age (when he makes his entrance, you can hear an audience member say "that's from last week!")

Note:   The recording that circulates of this program was sourced from an Armed Forces Radio Service broadcast. Therefore, as usual in an AFRS recording, there are no Lucky Strike ads, and in place of Jack's closing "tag" is a song by Larry Stevens, "Let Me Love You Tonight". However, the tag that is missing from the circulating recording is revealed by the script to have been Jack apologizing for not appearing for his scheduled part in a Sixth War Loan Drive radio program that aired on December 6, 1944:

Jack's closing "tag":   "Ladies and gentlemen, last Wednesday night there was a big Sixth War Loan program on the air, and I was supposed to talk to you from the Torney General Hospital in Palm Springs...but due to technical difficulties they couldn't tune me in. However, what I had planned to say then, I'd like you to hear now. At the Torney General Hospital I talked to a lot of our boys...boys I met in the South Pacific this summer. In fact, three of them---Private Bidwell M. Clayton, Sergeant William R. Parsons, Jr, and Corporal Edward J. Bedwell---were supposed to be on this particular bond program with me. I wanted them to tell you what they told me that afternoon. They told me that they and all their buddies bought bonds during every one of the bond drives...whether they were in Guadalcanal, Buna, Tarawa, New Guinea or any other battlefield. So you see, ladies and gentlemen...these soldiers were not only fighting but also backing themselves up. So let us back them up more than ever. Buy bonds---you're not spending, you're saving...not only money, but lives. Thank you".

Guest Star:
   Dorothy Lamour

Don's Introduction: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, we take you to Jack Benny's home in Beverly Hills, where we find Rochester very busy addressing Christmas cards".
Guest Star:  The guest is Frank Sinatra, who has a brief cameo. 

The Show:   The show begins with Rochester addressing Jack's Christmas cards ("Christmas greetings from 1944 to 1950 inclusive...and to whom it may concern"). Rochester tries to hint to Jack about a Christmas present by bringing up his friend Sam, who works for one of the stingiest men in the world, receiving only three little handkerchiefs last Christmas:

Jack:   "Well, Rochester, you don't understand the spirit of Christmas...the important thing is the fact that you remembered. The gift itself is nothing"
Rochester:   "I know, that's the kind of propaganda I'm trying to overcome~!"

While Jack is getting dressed to go Christmas shopping with Mary, he asks Rochester to switch on the radio, first getting "Memories of Yesteryear", followed by a commercial (by Frank Nelson, of course) for a familiar product;

Announcer:   "Ladies and gentlemen, does your complexion suffer from tattle-tale grey~? Do the crows feet around your eyes have fallen arches~? Do you have dandruff~? When you comb your hair do your shoulders remind you of a white Christmas~? They do~?! Then why don't you try a bottle of Sympathy Soothing Syrup~! Remember, folks, Sympathy spelled backwards is Yhtapmys~!  [spelled yitapamiss in the script]  Yit Yit Yitapamiss/Yit Yiy Yitapamiss/Yit Yit Yitapamiss/Drives your blues aaawaaaaay~!"

The announcer introduces the Sympathy Soothing Syrup Quartet, accompanied by Snoogie Getts and the Sweetest Music this Side of the La Brea Tar Pits Orchestra, with "Dance with the Dolly".

After the band number, Jack walks over to Mary's house to pick her up for Christmas shopping, meeting a dog along the way (played by Mel Blanc, also of course), and then runs into Don Wilson, who was on his way over to Jack's house. Don has the engraved ashtray that Jack ordered as a gift for the President of the American Tobacco Co., George Washington Hill. This turns into the inevitable LS/MFT plug, with Don showing Jack that he added a music box to the ashtray that plays the tobacco auctioneer chants. After leaving Don, Jack still has a few minutes before he needs to pick up Mary so he ducks into a drugstore to find some Sympathy Soothing Syrup. Jack tries out the ten cent size right there in the store, when he hears a familiar voice;

Frank:   "Hello, Jack"
Jack:   "Oh, hello Frankie. How are you, how's Mrs. Sinatra?"
Frank:   "Fine...say, Jack, don't forget you're going to be on my program tomorrow night"
Jack:   "Oh, sure, I won't forget...see you tomorrow"
Frank:   "Okay, so long. Oh, by the way, Jack, do you know what I found out~?"
Jack:   "What~?"
Frank:   "That Sinatra spelled backwards is Artanis"
Jack:   "Ha ha, that's pretty good~!  So long, Frankie"
Frank:   "So long, Jack.  [aside] why did I have to ask him to come on my program...his jokes will probably louse up my singing"
Jack:   "What did you say, Frankie~?"
Frank:   "Oh, nothing, nothing Jack....goodbye"
Jack:   "Goodbye"  [applause]. Gee, I'm sorry I promised to go on his program...his singing will louse up my jokes..."

This is the entirety of Frank Sinatra's role this week on the program. So, in the ongoing saga of Jack Benny episode titles, while a title concerning this entire episode would more likely be something such as "Jack and Mary Go Christmas Shopping", it must be said that Jack meeting up with Frank Sinatra in a drug store IS the most memorable part of the program, even if it takes up only a few minutes of air time.

After "Frankie" leaves the drugstore, Jack leaves as well and is instantly met by a bobbysoxer;

Girl:   "Pardon me, Mr. Benny"
Jack:   "Yes, what is it, honey~?"
Girl:   "Well, all the girls in my class in high school are collecting autographs, and....{terrific swooning sigh]....oooooohhhhh~! {thud}
Jack:   "Well, how do you like that~? I only SPOKE to Frankie and I got some of it on me~! Oh well, she'll come out of it all right"

Jack then goes on his way to Mary's house, and as they get into Mary's car to go Christmas shopping, Mary mentions to Jack that Larry Stevens had just stopped by looking for him to hear his new song, A Sleigh Ride in July. Jack regrets missing it so Mary begins to sing it to him, segueing into Larry's rendition.  Thus ensuring another week with no speaking lines for Mr. Stevens. After Larry's number, the third routine begins with Jack nervous about Mary's driving skills because "I'm always frightened when I'm with a woman driver". While Mary is busy protesting that women are as good as drivers as men, it turns out that she has been driving on the sidewalk and crashes into the side of a house (ahh, radio).

Finally, Jack and Mary arrive at their destination, and Jack realizes he needs Christmas gifts for Fred Allen, the Quiz Kids, his sister Florence, and Rochester. Christmas shopping for Jack usually means the seventh level of annoyance hell for him, Frank Nelson, or both.  Needing to know the location of the perfume counter, he turns to the floorwalker (Frank Nelson, of course of course of course).  After Nelson very kindly tells Jack where to go, Joe Kearns plays a man asking Jack what present he should get for his wife. When finally finding the perfume counter, Frank Nelson accuses Jack of trying to steal some perfume, and then the saleswoman Bea Benaderet tries to interest Jack in some perfume that is sixty eight cents a gallon, and a French perfume "La Nuit Tuojours Tres Jolie Toi Maintennant" (or as she helpfully translates into English, "condensation of steam that's been forced through a motorman's glove"). Then foloows this great exchange with Nelson:

Jack:   "...oh, mister floorwalker..."
Nelson:   "Yes, my little bifocal yokel?"
Jack:   "Say, mister floorwalker, will you tell me where the ladies department is~?"
Nelson:   "It's right down at the end of the....oh, the DEPARTMENT, that's right over to your left"

Jack then meets Phil Harris in the store, briefly. Very briefly, as in Phil has a grand total of three lines this week, even less than Frankie (but still three more than Larry). The man asking Jack what to get his wife for Christmas returns yet again and gets into a verbal scuffle with Jack, and now with added fun of the perfume saleswoman believing that Jack has stolen the man's wife, Verna Felton as a customer calling Jack a grey-haired wolf for stealing said man's wife, and Frank Nelson's floorwalker adding his two cents into it ("...what's going on here, what's going....oh, it's you, the little goopy with the droopy toopy~!") the program closes with Jack protesting that he's a peaceful man, and Verna telling him to shut up.

Larry's Song:   Larry sings "Sleigh Ride in July".

Note:   The closing tag is a plea from Jack for reduced civilian train travel.

Note:   This Benny episode took place just slightly more than two months after the famed Frank Sinatra "Columbus Day Riots" in New York City. On October 12, 1944, Sinatra began his third residency at New York's Paramount Theatre, and while Sinatramania had been bubbling up at the Paramount and popular media before, this now was the first real, big example of the power of a teen pop idol. Bobbysoxers had begun lining up outside the night before the first show, which was to take place on the holiday. The next day, Columbus Day, reportedly only two hundred and fifty audience members left the theatre after the first concert, leaving over 35,000 people waiting outside. I've seen differing accounts over the years as to whether there was property damage during the "riots" (store windows broken, etc) but whatever happened clearly the NYPD was initially taken by surprise, and overwhelmed.
13.    12/24/44          TRIMMING A TREE
Don's Introduction:

"Tis the night before Christmas
And at Jack Benny's house
There are presents for all,
Even cheese for the mouse.
Jack is up on a chair
Then he's down on his knee
But you have to do that
When you're trimming a tree".

Guest Star:   Andy Devine

The Show:   The show opens with Jack and Mary trimming the Christmas tree in preparation for Jack's Christmas party.  Wally Maher appears as a policeman investigating a complaint about Jack disturbing the peace last week at Moore's Department Store. Jack tells the cop his story as we "flash back" to last week.  Once again Joe Kearns is the man asking Jack what he should buy his wife for Christmas, and Frank Nelson is the exasperated floorwalker ("Stop breathing on my carnation~!"). It fades back in:

Jack:   "And that's exactly what happened officer, believe me"
Cop:   "By golly, it's amazing. It sounds like something you'd hear on the radio"
Jack:   "Yeah"
Cop:   "Well, I'm convinced it wasn't your fault, and I'm going to forget all about this complaint and be wishin' you folks a Merry Christmas"

In the "second routine" the gang arrives at jack's for the Christmas party: Phil, followed by Larry and Don.  The doorbell rings and it's their old pal Andy Devine.

Andy Devine's toast:   "Here's to you, Buck...Mary, Phil and the whole gang. We've been friends for a long time and I hope it always stays that way...Merry Christmas"

Jack's toast:  "This is a toast to a lot of fellows I met in Africa, Europe, and the South Pacific...and to all you other boys out there I wasn't lucky enough to meet. Fellows, this is Christmas Eve, a time for happiness and good fellowship...a time when our hearts should be humble and forgiving. But this is war, and I've seen what you boys are up against on both sides of the world. I know the Christmas spirit must seem a very distant thing when you're crouched in a muddy foxhole...or wading through the half-frozen slush of Western Europe...I know too that there's very little to remind you of Christmas inside a stifling tank, or in the icy cockpit of a B-29 six miles above Tokyo. Maybe you feel it is something you lost long, long ago, because the only Christmas lights you see are the bursts of shells or the flashing path cut by tracer bullets. But Christmas is a spirit...a spirit that springs from within, and is so strong it transcends even the ugly scenes of a battlefield and fills the soul with a passion to defend the things that are right and just. You are the ones who have gone to the ends of the Earth to preserve the freedom you know  belongs to every hasten the day when all mankind can once again live in dignity and in peace. So here's to you, fellows. Merry Christmas, and God bless you all"
(segue to Larry's Christmas medley)

As written in the NBC Program cards, "Benny paid tribute to our fighting men on every battlefront---and delivered a message on behalf of all American
prisoners-of-war in Germany, which came to the American Red Cross, of Geneva Switzerland---a personal message from more than 6000 Americans at Stalag Luft 5 in Germany, addressed to friends and next of kin---signed for them by General Arthur W. Vanaman of Butler Penna, senior American officer at the camp: "Please pass on our Yuletide greetings and say to our families and loved ones that our faith in them...and prayers...and the ultimate unshakable". 

There is no closing Lucky Strikes commercial, as noted in the script:  "there will be no closing commercial on the program this week due to a special Christmas eve program which Jack has prepared. No mention is to be made that Lucky Strike is relinquishing commercial time for this program. Christmas greetings will be extended to our fighting men and women overseas and in this country on behalf of Jack Benny and Lucky Strike".    This will be the last Christmas of World War II.

This is a very funny, and also very touching, Christmas episode. The toasts given by Andy, Mary, and especially Jack are quite moving.

Larry's Song:   Larry sings a Christmas medley of O Come All ye Faithful/O Little Town of Bethlehem/Silent Night

Guest Star:   Andy Devine


Don's Introduction:

Don: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, this is New Year's Eve...yes, New Year's Eve~! The one time in the year when everybody should let their hair down"

Jack: "Yes, sir!"

Mary: "Jack, he said let it down, not take it off!"

Jack: "Oh....oh pardon me. Continue, Don"

Don: "So in keeping with the spirit of the New Year, I bring you a man who will get up at midnight, hang up his calendar, re-fill his hot water bottle, (and) get back in bed again. Here he is, Jack Benny~!"

The Show:   The cast presents the annual New Years Eve show, "The New Tenant" , or "Goodbye '44, Hello '45".
15.    01/07/45              LEAVING FOR NEW YORK CITY

Don's Introduction:
"Well, ladies and Sunday night we will be broadcasting from New York City...where Jack Benny is going to open the March of Dimes Infantile Paralysis let's go to Jack's house in Beverly Hills where he is busy preparing for the trip..."
The Show:   An historic episode.  The episode features the debut of no less than three of Jack Benny's most famous recurring "bits":  Jack's money vault and the vault's guard Ed (portrayed by Joseph Kerns), the first episode with the racetrack tout (portrayed by Benny Rubin), and the first episode with the train station announcement of "Anaheim, Azusa and Cuc-amonga" (done by Mel Blanc).  The gang are packing and getting ready to go to the east in connection with the March of Dimes.  This is an AFRS version of the broadcast, so there are no Lucky Strike commercials.  Also the episode has no Mary Livingstone, who "has a cold".  The different copies of this episode that I own have absolutely terrible audio quality, but better ones do circulate, apparently.  

Our first meeting with Vault Guard Ed, with sound effects descriptions courtesy of the script:

(six footsteps...heavy iron handle turns with creaking of chains...heavy iron door creaks open. On cue: six more footsteps, hollow effect...HEAVIER iron handle turns with creaking chains...HEAVIER door creaks open)
Jack:   "Hmm, I wonder if that door is heavy enough?"
(on cue: four footsteps)
Ed:   "Halt...who goes there?"
Jack:   "It's only me,'s okay"
Ed:   "Oh, hello, Mr. Benny"
Jack:   "How've you been, Ed?"
Ed:   "Oh, fine, fine...oh, by the way, Mr. Benny..."
Jack:   "Yes?"
Ed:   "Who won the election?"
Jack:   " was pretty close"
Ed:   "So Hoover's out, eh?"
Jack:   "Yes, a long time ago..."

At the train station Jack introduces the tout (Benny Rubin) to Phil as "a race track tout that used to hang around Hollywood Park you know".

Tout:   "(confidential)  Hey Jack...Jack, come here a minute"
Jack:   "Huh? Oh it's you again. What is it?"
Tout:   "I didn't want to say anything while you were with your friends, but...where you goin'?"
Jack:   "New York"
Tout:   "What train ya takin'?"
Jack:   "The Chief"
Tout:   "uh uh"
Jack:   "Why, what's the matter?"
Tout:   "Take the El Captain"
Jack:   "But I like the Chief"
Tout:   "Come here a minute"
Jack:   "Yeah?
Tout:   "Take my tip...the El Captain will beat the Chief into Kansas City by three lengths"
Jack:   "What?"
Tout:   "According to yesterday's performance it can't miss"
Jack:   "Well, look, I'm sorry, but I'm taking the Chief"
Tout:   "Look...come here a minute"
Jack:   "Huh?"
Tout:   "I was talkin' to the engineer who's ridin' El Captain, and he tells me that today, she's ready"
Jack:   "Well, I don't know..."
Tout:   "And look at the breeding...El Captain is by Twentieth Century out of Golden State Limited"
Jack:   "Well, thanks for the tip, but I'm going to stick to the Chief"
Tout:   "Why?"
Jack:   (confidential) Come here a minute. Don't noise this around, see..."
Tout:   "No..."
Jack:   "But I found out the Chief is a so long, fella"
Tout:   "Okay, okay. So long"

For all of those historic firsts, however, unfortunately the show isn't actually all that funny.  It almost sounds under-rehearsed....Jack and the man who wants to rent his house keep tripping over each others' lines.
But it was a hugely significant episode in the history of the Jack Benny program, in terms of launching three classic bits of old time radio comedy that would each last a very long time, and luckily get much funnier over time.

Larry's song:   Larry sings "Don't Fence Me In".

Note:  In his 1972 book "Come Backstage With Me", Benny Rubin indicates that he was too upset over the death of Carole Lombard to make his appearance as the racetrack tout on the Benny program, and that this was when Sheldon Leonard took over the role. This account is incorrect in several different ways.

(from the Index Card Catalog of the NBC Collection at the Library of Congress--Motion Picture, Broadcasting & Recorded Sound Division)

Don's Introduction: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, I bring you a man who got on a train in Los Angeles and came to New York by way of Anaheim, Azusa and Cucamonga~!"
On Location:   From the Grand Ballroom in the Hotel Astor, New York City, NY

The Show:   Jack informs Don that when he arrived in New York, he received an official welcome from Mayor LaGuardia. Mr. Beck, manager of the Astor Hotel, stops by to make sure that nothing interferes with Jack's broadcast from the ballroom.  It's Don Wilson's wedding anniversary, so he brought his wife with him to New York. Jack offers to pay their expenses, but then thinks twice when they tell him they're staying at the swanky Waldorf Astoria. Phil arrives and he and Don rave about Frank Fay's new Broadway show ("Harvey") to Jack, who of course doesn't take the raving too well.  Phil tells Jack the Broadway shows that he's seen since arriving in New York are Bloomer Girl, Laffing Room Only (spelled "Laughing" in the script), and Mexican Hayride. After Don tells Jack that Frank Fay is one of the greatest comedians he's ever seen, Jack tells Don to have Fay pay for his wife's expenses at the Waldorf Astoria. Larry Stevens arrives and, amazingly, actually has some dialog without singing a song quite yet. Then Minerva Pious' Mrs. Nussbaum shows up for the first time in two months, in what amounts basically to a cameo to invite Jack and the gang to her new restaurant:

Jack:   "Well, I'll be very happy to drop by,,,but I didn't know you were in the restaurant business"
Mrs. Nussbaum:   "This is only of a
recent nature...I have been running this restaurant only since I stopped working should excuse the expression...Fred Allen~!"

Mrs. Nussbaum tells Jack that she's trying to get "Frankie Boy" (Frank Sinatra) for her floor show. Larry finally sings, and dedicates his song "The Night is Young and You're So Beautiful" to the ailing Mary Livinsgtone, listening to the show from their hotel room. He also engages in some banter with Jack, including a somewhat Dennis Day-ish punchline. Larry's talk with Jack is interrupted by a knock at the door by the guest star, the one and only Fred Allen.

Jack:   "Why, Fred are you~?"
Fred:   "Well, I haven't time to banty pleasantries, Mr. Benny, this isn't a social call, I'm here on business"
Jack:   "Business?"
Fred:   "Yes, your sponsor hired me to read the commercial"
Jack:   "Oh, so you're the guy~! But Fred, I thought radio was through with...I mean, you were through with radio~?"
Fred:   "Well, I haven't got my own program any more, but I do odd jobs...a commercial here, a sound effect there..and an occasional sob on 'John's Other Wife'"
Jack:   "And by that you manage to eke out a living~?"
Fred:   "If it doesn't make you too unhappy.......yes."

Fred Allen's delivery of the "yes" line is perfect. There follows a few somewhat tepid Allen put-downs of Jack until we get to this great line, which unfortunately Allen almost swallows;

Fred:   "...and another thing...I don't believe Mary Livingstone is sick at all. You just made her stay home so you'd be sure of one listener"   

Fred then proceeds to deliver the mid-show Lucky Strike LS/MFT commercial rather than Don Wilson, including verbalizing all of the LS/MFT morse code ("") and then imitating the auctioneer's chant. After a few more insults Fred falls down the stage steps, before delivering his final line, "Sold American~!"

When Jack complains to Phil about the sponsor sending someone like Allen to do the commercial, Phil mentions that Fred's pretty smart, as he was on 'Information, Please'.  After Jack protests that he was on Quiz Kids three times, Phil brings up a name not heard around these parts in quite a while:

Phil:   "Oh, that's right...I remember the last time you were with the Quiz Kids, you got sore at Schlepperman"
Jack:   "That's Kupperman, Joel Kupperman~!"

Their talk is interrupted by a phone call;

Rochester:   "Hello...Mr. Benny~?"
Jack:   "Is that you, Rochester~?"
Rochester:   "It ain't the Voice of the Turtle~!"

Rochester tells Jack that he's been in Harlem since they arrived in New York, and Jack accuses him of partying for four days straight. Rochester denies it, saying that he's actually visiting his eighty-eight year old grandmother. The program ends with Rochester, after fessing up, revealing that there are twenty two people at the party, and twenty one of them are girls.

The closing tag features Jack and Fred, and features a line that I don't quite understand ("drop dead in a body"?)

Jack:   "Fred, I want to thank you for coming over. It was nice of my sponsor to have you do the commercial"
Fred:   "And I want to thank you too, Jack"
Jack:   "Thank me~? What for~?"
Fred:   "Well, your sponsor said you'd pay me"
Jack:   "Oh. Oh...OH~!"
Fred:   "There he goes again, folks, with that Oh, oh, oh. For twelve years now he's been going Oh, oh, oh. You know, some day he's going to add lib a fourth oh and his writers will go out and drop dead in a body"
Jack:   "Hmmm"
Fred:   "You hear that, folks~? He said hmmm. What a change of pace~!"
Jack:   "Look Fred, instead of sending you a check, I'll be a guest on your program"
Fred:   "But Jack, I haven't any program"
Jack:   "Well then, I'll just walk around with you for about a half hour some day. Goodnight, folks"

Larry's song:    Larry sings "The Night is Young and You're So Beautiful".

Guest Star:   Fred Allen

Note:   Mary Livingstone does not appear on the program this week due to a bad cold.

Note:   There are numerous Broadway references this week, due to the show being in New York City. For the shows that Phil listed as having seen, "HARVEY" starred Don's favorite comedian Frank Fay, and had been at the 48th Street Theatre since November 1, 1944.  "BLOOMER GIRL" was playing at the Shubert Theatre, having opened on October 5, 1944; "LAFFING ROOM ONLY" was at the Winter Garden, debuting fairly recently on December 23, 1944 and featured the comedy of Olsen and Johnson of Helzapoppin' fame; and MEXICAN HAYRIDE debuted on January 28, 1944 at the Majestic. The play that Rochester refers to is "THE VOICE OF THE TURTLE", which opened on December 8, 1943 and was a serious drama presented at the Morosco.

Note:   This was Minerva Pious' third of four appearances as Mrs. Nussbaum on the Jack Benny program. The first was on October 29, 1944, followed by the next week's program on November 5, 1944. Her final appearance as the Allen's Alley character would come in two weeks, on January 28, 1945.  Coming a few years after the last appearance of Schlepperman, and one year before the January 1946 debut of Mr. Kitzel, Minerva Pious' Mrs. Nussbaum, for me, never quite fits into the show as well as those two characters, though I have a difficult time pinpointing exactly why. Like Artie Auerbach's Mr. Kitzel, Pansy Nussbaum (although given a few different first names on the Benny program) came to Jack from a different radio show; in her case, Fred Allen's program. While Pious could effortlessly perform almost any dialect or accent, her Mrs. Nussbaum character had debuted in Allen's Alley in December 1942 and immediately caught on with the public.

Note:   From The January 18, 1945 edition of Radio Daily:

An all star entertainment at Carnegie Hall on Saturday evening and plans for all networks as well as independent stations to carry a special program on Tuesday January 30, highlight the promotional campaign of the 'March of Dimes' to raise funds for the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis.  With Margaret O'Brien and Bob Hope as his aids, Jack Benny will step up the March of Dime drive against Infantile Paralysis by appearing at Carnegie Hall on Saturday evening, January 20.  Both Hope and Benny will be supported by well-known personalities on their radio programs, including Mary Livingstone, Phil Harris, Larry Stevens, Rochester, Jerry Colona and Frances Langford.

Other nationally known entertainers on the show, sponsored by the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, are Ann Sheridan, Little Margaret O'Brien, Ed Wynn, Joan Edwards, Johnny Johnston, Bidu Sayao, Issac Stern and Lester Lannin and his orchestra. Benny will take his troupe along for similar appearances in Philadelphia on January 23 and Boston on January 25.

Honoring President Roosevelt;s birthday Tuesday, January 30, top-ranking stars join forces with service bands, officials, and other radio luminaries in a four-network broadcast, going on the air at 11:15pm. The program, which will swing around the country, will be presented in cooperation with the NFIP and the annual March of Dimes.

Opening in New York, with Quentin Reynolds emceeing, the show will feature Jack Benny and his troupe and Joan Edwards. Bing Crosby emcees the Hollywood portion, which also presents Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Edgar Bergen, and John Scott Trotter."
17.    01/21/45            ICE SKATING IN CENTRAL PARK
Don's Introduction:  "And now, ladies and gentlemen, we take you to Jack Benny's room at the Sherry Netherland Hotel...Jack is waiting for the gang to show up as they're all going ice skating in Central Park".

On Location:   New York City, NY

The Show:   Mary returns.  The gang meet up in Jack's hotel room before going ice skating in Central Park, NY.  The cab driver on the way to Central Park imitates Jack and Fred Allen.  The great Jim Backus (the voice of Mr. Magoo, and Thurston Howell on Gilligan's Island) has a quick cameo as a different cab driver.

Larry's song:   Larry sings "Strange Music".
18.    01/28/45            FROM MITCHEL FIELD  (IN NEW YORK)

Don's Introduction:

Don:"Ladies and every group, in every crowd, in every show, in every barracks...there's always one outstanding personality"
Jack: "Yes, indeedy".
Don: "So it is no surprise that our little group of thespians has one of it's own...and here he is, Mr Eager Beaver of 1945, Jack Benny~!"

On Location:   From Mitchel Field, Hempstead (on Long Island), New York - (which would have constituted a local show, for me) -headquarters of the First Air Force

The Show:   After Don's introduction, Jack is determined to find out what an "eager beaver" is. Don tells Jack his favorite part of the trip thus far was ice skating in Central Park, and having to help pick Jack back up after he kept falling. Mary arrives with her standard camp-show "hey fellahs" greeting and explains to Jack that an eager beaver is a "sad sack with a commission", [which gets a huge audience response]. Mary tells Jack that she enjoys Mitchel Field because in the winter time, the snow slows a soldier down when he's chasing a girl, and Jack gets pretty tripped up with "the slow...the snow..the slow also...the snow also slows down a girl", but they soldier on (sorry) without calling out the flub. Larry Stevens shows up and actually gets to banter with Jack for a few seconds before "Elmer", a Mitchel Field solider, knocks on the door to try and sell Jack some G.I. specific gags (this is the second week out of three consecutive weeks that the actor "Elmer" has a role on the program). Jack tells him he'll talk to him after the program as Larry starts his song.

The second routine begins as Jack frets that when he left Los Angeles on their current trip, he forgot to notify his draft board, but Mary reassures him that he doesn't have to worry. Finally Mr. Harris shows up:

Phil:   "All right, Jackson, all right, Jackson..stand back and relax, I like the soldiers but I love them WACS~!  Hiya kids~!"

Phil tells Jack that he must've signed nearly a thousand autographs today for the WACS ("if things keep up like this, I'm gonna learn to write"). Phil, Don, Jack and Mary get into a discussion on how to pronounce the word syllable, which naturally Don turns into a Lucky Strike commercial.

Ann Sheridan is the guest star, as Alice Faye has asked Phil to take her out on the town.  Minerva Pious also appears as the date Ann has set up for Jack---Mrs. Nussbaum.  Jack closes the program with "Good Night, Joanie" (his and Mary's daughter). Elmer the gag writer returns with another G.I. joke for Jack that Jack doesn't like:

Jack:   "Elmer, will you please sit down~?"
Elmer:   "Okay, okay, if you want your show to be like a training film, it's all right with me"

[That line also gets a huge audience response]. Then, the highlight of many a war-era location show, the Rochester phone call.  This time he's calling from the hotel room in New York City to tell Jack that a writer from Look magazine had visited earlier, asking questions in advance of a story about Jack.

Jack:   "What did he ask you~?"
Rochester:   "Well, first he wanted to know your age, so I gave him our old standard answer, thirty six"
Jack:   "Good, and I hope you stuck to your answer"
Rochester:   "Oh, I did, matter how many different ways he asked me, I STILL said thirty six~!"

The next question was one "that for years has been a burning issue in the public mind", according to Rochester; "could you possibly be as cheap in person as you are on the radio~?". Rochester almost had the writer convinced when in walks the man Jack rents his other twin bed to, who made a fuss, which woke up Jack's writers, sleeping in his bath. The commotion was so much that the writer eventually jumped out the hotel window (from Jack's room on the thirty third floor~!). This all leads into Phil's band number.

After the band number Jack reminds Phil that after the program they've been invited to the mess hall, but Phil has to cancel. A good friend of his wife (Alice Faye) is in town and all alone, so Alice asked Phil to show he the town (presumably New York City and not Mitchel Field's Hempstead, Long Island). Mary throws a few insults after Jack mentions Gladys Zabisco before Jack asks Phil who it is that he's stuck with dragging around town:

Phil:   "Ann Sheridan".
Jack:   "Well, it serves you...WHAT? WHOM?...I mean, who~?!!"
Phil:   "Yes, while you're in the mess hall enjoying good old army food, I'm gonna be dragged all over by Ann Sheridan~! Ain't that just too, too, ah too~!?"

Jack tries to horn in on the date by suggesting that he and Mary can tag along and make a foursome...and then Jack further suggests that Phil and Mary can be with each other while Jack takes Ann Sheridan. Phil tells Jack that Alice is expecting HIM to show Ann around, not Jack, and he should "lay off", so Jack resigns to the fact that he'll take Mary and Phil will take Ann.
Shortly after some decent banter our guest star enters and immediately begins to talk solely to Mary, ignoring Jack completely.  After a while Jack can't take any more.

Jack:   "Wait a minute, wait a minute, let me get into this conversation~!!"
Ann:   "All right, Jack...where do you get your hair done~!?"
Jack:   "I don't know, Rochester takes it someplace~! Now Annie, I don't think it's nice for you to come here and have a whole big conversation with Mary, while Phil and I stand here like dopes"
Phil:   "Yes, and my feelings are hurt"
Ann:   "Oh, I'm sorry Phil, I didn't mean to do it"
Phil:   "{cute} I can't help it, my feewings are hurt"

Ann gives Phil a big hug and kiss for hurting his feelings, so Jack insists that HIS feelings were hurt as well, and Ann tells his she'll send him a letter of apology. Jack reminds Ann that they co-starred in the film 'George Washington Slept Here', which Ann informs him is playing in China.

When Ann gets anxious to get going with Phil, she mentions that she also has a girlfriend in need of someone to take her out, waiting outside. Jack volunteers, dumping Mary quickly. After Ann asks her friend Madeline to enter, we find out it's Madeline Nussbaum (Minerva Pious). It seems that Ann is a repeat customer of Mr.s Nussbaum's restaurant, in particular their chopped chicken liver, Hollywood style (it's made from a chicken that wore dark glasses). It seems that perhaps the writers were setting up Mr.s Nussbaum's new restaurant as a possible recurring (mentioned) setting? As Jack protests loudly, Mrs, Nussbaum pulls him into their date.

The closing tag is a plea from Jack for ten thousand registered nurses.

Larry's song:   Larry sings "Evalina".

Guest Star:  Ann Sheridan

Note:   Ann was promoting her new film 'The Doughgirls".

Note:   The WACS were the Women's Army Auxilary Corps, a unit of which was based at Mitchel Field in Hempstead, New York

Note:   Certainly not the strongest episode of the season, it's just kind of...there. The army gags go over well with the audience, naturally, but the overall effect is somewhat dull, and Ann Sheridan is barely given anything funny to do. So far the New York shows have been disappointing, and adding Fred Allen stalwart Mrs. Nussbaum into the mix isn't working as well as they likely hoped.

 (Ann Sheridan on the cover of MOVIES magazine, January 1945)

(The WACS of Mitchel Field, NY, celebrating their second anniversary on May 13, 1944)  (Getty Images)

19.    02/04/45              FROM ST. ALBANS NAVAL HOSPITAL IN NEW YORK

Don's Introduction: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, since we are broadcasting from St. Albans Hospital...which is on Long Island...which is near New York...which is near Brooklyn...I bring you one of dem bums, Jack Benny~!"
On Location:  From St. Albans Naval Hospital in St. Albans , Long Island, New York. 

The Show:   Jack reminds Don that they aren't broadcasting from Brooklyn, and that he's instead a bum from Waukegan, Illinois. A nurse from the St. Albans Hospital visits Jack and looks down his throat, seeking a place to hold the USO dance. Shortly after, Phil makes his grand entrance, proclaiming that he's "G.O.K."...he explain sthat he gave a pint of blood an that's what they wrote on the bottle. Jack and Phil have some light banter before Larry enters and manages two lines before beginning his song.

After a dull first routine, the second begins with Phil returning after having stepped out for a moment. Jack asks who was leading the band, then~?

Jack:   "Hey buddy, who are you~!?"
Mahlon Merrick:   "I'm the janitor here"

Mahlon Merrick being, of course, the actual conductor of the band during the program, gets a rare speaking line this week. Mary arrives late due to talking to a couple of sailors

Featuring a "flashback" to the night before, when Jack took Mary to see his new movie, "Hollywood Canteen".  Guest starts  Fred Allen and Portland Hoffa also are there to see the movie.  Jack ad libs after his "they didn't call me get-the-lead-out-Benny for nothing" line "I love that, I wouldn't take that gag out for anything". 

Larry's song:   Larry sings "An Irish Lullabye".

Guest Stars:   Fred Allen and Portland Hoffa.
20.    02/11/45            FROM GLEN VIEW AFB, ILLINOIS

Don's Introduction: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, on next Wednesday, February fourteenth, Jack Benny celebrates his birthday. (Jack sings "Happy Birthday to me"). As you all know, sometimes a baby is born with a silver spoon in it's mouth...sometimes a baby is born with a birth mark on it's knee. But tonight, we bring you the only baby that was born with a toupay on it's head...and here he is, Jack Benny~!"
On Location:   From Glenview Naval Air Station, Glenview Illinois. 

The Show:   The cast do a sketch, "Boy, Was I Seasick, or--You Can't Take it With You". .  Everyone prevents Jack from finishing the sketch. 

Larry's song:   Larry sings "You Belong to My Heart".

Guest Stars:  
Dick Powell and Andy Devine guest star (they star in the show following Benny's, The Fitch Bandwagon)
21.    02/18/45            FROM ST JOSEPH MISSOURI

Don's Introduction: "Yes, ladies and gentlemen, today Jack Benny is in Saint Joe...perhaps some of you may have forgotten the story behind the great I'd like to take you back about three years to Jack Benny's home in Beverly Hills. Jack was comfortably sitting in his big easy chair, reading his scrapbook, while Rochester was straightening up the house and singing a popular song of the day...(Rochester sings "My mama done told me..") Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that's how it all started...and now three years later, here he is in person...Saint Joe's favorite adopted son...Jack Benny~!"
Broadcast from St. Joseph, Missouri, before an audience of 4,000 donors of blood to the red cross. Jane Wyman guest stars. Also with Phil Walsh, Mayor of St Joseph.

Larry's song:   Larry sings "Sweetheart of All My Dreams".

Jack's Cast Introduction: "Broadcasting for the military personnel at Fitzsimons Hospital in Denver, Colorado, The Lucky Strike Program. Starring Don Wilson...with Mary Livingstone, Phil Harris, Rochester, Larry Stevens, and yours truly, Jack Benny"

Jack's Introduction: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to introduce a man whose voice is familiar to millions...a man whose personality and charm has captivated the listening audience of America...a man whose good humor and contagious laughter has brought sunshine and happiness into homes from Coast to Coast...the star of the Lucky Strike program...Don Wilson~!"

Jack introduces the show as "starring Don Wilson", because he lost a gin rummy game to Don.  Don reveals that Denver is his hometown, and Mary reads a poem in his honor.  Frank Nelson plays a sculptor planning to create a statue of Jack.  Then we flashback to earlier in the day, when Mary went to Jack's hotel room prior to rehearsal. Jack wants to perform a violin solo for the show, "Accentuate the Positive". After a brief attempt by Mary, Rochester sings the entire song!  Jack makes a plea for the WACS (the Women's Army Corp).

Larry's song:  
Larry Stevens sings "Let Me Love You Tonight"
23.    03/04/45              FROM HOLLYWOOD--THE TRAIN STATION

Don's Introduction: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, after a tour of military camps in Colorado, Missouri, Illinois and New York...Jack Benny is back again in his little old home in little old Beverly Hills".
Jack and Mary return to Hollywood. Mary reads a letter from her mother.  Some (most?) of the circulating copies have terrible audio quality.

Larry's song:     
Larry sings "Goodnight, Sweet Dreams Sweetheart".
24.    03/11/45            HOW JACK MET ROCHESTER

Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, last week we intimated that it was raining here in sunny that was purely for your entertainment...and to prove to you that the weather here is absolutely wonderful, we bring you a testimonial from one of our satisfied residents... (Mel Blanc imitating a bird) Ah..listen to that little birdie singing (Mel starts to cough and sneeze) Well, he's trying even though he isn't over his cold any rate, since this IS a beautiful day, let's go out to Beverly Hills to Jack Benny's house, where we find Jack and the gang in the backyard practicing archery".

Guest Stars:   Charles Corell and Freeman Gosden

The Show:  Jack tells visiting reporter Joe Kearns of the United Press (played by, believe it or not, Joe Kearns) how he first met Rochester "nine years ago this month". In this version, Rochester was a cab driver in New York City working for Amos and Andy, when his taxi was smashed into by Jack in March, 1936.

Jack:   "Well, this is quite a long story, Mr. see, nine years ago I was in New York. It was March, 1936. One day the weather was so nice I decided to take a little drive.
Kearns:   "Uh huh"
Jack:   "I was driving along Seventh Avenue around 134th street all alone in my car and enjoying the ride immensely..."

Jack:   "Ah, what a day!
(sings)  In my merry Maxwell car
I go roaming near and far
Oh da da da da da da
{loudest crash possible...ending with duck call}
Jack:   "Well how do you like that! This is all your fault!"
Rochester:   "My fault!"
Jack:   "You think just because you drive a taxi you can smash into other people's cars and forget all about the traffic rules and regulations?"
Rochester:   "But, Mister..."
Jack:   "Well, I'm going to sue you and your taxi company for every penny's worth of damage to my car because it was your fault"
Rochester:   "But Mister, I was PARKED when you hit my car!"
Jack:   "you were...parked?"
Rochester:   "Yeah, and in my garage, too!"

Larry's song:   Larry sings "Hot Time in the Town of Berlin"

Note:   Some circulating copies of this episode are actually a mislabeled episode from December 3, 1950. That episode was also about how Jack met Rochester, and borrowed quite a bit from this episode's script. The introduction from the December 3, 1950 program begins with Don Wilson mentioning that it a month had passed since Jack made his first appearance on television, and the program also featured Mary's (in)famous "grass reek" flub.

Note:  Jack's claim that he first met Rochester "nine years ago this month" is not quite true in "real life", so to speak:  Eddie Anderson's first appearance on the Jack Benny program was as a train porter on March 28, 1937, and his first appearance as the character Rochester was most likely June 20, 1937.
25.    03/18/45            HOW JACK FOUND MARY

Don's Introduction: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, let's go out to Jack Benny's home in Beverly the moment, Rochester is alone in the kitchen preparing breakfast".
The Show:   After Rochester makes breakfast, he, Jack and Phil listen to the radio.  After a commercial for Sympathy Soothing Syrup, Larry sings "Don't You Care to Know Me".  The reporter from last week, Mr. Kearns, now wants to know how Jack "found" Mary Livingstone.  We flashback to 1932, when Jack meets Mary while she's working behind the counter at the May Company. (It was a well-established Benny running gag by now that Jack "found" Mary at the May Company, which was a chain of department stores found exclusively (at the time) in Southern California and Nevada.

The curious mixing of the real-life Sadye/Sadie Marks and the Mary Livingstone character that she portrays continues, as Jack, in "real life", and after several previous inauspicious meetings with Marks, met her once again while she was working at the lingerie counter at the May Company; this time when Jack asked Sadye out on a date she accepted.

Larry's song:   Larry sings "Don't You Care to Know Me'.


By Mary Livingstone Benny

Jack Benny hurt my feelings the first time I met him--so painfully that it took me over seven years to stop hating him.

He was twenty-four on the occasion of that first meeting; I was twelve, the "awkward age," my long legs looking even longer between short skirt and short socks, my eyes bugging even bigger than they were under the foot -high hair ribbon with which mother had tied back my long, stiff curls. He had come to our house in Vancouver to visit me- expressly me. (No one told me then that it was all a joke. Zeppo Marx, leaving the vaudeville theatre where Jack and the Marx brothers were sharing top billing to call on my older sister, Babe, thought he would have some fun when Jack, a stranger in town and lonesome asked him if his date had a sister. "Sure thing," replied Zeppo invitingly, "and a looker!" Jack came along expecting a date with a gorgeous girl, and his "date" turned out to be me!)

He was very polite. Extraordinarily polite under the circumstances, as I realized later. He flattered mother - told her that Zeppo had raved about her cooking, and he simply couldn't resist crashing our little dinner party. He joked with me-and I felt very grown-up and important. Then mother spoiled everything. "My daughter," she said, , "is a violinist too." Poor Jack had to urge me to play. For me, it was a big moment. I had been studying hard, practicing two hours every day since I was ten -and here, for the first time, I had an opportunity to demonstrate my talent before a professional violinist.

I played "Caprice Viennois" -quite well, I thought -and feeling very much like a virtuoso. Mother beamed. Zeppo and Babe were smilingly polite and patient. But Jack had had enough of his "blind date." In the middle of my most difficult cadenza he yawned! I stopped playing in the middle of
a bar. I looked at him, choking with rage. Then I threw down my violin, and fled from the room in tears.

I came back, on mother's orders, but I was through with Jack. I spoke when I was spoken to, but I hated him. Jack tried to wheedle me back into a good humor. He even offered me passes to the next afternoon's matinee: I brightened a bit, on hearing that. I saw a chance to get even. "How many can I have ?" I asked. He pulled all he had out of his pocket. There were six. "Thank you," I said, grabbing them all. Then I lapsed into a sulky silence. The next day my five best friends and I were sitting in the front row when Sack's act went on. We all had ice cream cones and bags of noisy candy. Jack came out and played his violin, and cracked his usual jokes. Candy papers crackled throughout the musical numbers, and all the jokes fell flat. For the front row -by pre-arrangement - greeted the most hilarious routines with stony, deadpan silence. It was contagious: The whole house seemed disinterested. I was satisfied. That would teach Jack Benny to yawn in the middle of another artist's act!

I didn't see Jack after that to learn if my revenge had scored. I didn't see him, as a matter of fact, for seven years. But I carried on my one -sided feud with him just the same. As the years went by, as I grew up and Jack grew more and more famous, I forgot the reason for my anger, but I didn't forget that I hated Jack. If a friend casually mentioned the name of Jack Benny I'd snort, "Oh, I know him. He's terrible."

When Babe, in the theatre now herself, would write that Jack was coming up in the world, that he was a big star now, I would shrivel. "Why people , fall for that ham I'll never know," I'd complain to anyone who'd listen. It served me right that when I finally saw him again, Jack should prove to be anything but the rude and ungracious "ham" I remembered -that he should be handsome, and famous, and fun, and that I should fall head over heels in love with him.

The scene of that next meeting was Los Angeles, where my family had moved from Vancouver and where I had finished high school and taken my first job, selling hosiery at the May Company. When Babe wrote that Jack was coming to Los Angeles and probably would look me up, I was scornful. But when I passed the theatre where he was to appear and saw electricians putting the name of Jack Benny up in lights,my heart quickened. A queer thing to happen after seven years of grudge -nursing, but then women are fickle -and hate is awfully close to tenderer emotions.

My sudden excitement was chilled with a second thought. "He's a big -shot now," I reminded myself, "why should he bother with me ?" But that very afternoon, I looked up to greet a customer at my counter at the store and looked straight into the laughing eyes of Mr. Benny. "Hello, kid- sister," he said, "been eating any ice cream cones theatres lately ?" My revenge had scored. But instead of being triumphant after all these years -I was ashamed. I blushed to the roots of- my wind -blown bob. Suddenly I knew that I had never really hated him -that I had only tried to cover up the fact that I had tried too hard to make him like me, and was desperately put out and unhappy because he was only bored with my best efforts. How childish and foolish my "feud" with him seemed now. "I understand," I said, "that your career has survived my hazing. Babe writes me that you are in the big league now." "Come to the theatre, why don't you," he said, "and see for yourself." Once again, after seven years, he was thrusting passes into my hand. "I'll come," I promised, "and this time I'll laugh." "If you laugh," he said, "I'll take you out dancing after the show."

We did go out that night, and every night during Jack's week in Los Angeles. One night we would go dancing, the next we'd go to the beach - ride the roller coasters screaming like idiots, and throw balls at milk bottles. It was all very hilarious and exciting for a girl who had been chained to a dull job at a hosiery counter, and I liked Jack. I liked him very much. Then, just as I'd made this interesting discovery, Jack's run ended, and he had to move on to the next town. "I'll miss you," I told him, my chin trembling, as he stood in our doorway, saying goodbye. "I'll miss you too, doll," he said. Already he had found a nick -name for me. "But that's the way it is in an actor's life. Just gets to like one place, when he has to shove off to another. Just like a sailor." For some reason, that hurt. "And just like a sailor, I suppose," I retorted, "he has a girl in every 'port?" He laughed. And then, after a moment he took my hand and told me very seriously, "No, doll. Not many girls. That's why I'm so grateful to you. It's been fun to know you. We've had lots of laughs. I hope we'll meet again soon. But if we don't, thanks a lot." With that, he left me.

The old resentment surged back. So that was the way it was! Just an interlude in an actor's life. New towns, new friends. Lots of laughs. Thanks, kid; thanks a lot. I tried to tell myself I was glad he was gone. I was getting too fond of him, and -I pretended -an actor's life was not for me. Hotel rooms, dirty trains. Ughh! I wanted some permanence to my life.

I tried to forget him. I worked hard at my job. I went out with the boys I knew, most of whom were working at jobs just as dull and unglamorous as mine, tried to convince myself that being with them was just as stimulating as being with Jack. But it wasn't. I didn't feel about them the way I had before Jack had come -and gone. But, I told myself, I was nothing to Jack. He had said as much himself. "If I don't see you again," he had said, "thanks a lot." I was miserable. Then Christmas came, and with it a beautiful gift from Jack -the loveliest gift I had ever had, a diamond wrist watch. And in the box was a note from Jack asking me not to forget my "sailor." Forget him! If he thought about me at all-even this much -I would follow him to the ends of the earth, and I'd marry him, or die trying. The gift had come from Chicago, where Jack was starring in "Great Temptations." I was lucky, for once, because my sister Babe was playing a small part in the same show. I wrote her that I wanted to come to Chicago. "I miss you so, I just have to see you," I wrote -rather transparently, I am afraid. In any event, she urged me to come on, and I took the next train.

As chance would have it -well, carefully arranged chance, let us say -I ran into Jack backstage at the theatre the very first night I was in the city. "What a delightful surprise," I lied, blushing. "Delightful for me," he said, and the look in his eyes made me turn to jelly inside. "Now that you're here, how about going dancing with me tonight?" That was Friday. We went dancing that night, and the next. By Sunday we were engaged. On Tuesday we were. married. I don't know how it happened -all I know is that I wanted it to happen so much, that it had to happen. Jack proposed to me in his father's house in Waukegan, where we had driven on Sunday afternoon so I could meet his family. Then we dropped in at the Waukegan hotel to call on Jack's old friend, Julius Sinykin.

I loved Julius. By vocation, he was the town's leading clothing merchant, but by avocation- temperament, ambition, and heart's desire -he was of the theatre. When Jack was a boy, bursting with ambitions which his family and friends found hard to understand, Julius alone encouraged him. He got him his first theatrical job - playing the violin in the pit of Waukegan's Barison Theatre, and then hounded the manager until the youngster Julius knew was talented was allowed to appear on -not under - the stage. Jack was a little nervous as he took me to the top floor of the hotel to Julius' apartment. He wanted me to like his old friend as much as he did. How - after seeing Julius in his home -could I help it? His "suite" was two rooms - every inch of the walls covered with "Benny-ana." Photographs of Jack-in every role and every appearance from the first fiddling job at the Barison to the present day. Telegrams from Jack -framed. Everything in the apartment spoke of one man's love for Jack and faith in his future. I asked Jack if we could be married there. Of course he, and Julius, agreed. For a girl who honestly had wanted "permanence" -who hated hotel rooms and dirty trains as I had tried to pretend I did -the next five years would have been horrible. But I was blissfully happy -even on the one night stands - for I was with Jack.

HE did everything to make our vagabond life attractive to me, from the beginning. He even wrote me into the act. When, after a few years, radio rocketed into importance and Jack had the first chance in his career for a fairly normal life, he insisted that I have all the things I had "given up" for my life with him. "Given up ?" I said, startled. "Why, what on earth do you mean ?" I honestly had forgotten my old yearnings for permanence. "You always wanted a family and a real home," he reminded me, "and now -after ten years -you have everything in the world except what you've really wanted." I didn't understand. Family -I had him. We knew that we could not hope for children. Home -why, home was where Jack was. Marriage, I told him, was being together. Convenience, comfort- things -what did they matter? But he pressed his point, and now I am so glad he did. For now we have Joannie -she's nine now, and a beautiful little girl. We adopted her when she was a tiny baby. And we have a home of our own -a permanent home -in Beverly Hills. Of course it has aspects of a gag factory, with Jack and four writers working all over the place six days a week -and using Joannie and me, to say nothing of the cook and the gardener, the postman
and the grocery boy as guinea pigs for their jokes. But for me it's wonderful - it's home, permanence, security, everything.

For it's where my heart is.

26.    03/25/45            MURDER MYSTERY

Don's Introduction: Ladies and Gentlemen, you may not be in an airplane, on a ship, or having target practice...but fasten your safety belt, batten down your hatch and keep out of range...because he he comes, Jack Benny~!"

On Location:   The show is broadcast from the Army Ground and Service Forces at the Santa Barbara Redistribution Station.

Larry's song:   Larry sings "With a Song In My Heart".


27.    04/01/45              HOW JACK FOUND PHIL

Don's Introduction:
"And now, ladies and gentlemen, since this is Easter, let's go out to Beverly the home of that old Easter rabbit....Jack Benny~!"

The Show:   From the NBC program notes: A salute to WOWO, NBC station in Omaha, on it's 22nd birthday. Governor Dwight Griswold appointed Benny an admiral in the Nebraska Navy
in honor of the occasion.

Larry's song:   Larry Stevens does not appear in this episode.

28.    04/08/45              FROM TORNEY HOSPITAL IN PALM SPRINGS

Don's Introduction: "And now, you fortunate people, we bring you that star of stage, screen, radio, and operator of peanut vending machines throughout the Palm Springs area (Jack: "It's just a little side line, folks") So while we're working for peanuts, he's got peanuts working for him...and here he is, Jack Benny~!"

Guest Star:   Actor William Powell guest stars.

Larry's song  Larry sings "This Heart of Mine".

29.    04/15/45            NO SHOW DUE TO PRESIDENT ROOSEVELT'S DEATH 
The Show:   As noted in the one-page "script" for this episode:   "No broadcast for the April 15, 1945 show. Time was preempted by the National Broadcasting Company because of memorial tribute to the late President, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, thirty-first president of the United States".

As noted in the introduction to this season, technically there was no "Jack Benny Program" episode number twenty-nine, but the Jack Benny staff and writers continued the numbering next week with episode number thirty.



Don's Introduction: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, from this spot on the desert that has twenty nine palms, we bring you a man with a spot on his head that has twenty nine hairs....and here he is, Jack Benny~!"

On Location:   The show is broadcast from the U.S. Naval Auxiliary Air Station at Twenty Nine Palms

Larry's song:   Larry sings "You Belong to My Heart".


Don's Introduction: "And now, let's go out to Beverly Hills to Jack Benny's house, where we find our star of stage, screen, and radio, relaxing in the library".

Note:  Mel Blanc's first performance as Jack's eternally suffering violin teacher, Professor Andre LeBlanc.

Larry's song:   Larry does not appear in this episode.

32.    05/06/45               HOW JACK FOUND DON

Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, the warm weather will soon be here, so let's go out to Jack Benny's house, where we find Jack and Rochester cleaning out the swimming pool".

Larry's song:   Larry sings "More and More".
33.    05/13/45            JACK IS GOING TO SAN FRANCISCO

Don's Introduction: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, as you all know, last Tuesday was V-E Day...but as President Truman said, we still have a problem...and here he is, Jack Benny~!"

Larry's song:   Larry sings "Just a Prayer Away"

34.    05/20/45            FROM SAN FRANCISCO

Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, on this momentous occasion we are broadcasting from the magnificent Civic Auditorium in historic city of San Francisco...San Francisco, known the world over for it's luxurious's beautiful Golden's expensive's gigantic and impressive bridges (Jack: "By the time he gets to me I won't mean a thing. Now I know how Berkeley feels") So from this colorful city, in honor of "I Am An American" day, we bring you that Yankee Doodle Dandy, Jack Benny~!"

On Location:   From San Francisco Civil Auditorium, for a special "I Am An American Day" program.

Guest Stars:   Guests are Rita Hayworth, Larry Adler, and Governor of California Earl Warren

Larry's song:   Larry sings "Stars in Your Eyes".

35.    05/27/45            HOW JACK MET MARY           

Don's Introduction: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, today we're coming down the home stretch of our radio season. So before starting our final show...let's go out to Jack Benny's house, where Jack is taking another violin lesson from his famous French music teacher, Professor LeBlanc. But before we go, let me ask you a question...can it be the trees that fill the breeze with rare and magic perfume? Oh no, it isn't the's....(cut to Jack playing exercises on his violin)

Guest Star:    Larry Adler guest stars.

Note:   The question Don asks in the introduction ("Can it be the breeze..") are the opening lyrics to Jack's theme song, "Love in Bloom". This is the last Jack Benny program before the summer vacation. 

Larry's Song:   Larry Stevens sings "All of My Life".