THE 1945-1946 SEASON
 
 
“The Lucky Strike Program starring Jack Benny” returns with the American Tobacco Company (Lucky Strikes) still the sponsor.  The main cast at the beginning of the season remains Jack Benny, Mary Livingstone, Phil Harris, Eddie “Rochester” Anderson, Don Wilson, and singer Larry Stevens. On March 10, 1946 Larry performs in his last show, because on March 17 Dennis Day returns to the show from the Navy.

The season, Jack’s fourteenth with NBC, ran thirty-five episodes from September 30, 1945 to May 26, 1946. The program remains airing on Sunday evenings at 7:00 pm Eastern Time over the NBC network.

The season opener on September 30, 1945 introduced both the two telephone operator girls Mabel Flapsaddle (played by Sara Berner) and Gertrude Gearhsift (played by Bea Benedaret) and also Richard Lane as Jack's new publicist/pres agent Steve Bradley; other new characters introduced on the program this season include Joseph Kearns as Ed, the keeper of Jack's underground money vault; Jeanine Roose as Phil Harris' young daughter Jeanie, introduced on the October 21, 1945 program; and on January 6, 1946 Artie Auerbach is introduced as (the initially unnamed) hot dog vendor Mr. Kitzel, whose catchphrase “Pickle in the Middle with the Mustard on Top” became quite popular (Benny show writer Milt Josefsberg’s book spells the name Mr. Kitzle; I’ve seen it used both ways). Returning semi-regulars include Mel Blanc.

The writing staff remains the same: Sam Perrin, John Tackaberry, Milt Josefsberg, and George Balzer. The show is produced by Robert Ballin.

The Lucky Strike commercial announcers in New York are Kenny Delmar, Basil Ruysdael, and Jay Simms. The “tobacco auctioneers” remain F.E. Boone and LA “Speedy” Riggs.  Many Lucky Strike commercials also contain “testimonials” from {{other people}}. This season, in addition to the other Lucky Strike slogans, they add "Quality of product is essential to continuing success", and re-introduce the Herbert Tareytown cigarrette.

The program finished sixth overall in the Hooper ratings for the 1945-1946 season (one position up from the year prior), with a Hooper rating of 24.1. The Jack Benny program finished behind Fibber McGee and Molly (first place with 30.8, on NBC); The Pepsodent Program starring Bob Hope (second place, with a 29.8 rating, NBC), Lux Radio Theatre (third place, 27.0, CBS), The Chase and Sanborn Program starring Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, (fourth place, with 26.9, on NBC) and the Raleigh Cigarette Program Starring Red Skelton (fifth place, 25.7, on NBC). Fred Allen’s program finished eighth for the season.

The 1945-1946 season begins with the first voices that the listeners hear belonging to the telephone operators Mabel and Gertrude. Notable shows this season include the multiple "I Can't Stand Jack Benny" contest episodes, in which the listeners are invited to write in and, in fifty words or less, explain why they can't stand Jack. These episodes culminated in the announcement of the contest winner on the January 27, 1946 episode (see the highlight box below for more details on the contest). The March 17, 1946 show features the return of singer Dennis Day to the show after his stint in the Navy, with the previous weeks’ show being the last for Larry Stevens. The Jack Benny program badly needed Dennis’ wonderful and natural interplay with the rest of the “Lucky Strike” gang. It seems as this season goes on that the writers simply run out of things to give the unfortunately lackluster Larry Stevens to do. By mid-season he has pretty much been reduced to briefly greeting Jack, singing his song, and then leaving as soon as the song is over. If Dennis was at all nervous that he could be easily replaced, just listening to the Larry Stevens episodes must have eased his mind.

On February 13, 1946, Eddie Anderson was listed as missing at sea for several hours, which would become a plot on the show. The novelty songs “Pickle in The Middle and the Mustard on Top” and “One-zy Two-zy” would be introduced on the program this season. Location shows in California include the Santa Barbara Army Redistribution Center, The Birmingham Hospital in Van Nuys, Palm Springs, March Field, and the Saratoga Aircraft Carrier. Out of state location shows include Chicago and New York City in May, 1946.

Unusually, the Friday October 26, 1945 broadcast of the Danny Kaye Show, airing on the CBS radio network, featured Jack and practically the entire cast of the Jack Benny show filling in for Kaye, who was on a USO Tour. The program could be considered a “virtual” thirty-sixth episode of this season.

You would hardly know it from listening to the opening episode of this season (in which it’s mentioned only once, extremely briefly during the closing “plea”), but something truly momentous had occurred since the final show of the 1944-1945 season; World War II had ended. After four-and-a-half years of wartime programs, of bond rallies, of USO Tours, of episodes broadcast from military bases and depots, of ration books and WACS and WAVES and Rosie the Riveter, the bloodiest conflict in human history was finally over. The Allies had defeated Nazi Germany, celebrating VE Day (Victory in Europe) on May 8, 1945---and on August 15, 1945, VJ Day (Victory over Japan)---was celebrated.

A strong argument could be made that the finest shows in Jack Benny’s twenty-three year radio career took place during the “War Years”. From America entering the War the day after the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941, to the final show of the 1944-1945 season on May 27, 1945, Benny’s radio show, titled the Jell-O Program, the Grape Nuts and Grape Nuts Flakes Program, and finally the Lucky Strike Program, all had a very high batting average of classic episodes.  With the constants in the cast being Jack, Mary, and Don, the program persevered through the temporary military-related absences of both Phil Harris and Dennis Day.  Ironically, after finishing in first place in the year-end Hooper Ratings for the pre-war 1940-1941 season, the worst ratings in the history of the Jack Benny program occurred during these World War II years. Starting with the 1941-1942 season, the program finished in fifth place for three years in a row, then seventh place, and then sixth place for the 1945-1946 season, only increasing back up to a third place finish in 1946-1947.

The episodes broadcast from military locations such as bases, depots and hospitals eventually coalesced into a fairly set formula: Don introducing Jack by jokingly referring to Jack’s less-than-stellar Naval days; a military-related opening monologue from Jack; Phil entering to a rhyming self-introduction and asking for applause; Mary flirting with the soldiers; and Rochester calling in from Jack’s house.

Jack released no feature films during this season; his previous two movies, It’s In The Bag and The Horn Blows at Midnight, both released in April 1945, would be his last two starring films.

[latest revision:  May 4, 2014]

 
 
1.        09/30/45        STEVE BRADLEY WANTS TO BE JACK'S PUBLICITY MAN

Show Introduction:
The Benny show had a habit of having very unique introductions and/or shows to open the first show of a season, and this one is no exception. Followng the Lucky Strike commercial by Kenny Delmar, Basil Ruysdael, Speedy Riggs, FE Boone, Jay Sims, and "independent tobacco expert" Ed L. Issacs (the cast for this minute long commercial is almost larger than the cast of the actual Benny show), instead of hearing the usual Don Wilson's show introduction we hear this:

[loud phone buzz...then a click]
Bea Benaderet (as Gertrude Gearshift):   "Hello...National Broadcasting Company"
Ed Kearns:   "Say operator, can you tell me what's on the air at four o'clock today?"
Bea:   "The Lucky Strike program...with Mary Livingston, Phil Harris, Rochester, Larry Stevens, Don Wilson...and starring Jack Benny"
Kearns:   "Who?"
Bea:   "Jack Benny"
[gun shot]
Bea:   "...gee Mabel, that's the sixth one today"
Sara Berner (as Mabel Flapsaddle):   "Well, I'm still ahead, I've got eight"
Bea:   "You're always lucky, you won last year, too"
Sara:   "Yeah...Mr. Benny oughta know better than to open his program during the hunting season"

Don's Introduction:   There is no introduction by Don Wilson, because as noted above the episode begins with the very first appearance ever of the telephone operator girls, Gertrude Gearshift and Mabel Flapsaddle.
 
The Show:   The show begins with the telephone operator girls dealing with suicides, then Jack Benny's dressing room calls to check the time, so they discuss daylight savings time (Gertrude moved her watch back an hour instead of forward). We then switch to Rochester and Jack in the dressing room at NBC, just before the first broadcast of the season. Jack asks Rochester if he called Phil Harris, and Roch replies that someone at Phil's house said he hadn't been home for two weeks and gave him a phone number.

[dialing of phone]
Jack:   "This is probably Phil's office...I'll bet he's been knocking himself out for the last two weeks making special musical arrangements"
[buzz of phone...receiver click]
Mel Blanc:   "Joe's Pool Room"
Jack:   "Joe's Pool Room~!"
Mel:   "Snooker games arranged for shnooks"
Jack:   "What?"
Mel:   "Radar cuspidors...you can't miss~!"
Jack:   "Look, will you please let me talk to Phil Harris?"
Mel:   "I don't know nobody here by that name...what does he do?'
Jack:   "He's an orchestra leader...it says in his contract..."
Mel:   "Oh, HIM"


After Phil tells Jack he'll come to the show as soon as he finishes his game, Jack takes a walk over to Mary's dressing room. On the way he runs into the Great Gildersleeve (imitated by Mel Blanc) and Larry Stevens;  Jack remembers that Larry got married two weeks ago, and then Larry sings "Till the End Of Time". When Jack gets to Mary's dressing room, she tells him not to come in as she is still getting dressed (with help from her maid, Pauline). Pauline asks Mary if Mr. Benny is gonna be on her program again this year.

Mary:   "Pauline, it isn't MY program, it's Mr. Benny's, and Mr. Benny is the star...I just work for him, and he pays me a very nice salary...not as much as I pay you, but a very nice salary"

Jack and Mary then walk together to the stage and meet up with Don Wilson, who is rehearsing the show introduction and having trouble remembering what LSMFT stands for, and remembering other Lucky Strike slogans.

Don:   "Lucky Strike means fine tobacco...so round, so firm, so fully packed...so free and easy on the......."
Mary and Jack:   "Draw, Draw~!"
Mel Blanc:   "You draw first, I got ya covered, pardner"
Jack:   "Who's that?"
Mary:   "Some guy who's suing the Lone Ranger"
Jack:   "Oh yes...I wish they'd stay in their own studio"


(This most likely refers to the September 1945 trial in which former Oklahoma "badman" Al Jennings sued the Don Lee Broadcasting system for an August 7, 1944 radio broadcast of The Lone Ranger, in which the Lone Ranger shot a gun out of Al Jennings' hands. Jennings claimed he was defamed by the broadcast)

Phil finally shows up to rehearse the band, but they play the theme song for the Wayne King show, Jack's summer replacement. Jack then has a conversation with producer Robert Ballin (playing himself); Jack complains that they go on the air in three minutes and the audience isn't in yet, but Ballin tells Jack that his watch is wrong and that it's only three minutes to three.  So Jack goes back to his dressing room and has a brief talk with Rochester about Fred Allen before press agent Steve Bradley (Richard Lane) makes his first appearance. He introduces himself to Jack:

Lane:   "My name is Bradley, Steve Bradley. I'm a press agent, and I'm just what the doctor ordered for you."
Jack:   "What~?"
Lane:   "I'm gonna make people know you."
Jack:   "Know me~? What are you talking about? I'm on the radio, everybody  knows me"
Lane:   "Ah ha, that's just it. They know you on Sundays...but what about Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday?"
Jack:   "What~?"
Lane:   "People should be Jack Benny conscious all the time...not just on Sundays...what would happen if the Smiling Irishman smiled only on Mondays and was a sourpuss the rest of the week?"

Jack:   "What~?"
Lane:   "And what a dull gal Portia would be if she only faced life on Fridays~!"
Jack:   "Yes, that's all very true, but..."
Lane:   "I know what's on your mind, Benny...you're wondering if I, Jack---Steve Bradley---am the man to do your publicity"
Jack:   "Well, you don't have to be nervous"
Lane:   "Let me tell you something, baby, I'm the fellow who made Mad Man Muntz lose his temper....I'm the guy who cut Minute Rub down to thirty seconds...and I'm the man who made B.O. what is is today~!"


Jack tells Bradley that he has to think it over and to come back after the show. He asks Rochester to turn on the radio, where the announcer says it's five minutes after five, Pacific Standard Time. Jack thinks the guy's time is all mixed up, so he asks Rochester to turn to another station, which is playing the Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy Show ....when Jack realizes that if Charlie McCarthy show is on that means it's after five o'clock~!  As he panics the music fades....

The show's closing returns to the telephone operator girls:

Bea:   "National Broadcasting Company....no, there's nothing wrong with your radio...Jack Benny wasn't on....you're welcome"
[telephone click]
Bea:   "Say, Mabel..."
Sara:   "I know what you're thinking, Gertrude"
Bea:   "Yeah"
Bea and Sara:   "All those people killed themselves for nothing"


Note 1 :   A nice, not hysterically funny but good opening to the 1945-1946 season.  The Steve Bradley publicist character will go on to play a large role in the program this season, including masterminding the "I Can't Stand Jack Benny" contest. He's a stereotypical 1940s fast-talking guy, the sort you'd find in a Howard Hawks film. Although at the end of this episode Jack hasn't made up his mind whether to hire Bradley or not, when he bursts into the scene at the end of the next episode he's apparently already been hired by Jack.  Ironically the two telephone operator girls, Mabel and "Goitrude" will last longer and ultimately play much bigger roles on the show than the Steve Bradely character.  Unfortunately the "Larry Stevens" character is still as bland as ever; the Benny show badly misses Dennis Day.  The Benny show’s sometimes casual fascination with suicide can be somewhat shocking to modern ears; Mary would sometimes say something such as “why don’t you shoot yourself” or “go kill yourself” to Jack; here, listeners are committing suicide upon learning the program is back on the air.

Note 2 :   Jack’s end of show “plea” for the U.S.O, which is the only mention in this episode of World War II having ended over the summer:

“Ladies and gentlemen, having just completed a U.S.O. tour through Germany, I feel I’m in a position to tell you how much the boys overseas want and need entertainment. Even though the war is won and thousands of our boys are being brought home and discharged, thousands more will have to remain as occupation troops. The U.S.O. has done and is still doing a wonderful job of supplying that entertainment, but it is up to us to provide the funds, so they can carry on this great work. So please, ladies and gentlemen, when you are asked to contribute to the Victory Chest in your community, do it generously”

Note 3 :  Ollie O’Toole impersonates both Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy. As noted Mel Blanc “impersonates” The Great Gildersleeve, a character which originated on the Fibber McGee and Molly radio program and graduated to his own spinoff. He was played by Hal Peary. Joseph Kearns portrayed suicide caller number one, and show writer George Balzer portrays suicide caller number two.

Larry's song:    Larry sings "'Til the End of Time". The song was written by Tom Post, and copyrighted on March 25, 1941. It was a 1945 number one hit single for Perry Como, and was also charted in a version by Dick Haymes.


 
2.        10/07/45          JACK LISTENS TO THE WORLD SERIES ON THE RADIO

Don's Introduction:
Don: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, as is our custom every..."
Mary: "Wait a minute, Don, wait a minute"
Don: "Huh~?"
Mary: "You better not start the program until we're sure we're working"
Don: "Working~!?"
Phil: "Hey Livy, what are you talking about~?"
Mary: "Phil, remember what happened last week? With the change of time, Jack got all mixed up, missed the program, and now he's in trouble with the sponsor".
Phil: "The sponsor...hey, this is serious~!"
Don: "It certainly is...if Jack loses the program, I'll have to go out and find a job"
Mary: "So will I"
Phil: "So will Alice"


(This is the second week in a row that the program has played around with the traditional Don Wilson introduction.)

The Show
After Mary, Don and Phil discuss Jack's dilemma, we cut to Jack in his dressing room, talking on the phone to the sponsor Mr. Jones (played by Russell Hicks) in New York. While talking to Jack, Mr. Jones is also listening to a baseball game on the radio, giving us the chance to hear another variation of the "Greenberg on third" running joke. Mr. Jones claims that Jack has broken his contract by not doing a show last week (which actually isn't that far from the "real life" conditions of Jack's contract). Jack's phone call is cutoff, and Gertrude tries to connect him again. Gertrude listens into the phone conversation, and says that the sponsor told Jack that he has a good mind to make Phil Harris the star. Jack then hangs up, saying that the sponsor is giving him another chance. He leaves his dressing room in time to hear Larry sing his song, "And There You Are".

After the song the gang asks Jack what he found out when he spoke to the sponsor;

Jack:   "I don't know, it was so hard to talk business to him...some guy called Greenberg kept running in and out of his office...anyway, he talked me into not quitting, and it's just as well, especially right now when I've hired a publicity man~!"

Jack is about to introduce a sketch in honor of National Newspaper Week when publicity agent Steve Bradley (Richard Lane) shows up. He keeps interrupting with plans for publicity stunts while Jack tries to start the sketch. After a band number, Jack gets to introduce the sketch, "The Mystery of the Murdered Movie Columnist" or "They Were Playing Leapfrog, and They Hedda Hopper". Jack plays Scoop Benny, editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles Daily Bugle, and Phil plays the star reporter. Phil tells Jack that a story has just came over the wire..."Flash...Fred Allen opens his new radio season tonight". It also says that Mayor LaGuardia will be his first guest. Then "Mrs. Archibald J. Stuffington of 204 Stuffington Road, Archibald County, Stuffington, California" (Mary) calls the paper to tell Scoop Benny that her husband has just been murdered (you hear the gunshots during the phone call). Jack and Phil go to her home to solve the murder before the police can. They question her English butler (Rochester), and find the body swept under the rug.  Scoop Benny is telling Mrs Stuffington that he knows she committed the murder so she might as well confess, when Steve Bradley bursts in with a camera crew, interrupting the sketch.

Jack makes a plea for the Community War Chest.


Note:   Another good, not great, episode, continuing the introduction of Steve Bradley. This is the season that the writers were apparently told they needed to spruce the ratings back up, leading to the Steve Bradley character and his "I Can't Stand Jack Benny" Contest. The murder mystery sketch is actually the best part of the episode, with Mary particularly shining as Mrs. Stuffington. Whereas Dennis Day would have almost certainly had a role in the murder mystery sketch, at this point Larry Stevens is basically just coming on, having the briefest dialog possible, singing his number, and then disappearing for the rest of the episode.

Larry's song: Larry sings "And There You Are" The song is from the MGM film Week-end at the Waldorf , which opened this month. The song was written by Ted Koehler and Sammy Fain, and was copyrighted on April 25, 1945. Versions were recorded by Kate Smith, Freddy Martin, and Andy Russell. The musical numbers have been edited out of many circulating copies.
 
                                        
3.        10/14/45        GASLIGHT

Show Opening: "Broadcasting for our liberated prisoners of war stationed at Santa Barbara, The Lucky Strike Program...starring Jack Benny, with Mary Livingstone, Phil Harris, Rochester, Larry Stevens, and yours truly, Don Wilson"
 
Don's Introduction: "And now, ladies and gentlemen...tonight since we are playing to these distinguished members of our armed forces, I had planned to present to you a colonel..." (Jack: A colonel, eh?) But I am going to go farther than that...here's the whole cob, Jack Benny~!"

On Location:   From the Santa Barbara Army Redistribution Center in California.

Guest Star:  Ingrid Bergman and Larry Adler guest star.

The Show:   After the introduction, Don and Jack talk about the low-alcohol content of local beer and how it is made from ocean water... and then, in typical "Benny show in front of a military audience" style, Mary enters to great applause and jokes about kissing all of the military men, and Phil enters with his usual braggadocio self-intro ("Hi ya fellows...up to now you've had nothing but corn, now Harris is here and a star is born~! Yeah, lay it right on me~! Yeh~! Drop that atomic job on me---that modern stuff~!"). Phil then tells Jack he bought a bottle of beer, pulled off the cap and a mermaid popped out and kissed him. After a band number the "second routine" begins:

Don:   "Say, Jack, speaking of fish, how about that fin you owe me~?"
Jack:   "What~?"
Don:   "You know, the five clams we bet on the sixth game of the World Series"
Jack:   "Oh yes, yes...here you are, Don"
Don:   "Thanks"
Jack:   "But by all rights Detroit should have won that particular game"
Phil:   "What do you mean, Jackson~?"
Jack:   "When York hit that single over second base, Greenberg could easily have made it from third to home...hmm...a fine time to stop and light a Lucky Strike...my goodness"
Don:   "But Jack...with forty thousand people standing up and yelling LSMFT, what else could he do~?"
Jack:   "Well he didn't have to offer one to the umpire~!"
Don:   "It was a natural reaction...the umpire yelled strike and Greenberg thought he meant Lucky~!"
Jack:   "I don't care, if he wanted to smoke he should have stayed on third base~!"


(The 1945 World Series was already over by this point. It went the full 7 games, with the Detroit Tigers beating the Chicago Cubs. The referenced Game 6 took place on Monday, October 8, 1945, with the Cubs winning 8-7 in the twelfth inning. Hank Greenberg hit two home runs for Detroit; York is Detroit first baseman Rudy (Rudolph) York.  I have to admit, looking over the box score, I'm not 100% sure what Jack is talking about; the only instance I see of York getting a single, in the top of the 7th, Greenberg scored from third. Amazingly, in 2013 this still remains the last World Series game that the Chicago Cubs have won.)

Following the World Series discussion, Sgt. Ryan (played by show writer George Balzer), editor of the local paper, enters and wants to talk to Jack about Jack's trip to Germany over the summer. Jack begins to tell him the story but Mary interrupts:

Mary:   "Jack, let me tell him. Well, the night Jack left he picked me up about eight-thirty p.m. at my local hotel in New York. We were crossing the Fifty-Ninth street bridge on the way to LaGuardia Field...[fades]"

(LaGuardia Field would be formally re-named LaGuardia Airport the next year, and it is still open)

The flashback begins with Rochester driving Jack to the airport (Mary is with them as well, though she's not going overseas with Jack). Mary thinks Jack is scared of the long flight, but he insists he isn't; then Jack wants to put his arm around Mary, but she says his life raft is in the way.

Mary:   "Anyway, how can you put your arm around me while you're wearing that Mae West~?"
Jack:   "It's not inflated yet~!   Now come here...there, that's better...are you going to miss me, Mary~?"
Mary:   "Uh huh"
Jack:   "Are you going to write me~?"
Mary:   "Uh huh"
Jack:   "And you're not going out with any other fellow until I come back~?"
Mary:   "No"
Jack:   "good"
Mary:   "Now will you stop pulling my hair~?!"


("Mae West", named after the actress, was a popular nickname for a personal flotation device, a.k.a. a life preserver. But more importantly, apparently Jack and Mary are involved? It's funny how a Jack-Mary romance was never a constant thread on the show; it would be picked up and dropped whenever a good gag was needed.)

Jack tells Rochester not to throw any parties while he's away:

Rochester:   "But boss..."
Jack:   "No buts about it...I found out about the party you gave last time I was gone that lasted until eight o'clock in the morning"
Rochester:   "MmmmmMmmmm~!  Tell me more, I'd like to live that one over"
Jack:   "Never mind, it's disgraceful...what in the world could cause a party to last until eight o'clock in the morning~?"
Rochester:   "Geniality of companionship, harmony of thought, and PLENTY OF ICE~!"


They reach the airport, where Mel Blanc does his "train station" bit:

Mel:  [over P.A.} " Constellation leaving on runway three for Casablanca, Triploi, and Cairo"
Mary:   "Gee, look at all the planes"
Mel:   "Skymaster leaving on runway six for Rome, Naples and Vienna"
Mary:   "Gee~! Isn't it exciting~?"
Jack:   "Yeah"
Mel:   "Pogo Stick leaving on runway five for Anaheim, Azusa, and Cucamonga"


Phil has come down to the airport to see Jack off, and he, Mary and Rochester all say goodbye to Jack. The flashback fades out to Mary finishing telling Sgt. Ryan the story. He asks Jack to tell him a little bit more about the shows he did in Germany.

Jack:   "Yes, Sergeant, I had a great gang with me...Ingrid Bergman, Larry Adler, Martha Tilton, and our accompanist, David LeWinter...now I was the master of ceremonies...so first I walked out on the stage and knocked 'em over with a couple of fast jokes....hey fellows, I bring you the world's greatest harmonica player, Larry Adler~!"

Larry Adler then plays 'Begin the Beguine', followed by the "third routine": Jack tells Sgt. Ryan that during the tour he and Ingrid Bergman did a dramatic scene from the 1944 movie Gaslight. The scene then fades out to a flashback of the spoof of Gaslight:

Jack:   "In this spine-tingling drama, I played the part of Charles Boyer, and Ingrid Bergman was my wife....I was trying to drive her crazy...so one day I sneaked down to the living room and turned a picture around that was banging on the wall...I'll never forget the confused look on her face when I...as Charles Boyer...accused her of doing it....it was early evening, just after dinner..."

Jack as Charles Boyer accuses Ingrid Bergman of turning the picture around. Mary plays their servant girl Marie, and she enters singing "Rinso White, Rinso White, happy little washday song" which Mary also sang on last week's episode. And like last week, it makes her crack up (Jack:  "Every week, she cannot finish that song"). Rinso was a washing detergent with the above famous radio commercial, although the real commercial was "Rinso White, Rinso Bright, happy little washday song", and was sung by young future opera star Beverly Sills. It also seems to be at least part of the origin of the song/spoof "Happy Little Working Song" from the Disney movie "Enchanted". Anyway, Mary's brief scene leads to two little semi-flubs:

Jack:   "Enough~!  You may go, Marie"
Mary:   "Okay, Chuckie, thanks....I've got a date with 'Airy"
Jack:   "You mean Harry"
Mary:  "No, 'Airy, he has a hole in his head"
Jack:   "That's 'ole in his head. Well, I've gotta.."
Mary:   "That's my line.  Well, I've gotta be running along. Goodnight limber lips"


After Charles leave, Phil Harris as the detective (played by Joseph Cotten in the movie) visits and questions Ingrid about her troubles.

Ingrid:   "You do not understand...I am in great danger. My husband is acting peculiar, he's always muttering strange things"
Phil:   "Strange things, eh? What does he keep saying?"
Ingrid:   "Greenberg's on third base"


When Jack comes back, Phil accuses him of trying to make his wife believe she was going insane, so he could get her out of the house to look for hidden jewels. Phil ties him up while he goes to call the police.
 
Larry's song: Larry Stevens does not appear on this episode.

Note:   A pretty funny episode.  It seems the writers tried at least once per season to trot out jack's outrageously over the top "French accent".  Larry Stevens is absent from this episode, to no detrimental effect to the program.  It seems the writers still can't get a handle on the Larry Stevens "character".   I must say that I like the incongruity of the strange meta-world that the Jack Benny show inhabits: episode one began with people killing themselves upon learning that the Benny show is back on the air...two weeks later they are performing the show live for an audience of liberated prisoners of war. Wouldn't that be against the Geneva Convention?

 
4.        10/21/45        JACK DREAMS OF THE RACE HORSE TEXAS SANDMAN

Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, yesterday was the annual running of the Hollywood Park Gold Cup race...so let's go back to Friday, the night before the big event, and show you what happened...Jack is at his home in Beverly Hills..."

The Show:   The show opens with Jack asking Rochester what he thinks of the race horses Texas Sandman, and Sirde (the script has Jack asking Rochester about Ligaro Honey as well, but this did not make it to the broadcast, or at least the AFRS recording). Mary arrives and she and Jack discuss Mary's mother. Larry Stevens shows up and talks about how his new wife can't cook. This segues into Larry's song, "Navajo Trail".  After Larry's song, Jack decides to take Rochester's advice and bet $2 on Texas Sandman the next day at the Gold Cup Race. When Jack says he knows that Rochester wore Jack's gray suit on Wednesday, Rochester says that Jack's parrot has been spying on him. Rochester goes into the library to prepare for the cast coming over, as Mel Blanc voices Polly the Parrot for the first time. Don and Phil show up for the rehearsal. After talking about Phil and Alice's daughter, Jack mentions that they've also got to rehearse for the Danny Kaye radio show, as the entire Benny cast will be doing the episode (as noted on the "guest appearances" page, on Friday October 26 on the CBS network the entire regular cast of the Jack Benny show: Jack, Mary Livingstone, Phil Harris, Larry Stevens, Eddie Anderson, Frank Nelson and Mel Blanc, fill in for Danny Kaye while he is away on a USO tour. This very brief segment regarding rehearsing for the Kaye show does not appear on the AFRS recording). Don tells Jack he wishes that last week he could've played the Charles Boyer role in the "Gaslight" spoof. To demonstrate, Don does a Charles Boyer impersonation:

Don:   "No, I'm serious Jack...listen to this:
              Ingrid...Ingrid my darling I love you.
              And if you love me,
              Like I love thee,
              Do not simply say oui oui,
              Whisper LSMFT-e-e-e-e-e."
Jack:    "Don..."
Don:    "Lucky Strikes ees wonderful because they are zo round, zo firm, zo fully packed...zo free and easy on ze draw-aww-awww.."
Jack:   "Don..."
Don:    "Let me take you in my arms and press you close"
Jack:   "Don, you're hurting me~!  Now come on, we're late, let's get on with the rehearsal"


(With the circulating recording being sourced from the AFRS, it cuts from Don saying "listen to this" directly to "Let me take you in my arms...", excising the Lucky Strike plug. The editing is so skillful though that you'd never know anything was missing just by listening to the recording.)

Jack begins the rehearsal:

Jack:   "All right, kids, now Phil's band picks up right after the commercial...all right, hit it Phil"

(Here the script just indicates "Phil sings theme song lousy"; Phil actually does a hilarious lyrical version of the "Yankee Doodle Dandy/Love In Bloom" theme song that completely cracks up the audience). Mary protests that she doesn't want to do a corny joke that Jack has written, and then the rehearsal is interrupted by a phone call from Phil's daughter, Jeanie. She tells Jack that Phil calls himself 'Hotshot Harris with the Heavenly Hair'. After the phone call the rehearsal is interrupted again, this time by a visit from publicist Steve Bradley (at this point one of Bradley's running gags has been to constantly say "just pretend I'm one of the family, or make believe I'm not here at all" right before he interrupts whatever Jack is doing several times). He tells Jack that he's going to give him a new buildup; he's going to play down Benny the comedian, and play up "Benny the Glamour Boy". After Steve leaves Phil's band plays a number.

The "third routine" begins with Jack laying down to go to sleep after a tiring rehearsal. He begins to dream about tomorrow's Gold Cup horse race. In his dream he tells Mary that he bet $85,000 on Challenge Me to win, and $2 on Texas Sandman to show. He asks Mary who she bet on; she replies "I put fifty thousand on Rinso White". She tells Jack that a horse named Buck Benny is racing, and then Phil shows up with a great line:

Phil:   "Hey Jackson, who you bettin' on in the fifty-sixth race?"
Jack:   "Well...I'm thinking of Gypsy Rose Lee"
Phil:   "So am I, but who you bettin' on?"


Frank Nelson plays the track's PA announcer, who announces that Texas Sandman and Sickles Choice will run with blinders and a whip, and Buck Benny will run with glasses and a cane. Jack feels sorry for the horse Busher, who can't be in the race due to a lame leg. He goes over to give her a lump of sugar and talks to her...and she talks back (played by Mel Blanc, of course).  The race begins, and soon they manage to work in references to not one but two running gags:

Frank Nelson:   "As they hit the halfway mark, it's Seabiscuit by a length, El Lobo is in second..and Greenberg's on third"

followed by:

Nelson:   "They're all in a bunch as they're turning for home, so while they're all gathered together, I want to say a few words....horses, do you ever suffer from a frail tail? Do you develop grit on your bit? Do you get bloats from your oats? You do? Then why not try Symmmpathy Soothing Syrup?"

Soon Challange Me takes the lead, but as the race nears the end Rochester wakes Jack up and tells him he's been dreaming. Jack tells Rochester to give him a sleeping pill so he can go back to sleep and  find out who won.

Note:   Another semi-regular debuts: 7 1/2 year old actress Jeanine Roos as Jeanie, Phil Harris' daughter.

Note:  This circulates as an AFRS recording, so the Lucky Strike commercials are missing.

Note:  The episodes are getting better and funnier each week this season.  Although being a Armed Forces Radio Service recording means that several parts of the episode are missing, it doesn't really hurt the program that much...in fact missing the usual opening Lucky Strikes commercial is rather nice. 
The Hollywood Gold Cup horse race began in 1938 at the Hollywood Park racetrack in Inglewood, California. The winner of the very first Gold Cup was the famous Seabiscuit (mentioned this episode in Jack's dream). For what it's worth Challenge Me really did win the 1945 Gold Cup; Sirde came in third.

Larry's song:  Larry sings "Navajo Trail". from the September 1945 Roy Rogers film of the same name. Written by Larry Marks, Dick Charles and Eddie DeLange.  It was copyrighted on June 7, 1944. Versions were released in 1945 by Les Brown, Jack Smith, Jimmy Dorsey, Dinah Shore, and the Andrews Sisters with Bing Crosby.


 
5.        10/28/45        $85,000 BET--JACK GETS HELD UP

Don's Introduction:
"Ladies and gentlemen, if you remember last week Jack had a dream that he went to the race track and bet eighty-five thousand dollars on the winner, Challenge Me...so now, we'd like to take you back about a week...it's Monday afternoon and Jack is in the library of his home, talking with his press agent Steve Bradley".
 
The Show:   As Don noted, the program begins with Jack in his library, talking to publicist Steve Bradley. While they talk, Mel Blanc makes his second appearance as Polly the Parrot. Steve tells Jack that he has an idea for an amazing publicity stunt that he is so big, he can't tell him himself; he gave the story to Erskine Johnson to break on his radio show.

Erskine Johnson:  [click of dial, static]  "Ladies and gentlemen...this is Erskine Johnson in Hollywood. There's some very exciting news today from the film capital...and here's the hottest news of all. I have just learned that in the Gold Cup race at Hollywood Park, Jack Benny, famous tightwad of screen and radio, bet eighty-five thousand dollars on the winner, Challenge Me. The price was seventeen twenty to win, and this netted the comedian exactly six hundred and forty thousand dollars...what a break for Benny~!"
Jack:   "Turn that off, turn that off~!!"
[click of dial]
Jack:   "Steve, are you crazy~? Have you gone nuts~? Have you lost your mind~?"
Steve:   "Now, now, Benny, don't get excited, come down off that bookcase and let me talk to you"
Jack:   "But Steve, don't you remember, I told you it was all a dream, it didn't happen~! I dreamt that I bet eighty-five thousand dollars on Challenge Me. Why, I wouldn't..."

Steve:   "Hold it Benny, now hold it, hold it. Nobody outside this room knows it's a dream, and we're gonna make 'em believe it really happened"
Jack:   "What~?"
Steve:   "It'll give you a new personality. Why, all your life you've been Benny the Skinflint, Benny the Cheapskate, Benny the Miser..."
Polly:   "Benny the Miser, Benny the Miser [two squawks and whistles]"
Jack:   "Polly, be quiet"   
                   

Steve tells Jack that his publicity plan is that from now on he's going to be known as Benny the spendthrift.  Jack thinks that it might be okay and is willing to try it. Before he leaves Steve tells Jack that he'll be in every Hollywood gossip column, and to listen to his radio every night this week. The scene then fades to a radio broadcast by columnist Gabriel Heatter (impersonated by Ollie O'Toole), where he reports Jack's $646,000 win at the Gold Cup race. Jack and Rochester change the dial to the H.V. Kaltenborn program (also impersonated by O'Toole), who also reports on Jack's winnings. They turn off they radio, and Jack says he's going to go upstairs and shave before going to bed. He asks Rochester not to forget to come up and tuck him in.

Rochester:   [to himself]  "Doggone, the boss should've stayed a baby...he's scared of the dark, likes milk, sucks his thumb, and sleeps with a teddy bear..."

A reporter from the Associated Press (Mel Blanc) arrives and asks Rochester if Benny was excited when he won $646,000?

Rochester:   "Excited~!? He almost fell out of bed~!"
Mel:   "Out of bed~??"
Rochester:   "Well, uh....uh...you see, Mr. Benny always takes a couch to the track with him"

After a few more questions the reporter leaves and Rochester goes upstairs to read Jack a story and tuck him in. The "second routine" begins with Jack and Rochester at the NBC Studios before the program. They're greeted by Mike the Irish studio guard (another role played by O'Toole), who congratulates Jack on his winnings. As Jack and Rochester enter the studio, at 10:45 into the episode we finally hear from another member of the regular cast, Mary:

Mary:   [excited] "Jack, Jack, congratulations~! Let me give you a big kiss~!"
[three or four loud kisses]
Mary:   "You know, Jack, I....Jack....Jack~!"
Jack:   "Wait a minute, Mary...gee I'm all out of breath...you never kissed me like that before. Gee, you got lipstick all over my forehead"


Mary says she's puzzled because last week Jack had told her that his $85,000 bet was just a dream. Jack says he was just too modest to admit the truth. Shortly after, Phil arrives at the studio:

Phil:   "Hiya, Jackson~!  Six hundred and forty six thousand pieces of federal lettuce...congratulations, Mary, kiss me you doll~!"
[loud kiss]
Jack:   "Phil~!  Phil~! Phil~! Phil~! Phil~! Phil...you were supposed to congratulate me~!


Phil's entrance gets by far the loudest audience reaction of the show, as the whole studio cracks up (the script reveals Phil's "kiss me you doll" to be an ad-lib). After Don shows up for the required Lucky Strikes plug telephone girls Mabel and Gertrude put through a phone call from New York to Jack. The telephone girls are busy:

Gertrude (Bea Benaderet):   "Gee, Mabel, my switchboard is all filled....Benny's on the first plug, Gildersleeve's on the second, and Greenberg's on third...."

The long distance call for Jack is cancelled (so I guess it was just a way to work the telephone girls into the episode, because otherwise it'd been a pointless sequence). Larry Stevens shows up to the rehearsal, has some very brief Dennis Day-ish dialog with Jack and then sings his number, "Out Of Nowhere". After the song the "third routine" we switch to Jack and Rochester driving home in the Maxwell. Jack reminds Rochester not to tell anyone that his winning all the money on the horse race was a dream. After arriving home at 11:15, Jack gives Rochester the rest of the night off and goes into the house. When Jack turns on the light he is confronted by a stick-up man (played by Eddie Marr) who wants the $646,000 Jack won. Jack nervously tells him that he didn't win any money and it was just a publicity stunt. The stick-up man doesn't believe Jack and asks him to take him to his money vault. Jack takes him down there, where he is greeted by Ed the Vault Guard (Joe Kearns). Jack tells the stick-up man that he has $10,000 in the vault, that the horse race winnings was just a dream, and that he needs the $10,000. The show ends as the stick-up man takes the money and leaves Jack and Ed in the Vault.

Note 1 :  The pre-Lucky Strikes commercial ending:
Don:   "Ladies and gentlemen, Gabriel Heatter and H.V. Kaltenborm were impersonated by Ollie O'Toole....Erskine Johnson was impersonated by Erksine Johnson. Jack will be back in a minute, but first here's my good friend F.E. Boone"

Note 2 :   A very funny episode, as the work of publicist Steve Bradley becomes on ongoing plotline on the show, now with cliff-hanger endings.  Jack's imaginary horse race winnings plot is the main focus of this episode: some of the regular cast members (Mary, Don, Phil) have very small roles; Rochester has a slightly larger part, and as usual Larry Stevens just shows up to talk for a minute or so before his song.

Note 3 :  This is the second appearance of telephone operator girls Mabel and Gertrude.

Note 4 :   Jack makes a plea for the Victory Loan Volunteers.

Note 5 :   As noted in the “Jack Benny Day By Day” section, this broadcast set off a minor controversy, according to a contemporary report in Billboard magazine. This episode’ mentions broadcasters H.V. Kaltenborn and Gabriel Heatter. Jack’s new press agent, Steve Hannigan (not Steve Bradley) sent out memos; one  to NBC President Niles Trammel, suggesting that since Jack mentioned Kaltenborn, Kaltenborn should in turn mention Jack on his program, and one to Mutual Network President Ed Kobak, suggesting the same scenario for Gabriel Heatter. Heatter did plug Jack, and the next

Larry's song:   Larry sings "Out of Nowhere", which was written by Edward Heyman and John W. Green, and was copyrighted on February 16, 1931. Released that same year by Bing Crosby, it was Bing’s first number one hit.

 
 
6.        11/04/45       JACK IS SICK IN BED AFTER BEING ROBBED OF $10,000 DOLLARS

Don's Introduction: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, we take you to Jack Benny's home in Beverly Hills...where we find Jack sick in bed, suffering from the shock of last week's harrowing events".

The Show:   After last week's cliffhanger, the program opens with Jack and Rochester at home, with Jack sick in bed.  Rochester says that's it been a week since the robbery and the police still haven't found the robber. Jack asks Rochester to bring him his "Sympathy Soothing Syrup" (the bottle marked "Yitapamis"). They turn on the radio in time to hear a report that, even though Jack was robbed of $10,000, he still has most of the $646,000 he won at the Gold Cup race. Steve Bradley stops by, and as a publicist he thinks that the robbery is the greatest thing that ever happened, because Jack's picture is in every newspaper in the country. Steve tells jack that a reporter from the United Press will be stopping by, and to remember to not mention that the horse race winnings story was all a dream. Soon Mary stops by to see how Jack is feeling, and reads him a letter from her mother (Jack: "Well...what does the Baby Schnook of Plainfield have to say~?") This segues into Larry Stevens' song.

The "second routine" begins with Mary reading a telegram sent by Fred Allen, which says that if they find the robber he wants him to guest star on his program. Phil and Don arrive to see Jack, and Phil has some advice:

Phil:   "Say Jackson, if you're having' chills, I know the very thing for you"
Jack:   "What~?"
Phil:   "A rum flip"
Jack:   "No, Phil, I don't think I want anything like..."
Phil:   "They're really great. You see, the egg in it gives you strength...and the sugar gives you energy"
Jack:   "What does the rum do~?"
Phil:   "It gives you ideas about what to do with the strength and energy"

Don's advice to Jack includes Lucky Strikes, of course.Then Don and Phil have to leave, Phil because he is a guest on the Cass Daley program (aka "The Fitch Bandwagon", which airs immediately after this episode, at 7:30pm. Ironically Phil and his wife Alice Faye would take over the Fitch Bandwagon program next season, beginning on September 29, 1946). Jack is then visited by Inspector Flanagan (Mel Blanc), who is on Jack's robbery case.

Flanagan:  "Now, this mug what stuck you up...what did he look like~?"
Jack:   "Well...he had one cauliflower ear...his nose was broken...a big scar across the right side of his face...and a large mole on his chin"
Flanagan:   "Any identifying marks~?"
Jack:   "Hmmm"

In the middle of the interview Jack gets a phone call from the robber, who warns him not to say anything about the robbery and threatens Jack's life if he tells the Inspector what he looks like. When Jack returns to Flanagan he tells him that he gave him an inaccurate description of the robber, and that in fact he looked like actor Roddy McDowell.

After a band number the "third routine" begins with Mary taking Jack's temperature. Rochester answers a knock at the door, expecting the newspaper reporter; instead it is Lloyd Rainey from the Income Tax Department. Rochester brings him in to see Jack but doesn't get a chance to tell Jack that it isn't the reporter. After bragging that he didn't mind losing a "measly" $10,000 in the robbery, Jack almost faints when he finds out that Rainey is from the Income Tax Department. Rainey tells Jack that his visit is unofficial, and that the $646,000 that Jack won is taxable income.  Jack frantically confesses that he didn't really win the money and that it was all a dream.  Rainey says that everybody covered the story on the radio, including Gabriel Heatter, Erskine Johnson and Bill Stern. When Jack still insists that it was all a dream, Flanagan tells Jack that he can argue all he wants, but he'll still have to pay taxes on the $646,000. After Flanagan leaves Jack is panicked, and blames the whole mess on Steve Bradley.

In the closing "tag", Rochester calls Jack from the Colman's house to warn him that the man with Jack isn't the newspaper reporter, but a man from the Income Tax Department, Jack tells Rochester he is too late.

Note:   Jack does another plea for the Victory Volunteer Drive.

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


 
7.      11/11/45       JOE LOUIS ACTS AS JACK’S BODYGUARD

Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, as you probably remember, last week Jack Benny was sick in bed...however, he's up and around now, so let's go to his home in Beverly Hills....Jack is eating his breakfast..."

Guest Star:   Boxing champ Joe Louis guest stars as Jack’s “bodyguard”

The Show:   Mary is visiting Jack at his house, reading a book to him. Jack tells her that he's gotten over the robbery of his $10,000. Mary asks Jack what a little thing on the table is, and Jack explains that it's a light fuse; he's "punishing" Rochester for twice leaving on the kitchen light this week by making him cook in the kitchen in the dark.  This is one of those unfortunate segments that, while Jack certainly did such crummy things to Phil, Dennis and Mary, and had "punished" Don and the rest as well, just does not travel well to 2013. On the other hand, as usual it does backfire on Jack:

Rochester: "How about givin' me back that fuse now, boss~?" 
Jack: "Well...do you think you've learned your lesson?" 
Rochester: "No, but the ice box is defrosted and that ain't gonna help the food" 
Jack: "Oh my goodness, I forgot all about that....is all the food spoiled?" 
Rochester: "Well, not all...but you know that fish you bought for tomorrow night?' 
Jack: "Yes" 
Rochester: "Well he ain't gonna make it~!"

As Mary continues to read the book to Jack, Rochester answers a knock at the door; it's Inspector Flanagan (Mel Blanc) again. 

Flanagan:   "Well I came to tell you that I thought I caught the guy yesterday that robbed ya...he fitted the description precise-e-ly"
Jack:   "He did~?"
Flanagan:   "Yeah...he had a cauliflower ear, a broken nose, a scar on his cheek, and a little mole on his chin"
Jack:   "You a Scotchman or somethin'~?"
Flanagan:   "I'm from Brooklyn"
Jack:   "Oh. Oh."
Flanagan:   "Yeah, but he wasn't the guy that robbed you of the ten thousand dollars"
Jack:   "What'd you say~?"
Flanagan:   "He wasn't the guy that robbed you of the ten thousand dollars"
Jack:   "How did you find out~?"
Flanagan:   "I searched him and he only had nine thousand eight hundred dollars with him"

When Jack tells Inspector Flanagan that the man who robbed him called and threatened his life, Flanagan gets up an walks out without saying a word. Jack tells Rochester that he may need a bodyguard, and Roch tells him that Joe Louis is in town. Jack says that he could never hire the heavyweight champion for a bodyguard, but Rochester thinks he could if Jack words it right---Louis told Rochester he wants to be radio comedian. Rochester tells Jack that if he lets Louis think he really could be a radio comic, that it may work, and that he'll go over and ask Louis personally. After Rochester leaves Mary continues to read the book to Jack, when Larry Stevens shows up, and since Jack's door was open comes on in to see how Jack is feeling. He has about two lines of dialog with Jack before singing his song, "It's Been A Long Long Time".  I don't mean to belabor the lack of dialog given to Larry each week, but it's fairly obvious at this point that the writers have no idea how to use the singer. He shows up, says a few words, sings his song, and then usually disappears for the rest of the program.  This week he sticks around for a minute after his song.

The "second routine" begins with Jack, Mary and Larry talking about mothers-in-law, when Mary makes a flub:

Jack:   "Oh, Mary, I'm only kidding. If I didn't like your mother, would I have her picture hanging in my living room?"
Mary:   "You only hung it up when you lost the target to your dart game"
Jack:   "You really lost that gag, too..."

Don stops by, and he makes a flub as well:

Don:   "I'm glad to see you looking better, Jack. It must have been quite a shock, being ribbed---uh---robbed of ten thousand dollars"
Jack:   "Yes, I was ribbed about it, too..."

The talk then turns to golf, since Mary was planning on golfing today, and Don of course turns it into a Lucky Strike commercial. Mary and Don leave to play golf together.  I don't really remember Mary and Don previously spending any quality time together, but maybe they're golf buddies.  The scene then switches to Rochester at Joe Louis' house. Rochester tells Louis he heard that he wants to be a big comedian, and that Jack is the man to get him started. Louis agrees to go over to Jack's house, as we segue into a band number.

After the band number, Jack is home alone and getting scared of the robber that threatened his life, when Phil stops by to invite Jack to a costume party. Phil's daughter calls looking for her daddy and asks him to bring home a loaf of bread, a head of lettuce and some corn. Rochester arrives with Joe Louis, and reminds Jack that they're tricking Louis into being Jack's bodyguard by making him think Jack is teaching him to be a comedian. Jack does this by laughing at anything that Louis says, no matter how mundane. The door bell rings and Jack has Louis follow him to the door; it's Eddie Marr as the robber that stole Jack's money and threatened his life:

Marr:   "Okay, Benny, you asked for it...I told you what would happen to you if you blabbed to the cops about me stickin' you up...and now I'm gonna give it to ya...take that~!
[sock]
Jack:   "Ooooo~!"
Marr:   "And that~!"
[sock]
Jack:   "oooooo~! Now, Joe, he's beating me up....fight with him~!"
Louis:   "Oh I can't fight with just anybody, who did HE ever lick~?"
Jack:   "That's not important now~!"

The beating continues for a few more minutes,  with the robber beating the stuffing out of Jack, and Joe Louis refusing to get involved because he can't fight an unknown. The robber tells Jack that the next time he talks to the cops he'll get "More than this", then clocks him one last time for emphasis. Joe tells Jack to go to his corner and counts him out as in a boxing match..he gets to ten.  After the Lucky Strike commercial, the "tag" is Louis has gotten up to forty four when Jack finally comes to.

Jack gives a plea to give returning soldiers jobs

Larry's Song:   Larry sings "It's Been a Long Time". The song was written by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn. The two most popular versions released in 1945 were by the Harry James Orchestra (with vocals by Kitty Kallen), and Bing Crosby (with the Les Paul Trio). A “Soundie” of the song (a sort of early music video) was copyrighted December 10, 1945 Stan Kenton with June Christy.

Note:   The complex "new publicist Steve Bradley--Jack’s imaginary horse race winnings--Vault robbery" plot continues to wind it's way through the weekly programs. This was a distinct advantage of the live radio show format; a plot could be allowed to develop naturally and sequentially over several weeks time. As television sitcoms evolved from live broadcasts to being shot in advance on videotape or film, this type of winding weekly plot mostly fell away, in large part because the sitcoms’ creators did not know in which order the networks would air the programs.

Note:  Joe Louis, an African-American, had been the World Heavyweight boxing champion since 1937, and would remain so until 1949. Louis, 31 years old at the time of this broadcast, had been in the army since 1942 and had just been awarded the Legion of Merit for his charitable efforts and fund raising during war-time. He was released from military service on October 1, 1945.



8.        11/18/45    FROM BIRMINGHAM HOSPITAL IN VAN NUYS HOSPITAL

Show Introduction: "Broadcasting for our boys at Birmingham General Hospital, The Lucky Strike Program...starring Jack Benny, with Mary Livingstone, Phil Harris, Rochester, Larry Stevens, and yours truly Don Wilson.

Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen...needless to say we are all proud of our country's background. Abraham Lincoln took his axe into the field and split a rail. (Jack: yes, sir). Our scientists took their equipment into the laboratory and split the atom (Jack: What genius!) And now, we bring you a man who took his girl into a restaurant and split the check...Jack Benny".

On Location:   From Birmingham General Hospital in Van Nuys, California.

Guest Star:   Joe Louis again guest stars, and Frank Nelson plays a screwy doctor.

The Show:   Oddly, this week’s program begins with absolutely no mention of last week’s ending scene of Jack being beaten on his own doorstep by the robber. After Don's introduction, Don and Jack have a brief discussion about  the San Fernando Valley, followed by Mary entering to her usual "military audience" applause and Phil entering to his usual "military audience" egotistic self-introduction, calling himself the "Birming-ham". Soon Larry Stevens stops by and gets in an actual joke:

Jack: "Say Larry, what's that you've got in your hand?"
Larry: "Oh it's a fan letter, I just received it this morning"
Jack: "Well~! You're going places...come on, kid, don't be modest...read your letter to us"
Larry: "Okay...'Dear Mr. Stevens, please send check for the fan you bought last summer'"
Jack: "Larry, just sing your song....if he comes in here next week with a washing machine letter, I'll hit him right in the head with it"

After Larry's song, at the start of the "second routine" we finally get a reference to the continuing plot of the previous seven weeks:

Don:   "Say Jack, I meant to ask you something.
Jack:   "What is it, Don~?"
Don:   "Did the police ever catch that gangster who robbed you of the ten thousand dollars~?"
Jack:   "No, not yet, Don....but I think they'll try a little harder now...you know I offered a reward for his capture"
Mary:   "Some reward... a dollar and a half, and two choruses of 'Love in Bloom'"
Jack:   "Mary, don't be ridic...now really, no, I offered more than that"
Mary:   "I know but who wants a lock of hair?"
Jack:   "Anything that's scarce nowadays is valuable~!....Ad lib with me, will ya~? That's a deal"
Don:   "Say Jack, didn't I read where the gangster came back last week and beat you up~?"
Jack:   "Beat me up...he didn't even hurt me"
Mary:   "Oh no~? What about the military punch he gave you~?"
Jack:   "Military punch~?"
Mary:   "Yeah...he hit you on the chin and your back took a three day pass"
Jack:   "It was only three hours~! And what a lousy time I had"

Rochester calls Jack to tell him that the robber was at the house again, and Rochester tells Jack that he invited him in:

Jack:   "Invited him in~! For heaven's sake, why did you do that~?"
Rochester:   "Boss, there's something about a man with a gun in his hand that brings out my southern hospitality~!"
Jack:   "Oh, he had a gun"

He lets Jack know that Joe Louis is on his way to Birmingham Hospital to entertain the boys, since Jack convinced Louis he could be a radio comedian. When Louis arrives, Jack tries to dissuade him from trying comedy, but Louis insists he wants to be a comedian. Jack offers a proposition; he’ll teach Joe how to become a comedian, if he will teach Jack some self-defense. Jack tries out his self-defense technique on Phil but Phil knocks Jack down…twice.

After an orchestra number, the “third routine” begins with Jack and Mary again discussing Jack’s run-in with the gangster last week:
Jack:   “…and Phil, the next time you hit me on the chin like that, I’m gonna let you have it”
Mary:   “Oh Jack, he didn’t hit you so hard. Why, last week when that gangster hit you, you were in the hospital for two days”
Jack:   “Oh, is that where I was?”
Mary:   “You know where you were”

Don wants to know what happened, but as usual Jack doesn’t want to discuss it, so Mary offers to tell the story; after the gangster left Jack’s house, Mary brought the battered Jack to the hospital, where she and Phil visited him the next day. Via flashback she tells how bad Jack looked after being beaten by the gangster (Phil helpfully says that Jack would look a lot better if he was wearing pajamas instead of a nightgown). The hospital doctor (Frank Nelson, of course) stops in briefly to check on Jack, followed by an announcement over the hospital PA system (read by Mel Blanc):

Mel:   “All doctors to report to surgery…all doctors report to surgery….Dr. Gillespie will operate on the first table. Dr. Kildare will be on the second…Greenberg’s on third”

T
he nurse mistakenly brings Jack a newborn baby, and leaves it with him while she tends to the other babies. Doctor Nelson returns to see Jack holding the baby (“Well! I diagnosed YOUR case all wrong”), while Jack protests that the baby isn’t his;
Doctor Nelson:   “There’s only one way to decide…baby, tell me, is this your mother?”
Baby:   “That silly lookin’ jerk?”
Jack:   “Well, I’ve had enough, I’m getting out of here! Come on, Mary”

Larry's Song:  Larry sings "I'll Buy That Dream", written by Allie Wrubel & Herb Magidson, from the film Sing Your Way Home. Released in 1945 by Harry James Orchestra (with vocals by Kitty Kallen), Hal McIntyre, and Helen Forrest with Dick Haymes.

Note 1 :   Those listening to the Jack Benny programs in chronological order would be forgiven for thinking that when they get to week eight that it is a mistake, and is not the correct episode. Seven weeks ago a continuing storyline began with Jack hiring Steve Bradley to be his publicist, continued with Jack dreaming that he won $646,000 on the Hollywood Gold Cup horse race, followed by Bradley publicizing Jack's winnings as "real", Jack being robbed at gunpoint and forced to hand over $10,000 from his Vault, the Tax Department investigating Jack for taxes on his imaginary winnings, Inspector Flanagan investigating the robbery, the robber calling and threatening Jack's life,  Jack trying to hire boxer Joe Louis as his bodyguard, and then last week, the robber returning to Jack's home in dramatic fashion at the end of the episode to beat up a helpless Jack. Following this week eight begins with....nothing at all related to any of this. It begins as a typical Benny "on location" program, much like any other program they've done for an audience of military personnel, with Jack and Don bantering, and no mention that last weeks episode ended with Jack's character being beaten.  It’s not until the episode‘s “third routine”, deep into the program,  that we really get the story of what happened after Jack’s beating last week, via a flashback told by Mary. The ongoing plot resumes about halfway through next weeks’ episode

Note 2:  The cooing, crying, and speaking voice of the newborn baby is played by Jerry Hausner.

Note 3 :   When it came to the songs performed by Larry Stevens or Dennis Day, The Lucky Strikes Program liked to keep up with the popular songs of the day. As an illustration, below is a list of the Top Ten Songs on the Billboard Singles Chart for week of November 24, 1945; six days after the previous program aired:

1----“It’s Been A Long Long Time” (Harry James and Kitty Kallen)
2----”Chickery Chick” (Sammy Kaye, Billy Williams & Nancy Norman Band)
3----”It’s Been A Long Long Time” (Bing Crosby & Les Paul)
4----”I’ll Buy That Dream” (Dick Haymes & Helen Forrest)
5---”Til the End of Time” (Perry Como)
6---”I Can’t Begin To Tell You” (Bing Crosby & Carmen Cavallaro)
7---”I’ll Buy That Dream” (Harry James & Kitty Kallen)
8---”Waitin’ For The Train To Come” (Peggy Lee)
9---”It’s Been a Long Long Time” (Charlie Spivak & Irene Day)
(tie)--”It’s Been a Long Long Time” (Stan Kenton & June Christy)
10---”It Might As Well Be Spring” (Dick Haymes)


Almost all of these songs had been or will be performed on the Benny program.  In addition, some of the other songs performed by Larry or Dennis this season also charted at the end of 1945, including “That’s For Me’ (by Dick Haymes) which charted the previous week; “Symphony” (by Freddy Martin with Clyde Rogers, with other versions by Bing Crosby, Jo Stafford, and Benny Goodman with Liza Morrow) which hit the charts in December and January 1946; and the winter/Christmas song  “Let It Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow” (by Vaughn Monroe), which charted on December 15

9.        11/25/45                        TIRE TROUBLE

Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, about three hours ago Jack Benny left home for the studio...Rochester was driving him and on the way they had a little tire trouble...so let's go back and find out what happened."

Guest Star:    Cass Daley

The Show:   The start of this episode "flashes back" to three hours earlier, when Jack and Rochester have to replace a flat tire; or, more accurately, Rochester has to fix a flat tire while Jack watches. As Rochester replaces the tire, Jack complains that he would have fixed it much quicker if he had just done it himself. But when Rochester asks him for a wrench, Jack hands him a screwdriver, then a pump, then a hubcap, and then the screwdriver again. Jack is puzzled over losing the tire:


Jack: “…I just can’t understand having a blow-out. It’s a very good tire, it’s a General”
Rochester: “I know, but you’ve run this General down to a box private!”
Jack: “Stop being silly, that tire hasn’t got so many holes it”
Rochester: “It hasn’t? Boss, the inner tube could be arrested for indecent exposure!”
Jack: “What?”
Rochester: “Even the wheel is ashamed to go around with it!”
Jack: “Rochester, that’s a terrible joke, and awful joke”
Rochester: “Hee hee hee”
Jack: “What are you laughing at?”
Rochester: “You always say that, and two weeks later it shows up on your program”
Jack tells Rochester that he’s been thinking of buying a new car, as Rochester insults the current one (although the writers are still resisting calling Jack’s car the Maxwell, which Jack had donated to the War’s scrap drive)
Rochester: “Hee hee hee…what an automobile. This is the car that made the Irishman stop smiling”
Jack: What?!”
Rochester: “And drove Muntz mad!”

(“The Smiling Irishman” and “Mad Man Muntz” were both well-known used car dealers in Los Angeles during this era).

At the studio Jack meets up with Phil; Jack has brought a box of candy for Mary for being “so nice to me when I was in the hospital last week”. As they walk on down the hall they run into Cass Dailey:

Cass: “Hiya Jack, hello Philsy!”
Jack: “Well, Cass Dailey!”
Phil: “Hiya, Cass”
Jack: “Glad to see you, Cass. You know, you’re doing a swell job on the Fitch Bandwagon”
Cass: “Thanks, and say Jack I’m glad I ran into you and Phil. I want to invite you to a party I’m giving Saturday night. I’ve invited everybody in Hollywood…Clark Gable, Van Johnson, Bing Crosby, Walter Pidgeon, Cary Grant, Ray Milland, Gary Cooper, and Fred MacMurray”
Jack: “But Cass, they’re all men…aren’t you inviting any girls?”
Cass: {laughs} You’re new around here, ain’t ya?!”
Jack: “Oh, I see…”
Phil: “Hey, Cass, you’re a regular female wolf, ain’t ya?”
Cass: “Well, you know my sponsor’s motto…’If the shoe Fitch, wear it”….I SAID IT AND I’M GLAD!

Cass’ shouted punch line completely cracks up both the studio audience and the cast. As they leave Cass, Phil pulls a pun that is, incredibly, even worse than Cass’:

Phil: “Yeah, you know, Jackson, Cass lives out in my neighborhood”
Jack: “She does?”
Phil: “Yeah, you only get to see her once a week, but I get to see Cass DAILY…ha ha ha, oh Harris, you said it and nobody’s glad!”

Jack insults Phil by saying his jokes are the kind that made the Irishman stop smiling and drove Muntz mad (“if Rochester thinks I’m gonna wait two weeks, he’s crazy…no sir”). As Phil and Jack approach the stage they hear Larry Stevens rehearsing his song (as once again, Larry gets no speaking lines this week). After Larry’s number Phil goes to rehearse with the orchestra while Jack goes to deliver the candy to Mary. As he knocks and Mary asks who it is, Jack replies “it’s the man you’re deliriously and madly in love with”, and after entering Jack tells Mary the fact that she came to see him everyday in the hospital is a sign that she loves him and thinks he’s “peachy”.

The telephone girls Mabel and Gertrude make their fourth appearance as Jack tries to call the studio barber for a haircut, who is played, inevitably by Frank Nelson. And once again, Nelson seems to be the same character that Jack encounters everywhere:
Jack: “Oh, are you the barber?”
Nelson: “Well, what do you think I am with this razor in my hand, the star of Spellbound?”
Jack: “Hmmm, I always run into him”

While Jack’s getting shaved, this season’s ongoing storyline reappears as Inspector Flanagan (Mel Blanc) arrives to talk. Jack asks if he has any clues about the gangster that stole the $10,000 and beat him up, but it turns out that the only reason Flanagan is there is to settle an argument with his captain; Flanagan says Jack described the gangster as having a mole on his chin, while his captain says Jack described a wart. Jack tells Flanagan that he is correct. Jack asks if the Inspector found any other clues:

Flanagan: “Well, I found one man that was wearin’ brass knuckles, and his finger prints was exactly the same as the ones we found on your vault”
Jack: “Well, that was the man, why didn’t you arrest him?”
Flanagan: “I didn’t have the heart, he was my brother”
Jack: “I don’t care if he was your brother or not, it was your duty to arrest him!”
Flanagan: “Oh, I couldn’t do that”
Jack: WHY NOT?!”
Flanagan: “He’s sending me through detec-uh-tive college”

After Jack kicks the Inspector out of the dressing room, publicist Steve Bradley stops by and drops a total bombshell on Jack. As Jack recaps everything that’s happened to him in the last few weeks, Bradley starts to chuckle:

Jack: “What are you laughing at?”
Bradley: “The whole thing was a frameup. I hired a man who robbed you of the ten thousand dollars so it would hit the newspapers and you’d get a lot of publicity”
Jack: “You mean…?”
Bradley: “Certainly, Benny…that crook was just an actor, and I gave him two hundred bucks to do the job”
Jack: “Steve, I don’t mind you giving him two hundred dollars to rob me, but he came back and beat me up!”
Bradley: “Don’t worry about it Benny, he threw that in for nothing!”


Jack demands his ten thousand dollars back, but Steve says he has another “great idea”, a contest that will give away the ten thousand dollars as prizes. He tells Jack that he can’t discuss the details until next week, but it will be the most sensational thing he’s ever heard of. After Steve leaves, Jack leads us into the closing Lucky commercial:

Jack: “Hmmm…I wonder what Steve has in mind…what kind of contest can it be? Oh well, I’ll find out next Sunday”

Which is followed by Don advising listeners to tune in next week for all the details. During the closing “tag”, speaking of Steve Bradley Jack remarks “If I’d listened to him it would have been me instead of Itchy stuck in that tunnel…”. This is a reference to the then-current storyline in the Dick Tracy newspaper comic strip.

Note 1 :   This seasons’ long and winding story arc continues in the second half of this episode, as week nine leads into the famous “I Can’t Stand Jack Benny” contest. The “Steve Bradley set the robbery up” reveal is pretty weak after such a long and well-done build-up, and it stretches credibility that Jack would casually shrug off the fact that his press agent was directly involved with a “gangster” beating him so badly that he needed to be hospitalized. Fitch Bandwagon host comedienne Daley is great fun in her very brief guest spot.  Cass usually brought an infectious exuberance to her performamces, which she demonstrates in her brief cameo. Jack Benny show regular Bea Benaderet supposedly based her performance as the brash and loud Little Red Riding Hood in the December 1943 Bugs Bunny cartoon Little Red Riding Rabbit on Cass (“Hey Grandma! That’s awfully big ears for you….TO HAVE!”)

Note 2:   This episode circulates both from a NBC broadcast recording and as a Armed Forces Radio Service recording (which substitutes the song "Til The End of Time" for the ending Lucky Strikes commercial). All of the AFRS recordings that I've heard of this show have been awful quality. Also, I've seen the AFRS version of this episode sometimes misdated in various places as the 11/04/1945 show.

Larry's song:   Larry sings "It Might as Well Be Spring". The song, written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, was from the film State Fair. It was a huge hit for Dick Haymes in 1945, and versions were also released by Sammy Kaye and Paul Weston with Margaret Whiting. The song won the Academy Award for Best Song

 

SPOTLIGHT: THE "I CAN'T STAND JACK BENNY" CONTEST

On the November 25, 1945 episode, Jack’s new publicity agent Steve Bradley (played by Richard Lane), tells Jack that he has an idea for a new contest that will give away $10,o00 to the winners. Steve tells Jack that he will explain the contest next week. Well, he keeps his word, because on the next episode, aired December 02, 1945, he describes the contest: the listeners must complete the sentence “I Can’t Stand Jack Benny because…” using fifty words or less. The contest winners will be selected by “Supreme Judge” Fred Allen.

The “ICSJB” contest will be a running thread through episodes for almost three months, going until the February 03, 1946 episode in which the winning letter is read by Ronald Colman.

In the book “Sunday Nights at Seven” which is a partial autobiography by Jack Benny, Jack writes that he and his writing staff were looking for a new idea that would hold up over several weeks. Writers Milt Joefsberg, John Tackaberry and Sam Perrin were tossing out ideas while George Balzer remained silent. Suddenly, Balzer spoke up with an idea: “you know how on these commercials they’re always asking people to write a letter and say why they like some toothpaste or baking powder or whatever in twenty-five words or less, or my favorite soap is Zilch’s because …and they get a prize. Why don’t we have a contest where people write in letters in twenty-five words or less ‘Why I Hate Jack Benny’. And we give prizes to the best letters”.  This proposal was met by silence, with the writing staff studying Jack’s face to gauge his reaction. His reaction, at least initially, was concern; he writes that “I knew that if we went through with this idea it would be the most extreme limit to which I had ever carried the masochism bit. Did I really want to humiliate myself just for laughs?”  Jack thinks that  the contest goes against everything that publicists tell entertainers, which is to always project a positive image. But then he thinks “to hell with public relations and images”. He turned back to his writers. “I like it. We’ll do it. But I want another word instead of hate. Let’s get another sentence for the contest.”  It took almost two hours to find the right wording, but eventually they came up with “I Can’t Stand Jack Benny Because..”. Benny doesn’t say who it was that ultimately thought of the final title.

Jack writes that “out of this farfetched idea came six of the most charming shows we ever did”.  In the following six weeks they received over 277,000 letters, and had to hire a team of twelve women to sort through the mail and choose the most promising ones. They selected 100 letters, which were given to judges Goodman Ace and Peter Lorre, who than selected the best 53 of the letters, and those were submitted to Supreme Judge Fred Allen for the final winners.

The Jack Benny program finished a disappointing 7th overall in the radio Hooper Ratings for the 1944-1945 season, and it’s been said that the creation of the “ICSJB” contest was fueled by a desire to increase the program’s ratings and publicity.  While the show would only improve to 6th place for this 1945-1946 season, by the season after that the program had moved back up into 3rd place.

The Key “I Can’t Stand Jack Benny Contest” Episodes:

December 02, 1945       The Contest Is Explained
December 09, 1945       The gang are opening the contest letters
December 30, 1945       The close of the contest is announced
January 27, 1946           The contest winners are announced
February 03, 1946          The winning letter is read


10.        12/02/45    THE "I CAN'T STAND JACK BENNY" CONTEST EXPLAINED

Don's Introduction: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, we bring you the star of our program...a man who has successfully run the gamut of show business from A to Z...Jack Benny".

The Show:   This is the start of Jack's famous Victory Bond Prize contest. The listeners must complete this sentence: "I Can't Stand Jack Benny because...", using no more then fifty words. The winners will be selected by "Supreme Judge", Fred Allen. First prize was $2500 in Victory Bonds, second prize was $1500 in Victory Bonds, third was $1000 in bonds, with an additional fifty prizes of $100 bonds. The contest was open until December 24th,1945. The other judges were Goodman Ace and Peter Lorre.

As the show opens, Frank Nelson plays reporter Westbrook Schlogelmeyer from the San Fernando Valley Gazette newspaper, sent to get details about the new contest Jack is running. Once again we get a hint that all these Frank Nelsons’ continually harassing Jack are all the same person:

Jack: “Oh, are you a reporter?“
Westbrook: “Well what do you think I am with this pencil in my ear, a desk set?“
Jack: “Hmm, I always have to run into him…“


…but Jack still hasn't found out from his press agent Steve Bradley exactly what the contest will be. The reporter decides to hang around and, shortly afterwards, Phil’s daughter Jeannie calls to speak to her Daddy. After both Jack and Mary flub lines to the audience's great amusement, Jack ad-libs "you know, it wouldn't hurt if we rehearsed this program!" . Following Phil and the orchestra playing “Just Beyond The Rainbow”, a song from the new play Are You With It, Mary and Jack mention that the "book" for the play was written by two of the Benny show writers, Sam Perrin and George Balzer. Jack seems upset by this:

Mary : “Well you oughta be proud, what are you mad about?”
Jack: “Look. .I give 'em the summer off, they go to New York, write a hit show, come back and make my life miserable “.
Don: “What do you mean, Jack?”
Jack: “Every time they come in with a radio script and I happen to say ‘that joke isn't funny’, they tear out the page and jam it down my throat . . .they can stop already, I'm
getting so round, so firm, so fully packed . . .Hmm, when they say "that's a belly laugh", they're not kidding”
Mary : “Well Jack, if you feel that way about your writers, why don't you get rid of 'em?
Jack: “I can't, they've got me signed for two years yet . . .oh well” .
Westbrook : “Pardon me, how do you spell throat?”
Jack : “Schlog, will you please sit down?!”

After Rochester calls and tells Jack that the milkman crashed his truck into Jack’s house, spilling over a hundred bottles of milk, Steve Bradley stops by to finally talk to Jack about the contest.

Jack: “All right, all right, what is it?”
Bradley: “I'm coming to that . . .now for years programs have been having contests….they ask their listeners to write letters on why I like this…why I like that…why I like so and so…why I like such and such… people are tired of that stuff…. I've got something brand new. . . something that people will enjoy“.
Jack: “All right, what is it?”
Bradley: “We’re gonna ask people all over this country to write in letters in twenty-five words or less….”
Jack: “Yes?”
Bradley: “Telling us WHY THEY CAN’T STAND JACK BENNY!
Jack: “WHAT?! Steve, would you mind repeating that?”Bradley repeats the details, and Jack protests that it’s a crazy idea, since people love him. But Bradley has a counter-argument:
Bradley: “How many people listen to you every Sunday?”
Jack: “Well, about…about thirty million”
Bradley: “And how many people are there in the United States?”
Jack: “About a hundred and thirty million”
Bradley: “There you are, that means that a hundred million people don’t like you”
Bradley tells Jack that the contest will sweep the nation…
Jack: “But, Steve, you’ve got that awful phrase in there…I can’t stand Jack Benny….I mean, ‘can’t stand’ is too hard”
Phil: “Hey Jackson, how about ‘despise’?”
Jack: “You stay out of this…”

As detailed in the contest “Spotlight” above, Jack’s on-air, in-character protests to Steve Bradley about the theme of the contest closely echo what the “real-life” Jack Benny said when the show’s writers first brought up the idea. Bradley tells Jack that the prizes will be awarded in Victory Bonds, and while Jack does like that idea, he still doesn’t want to go through with the contest. Mary, Phil, Don, and reporter “Shloggy” all speak up in favor of the contest, and Steve tells Jack that it’s just too late to talk it over a little more, the wheels are already in motion. As the show closes Don Wilson gives us the details:

Don: “Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this contest is actually taking place and starts right now….now listen closely, here are the details. To enter this contest all you have to do is write a letter completing this sentence in fifty words or less: ‘I Can‘t Stand Jack Benny because“.
Jack: “But Don…”
Don: “Ten thousand dollars in Victory Bonds will be awarded for the letters containing the best-stated and most convincing reasons“
Jack: “Mary, do something”
Mary: “Quiet Jack, I’m taking this down”
Jack: “Oh”
Don: “The first prize will be twenty-five hundred dollars in Victory Bonds. The second prize fifteen hundred dollars in Victory Bonds. The third prize a one thousand dollar Victory Bond.”
Jack: “Look….”


Don then informs Jack and the listeners that the Supreme Judge of the contest will be none other than Fred Allen. Mary Livingstone does the "plea" announcement at the end of the program (for sending Christmas gifts to hospitalized servicemen). Interestingly she reads it in a much more normal and "regular" voice than she usually used in the body of the show. The final closing “tag” features Mary and Phil trying to comfort Jack, who has passed out. Don then takes one more chance to remind listeners to send in those letters to Jack Benny Contest, Hollywood 28, California.

Note 1:  As noted above, it's been reported in various writings on Jack and the program that the creation of this "I Can't Stand Jack Benny" contest was the result of trying to combat the recent ratings "slide" of the show. It's also been written that it seems to have done the trick, with the contest resulting in much "free" publicity and, eventually, an increase in listeners. Even today, the "I Can't Stand Jack Benny" contest remains one of the most-remembered story lines of the Benny program.

Note 2:    Bea Benadaret and Sara Berner make an appearance as the telephone operator girls, wherein we discover that Mabel’s last name is Flapsaddle

Larry's Song:   Larry does not appear on the episode.

 

11.        12/09/45        JACK IS INVITED TO THE COLMAN'S FOR DINNER

Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, last Sunday, Steve Bradley, Jack Benny's press agent, forced Jack into having a contest...you listeners were asked to write in letters completing this simple sentence: "I Can't Stand Jack Benny because...". And believe me, folks, the letters have been pouring in. So let's go out to Jack's house in Beverly Hills, where the whole gang is helping open the mail."

Guest Stars:
   The first appearance of Ronald Colman and his wife Benita Hume, as Jack's next-door neighbors.


The Show:

Jack: “Hmm…just look at all those letters…I don’t know why I let Steve Bradley force me into this contest…it’s only been on a week, and I’ll bet I’ve received over a million insults already.“
Mary: “Jack, stop exaggerating…you haven’t even received HALF a million insults.“
Jack: “I have too”
Phil: “Oh, don’t be so egotistical”

As the cast continue to go over the ICSJB contest entries, Larry Stevens gets an actual line of dialog, as he sees a contest entry from a popular radio character:

Larry: “Oh, Mr. Benny, here’s a letter from Senator Claghorn.
Jack: “Senator Claghorn?”
Phil: “Yeah, he’s on Fred Allen’s program”
Jack: “Oh…..what does the Senator say, Larry?”
Larry: “He says ‘I can’t stand…I say, I can’t stand Jack Benny because he’s so corny when he sits down to dinner he butters his ears”
Jack: “hmm”
Larry: “His ears, that is”
Jack: “What?”
Phil: “That’s a joke, son!”
Jack: “Now, wait a minute…for heavens sake”
Mary: “You’re letting’ ‘em get past you tonight..”
Jack: “Now cut that out!”


Radio character Senator Claghorn is usually assumed to be the source of the cartoon character Foghorn Leghorn, however recent research by animation historian Keith Scott suggests the characters may have evolved independently, at least at first. Claghorn was played on the Fred Allen radio show by one of the Jack Benny programs’ own Lucky Strike pitchmen, Kenny Delmar. The popularity of his Senator Claghorn character and Delmar’s subsequent “ego problems”, supposedly because of the success of the character, would prove troublesome to the American Tobacco Company, and would lead to them to not renew his Delmar’s contract as their adman in September 1946.

Jack tells the gang that he needs to go get dressed because he was invited over to dinner by his next-door neighbors Ronald and Benita Colman. When Phil is surprised that they sent Jack an invitation despite living right next door, Jack explains that it’s the “dignified” thing to do. Mary asks to see Jack’s invitation, which Jack says he found lying on the back porch. The invitation reads “Dear Jack…Glad to know you are safely back in America…Benita and I would love to have you for cocktails and dinner Sunday evening…Will expect you around eight…Ronald Colman”. Mary asks Jack to explain the “back in America’ part, and Jack replies that it refers to his trip overseas last summer. Jack wants to get dressed up nicely in a tuxedo for the dinner.

The “third routine” begins with Rochester helping Jack get dressed for dinner, then the scene switches to the Colmans’ house. Ronnie’s wife Benita reminds him that they’re expecting a diner guest, Jack Wellington from London, and she tells him that the note Ronnie wrote inviting Wellington for dinner blew out the window, so she phoned him instead. Benita asks Ronnie to choose the wine for dinner, which he says he’ll do after he finishes writing his “I Cant’ Stand Jack Benny” contest letter. In later episodes Benita would have a problem remembering all of the Benny cast member’s names, a running gag that began here:


Benita: “,,,just this morning I heard Mr. Benny shouting at that valet of his…er…er…what’s his valet’s name again? You know, it’s the same name as a city in England…”
Ronald: “Liverpool?”
Benita: “No, No….Manchester!”
Ronald: “Oh yes, yes, Manchester, yes.”


Even though Benita is wrong, Liverpool and Manchester would both be great valet names. The Colman’s butler Sherwood informs Ronald that Jack Wellington (played by Eric Snowden) has arrived for dinner, so Ronnie and Benita greet him. Wellington apologizes for wearing just slacks and slippers, as he’s just come straight from the tennis court. Benita tells him that they don’t mind, “we hate formality”. Then Sherwood tells the Colmans that , unexpectedly, Jack Benny is at the front door. Despite having absolutely no idea why he is there, Ronald invites him inside. Jack is left out of the conversation and lost while the Colmans and Wellington have highly intellectual discussions about England and books:

Wellington: “Oh Benita, I remember your suggesting that I re-read Charles Darwin’s ‘Origin of the Species’…I found it even more elevating on the second reading.
Benita: “That’s true in so many cases. I’ve just re-read H.G. Wells’ ‘Anatomy of Frustration’”
Ronald: “I’m rather a dull scholar…I’m just reading ‘The Outline of History’ for the first time”
Jack: “uh….have any of you noticed the frightful mess Little Orphan Annie’s in?…..{i n an English accent} the poor blighter {silence}……yes, sir! {silence}…….yup!”


After dinner is finished Jack leaves, and on his way home (which is next door) thinks about Wellington, and how he can’t understand him just dropping by the Colmans’ house uninvited like he did..
Don interrupts the “closing tag” to remind listeners that the “I Can’t Stand Jack Benny” contest is still running, and that it will end on midnight, December 24.

Jack’s closing “plea” is for USO camp shows


Note:  Strangely, according to the script, it seems to indicate that this week, Larry Stevens apparently does the voice of Polly the Parrot.

Larry's Song:  Larry sings "Lilly Belle", written b Dave Franklin and Irving Taylor. It was a popular recording by Freddy Martin, and also Frank Sinatra with The Charioteers.

Note:   Jack Benny wrote about this episode in the posthumously published book "Sunday Nights at Seven":

"The original idea for the Colmans came after a broadcast in November 1945. It was our custom that as soon as one show ended, I met with my writers and producer and we begin planning the next Sunday's show. We worked from week to week. I casually remarked, 'Fellers, wouldn't it be funny if I went over to the Colmans' for a party and I wasn't supposes to be there in the first place?'

But we didn't get a script I liked until two weeks later and it took me another week to overcome Ronald Colman's reluctance to go on my show, as he was sure he would not be able to play comedy. The Colmans made their debut as comedians on December 9, 1945.

We opened with a spot in which I was reading the mail, most of which consisted of entries in the 'I Can't Stand Jack Benny' contest. Mary was reading some of the letters and needling me and Phil Harris was also needling away. Then Rochester reminded me it was time to get dressed for the formal dinner to which I had been invited by the Colmans.  Mary refused to believe they invited me. I showed her the invitation. Phil Harris wondered why they mailed me an invitation, since they lived next door, and I said it was a formal party so you sent invitations by mail. I had found the invitation on the back porch. I complained to Rochester about dropping letters when he took the mail out of the box.

'Dear Jack', the invitation read, 'glad to know you are safely back in America. Benita and I would love to have you for cocktails and dinner Sunday evening. Will expect you around eight. Ronald Colman'.

It seemed odd to her, Mary said, that they talked about me being "safely back in America" when I hadn't been out of America, and I told her not to bother me with such petty details. I put on my tails, white tie and top hat.

Then the scene cut to the Colmans house and they were discussing the guest they were expecting, a man named Jack, but not me---and old English friend, Jack Wellington. Should they dress for dinner? No, says Ronald, Wellington is an old friend and it will be an informal evening, just the three of them. He was in an old pair of slacks and turtleneck sweater and Benita had on an everyday housedress. Then Wellington arrived, straight from the tennis courts in dirty white pants and sneakers.

The butler entered. He announced that I was outside. He presented my card. Colman read it: 'Jack Benny, star of stage, screen, and radio. Will sing 'Oh Promise Me' at weddings. Has own tuxedo. Will travel'.

They figure it is a mistake but being good sports, the Colmans just set another place for dinner.  I joined them for cocktails. We clinked glasses. I clinked a little hard and there was the sound of broken glass. Benita remarked the glass was 150 years old.

"I'm glad I didn't break any of your new stuff" I said. "Oh, you're not dressed yet. Am I early? Why don't I just sit here and read a magazine while you three go up and dress?"

Well,to sum up the whole evening, I was a terrible bore, saying the most inane things and the pathetic part of it was I didn't realize I was such a crashing bore.  Finally, I had to go home. I said good night to Wellington, to Benita, to Ronald.

SOUND: FOOTSTEPS ....DOOR OPENS

"Well, good night, Ronnie old boy...I had a swell time"

SOUND: DOOR SLAMS FAST

"I'm not out yet", I moaned, and you knew how much they wanted to get rid of me.

"Oh, oh, pardon me", Colman said.

SOUND: DOOR OPENS

"Well, good night, Ronnie"

"Good night, Jack"

"Good night"

"Good night"

SOUND; DOOR SLAMS. FOOTSTEPS DOWN THREE STEPS AND ALONG SIDEWALK.

Jack hums "Love in Bloom". "Gee, they're such nice people, the Colmans, Ronnie and Benita..."Can it be the breeze that fills the trees..."



 
 
12.        12/16/45       HELLO LOUELLA

Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, two weeks ago Steve Bradley, Jack Benny's press agent, forced Jack into having a contest...you listeners were asked to write in letters completing this simple sentence..."I Can't Stand Jack Benny Because..."...and is it catching on~! Ah, yes, there's excitement in the old town tonight. Everybody's celebrating. In fact, right now there's a parade coming down Sunset Boulevard. Look...they're turning down the street where Jack Benny lives~!"

The Show:  
The parade mentioned by Don is revealed to actually be a throng of mailmen, delivering more “ICSJB” contest entries (the parade watchers are played by Jerry Hausner and Herb Vigran). The contest letters are piling up so high inside Jack’s house that Phil thinks they’ve “lost” Mary, but Jack explains that she just has a bad cold and couldn’t come over. Jack answers the door only to find Frank Nelson, once again:

Jack: “Oh…oh, are you the mailman?”
Nelson: “Well, what do you think I am with this pack on my back, and early Santa Claus?”
Jack: “Hmmm, I never saw a guy that does so many things..”


As they go through the letters, Phil reads one to Jack:

Phil: “Hey Jackson, here’s a letter, listen to this one. ‘I Can’t Stand Jack Benny because he charges two dollars an hour to play his violin at weddings’”
Jack: “What?”
Phil: “Signed, Tommy Manville”
Jack: “Well, that’s how it is when you work for one man too long…”

(Tommy Manville was famous mostly for getting marrying incredibly often; at the time of this broadcast he had just married for the eighth time). There are so many contest entry letters that Jack discovers that Larry Stevens has been in the house since the day before. Jack asks for a song but Larry begs off as he’s suffering from laryngitis. Don Wilson calls to tell Jack the news that he’ll be appearing on a local radio show at 6:15 pm, and Jack promises to listen, although after hanging up he realizes that he forgot to ask Don which station is broadcasting the program
.

After the band number, Phil’s little daughter Jeanie calls and tells Jack that she wrote a “ICSJB” contest letter for her daddy. At 6:15 Phil reminds Jack to listen to Don Wilson’s radio appearance, but they’re not sure which station to put on. Rochester scans the dial, and we hear a hokey female singer (Sara Berner); then Jack takes over spinning the dial, and first lands on a soap opera (with Herb Vigran and Bea Benaderet), then back to the original program with the female singer, quickly followed by a baseball game (“it’s a line drive and Greenberg’s on third!”), and of course the inevitable commercial for Sympathy Soothing Syrup, read by Frank Nelson. Finally he turns the dial to the Louella Parsons program. Phil tells Jack that it’s the wrong program but Jack wants to listen anyway, since gossip columnist Louella might mention him. One of her news flashes is that Jack’s girlfriend Gladys Zybisco has signed a contract with the Homeway Laundry; another news flash is that the ICSJB contest has brought thousands and thousands of letters from every state except for Maine and Vermont, who are “still holding out”. After Louella’s program ends, they’re still trying to find Don’s appearance. Jack tunes into the singer that they had originally tuned in at the beginning (Sara Berner). After she finishes her horrible song, they hear a familiar voice:

Jack: “Isn’t that awful?”
Don: “Ladies and gentlemen, you have been listening to the glorious voice of Miss Gimmy Mudfender, your hostess at he Vine Street Bowling Alley”
Jack: “Well, what do you know…Don Wilson’s been on that program all the time”.


Prior to the closing Lucky Strike commercial, Don again announces the rules for the ICSJB contest, noting that it closes at midnight on December 24. He announces the judges as Goodman Ace and Peter Lorre (Jack: “He frightens me”), with the Supreme Judge being Fred Allen (Jack: “He frightens Peter Lorre”)

Larry's Song:   Larry appears on the program but doesn’t sing due to laryngitis

Note :    Mary is absent from the program due to a cold. Louella Parsons, famed newspaper gossip columnist, really did have a radio program originating from California that aired at 6:15 PST. Jack ends the show with “Goodnight, Doll” for the absent Mary.

        

13.        12/23/45                THE ENGLISH BUTLER

Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, two weeks ago Jack Benny had dinner at Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Colman's house...and tonight, as a typical good neighbor, Jack has invited the Colman's over to his houseSo let's go out to Beverly Hills where we find Jack preparing for the arrival of his distinguished guests".
 
Guest Stars:   Guests Ronald Colman and Benita Hume (in their second appearance) and Jack Wellington are invited to Christmas dinner by Jack.

The Show:    As Jack is getting ready for his visitors, he hopes the gang have cleaned up all of the ICSJB contest letters, so that the Colmans don’t discover how many people “can’t stand” him. He opens a door to find that Don and Mary have gone through all the contest letters, except for the entries in the corner, because they’re “still ticking“.

Jack informs Rochester that he’s hired an English butler to help out for the night, to make the Colmans feel more at home. As the scene transitions next door to the Colmans house, Ronnie and Benita are in their library, as Ronnie mulls over standing Jack up. As in episode eleven, Benita can’t remember the name of Jack’s butler and calls him “Manchester”. Ronald wants to phone Jack and tell him that their Uncle Oswald is ill and they must go to visit him, but Benita reminds him that Jack lives right next door and will see their house lights on. Ronnie just prays that Jack won’t play his violin for them.

Unfortunately for the Colmans, as the second routine begins, Jack is practicing playing “Kiss Me Once” on his violin, because “the Colmans are pretty high class people, they don’t go places just to eat”. Soon the English butler Jack hired arrives (Mel Blanc, doing a deliberately almost-impossible-to-decipher English accent),. His name is Bertram Frothingworth, but Jack would rather just call him “Nottingham”. Jack has him answer the door when the Colmans arrive, but not even they can understand his English accent. When Jack calls for Rochester, Rochester yells back “Let Nottingham do it!” Jack then escorts the Colmans to his drawing room, where they meet Don, Mary, Larry and Phil (“Hiya Ronnie, Benita! What do you hear from the tea and crumpets?”) and Jack tells them he also invited their friend, Jack Wellington. When Ronnie asks how the contest is going, Don tells him that Jack just received a citation in Congress for all the unity the contest is promoting; as “it’s the first time in history that the Republicans and Democrats agree on the same thing”. Jack Wellington (Eric Snowden) arrives, and immediately begins telling an amusing anecdote that Colmans have requested, leaving Jack out of the conversation as in episode eleven. While Don offers the guests Lucky Strike cigarettes, Jack is busy muttering to himself, trying to figure out the story Wellington told. After he finally gets the joke, he asks Larry to sing a Christmas song, so Larry sings “Ave Maria”
.

After the Christmas song, Ronnie asks to propose a toast. His speech invokes the ending of World War II, and one of the very few times that the end of the War has been directly referenced on the Benny program all season. It’s a moving toast for the first Christmastime without war in America since 1940:

Ronald: “I propose a toast to the world. A world which has just survived the bloodiest and costliest of all human conflicts…a world which was so nearly led back to the dark ages of oppression and slavery by cruel and greedy men who traded in hate. It seems impossible that there could be any more suffering than mankind has just endured…but it IS possible and it WILL happen if we lose sight of the lessons so bitterly learned. We must always hold before us the thought that men everywhere are our neighbors, and their right to life and freedom is as precious to them as ours is to us. So here’s a toast to all the people in the world. May we, by working together for a lofty purpose and with God’s help, achieve the goal that mankind for twenty centuries has striven for…Peace on earth, Goodwill to Men”
Jack: “Merry Christmas, everybody, Merry Christmas”
Colmans, Snowden and the gang: “Merry Christmas”


    There is no “closing tag” to this episode
.       

Larry's Song:  Larry sings "Ave Maria"
 

14.       12/30/45        END OF THE CONTEST

Don's Introduction: "Well, ladies and gentlemen, as you all know, the contest ended at midnight December 24th...however, there were so many people that couldn't stand Jack Benny...it will take a couple of weeks to finish reading all the letters...and the winners will be announced shortly afterwards. So let's go out to Jack's house in Beverly Hills, where we find Jack, Mary and Rochester busily sorting the latest entries".

The Show:   As they go through the ICSJB contest entries, Jack notes the huge pile of mail and notices “it’s absolutely amazing how many people can’t stand me”. Rochester tears up one of the letters; Jack asks him why and Rochester explains the entry is a mistake, because it says “I Can’t Stand Rochester”, and it’s signed by the Gas Man. The phone rings and Jack has Nottingham the butler (Mel Blanc) answer it. Mary says she thought that Nottingham was only hired for one week just to impress the Colmans, but Jack explains that they’ve been so busy with all of the mail that he’s kept him on to help out. Phil arrives and thanks Jack for his Christmas present:

Mary:   “What was it, Phil?”
Phil:   “A pair of black and pink lounging pajamas with a bare midriff and they’re a little snug, but I wore ‘em all day and…”
Jack:   “Phil, those were for Alice! A bare midriff…”
Mary:   “Phil, surely Alice must have known those pajamas were for her”
Phil:   “Yeah, but I looked so cute in ‘em she hated to tell me”.

After a band number, the “second routine” begins with the gang still plowing through the contest entries when Rochester informs Jack that after lunch he beat Nottingham at a “game of chance”, leaving Nottingham standing in the kitchen in just his shorts and socks. Shortly after, Don stops by to thank everyone for their Christmas gifts, and Jack reveals that the gang gave him a florescent toupee so people can see him at night. As Don goes into the kitchen to get a drink he sings a Lucky commercial to the tune of “Kiss Me Once”, joined at the end by Mary, Phil, and Jack. Larry comes over to wish everyone a Happy New Year, and sings the song that he’s “working on for next week”, “I’m Glad I Waited For You

The “third routine” begins with Nottingham answering the door and finding press agent Steve Bradley, who can’t understand a word the butler says. Bradley tells Jack that, since the contest is ended, all they have to do is finish reading the letters, pick the winners, and award the ten thousand dollars in prizes. Bradley then asks Jack for the ten thousand dollars so he can buy the Victory Bonds for the contest prizes. In a bizarre moment in the season-long Steve Bradley/horse race winnings/robbery/ICSJB contest plot, those in charge of the show seem to have completely forgotten or ignored the fact that in the ninth episode (just aired on November 25, 1945) Bradley admitted that he himself had set up the robbery of Jack’s ten thousand dollars, so of course Bradley  should already have the money.  In any case, Jack goes down to his Vault to get the money, swearing the gang to a secrecy oath beforehand. Jack greets Ed the Vault Guard (Joe Kearns) with the password “Greenberg’s on third” and takes the ten thousand dollars to give Steve.

This is followed by  a version of the program’s annual New Years “New Tennant” sketch, Jack answers his door to find a little boy, the “New Year” (Dickie Jones). The gang notice that he’s a little early this year:

Jack:   …“maybe there’s something wrong with our calendar.”
New Year Kid:   “No, no, I came early because 1946 looks like it’s gonna be a good year, and I’m rarin’ to go.  I got a lot of work to do…automobiles, prefabricated houses, vacuum cleaners, florescent toupees…”
Jack has an important question to ask the young New Year:
Jack:   “Look, sonny, how about radio in 1946? That is…what I mean is…uh…television. What are my chances in television?”
New Year Kid:   “Would you really like to know?”
Jack:  “Yes”
New Year Kid:   “Sit down, Mr. Benny..”

As Jack is telling the boy that he’s thirty-seven years old, they notice an old man (Wally Maher) coming to the door. The gang think that he looks familiar:

Jack:   “You’re not Father Time, are you?”
Old Man:   “Father Time? I don’t know what you’re talking about, bub…I’m lookin’ for my grandson, I was told he came in here.”
Jack:   “You mean…”
Old Man:   “He was supposed to be in a New Year’s play the kids are givin’ at the schoolhouse, but he ran away”
Jack:   “Ohhhhhh…so that’s it”
New Year Kid:   “Hiya, Grandpop”

Jack tries to tell a story of a school play that he was in when he was the boy’s age, but Phil, Don, Larry and Mary all take that as a cue to leave. Jack continues the story until Rochester enters, and asks who he’s talking to.

Jack:   “Uh?  Oh…they’ve all gone. Sit down, Rochester…”
{orchestra starts “Auld Lang Syne” softly}
Jack:   “I walked out on the stage and I looked so cute with my long curls and blue eyes and dimpled cheeks…and when I got all through there was so much applause..
{music louder}…that the teacher came right over and kissed me. She said ‘Jackie, you’re the best New Years Eve we ever had”
{music full and applause}

Note 1:     Jack’s closing “plea” is quite poignant (also quite progressive for 1945 radio, one might add) and is once again worthy of quoting in full:

Jack: “Ladies and gentlemen…while history will point to 1945 as the year of victory, 1946 will be the start of a new era. An era in which people the world over MUST live together in peace and mutual respect. We won a lot more than just battles in this war…we won a realization that all men everywhere want to live out their lives in peace and freedom. While there are many different points of view of how this peace should be secured, the important thing is that all mankind WANTS it, and it WILL be accomplished. There is no place for hate, greed, suspicion and prejudice in a world that has the atomic bomb. The old era is dead and 1946 is the beginning of the new one…the era of Wendell Wilkie’s One World. Happy New Year, everybody”

Note 2 : This episode includes a very short faux version of the usual Benny New Years Eve sketch “The New Tenant”, and a fairly usual New Years Eve ending of everyone else having plans but Jack spending the night alone with Rochester. It’s pretty plain that by this point in the history of the program that Rochester could be considered Jack’s “best friend”.

What is shocking about this program is that, after thirteen weeks of the writing staff quite carefully plotting the season’s central storyline, advancing it a little week by week, they go and completely ignore a major plot point: that publicist Steve Bradley already had Jack’s ten thousand dollars, from the fake mugging that Bradley had set up. There was no reason for Jack to have to go and fetch the money from his Vault during this episode. I’m at a loss as to how the writers could have possibly forgotten this detail, since it was so relatively recent. Did they think the idea of a publicist intentionally hiring a thug to severely beat his own boss was so bizarre that they just “ret-conned” the story a few weeks later, hoping people wouldn’t remember?  Thankfully this year’s version of “The New Tenant” doesn’t get bogged down in over-done sentimentality or cuteness as it often did; it dispenses with the baby New Year/Father Time angle fairly quickly. Jack’s closing plea states the case for peace much more succinctly and eloquently than any of their myriad versions of “The New Tenant” usually did.

Larry's Song:   Larry sings "I'm Glad I Waited For You".


SPOTLIGHT: ARTIE AUERBACH (MR. KITZEL)

Artie Auerbach, born in New York City on May 17, 1903, began his career a reporter and photographer for the New York newspapers the Daily Mirror and the Daily News. It was while working as a reporter that he met druggist Maurice Adollf, whose Yiddish accent would inspire the Mr. Kitzel character. After Phil Baker “discovered“ Auerbach doing his Yiddish-based dialect humor, Baker in turn introduced Auerbach to Broadway lyricist Lew Brown, leading to Auerbach performing in public for the first time in Brown’s 1934 Broadway revue Calling All Stars.  He seems to have made his radio debut shortly after this as the character “Mr. Schneider” during the first series of Gertrude Berg’s popular serial The Goldbergs (originally titled The Rise of The Goldbergs). This was followed by House of Glass, which aired from April 17, 1935 to December 25, 1935 on the Blue Network. The program, which starred Gertrude Berg, was a replacement for her then- cancelled “Goldbergs“ (which would soon return).

Auerbach next appeared on  Texaco Town Starring Eddie Cantor on the CBS network in early 1937. Then came two Jack Haley programs, Log Cabin Jamboree, broadcast on NBC from October 1937 to April 1938, and The Wonder Show starring Jack Haley, (named after the sponsor, Wonder Bread) which ran on CBS from October 14, 1938 to April 7, 1939.

Despite all these radio appearances, prior to joining the Jack Benny program Auerbach was best known his character Mr. Kitzel in programs starring comedian Al Pearce.  Auerbach appeared on the program from 1939 to 1942, during which time there were many variations and titles of the program, including The Al Pearce Show for Camel Cigarettes and Al Pearce and His Gang. Kitzel’s usual opening line on the Pearce show was a variation of “Hi Yi, Rancho Grande…” followed by a plot-based rhyme with grande (pronounced grandy).  For example, from the May 10, 1940 program as Pearce is attempting to board a boat: “Hi Ya Rancho Grande, as a Captain I’m a dandy!“  And from March 7, 1941 show that was discussing baseball:  “Hi-Yi-Yo, Rancho Grande, I pitch with either handee”.

Al Pearce had already been on the radio for eleven years by the time Auerbach joined the “gang“. Pearce’s breakout character was door-to-door salesman Elmer Blurt, whose catchphrase was “there‘s nobody to home…I hope I hope I hope“.  Kitzel’s catchphrase was “mmmmmmya….could be!” Because of this, he was often referred to on the Pearce program as “CB Kitzel”; on the September 13, 1940 show he‘s announced in the show opening as “Could Be Kitzel“. Although the show never cracked the top twenty rated shows while Auerbach was a cast member, his “mmmmmmya…. could be” catchphrase was as popular as his “Pickle in the Middle” would later become; legions of children growing up in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s would watch numerous television broadcasts of classic 1940s era Warner Bros. cartoons containing the “mmmmm….. could be!“ line without ever having any idea of where it originated.

Also appearing on the Al Pearce program at various times during these seasons were such Jack Benny show stalwarts as Blanche Stewart, Mel Blanc, Richard Lane, Andy Devine, Elvia Allman, Verna Felton, and The Sportsmen (billed as the Merrie Men).  After five years, Pearce’s last show for the Columbia Broadcasting (CBS) network aired on Friday January 2, 1942. The program then started again just six days later with a new network (NBC Red ) and day (Thursday). Auerbach even appeared with Al Pearce and his gang in the 1943 film Here Comes Elmer.

  After the Pearce program, Auerbach next appeared as a regular on The Abbott and Costello Show for the 1944-1945 season (which started on October 5, 1944), where the character was now called Mr. Kitzel.  Kitzel’s opening line was still “Hi-yo Rancho Grande..” and his catchphrase was once again “mmmmm….yeah, could be!”. Airing Thursday nights at 10:00pm Eastern and sponsored by Camel Cigarettes (as was the Al Pearce program), the program finished in eleventh place in the ratings for the season.
After Abbott & Costello, Auerbach and Mr. Kitzel ended up on The Lucky Strike Program Starring Jack Benny, beginning with this 1945-1946 season.  After all this co-starring, there was one attempt to give the character his own program, in the failed radio audition “Here Comes Mr. Kitzel”, recorded December 27, 1950. The writing on the audition show lets him down, and, as writer Don Yowp wrote on his blog of July 18, 2012: “A couple of minutes of Mr. Kitzel on the Benny show is funny. A half-hour of Kitzel is painful (as anyone who heard the failed Kitzel radio pilot can attest)”. (Earlier in 1950 Eddie Anderson had also recorded an audition for a Rochester show).   

Writers and essayists such as Gary Giddins, and other radio historians have often remarked on how Mr. Kitzel was the only character on the Jack Benny program that actually seemed happy to see Jack, and was never mean or insulting to him. (In his wonderful essay on Jack Benny, “This Guy Wouldn’t Give You The Parsley off His Fish”, Giddins says that for Benny, Mr. Kitzel represents “one bright moment amid a regimen of humiliations”). One could make a case that Rochester and Don Wilson also liked the “Jack Benny” character, but it certainly never stopped them from (albeit usually good-naturedely) insulting their boss. Mr. Kitzel always greeted Jack warmly and had very pleasant conversations with him, and in turn Jack was always quite glad to see Mr. Kitzel. 

As for the ethnicity of the character it should be noted that, while Kitzel (which is Yiddish for “tickles”) was obviously Jewish, both the Al Pearce and Jack Benny shows wouldn’t actually refer to his religion, and both shows had Kitzel celebrating Christmas. Benny himself was, of course, Jewish.  The Kitzel character had much in common with previous Benny cast member Sam Hearn’s Shlepperman character, and they were both introduced to the program as hot dog vendors at the Rose Bowl.

Finally, while Artie Auerbach’s first appearances on the Jack Benny program were as the “ un-named” hot dog vendor, he was, for anyone who had been listening to radio over the previous 10 years. obviously playing Mr. Kitzel.  It’s possible that the initial namelessness was due to legal reasons. He finally is called Mr. Kitzel on the March 17, 1946 broadcast.  Artie Auerbach passed away on October 3, 1957 at age 54.  Such was Auerbach‘s association with the character that many newspapers ran a variation on the headline “Mr. Kitzel Dies”.




15.        01/06/46        ROSE BOWL GAME

Don's Introduction: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, since this is our first program of the new year, I'd like to bring you a man who has made two important resolutions...the first resolution was to give every member of his cast a raise. The second resolution was to forget the first one...and here he is, Jack Benny~!
 
The Show:     Jack and Mary discuss their date at a night club on New Years Eve. Mary says that Jack “drank one bottle of coca cola, jumped up on the chandelier, beat his chest and yelled, ‘look at me, I’m Tarzan!‘” She tells Don that at the stroke of midnight, Jack said Happy New Year, took an aspirin and passed out.  When Jack asks Don if he had a good time on New Years Eve, it leads to one of the rare Benny show insults of a comedian(s) that is NOT Fred Allen:

Don:  “I sure did, Jack. At the stroke of twelve I crawled out of the fireplace and filled all the stockings with toys”
Jack:   “Filled the stockings with toys….on New Years Eve? Don, you were seven days late”
Don:   “I know, I got stuck in the chimney”
Jack:   “Oh, I see…well, that’s terrible, you could have fallen down and hurt yourself”
Don:   “Yes, but I was lucky enough to catch the flu… {giggles}
Jack:   “Well, I’m glad you…you…you what?”
Don:   “I was in the chimney but I was lucky enough to catch the flu…{giggles}”
Jack:   “Don…Don, I  have an arrangement with Abbott and Costello…we leave them alone and they leave us alone.”


Larry Stevens enters:

Jack:   “…well, hello Larry, Happy New Year”
Larry:   “Same to you, Jack”
Jack:   “Did you….Jack? Why, Larry, what’s come over you…you’ve always called me Mr. Benny”
Larry:   “Well, don’t you remember? On New Years Eve you said I could stop calling you Mr. Benny, and call you Jack”.
Jack:   “When did I tell you that?”
Larry:   “Right after your second coke”


I suppose  you’ve listened to a lot of Jack Benny programs when your ears prick up at Larry calling Jack “Jack” and not “Mr. Benny”; a long-time listener of the Jack Benny show would know why it sounds odd (Dennis Day had always called Jack “Mr. Benny” and that tradition has carried on to his replacement, Larry).

Jack:  That was “It’s a Grand Night for Singing”, sung by Larry Stevens, and very good, Larry. By the way, kid, you made a record of that song, didn’t you?”
Larry:   “Yes I did”
Jack:   “Well, it’s a great number…I’d like to have one of those records, Larry”
Larry:   “Well, why don’t you buy one, Mr. Benny, it only costs seventy-five cents”
Jack:   “Well, I thought about buying one, but you see I just wanted your song, and the record has someone else on the other side, so I didn’t feel like paying for both sides”
Mary:   “Maybe they’ll slice it for you”
Jack:   “No, no, I asked ‘em, and you should have heard…”


(Larry did put out a record of “It’s a Grand Night for Singing” in December 1945, on the RCA Victor label, disc 20-1776. The arrangement and orchestration for the songs is by the Jack Benny Show’s orchestra arranger Mahlon Merrick. The B-Side was “Come Closer to Me”, also by Larry, so Jack’s remark about there being a different singer on the flip side must’ve been just done for the joke. The 78-rpm record was advertised in the December 15, 1945 issue of Billboard magazine, and it received a good review in the December 29, 1945 issue, where unfortunately the headline for the review cited it as by “Laurie Stevens”. Singer Dick Haymes also put out a recording of “It’s a Grand Night for Singing” this same month, January 1946).

After the shock of Larry calling Jack by his first name, Phil enters and, instead of his usual “Hiya Jackson” greeting, says “Hello, Donzy, Hiya Livy, and a good, good evening to you, Mr. Benny”. It seems that Phil made a New Years resolution to show respect for the boss, although he can’t remember making it. It doesn’t last too long:

Phil:  “Hey look…how about you, Jackson, did you have fun New Years Eve?”
Jack:   “Yes, Phil I went over to the…”
Phil:   “That’s all, Jackson, if you can remember you didn’t have fun!”

Don’s New Years resolution is to find new ways to tell the people about Lucky Strike cigarettes, of course: he wants to do the commercials backwards. He demonstrates for Jack, and a little jingle from episodes two and three briefly appears:

Don:  “Well, listen to it this way…draw the on easy and free so packed fully so firm so, round so”
Jack:   “Well, mouth my shut…packed so, firm so, round so…
Mary:   “Rinso”
Jack:   {sings} ‘Happy little wash day…Mary!”


Phil wants Jack to pay up on his Rose Bowl bet, but Jack says he can’t be positive that U.S.C. lost. (Alabama defeated USC 34-14 on New Years Day). Phil tells him that ninety thousand people were at the game and saw Alabama win, but Jack protests:

Jack:   “I don’t care if a hundred thousand people saw it, I’m not taking the word of a lot of strangers…that’s the way rumors get started! I’m not taking anybody’s word”
Mary:   “That’s why Jack went to Europe last summer, he wanted to make sure the war was over”
Jack:   “Yeah”
Mary:   “He hasn’t been to Japan yet, so he’s still got his house blacked out”

Rochester calls in to inform Jack that the new English butler Nottingham misunderstood Jack’s request to take the Christmas tree off of the grand piano, cut it up into pieces and burn it, and instead burned the whole piano (except the keyboard) in the fireplace. Rochester says that firemen had to come because the room filled with smoke, and then the house became flooded after the firemen used hoses to put out the fire.

Jack:   “….did you save my parrot?”
Rochester:  “Boss, the last time I saw your parrot it was sailin’ down the hall in your derby hat shouting ‘Mr. Christian, come heah!’”.

After the Rochester call and a band number from Phil, the “third routine” begins with Phil again asking Jack to pay up on their bet. Jack says that he didn’t see the game, which puzzles Phil because Jack went to the game. Phil wants to know what happened, but Jack doesn’t want to say so, as usual, Mary fills them in via a flashback: Mary and Phil were at the game outside, waiting for Jack to show up with the tickets. Jack didn’t ride with them because he’s bringing Gladys Zybisco (Sara Berner).  When Jack and Gladys (who keeps calling Jack “Speedy”) arrive enter the Rose Bowl, the ticket taker (Eddie Marr) knows Gladys, as does Lefty Flanagan (writer George Balzer). Then, as they buy hot dogs, they encounter an un-named, very Shlepperman-esque character, the hot dog vendor (played by Artie Auerbach):

Jack:   “Hey, mister, four hot dogs please”
Vendor:   “Yes, sir”
{sings} Pickle in the middle/And the mustard on top/Just the way you like ‘em/And they’re all red hot”

(The hot dog vendor will eventually be named Mr. Kitzel.)

As they hand in their ticket stubs, Nick the usher (Herb Vigran) also knows Gladys, as Jack starts to get upset over Gladys’ “popularity”. Phil asks Jack if he’d like to bet on the game, and Jack agrees; he’ll take U.S.C. and Phil will take Alabama. Phil proposes a fifty dollar bet, and Jack actually agrees (Mary: “We must be sitting higher than I thought”). Snoojy the Peanut Vendor (Eddie Marr) passes by, and of course Gladys knows him as well. The U.S.C. players begin to take the field, and as they run past the gang:

U.S.C. Team:   “Hello, Gladys!”
Jack:   “Gladys, that settles it! Now I…”
Gladys:   “But Speedy, dear…the boys on the U.S.C. team always eat at the Drive-In. They voted me Miss Pigskin of 1945”
After a few minutes pass the Alabama team take the field:
Alabama Team:   “Hello, Gladys, you all!”
Jack:   “Gladys you all? Well, that’s the last straw, I’m leaving. I’m not even gonna stay and see the game…and let me tell you something else, Gladys…you and I are through…our engagement is broken…goodbye”
Gladys:   “But Speedy, if you’re breaking the engagement, what about the ring?”
Jack:   “I’m not giving it back to you! Goodbye”

{flashback ends}
Mary:  “So there you are, Don…that’s exactly what happened at the Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day”

Larry's Song:  Larry sings "It's a Grand Night for Singing", written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, from the 20th Century Fox film State Fair, which the Benny show will spoof over the next two weeks. “It Might as Well Be Spring”, also from State Fair, was sung by Larry on the November 25, 1945 program


16.        01/13/46        STATE FAIR REHEARSAL part one

Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen...Jack Benny rehearses his radio program on Saturday afternoons...so let's go back to yesterday and pick up Jack and Mary on their way to the studio...Rochester is driving them".

The Show:   As Rochester drives Jack and Mary to the rehearsal, they pass a movie theatre playing the film The Bells of St. Mary’s, which leads Mary to ask Jack which film he thinks will win the Academy Award:

Jack:   “It’s hard to say…there were several outstanding pictures…Lost Weekend, The Bells of St, Mary’s…Spellbound…The Horn Blows At Midnight…then there’s…
Mary:   “Wait a minute, Jack…you don’t think you’ve got a chance to win the Academy Award for THAT picture, do you?"
Jack:   “I don’t see why not. You know, I should have won it for my sensational acting in To Be Or Not Be”
Mary:   “Well, why didn’t you win?"
Jack:   “THAT is the question!"

Jack tells Mary that he bets he’ll win he award for his next film, the story of his life. He says that last Sunday his life was dramatized on the radio program Freedom Of Opportunity (which it was, on January 6 at 10:00pm Eastern on the Mutual Network. I’ve thus far been unable to locate a copy of this program).

As Jack and Mary arrive at the studio they greet the wooden dummy, Charlie McCarthy (as impersonated by Ollie O’Toole), after which Jack remarks “You know, Mary it‘s amazing how he gets around without Bergen“. Shortly after, McCarthy’s ventriloquist Edgar Bergen (also Ollie O’Toole) asks them if they’ve seen Charlie. After Jack tells him he just went down the hall, Mary says “it’s amazing how he gets around without McCarthy”. They get to the rehearsal studio as Phil is rehearsing the orchestra. After a band number, the “second routine” begins with Jack informing the gang that for the program tomorrow he’d like to perform a radio version he “wrote” of the film State Fair.  Jack will play Lem Peabody, and he wants Mary to play his wife, Larry to play his son Cy, Phil to play his neighbor Zeke Martin, and Don to play his prize-winning hog, Blue Boy.

During the play Jack can’t decide which of his hogs to take to the fair, Esmereldy (played by Mel Blanc) or Blue Boy. As Lem and Zeke walk over to the hog pen, Larry and the Quartet sing “It Might As Well Be Spring”, and after they visit the two hogs the Quartet sing a brief “It’s a Grand Night for Singing”. Lem and Zeke return to the house, where Maw (Mary) is making mince meat with two tablespoons of brandy. While Maw goes upstairs to get dressed, Lem and Zeke pour two whole bottles of brandy into the meat. After tasting the meat Lem gets pretty smashed, and they load Esmereldy and Blue Boy into the wagon and leave for the fair. On the way the whole gang and the Quartet sing “It’s a Grand Night for Singing” once more as the show fades out.

Note:  This was previously titled just “State Fair Rehearsal”---and this week’s program IS supposed to be their “rehearsal” for this episode---next week’s program features the play “picked up from where we left off last week”--of course, this week is supposed to be a “rehearsal” so in the Jack Benny meta-world we never actually heard the “real” broadcast of State Fair part one.

Larry's Song:  Larry sings It's a Grand Night for Singing and It Might as Well be Spring (with whole cast)


17.        01/20/46        STATE FAIR

Don's Introduction: 

Don: "Ladies and gentlemen...just about one year ago, Jack Benny started on a trip to New York...he rushed down to the Union Station to find out about the Chief or Super Chief...but the only information he could get was:
Mel: {PA System}: "Train leaving on track five for Anaheim, Azusa and Cucamonga"
Don: “Last summer Jack went to Germany to entertain our boys in the armed forces…as he waited for connections between Berlin and Nuremberg, he heard a voice say…”
Mel: {PA System} “Das Siesel loift uff track fump a rootin tootin stootin verboten for Anaheim, Azusa and Cucamonga”
Don: “Two years when Jack was on a lonely island in the South Pacific, he was hiding behind a palm tree watching the natives do their tribal dance”
Quartet {in rhythm}: Anaheim, Azusa, and Cucamonga/Anaheim Azusa and Cucamonga/Anaheim, Azusa and Cucamonga”
Don: “Suddenly, one of the natives spied Jack behind the palm tree…he advanced toward him with a sharp bolo knife…it was a tense moment as the natives said…”
Mel: “Got any gum?”
Jack: “No”
Quartet: “Anaheim, Azusa, and Cucamonga/Anaheim Azusa and Cucamonga/Anaheim, Azusa and Cucamonga”
Don: “So now, ladies and gentlemen, we bring you a man who just last week was appointed honorary Mayor of these three California cities…Jack Benny!”

The Show:  The program begins with the news that Jack has been elected honorary Mayor of the three California cities Anaheim, Azusa and Cucamonga, by way of a startlingly long and not very funny introduction. (The January 7, 1945 Jack Benny program had introduced the long-running gag about “Anaheim, Azusa and Cuc…..amonga“. Ernest W. Moeller, Secretary-Manager of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce, Cornelius Smith of the Azusa Chamber of Commerce, Clifton Chappell of the Cucamonga Chamber of Commerce, and Chet Burke of the Anaheim Gazette newspaper had started a campaign to make Jack the honorary mayor of all three towns. On January 13 they wired their request to Jack , who accepted the next day. Prior to tonight’s episode Jack was presented with a badge of office and the key to all three cities. The idea to base much of this program on Jack‘s honorary membership must‘ve been arrived at fairly quickly).

Don asks Jack how it feels to be the Mayor of three cities. Jack: “Oh, it hasn’t changed me a bit…I’m still the same lovable Jack Benny that nobody can stand”. A messenger (Mel Blanc) brings Jack a telegram from Fred Allenm which Jack reads: “Dear Jack…have almost finished judging the ‘I Can’t Stand Jack Benny’ Contest letters. Will have the winners in time for next Sunday’s broadcast…stop. I know I’ve said a lot of nasty things about you…but after reading all those letters I realize that I’m the only friend you’ve got…stop. It’s amazing how so many people can call you such big things with such small words…some of ‘em hyphenated yet”….hmmm. Jack calls for a band number but Phil hasn’t arrived yet, so he asks the janitor (Joe Kearns) to lead the orchestra.

After the number Phil finally arrives. Phil asks how the people of Anaheim, Azusa and Cucamonga feel about Jack being appointed their honorary Mayor, and. Jack replies that he sent Rochester to conduct a poll to get the “pulse of the citizens”. Then Jack says that in answer to many requests, they will continue their radio version of State Fair. Before they can start, however, Rochester calls in with his report…apparently the citizens aren’t so happy to have Jack Benny as their Mayor, honorary or not. After the call, Larry and the Quartet sings another song from State Fair, “That’s For Me”.
Following the song, the cast “pick up where we left off last week” and begin State Fair, part two. The cast resume their previous roles as Maw, Paw, Zeke, Cy, the pigs Blue Boy and Esmereldy, and the mince meat are all loaded on the wagon and on their way to State Fair. As they are almost at the Fair they all break out in yet another rendition of “It’s A Grand Night for Singing”. They enter to the barkers (Joe Kearns, Eddie Marr and Mel Blanc) hawking their attractions and wares. Paw (Jack) buys a “genuine solid gold seventeen jewel Swiss movement wrist watch” from Marr for only thirty nine cents. When Paw protests that it’s not gold, Marr sells him a bottle of Marvo jewelry polish for ten cents. Paw gives him a quarter but doesn’t get change in return and begins to argue, but Zeke (Phil)
interrupts and tells Paw to stop making such a “gol-durned schlemiel” of himself. Paw goes to find something to eat for his son Cy and finds a hot dog stand (run by a familiar face: Artie Auerbach, repeating his role from the January 6 Rose Bowl episode as Mr. Kitzel, though they still don‘t use that name):

Vendor: {sings} “Pickle in the middle/And the mustard on top/Just the way you like ‘em/And they’re all red hot”

Jack somewhat “breaks character” here as Paw recognizes the vendor:

Paw: “Now wait a minute, wait a minute, I recognize you…didn’t I see you selling hot frankies at the Rose Bowl game?”
Vendor: “it’s quite possible…you know, every New Years I’m spending at Pasadinka”
Paw: “I thought so. How did you get way out here?”
Vendor: “Well, I was rooting for U.S.C. and the Alabama team chased me”
Paw: “Well, it’s a good thing…it’s a good thing those Alabama boys didn’t catch you”
Vendor: “Didn’t catch me! Ho ho ho…you think I always had this Southern accent?!”

Maw leaves to take her mince meat to the judges stand, so Paw and Zeke take the opportunity to visit the girlie show (Mel Blanc is the barker). They get to see a bit of the show before Maw returns and pulls Paw out by his ear. She tells him her mince meat won first prize, as did their hog, Blue Boy.

Paw: “Yippee! You see, Zeke, I told you we’d win!”
Maw: “And Paw, do you know what the first prize is?”
Paw: “What?”
Maw: “A round trip to Anaheim, Azusa and Cucamonga!”
Paw: “Well I’ll be doggoned!…..”

The gang start up “It’s a Grand Night for Singing” one more time as the show fades out…the usual “closing tag” by Jack is cut off.

Larry's Song:  Larry sings  "That's For Me" from State Fair.


18.        01/27/46        THE CONTEST WINNERS

Don's Introduction: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, today is January 27th, the day that the winners of the 'I Can't Stand Jack Benny' contest will be announced. Last night people all over the country went to bed wondering if they would win part of the ten thousand dollars...so let's go back to last night, to the home of the man who's going to give away all that money".

The Show:   :   As the program starts we "flashback" to the previous night. Jack tells Rochester that he wishes there was some way that he could get out of awarding the $10,000 to the contest winner. Rochester is convinced Jack is going to run away, but despite his wish Jack tells him he’s not going anywhere. (Jack makes a small flub over Rochester‘s last name: “Look, Mr. Jones…if you’re Mr. Van Jones…rather, if you’re insinuating that I’m worried about giving away the ten thousand dollars, you’re sadly mistaken”). After talking it over with Rochester Jack heads up to bed.
   
After Jack lays down and starts snoring, he begins to have a dream, or more properly a nightmare, as a deep voice (Artie Auerbach) intones:

Artie:  “Tomorrow you’re gonna give give away ten thousand dollars….tomorrow you’re gonna give away ten thousand dollars…tomorrow you’re gonna give away ten thousand dollars…tomorrow you’re gonna give away ten thousand dollars…”

Jack then hears an echoey voice (Mel Blanc) announcing a “rocket now leaving on track five for Mars, Venus and Cucamonga”. Then the combined voices of Artie and Mel begin to repeatedly chant “ten thousand dollars” until we hear a blood-curdling scream, followed by more snoring…until he hears Mel Blanc’s voice again, tormenting him about giving away the ten thousand dollars, and warning him what will happen to him if he doesn’t award the prize. Finally Jack’s nightmare is interrupted by Rochester coming in and waking him up. Jack asks Rochester what he’s doing with a suitcase:

Rochester:   “I had the same dream and I’m goin’ with you!”
Jack:   “Thanks for your loyalty…and take off that beret, we’re not going to Paris!”
Don:   “Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that’s what happened last night…and now, to get on with the show, here’s Larry Stevens to sing ‘Symphony’

The “second routine” with Jack arriving late at the studio; when questioned, he blames it on lack of sleep, which leads Phil to a conclusion and Mary to a flub:

Phil:  “Say, Jackson, it couldn’t be by a slight coinsequence that you didn’t sleep last night because today you have to give away ten thousand dollars? Could it, little man?”
Jack:   “What ten thousand dollars?”
Phil:   “The contest money…you know!”
Jack:   “Oh, THAT…I forgot about it”
Mary:   “Forgot about it? When Fell…..
Jack:   “Fell??”
Mary:   “…I’ve got to do it all over again”
Jack:   “I’ll take the first line again…I forgot about it”
Mary:   “Forgot about it? When Phil mentioned it, your face turned white, your lips turned blue, and your stomach turned over”
Jack:   That wasn’t worth going over again, Mary!”


Mary wants to get on with the announcement of the contest winners, but Jack says he won’t know the winners until Steve Bradley arrives. Jack tries to call Steve’s house and gets Mabel and Gertrude, the telephone operators. Gertrude tells him they’ll call him back when they get Steve’s number. While trying to get in touch with Steve, Phil Harris’ daughter calls and tells Jack she entered the “I Can’t Stand Jack Benny” contest twenty five times. When she talks to her daddy, she says that he left home without giving her her arithmetic lesson, so he gives her one over the phone: it turns out to be the debut of the song “One-sy Two-sy”(spelled "One-zy Two-zy" in some places, including the script). After the song Phil tells Jack that it was written by Dave Franklin and Irving Taylor, and that it was brand new song has never been heard on the air before.  Jack and Don then sing a horrible Lucky Strike version of the song. Rochester calls in to ask if Jack’s given away the prize money yet, and when Jack tells him no, Rochester sings his own version of the song:

Rochester:  {sings} “One-zy, two-zy, no time to lose-zy/Two-zy, three-zy, listen to me-zy/Seven-zy, eight-zy, better not wait-zy/let’s get goin’ for Paris!”
Jack:   “Rochester!”
Rochester:   “It’s just a little thought boss, so long!”
Jack:   “Well, it’s the first time…it’s the first time I ever knew Rochester listened to my program”
Mary:   “Maybe he read the fine print in his contract”


Then at long last, after Jack's press agent Steve Bradley (Richard Lane) finally arrives, the winners of the "I Can't Stand Jack Benny" contest are announced at (according to the NBC Program Analysis Sheets) 7:24:18pm EST by the contests'  "Supreme Judge" Fred Allen, who is in New York. 

Fred Allen:   “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, this is Fred Allen in New York. I could tell a joke but I wouldn’t want to get a laugh on Mr. Benny’s program and establish a precedent, but I know you’ve all been waiting for the winners of he ‘I Can’t Stand Jack Benny’ contest, so here they are. The first prize….wake up, Mr. Benny, this isn’t a dream now…"

The first prize winner of twenty-five hundred dollars in Victory Bonds was Carroll P.Craig, Sr. of 735 Radcliffe Avenue, Pacific Palisades, California;  the second prize winner of fifteen hundred dollars in bonds was Charles S. Doherty of Hotel Bolton Square, Cleveland, Ohio;  and third prize of one thousand dollars in bonds went to Joyce O'Hara of 1014 Dragoon Avenue, Detroit, Michigan.
 
Fred Allen:   “The additional fifty winners of the one hundred dollar bonds will be notified by telegram, and the bonds sent registered mail. P.S. if Mr. Benny should deliver any of these telegrams personally, please tip him generously, ladies and gentlemen, he has been through a terrible ordeal, I am happy to say…goodnight, folks."

At 7:25:28pm EST the program is switched back to Hollywood from NY, and enough time remains for Jack to read the names of ten (well, nine and a half, actually) of the fifty $100 Bond winners.  Mary Livingstone again reads the end of episode "plea" for the Victory Clothing Collection.

Larry's Song:  Larry sings "Symphony", and Phil and his "daughter" sing "One-sy Two-sy"

Note:  Their are some horrible audio quality copies of this episode in circulation, but some better ones do get around. The show is firing on all cylinders again here as the contest seems to have met it's goal of re-energizing the program.

Note:   “One-st Two-sy” hit the Billboard singles charts in late March 1946 by Freddy Martin & the Martin Men, and then for one week in April in a version by Phil Harris himself.


19.        02/03/46            THE CONTEST WINNING LETTER IS READ

Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, tonight Jack Benny is taking Mary to a concert at the Philharmonic Auditorium, given by one of the world's greatest violinists Isaac Stern...as we look in on Jack, he's at home dressing for the occasion".

Guest Stars:  Ronald and Benita Colman, Isaac Stern.

The Show:   The program begins with Rochester helping Jack dress for the concert. Jack tells Rochester that if he had continued his musical career, it could’ve been him, “Yasha Benny”, giving the violin concert tonight. Phil stops by and, noticing that Jack’s all dressed up, asks if he’s going to the opening of a new drive-in.

Jack:   “Phil, I’m not going to a drive-in, I’m going to the Philharmonic…Isaac Stern is playing”
Phil:   “Yeah? Against who?”

The “second routine” begins with Jack and Mary at the Philharmonic:

Mary:   “You’re certainly dressed swanky for the concert…white tie, top hat, and a bag of peanuts.“
Jack:   “Well, I thought you might enjoy something after the show….let’s go in”
Before the show begins Jack wants to go back stage and see Isaac Stern. Stern greets Mary and Jack. Jack sent money to Stern for two tickets, for the “best seats available”:
Jack:   “Thanks…wait a minute, these tickets are a dollar ten…I distinctly remember sending you…
Stern:   “I did my best, Mr. Benny, but the house was sold out and they didn’t have any more seats available at the price you requested”
Jack:   “Oh.”
Stern:   “So I added thirty cents of my own money and bought these”

Mary tells Jack to give Stern the thirty cents he owes him, and they leave to take their seats. As they try to find the seats, they keep climbing higher and higher to the cheaper seats, and they have to deal with several ushers (played by writers George Balzer and John Tackaberry, Artie Auerbach, and, finally, Frank Nelson).

Mary:   {out of breath} Oh, Jack, I can’t go on…give me another peanut.”
Jack:   “Here you are…uh, usher…”
Nelson:   “Yessss?”
Jack:   “Are these...are these seats in this balcony?”
Nelson:   “Yes, right over here”
Mary:   “Gee, this is awfully high, isn’t it?”
Nelson:   “We used to think so, but now they can reach us by radar”
As Mary and Jack settle into the seats, Jack spots a familiar face (no, not Mr. Kitzel):
Mary:   “Gee, there sure are a lot of people here tonight.”
Jack:   “Yeah, this place is certainly…hey, Mary, look way down there…isn’t that Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Colman?”
Mary:   “Where?!”
Jack:   “Way down there below us! To the left of that cloud”

After some chat between Ronald and Benita Colman (Ronnie just came to the concert to get away from “Chickery Chick Chala Chala”) Jack tries to get their attention by yelling and whistling at them. Mary is embarrassed because everyone is looking at them, while Jack continues to hoot and holler at Ronnie and Benita. Ronnie is embarrassed about jack as well, and tells Benita not to look up. Jack begins hanging from the rail by his heels. Then Jack’s toupee falls into Ronnie’s lap (with a laundry mark which reads “If lost, will finder please read the lost and found columns in the Beverly Hills newspapers. The article in question will be referred to as ‘a cocker spaniel with a cold nose and a part on the side’”).

The “third routine” begins after a violin solo by Isaac Stern, with Jack shouting out for “Love in Bloom! Love in Bloom!” and then “Chickory Chick Chala Chala…Chickory Chick!” As Ronald Colman yells at Jack to be quiet, the scene fades to after the concert, when Jack and Ronnie meet at the coat check and discuss the show. It fades again to Ronald and Benita on their way home, as Ronnie discovers that he was given Jack’s coat by mistake. While digging through the pockets, he finds the winning “I Can’t Stand Jack Benny” contest letter, written by Carroll P. Craig Sr.. Benita asks him to read it aloud:

He fills the air

With boasts and brags

And obsolete

Obnoxious gags.

The way he plays

His violin

Is music’s most

Obnoxious sin.

His cowardice

Alone, indeed,

Is matched by his

Obnoxious greed
.

And all the things

That he portrays

Show up my own

Obnoxious ways
.

Ronald: “You know, Benita, maybe the fellow that wrote this letter is right…the things that we find fault with in others…are the same things that we tolerate in ourselves”
Benita: “That’s so true, Ronnie”


In the closing tag, Jack is talking with Mary when he discovers he’s wearing Ronald’s coat. Curious about what’s in the pockets, he looks and pulls out a yo-yo.

Isaac Stern was accompanied by Alexander Zakin. I've re-titled this episode from the more common "The Contest Winners are Announced" title, since that was technically done on the episode the week prior, and this week the actual winning letter is read. This is a very funny episode, historic in it's own way, plus having the Colmans as guests always guarantees a funny show; the contrast between the two classical actors and their "English reserve", and the brash, egotistical, solidly American Jack Benny make for some memorable programs; it helps of course that the Colmans proved to be very humorous people. Jack shouting out at the convert for the great Isaac Stern to play “Love in Bloom” is a perfect “Jack Benny” moment
.

Larry's Song:    Larry does not appear on this episode.

Note:   In the book "Sunday Nights at Seven", Jack Benny writes that it personally cost him $1,000 to have famed violinist Isaac Stern appear on this episode.  Benny was allowed $10,000 for pay for guest stars to appear on the show. Ronald and Benita Colman were already booked for this episode, at a fee of $6,000.  Benny had heard that Stern was in Los Angeles and booked him for the show, but Sterns' fee was $5,000, putting the program $1,000 over budget for guest stars. Jack paid the extra $1,000 himself, without ever telling Stern.

Note:   The February 7, 1946 issue of "Radio Daily" noted: "Jack Benny has notified the Quiz Kids that he is ailing and would they therefore please postpone their West Coast trip to guest on his program until March. The comedian said he plans to broadcast for the next few weeks from Palm Springs"


20.        02/10/46        FROM PALM SPRINGS, CALIFORNIA

Don's Introduction:  "Ladies and gentlemen, today we are broadcasting from Palm Springs, California...Palm Springs, the garden spot of the desert...where the star of our show went for a cold, and caught one...and here he is, Jack {Jack sneezes} Gesundheit Benny!"
Benny~!"

On Location:   From Palm Springs, California.

Guest Star:   Eddie Cantor is the guest star.

The Show:   The show opens with Jack and Don discussing Palm Springs;

Jack:   “….but it’s really wonderful here, Don, and there’s so much to do.”
Don:   “There certainly is, and I’ve been taking advantage of it…sun-bathing, swimming, horseback riding….
Jack:   “Wait a minute, Don…wait a minute…you mean you found a horse that could hold you up?”
Don:   “Well, yes, Jack, I was riding a brown horse, you passed me on the trail…”.
Jack:   “What are you SHOUTING for? SAW ME ON THE TRAIL…was that you? I should have known, it’s the first time I ever saw a horse with arch supports…and a cane yet. That horse was so swayback you looked like you were riding a slice of cantaloupe. If I’ve told my writers once I told them a thousand times that joke is no good….I keep it in anyway.  Say, I’m pretty clever. And just think, a few weeks ago there were some people who couldn’t stand me….”

Another flub, as Mary gets a little ahead of herself in the script:

Don:   “By the way, Mary, I saw you riding a bicycle down Palm Canyon Drive…you looked very cute in your sun suit“.
Mary:   “Well thanks, Don. You looked cute in yours, too”
Jack:   “What? Don…Don, you walking around in a sun suit? That takes a lot of courage”
Mary:   “Jack what about you..“
Jack:      “…..A lot of sunsuit, too”
Mary:   “Jack what about you“
Jack:   “Don Wilson is the only guy I know who gets his suntan oil at a filling station. What were you saying…what were you saying now?”
Mary:   “um..er…oh…Jack…what about you in that corny cowboy outfit?”
Jack:   “Repeat that, what’d you say?”
Mary:   “What about you in that corny cowboy outfit?”

After Phil and the boys play a number, Jack and Phil get to talking about the meaning of the word filibuster (Jack had convinced Phil that it’s spelled C-A-T) and lightly tweak the sponsor:

Jack:   “But Mary, it’s just a simple word, filibuster”
Mary:   “Oh sure…I bet you don’t even know what it means”
Jack:   “I do too. A filibuster is when a man gets up and…well…he says a lot of things that don’t quite…well, he rambles on and on…”
Mary:   “That’s a tobacco auctioneer”
Jack:   “I don’t mean him! What I mean is…”
Don:   “Mary, what Jack is trying to say is that a filibuster is an innocuous speech, the main purpose of which is, not to necessarily to convey subject matter, but to deliberately delay the introduction of a controversial issue”
Phil:   “I never shoulda gone on the wagon”

Rochester calls to inform Jack his car was in a wreck with a train:

Jack:   “This is terrible…which train was it?”
Rochester:   “Well, NOW it’s the Atchison, Topeka and Chevrolet!”

Jack hangs up with Rochester, and next we get a glimpse of Larry Stevens’ current standing with the Benny show: after no dialog with Jack, Larry just begins this weeks’ song, “Aren’t You Glad You’re You”. He doesn’t speak with Jack after the song is over, either.  The writers now seem to have completely run out of ideas for Larry, and have reduced him to just singing his song and then quickly running off. (The recording quality degrades greatly following a quick edit after Larry’s song).

After Larry’s song, Jack invites “the kids” over after the show for sandwiches and coffee, because he’s “got Eddie Cantor’s house”. Mary laughs and asks Jack to tell Don the story, and when, as usual Jack refuses, Mary begins to tell the story in flashback:  When she and Jack arrived in Palm Springs the previous Monday, they walked around trying to find a real estate agent. After walking for a while they get hungry and decide to look for something to eat. As luck would have it they pass a hot dog stand, run by the soon-to-be-named Mr. Kitzel (Artie Auerbach). Jack tells Mary to wait behind while he gets them hot dogs (of course, since Mary does stay behind, it would seem hard for her to tell this part of the flashback in such detail, but we’re not supposed to notice those things…)

Vendor:   “Pickle in the middle/And the mustard on top/Just the way you like ‘em/And they’re all red hot”
Jack:   “Two hot dogs, please”
Vendor:   “Couple puppies coming up”
Jack:   “Say, I…I remember you…what are you doing in Palm Springs?”
Vendor:   “Well, I am opening up a new branch. So far I got a hot dog stand in Santa Monica, Pasadinka, San Bernadinhoohoo…Anaheim, Azusa, and Cucamongrel”
Jack:   “Oh, and now….and now you’ve got one in Palm Springs”

After bringing Mary her hot dog, she suddenly decides that she needs more to eat and wants to have a regular lunch (pretty much rendering the hot dog scene as just an excuse to have another Auerbach cameo as the character), so they go to the Dunes restaurant.

After some more transition music Jack and Mary arrive at the Dunes, where their waiter is, inevitably, Frank Nelson. Nelson’s comeback line isn’t the greatest this time,
But Jack’s aside gives fuel to those that believe that every character that Nelson plays on the Benny program is the same person, existing just to torment Jack at every opportunity, in any place. 

Jack:   “…here comes the…oh, pardon me, are you the waiter?”
Nelson:   “Well what do you think I am with this shirt, tie and shoes on, a guest?”
Jack:   “(I thought I could get away from him down here)….I’d like a table for two please”
.

After Jack argues with Nelson for a bit, Mary spots Eddie Cantor eating by himself.  She thinks that Cantor may rent Jack a room at his Palm Springs house, so they go over to sit with him (Jack counters that since Cantor is a friend, he‘d give him rooming for free). Cantor is eating chicken soup with egg noodles that he brought from home, so Jack asks for a spoon to share Eddie’s bowl. After some difficult team eating, Jack finally asks Eddie if he knows any place that he can stay (or “live”,  in 1940s-ese) while in Palm Springs. Jack anxiously waits for Eddie to make an offer, which he finally does, but then they argue over payment, with Eddie offering it for fee and Jack insisting on paying a little something.

Cantor:   “No, no…”
Jack:   “Yes, yes, YES…now, how much do you want for one week?”
Cantor:   “Three hundred dollars”
Jack:   “Three…three hundred dollars? Gee, isn’t that a big jump from nothing?”
Mary:   “Waiter, bring me some more roast beef, we’ll be here a long time”

After Cantor counter-offers $250, Jack asks him to go back to nothing. Eddie agrees and, as he goes to call his wife Ida to make sure it’s okay, Jack’s already planning on renting rooms to Don, Phil, Mary and Larry.
   
Larry's Song:     Larry Sings "Aren't You Glad You're You".

Note:     This is essentially the first program of the 1945-1946 season not to deal in some fashion with the “Steve Bradley publicity campaign/hose race/stolen money/ICSJB contest” plotlines.


21.        02/17/46        ROCHESTER LOST AT SEA-BRIEFLY

Don's Introduction:
"Ladies and gentlemen, may I recite a little poem?
Last Thursday was Saint Valentine's Day
The day when love is in bloom,
It's also Jack Benny's birthday
Jack: Nobody leave this room~!   Hello, folks"
 
On Location:   From Palm Springs, California.

The Show:   Jack celebrates his "37th" birthday.  When Phil doesn't show up in time for his part, Jack asks Mary to read Phil's lines.  After Jack has Larry sing "Let it Snow, Let it Snow", Jack remarks:

Jack:   "That was Larry Stevens singing "Let it Snow". The title is really "Let it Snow, Let it Snow"...you're supposed to say it twice...but we have a very long show, and if we take up too much time, the tobacco auctioneer at the end of the program will have to hurry and you won't be able to understand a thing he says...so, in view of the fact that we're trying to save time, I had to change the title of Larry's song from "Let it Snow, Let it Snow" to just "Let it Snow". And now, folks...

Mary:   "The line was originally "Ladies and Gentlemen, but the genius cut it down to "Folks".


Phil finally shows up and tells Jack that he hired a joke writer,  an American Indian. This is followed by a very non-PC Indian-themed Lucky Strike commercial by Jack and Don.  After a band number, Jack mentions Rochester, which prompts Son to ask:

Don: "Oh, Jack, I meant to ask you about Rochester...is it true that he was lost for two days out on the ocean?"
Jack: "Yes, he was out in a boat near Catalina"
Phil: "I read about it Jackson...I heard it on the radio, too.
Jack: "Yeah...funny thing...I didn't know anything about it until it was all over"
Mary: "You didn't?"
Jack: "No...when I found out about it last Wednesday, I was home taking my violin lesson...you know I still have my music teacher, Professor LeBlanc. Anyway, here's what happened..."


We flashback to Mel Blanc as Prof. LeBlanc giving Jack his violin lesson. After the Professor leaves, Jack turns on his radio, and first tunes in "The Whistler", and then Frank Nelson doing another ad for "Sympathy Soothing Syrup" ("Remember, Sympathy spelled backwards is YHTAPMYS"). Nelson the reads a special news bulletin that Rochester Van Jones has been found by the Coast Guard after being adrift in the Pacific Ocean for two days.

The show also includes an unusually long but very well done "plea" spot by Jack dedicated to National Brotherhood Week:

Jack:   "Ladies and gentlemen, this is American Brotherhood Week. Brotherhood~! There is much more to it than the word itself implies.  Many of us feel that we are practicing it if we have consideration or respect for our immediate circle of friends...well, that's not enough~!  We should have it for all people everywhere.  The color of a man's skin and the church he goes to is a mighty poor yardstick to use in measuring his character...and to have contempt for an entire race because of color or creed is unthinkable~!  If you want to known how it feels...think back to when the Germans and the Japanese thought themselves superior races, and said that all Americans were 'decadent, criminal and stupid'...and yet if we tolerate racial and religious discrimination...we are~!  I think I saw Brotherhood at its best when I was overseas during the war. When men are fighting for their lives and the lives of their fellows...racial and religious issues are relegated to their proper place of unimportance.  I never heard a wounded man complain about being carried back to a field hospital by a negro...or ask whether the blood plasma he was getting was Catholic, Protestant, or Jewish. You know, a bullet is a very democratic thing. So let's remember and perpetuate these battlefield lessons and carry them through our lives to make a better world....There is a verse in the song 'America The Beautiful' that should mean a lot to all of us:
"America, America, God shed His grace on thee/
And crowned thy good, with brotherhood/
From sea to shining sea"
And crowned thy good with brotherhood....that is our heritage...let's live up to it~!"

The “closing tag” with Jack and Mary hint that Jack is coming closer to his famous position of being 39 years old forever:

Mary:   “Well, Jack, another program’s over”
Jack:   “Yup, another program and another birthday. Just think, Mary, next year at this time I’ll be thirty nine”
Mary:   “Thirty nine! Jack, you said THIS year you were thirty seven”
Jack:   “Oh yes, yes, I’ll be thirty eight…I gotta watch that…goodnight, folks”


Note:   Interestingly, Eddie "Rochester" Anderson actually was listed as "missing at sea" in real life for several hours on February 13, after his cabin cruiser experienced motor trouble and drifted through the night. It was widely reported in newspapers.

Larry's Song:  Larry Sings "Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow". (It's actually nice to see that this song was sung during a period of wintertime OTHER than the Christmas season, as it's not strictly a Christmas song, but rather a song about snow, which occurs all winter long.  Okay, end of song rant.)




 

22.        02/24/46        PALM SPRINGS SHOPPING

Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, let's go out to Jack Benny's house here in Palm Springs...it's an hour before show time and Jack is taking a nap...Rochester is going quietly about his duties".

On Location:   From the Plaza Theatre in Palm Springs, California

Guest Star:   Writer Gilbert Seldes.

The Show:    
The program begins with Rochester’s singing of “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows” waking up Jack. Mary then arrives to go to the studio with Jack.  On their walk as Jack remarks on how nice Palm Springs is, an autograph seeker (show writer Milt Josefsberg) asks Mary for her autograph. A little bit further into their walk as Jack continues to talk about the greatness of Palm Springs a second autograph seeker (Benny show secretary/script girl Jane Tucker) asks Mary for an autograph. Shortly after a third person (show writer John Tackaberry) asks Mary for an autograph…

Mary:   “You know, Jack, this IS a cute little town”
Jack:   “What’s the cute about it?! You know Mary, you turned out to be the biggest ham I ever saw, signing autographs all the time”
Mary:   “Oh, you’re just mad because they didn’t ask you, and you even carry pictures of yourself”


As they arrive at the stage door, Mary spots the “little hot dog man” again, so jack goes over to buy some hot dogs. The still-not-named as Mr. Kitzel hot dog vendor gets in his “pickle in the middle” bit before a brief talk with Jack and Mary. As they enter the stage and hear Phil Harris about to do a band number, Jack realizes his watch must be wrong and that  they’re late.

After the band number (and a number of running gags about the preponderance of the fruit dates in Palm Springs) jack is visited by Earle Strebe, manager of the theatre and date shop:

Strebe:  “Mr. Benny, my name is Strebe. I’m the manager of this theatre and date shop”
Jack:   “Oh, oh hello Mr. Strebe. Step right….this is the real manager….step right up to the microphone Mr. Strebe…a little closer you know. After all, this is your theatre you know. You didn’t have to pay to get in. I had to rent the joint”


Mr. Strebe gets a few laughs before he departs, and Larry introduces his song:

Jack:   “Everybody comes in here with jokes, no dates…I can’t understand why he was so nervous at the microphone. I was right up here with him”
Phil:   “Yeah, but after the broadcast you leave town, he has to stay here”
Jack:   “I suppose so…well, it’s time for a song, where’s Larry?”
Larry:   “Here I am, Mr.Benny”
Jack:   “What are you going to sing tonight, kid?”
Larry:   “A brand new novelty song called “Pickle in the Middle”.
Jack:   “Pickle in the Middle”? Say, isn’t that what the, what the little hot dog man sings?”
Larry:   “Yes, Carl Sigman and John Tackaberry wrote a song around it.”
Jack:   “Tackaberry….John Tackaberry…I’ve heard that name somewhere before….”
Mary:   “He’s one of your writers”
Jack:   “Oh yes, yes….he’s the one with the lowest forehead…his nose makes a natural part in his hair. Let’s hear the song, Larry


To start the third routine, Jack talks to the guest star, magazine writer and book author Gilbert Seldes. Jack cross-examines Seldes, asking him if it is true that in the March issue of Esquire, Seldes stated that radio comedy was based primarily on sarcastic humor and insulting jokes, and that in fact, comedians have been insulting each other so much that radio has become boring. Jack wants to defend radio, so he asks Seldes to sit and watch while he shows him how a comedy program would sound if it was done the way he'd like to hear it :

Jack:   “Then Mr. Seldes, what you meant by your article in Esquire is that you would like to hear a comedy program with a delicate, neighborly motif…something sweet and homey…sort of a Ma Perkins with a band…is that, is that what you want?”

Jack and then cast promptly re-start the program from the beginning, this time being sickeningly nice to each other. This is the new, nicer Jack Benny show introduction done for Gilbert Seldes:

Don:   “Ladies and gentlemen, the Lucky Strike Program.  {violins and harp play theme music…ending with harp} And now, dear listeners, from Palm Springs, one of the most beloved spots in the sunny state of California, we bring you your genial Sunday night host….Jack ‘Life Can Be Beautiful’ Benny.”
Jack:   “Thank you, thank you, thank you. Hello again, this is Jack Benny talking. May I come into your homes for just a short half hour? Hmmmm? Thank you, thank you, thank you…well Don, hasn’t  our stay in Palm Springs been delightful?”


Seldes tries several times to stop this sweet version of the show, to no avail.  In this sweet version, Jack calls Don “un-obese”, Don compliments Jack, The Quartet sing an ode to Mary being a “grand old name“, Mary and Jack are sweet to each other, and Phil arrives calling Jack “Jason” instead of “Jackson” and drinking milk and orange juice instead of alcohol. Rochester calls in:

Jack:   “Oh yes yes Rochester…why are you calling?”
Rochester:   “Something’s wrong with the radio”
Jack:   “What do you mean?”
Rochester:   “Don Wilson got thin, you got hair, Mr. Harris drinks milk and Mary’s a grand old name”
Jack:    “Oh, oh….well, Rochester, we’re trying a new formula where everything is quiet and sweet”
Rochester:   “Quiet and sweet?”
Jack:   “Yes”
Rochester:   “Well, boss, you better get loud and funny, your swimming pool ain’t paid for yet!!”
Jack:   “Yes, I guess you’re right, Rochester…goodbye”


Larry's Song:   Larry sings “Pickle in the Middle and the Mustard on Top”

 

23.        03/03/46        MURDER AT LONE PALM

Don's Introduction: "Well, ladies and gentlemen...our show is still in Palm Springs, so let's go out to Jack Benny's house, where we find Jack relaxing and reading the local newspaper".

On Location:   From Palm Springs.

The Show:    Jack’s reading the help wanted ads, in the event that his sponsor doesn’t pick up his option. He tells Rochester that he’s invited over a real estate agent because he’s thinking of buying a house in Palm Springs; when the agent Mr. Fulton shows up he is of course played by Frank Nelson. Fulton shows Jack pictures of several houses, all of which Jack says are too expensive; the last house he shows Jack goes for seventy thousand dollars (here Jack makes a small flub and says seventy-five thousand). Jack then leaves to go to the theater to do the program.

After a band number (“Let it Snow, Let It Snow” yet again) the “second routine”  begins with Jack asking Phil why the band played a number that Larry sang only ust two weeks ago (Phil’s reply is a testy “Why don’t you just tend to your comedy and keep your nose out of my business?”) Don wants to know why Jack was late for the program and he tells them about wanting a house in Palm Springs, which leads to a discussion on Jack’s golf game. After Rochester calls to tell Jack Mr. Fulton dropped by again to lower his asking price for the house to sixty-five thousand dollars, Jack announced they have a “very important” sketch to do, and he wants to begin casting it immediately. It’s a murder mystery, with Jack as Captain O’ Benny the Chief of Police in Palm Springs, Phil as the sergeant, Don a policeman, Mary is Mitzi La Roo, the “glamorous movie star who came to Palm Springs to be with he husband, and at the start of the play he murders you”. Jack tells Larry that he’s going to be on the police force, too. Jack “swears in” the cast and audience by having them raise their right hands and repeat a Lucky Strike commercial. Before they can begin the murder mystery Mr. Fulton shows up to lower his asking price for the house to fifty thousand dollars. Jack still won’t buy, so Fulton leaves and Larry sings his number, “Day By Day”

The “third routine” begins with Jack announcing the mystery melodrama “Murder at the Lone Palm, or Her Husband Asked for Some Wine So She Gave Him Both Barrels”.  The play opens at the Palm Spring Police Station with Captain O’Benny interrogating a suspect (John Tackaberry). Shortly after he receives a phone call from Mitzi La Roo at the Lone Palm, telling him her husband has just been murdered.  He promises her he’ll be right over, and after a phone call from real estate agent Mr. Fulton, O’Benny makes his way to the Lone Palm. Miss LaRoo tells O’Benny that her husband is in the back yard, but it’s all revealed as a ruse to get O’Benny to buy a house from Mr. Fulton.

Larry's Song:

Note:    This beginning of this episode debuts the new Lucky Strike campaign, "Herbert Tareyton cigarettes are back". Read by Kenny Delmar, it is the most insanely repetitious American Tobacco Company commercial yet:

Kenny Delmar:   "Excuse me, this is Kenny Delmar. Excuse me, I have a special announcement to make. Herbert Tareyton Cigarettes are back--good news for those who prefer a cork tipped cigarette! Herbert Tareyton is back and---there's something about them you'll like. Herbert Tareyton is back after being made only for the armed forces. Yes, Herbert Tareyton is back---that cork tipped cigarette, Herbert Tareyton---available now for you. Yes, Herbert Tareyton is back---and remember: There's something about them you'll like! There's something about them you'll like! This is Kenny Delmar---I trust you will welcome home Herbert Tareyton! There's something about them you'll like.
"
 

24.        03/10/46        LOST WEEKEND   

Don's Introduction: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, we bring you our master of ceremonies, a man who...(Don is interrupted by Jack)"

Guest Star:   Ray Milland

The Show:   Back in Hollywood, with Ray Milland as guest star. Milland is introduced as the star of the Lucky Strike Program in Don's show introduction. This is the last show for singer Larry Stevens, and the last time that he is listed in the opening credits.

Larry’s role this week, his last:  he has no lines prior to Jack saying “Come one Larry, let’s have a song”; Larry then sings the song, Jack says “That was Come Closer To Me sung by Larry Stevens, and…very good Larry. I bought the record you made of that song and it’s swell!”, Larry replies “Thank you, Mr. Benny”, and that’s it. Larry’s entire speaking role in the main portion of the program this week is that one line (he has two more lines in his farewell during the closing tag) The staff must’ve been counting the days until Dennis’ return from the Navy next week. 

In the spoof of Lost Weekend, Jack and Ray Milland play brothers. George Balzer plays a patient in the alcoholic ward that thinks he’s Napoleon; Frank Nelson, who introduces himself with his first “eeeeyessss”, runs the ward.  All the writing staff play singers on the radio in a “Pepsi” commercial:

Writers : “Pepsi Cola hit’s the spot/Twelve full ounces that’s a lot”

The farewell to Larry in the Closing “tag”:

Jack:   “Ladies and gentlemen, two years ago Dennis Day left our program and went into the Navy…at about the same time another boy was honorably discharged from the Army Air Forces and we were very fortunate in getting him to pinch-hit while Dennis was away….of course I’m referring to Larry  Stevens. And now that the war is all over, Dennis Day will be back with us next week.  Larry, I want to thank you for the wonderful job you’ve done on our show. You were a great asset, and I’m sure that our listeners feel the same way I do.”
Larry:   “Oh, thank you, Mr. Benny…it sure has been grand being with you and your whole gang.”
Jack:   Well it was grand having you. We’ll be hearing you on the air and seeing you soon in the new 20th Century Fox picture, Centennial Summer….good luck, kid”
Larry:   “Thank you Mr. Benny”

Larry's Song:   Larry sings “Come Closer to Me”


25.        03/17/46        DENNIS RETURNS FROM THE NAVY

Show Introduction: "The Lucky Strike Program...starring Jack Benny, with Mary Livingstone, Phil Harris, Rochester, and yours truly, Don Wilson".

Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, today March 17th is St. Patrick's Day...as you all know, Saint Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland...so today we bring you a man who was run out of Waukegan, Jack Benny~!"

The Show:    Dennis Day returns after a two year absence while serving in the Navy, although he doesn't get reinstated to the opening credits until next week.  The program begins with Jack and Mary discussing St. Patrick’s Day and turns quickly into a flub-and-ad-lib-fest:

Jack:   “,,,anyway, why aren’t you wearing something green today?”
Mary:   “I am wearing something green…see?”
Jack:   “Oh yes, yes…what is it?”
Mary:   “It’s that gold bracelet you gave me for Christmas”
Jack:   “Mary, that’s an old joke”
Mary:   “All I know is…I polish my other bracelets, THIS one the gardener takes care of”
Jack:   “Well, that’s appreciation for you…after all, Mary, it wasn’t easy to get that bracelet, I spent over three hours at that claw machine…and now, ladies and gentlemen…{laughter builds}…I didn’t know it was going to be THAT good…you know you’re surpris…
Phil:   “Say Jackson..”
Jack   “…what?”

Phil then tells a joke and Jack flubs his response..

Jack:   “…he always tries to run one…
Don:   “Say, Jack..”
Jack   “..over on me…What?”
Don:   “Since this is St. Patrick’s Day, don’t you think we ought to do a little…”
Jack:   “This program is starting out like we had no rehearsal at all. And you want to know something? We didn’t. Everybody walks in anytime they want to…’Hey Jackson’ they holler. What’s it? Go ahead, what is it?”

Don’s suggestion is that they perform a play for St. Patrick’s Day, but Jack says they’re doing something better; having Dennis Day return for the first time in two years. Jack tries to call Dennis’ house, via the telephone operator girls Mabel and Gertrude (given the last name of Gearshift as of this episode). As the girls discuss Jack, Gertrude reveals she once kissed Jack (and says the experience was like “when you’re blowing bubble gum and the bubble collapses against your face’). They let Jack know that Dennis’ number doesn’t answer, and then we get a band number.

Almost immediately after the “second routine” begins, Dennis makes his return:

{knock on door}
Jack:   “Come in”
{door opens}
Dennis:   “I beg your pardon, but hello again”
Jack:   “Dennis…Dennis Day!”
{applause…gang greets Dennis}
Jack:   “Welcome back, kid, welcome back. Gee, it’s good to see you….gosh, Mary, doesn’t he look wonderful?”
Mary:   “Oh he sure does”
{big kiss}
Dennis:   “Oh boy, I never expected this…are you gonna kiss me too, Miss Livingstone?”
Mary:   “Why certainly, Dennis”
{big kiss}
Jack says Dennis looks so mature and Dennis tells Mary that he enjoyed his two years in the Navy. Jack asks Dennis to sing but Dennis demures, saying the show already has two singers.
Jack:   “Two singers? What are you talking about, kid?”
Dennis:   “You know, those two fellows that sing…{does auctioneer’s chant}
Jack:   “Oh, oh, them, them…well, Dennis, they’re not exactly singers, see they’re tobacco auctioneers…Dennis, we’ve changed sponsors, you see we changed sponsors after you left…tell him about it, Don”

Of course Don is only too happy to inform Dennis about Lucky Strikes (this segment has been edited out of the AFRS recording), after which Dennis sings “Danny Boy” in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.

The “third routine” begins with Dennis asking Jack how Fred Allen is doing. Jack tells Dennis that Allen is doing the same old program with the same old jokes, but Mary, Phil and Don all say that “the funniest thing in radio is Allen’s Alley”.  When Jack says that anybody could do “Allen’s Alley”, Mary dares Jack to try. This leads to an “Allen’s Alley” spoof, “Benny’s Boulevard”, including Jack using his customary clothespin on the nose to imitate Allen. Jack plays Fred while Mary plays his wife “Cleveland” and Phil plays Kenny Delmar/Senator Claghorn. The question for the Boulevard denizens is “who is the better comedian, Fred Allen or Jack Benny?” Claghorn insults Jack/Fred:

Phil:   “You’re like a midget, son…everything goes over your head! Own up, son, you’ve got a mind like a chicken”
Jack:   “What?”
Phil:   “A CLUCK, that is”

Jack then visits Dennis Day (Dennis plays the character Titus Moody), followed by Artie Auerbach as the “hot dog vendor”, who, after being unnamed all season thus far, is finally acknowledged to be Mr. Kitzel. Kitzel  says his favorite radio comedian is “The Great Gilderstein”. Jack and Mary then visit Rochester, as Rochester plays“Rochester Openshaw"

Rochester:   

“Allen or Benny, the question rings
And the nation is put to a test
From city to hamlet you hear the cry
Is Allen or Benny best?

Allen has bags and Benny is cheap
And they’re both on Sunday night
So millions of people from coast to coast
Tune in to hear them fight.

And I often wondered just what it means
As they hurl their epitaphs,
For while they’re knocking each other out,
CASS DALEY gets all the laughs!”

Jack and Dennis in the closing “tag”:

Jack:   “Dennis, I just wanted to tell you that we’re all very happy to have you back with us again”
Dennis:   “I’m glad to be back, Mr. Benny…and I want to thank Larry Stevens for doing such a swell job on the show while I was away”
Jack:   “We all feel the same way, Dennis. Goodnight folks!”
Dennis:   “Yeah, night”

Dennis'  Song:   Dennis sings “Danny Boy” for St. Patrick’s Day.

Note:   Strangely, although last week was Larry Stevens’ last appearance, and this week is Dennis’ first back, neither is mentioned in Don’s opening introduction. But more importantly: Dennis is back! Although one certainly hates to beat a dead Larry Stevens horse, the Jack Benny program becomes instantly better by Day’s return. The program once again has it’s classic “1940s” cast back, and would be in full operation. The only further, slightly small hitch in the road now for the show during the forties would be the next season, when Phil Harris took over the Fitch Bandwagon radio program with his wife Alice Faye. Because the program aired immediately after Jack’s, Phil could generally only take part in the first half of Jack’s show before rushing over to broadcast his own show.


26.        03/24/46        I STAND CONDEMNED

Show Introduction: "The Lucky Strike Program...starring Jack Benny, with Mary Livingstone, Phil Harris, Rochester, Dennis Day and yours truly, Don Wilson".

Don's Introduction: "And now ladies and gentlemen, let's go back to last night and out to Jack Benny's house, where the whole gang has gathered for rehearsal".

Guest Star:  Peter Lorre is the guest.

The Show:    The program begins with a rehearsal in the library at Jack’s home:

Rochester:   “Mister Jack Benny…everybody rise. The first rehearsal of the twenty-sixth program of the Lucky Strike series is now in session” {rapping of gavel}
Jack:   “Good evening, Miss Livingstone”
Mary:   “Uh, good evening, Mr. Benny”
Jack:   “Good evening, Mr. Wilson”
Don:   “Good evening, Mr. Harris”
Phil:   “Good evening, Mr. Benny”
Dennis:   “Gee, what’s happened since I went away?!”

The rehearsal continues with Jack swearing in the cast to not divulge or repeat any routines, ideas or jokes or risk being farmed out to Life Is Beautiful. After a few more minutes of this formalized rehearsal, Mary asks Jack why they just can’t rehearse like they used to; Jack explains that it’s because “everybody took advantage of it. You came in late, you wouldn’t pay attention, you sat around reading newspapers instead of scripts…”. Mary and Phil complain that a rehearsal for a comedy program shouldn’t be “formal and stiff”, but Jack won’t hear any of it. Rochester interrupts to sell sandwiches, hard boiled eggs and coca cola to the cast, and the gang are impatient to go to the movies to see The Road to Utopia. This leads to a discussion about movies, and when Jack says he’s sick of going to the movies anyway, Mary makes another famous flub:

Mary:   “Oh Jack, you always hate the movies this time of year because you never win the Academy Award”
Jack:   “Mary, that has nothing to do with it. Comedy pictures get very little consideration. I found one thing…to win an Academy Award you’ve got to do a picture with absolutely no laughs in it”
Mary:   ‘Well, your darn one last near made it”
Jack:   “I think you got the idea. I don’t mind when you ball up a lousy gag, but that was such a good one. Anyway, my next picture will…
{door opens}

Don complains that he doesn’t see a place for a commercial in the script, but Jack says he has a surprise…he’s tried to teach his parrot Polly (Mel Blanc) to do the LSMFT ad, but it doesn’t go so well. Mary requests that they just rehearse the next morning, and Jack agrees but asks Dennis to run over his song (“Oh What It Seemed To Be”)

The “second routine” begins with Jack preparing for bed (at 8:30) and searching for a book to read.  As he reads the book titles, one in particular stands out. In the 1949-1950 season, at the beginning of the eighteenth episode, Don made a famous flub by uttering the name “Dreer Pooson” rather than the correct Drew Pearson. Much has been made of how the writers got together during the broadcast to pen a surprise line playing off the flub for Frank Nelson, in the shows’ second half. Although never mentioned, something similar must’ve happened during this program, as Jack refers to Mary’s earlier flub:

Jack:   “Hmm, look what time it is….eight-thirty (script says eighty thirty)…that’s funny, I’m not even sleepy, I think I’ll sit up for a while and read a book…let’s see, here’s one, “Clara Clinganpeel: Girl Bricklayer”…oh, I read that. Here’s another one, “I Married A Smudge Pot”…gee, that was a hot one, I remember that. Here’s another one, “Your Darn One Last Nearly Made It”…I thought…I thought I read that just a couple of minutes ago. I wonder if….say, wait a minute, here’s a book I haven’t read, “I Stand Condemned” by Maxmillian Q. Langley. Hmm, “I Stand Condemned”, gee that’s an exciting title, I think I’ll read this book”.

Jack begins reading the story of an “average citizen” from the mid-west, a married man with three children and a dog, but whose story “begins at the end…I am occupying a cell in the Death Row at the State Penitentiary”.  Although the man is due to be executed in a matter of minutes, he claims innocence and begs the warden (Frank Nelson, naturally) to release him. As the warden shaves Jack’s head, Jack says he can’t walk that last mile; the warden says he won’t have to, because they can bring the electric chair to him (“we have a long cord, you know”). Jack tells the warden that if would only listen to his story, he’d believe in his innocence, so the warden agrees to listen.  So we now have a flashback incorporated into Jack reading a book and acting the part of the main character.

Jack begins his back-story by telling the warden that he was just walking home after leaving his office when suddenly a figure stepped out of the shadows. Jack describes the stranger as looking and sounding somewhat like Peter Lorre, which is fortunate because Lorre is playing the stranger. Lorre asks Jack for a match, but as Jack doesn’t have one he gives him a lighter. Lorre offers Jack twenty thousand dollars for the lighter and, after Jack accepts, hands him a $20,000 bill. Lorre than says he admires the necktie that Jack is wearing.

Jack:   “I know it sounds fantastic, but he bought my tie for seventeen thousand dollars…and then he bought my shirt and my shoes and my suit…and (?) I gave him my last stitch of clothing, this mysterious stranger handed me one hundred and ninety four thousand dollars and two balloons…having no clothing, I blew up the balloons and danced my way home. The next day I met the little man for a second time. {weird organ chord…ends with weird chord}. Again he gave me fabulous prices for my clothes and again I danced my way home. On the third day the same thing happened. I was not only getting richer, but I was dancing better. Our daily meetings were more than mere coincidence, a bond developed between us…”

By this time the stranger was living with Jack and his family (Mary plays Jack’s wife and Phil and Dennis play two of his children), and the family are wealthy from all of the stranger’s money. In fact he now offers to pay them a million dollars a week for rent. Jack says he became so crazed by lust for the money that his wife and children left him. Finally one day the stranger offered Jack a brand new ten thousand dollar bill:

Jack:   {excited} A ten thousand dollar bill? Let me have it…give it to me quick, I’ve gotta have it!”
Lorre:   “All right, all right, but be careful how you handle it, the ink is still wet”
Jack:   “Don’t worry, I’ll…the ink is still wet?! Wait a minute…you mean you’ve been printing this money yourself?”
Lorre:   “Certainly, doesn’t everybody?”

Lorre admits counterfeiting all the money he had given Jack, but claims they can still do business, as he can print the money and Jack can get rid of it. But Jack is so angry that he begins choking the stranger…

Lorre:   {gasping} “Please, please, stop choking me! Why must I always die in the end?”

Jack ends his story and the warden brings him to his date with the electric chair, as the book closes with “…I Stand Condemned”.

In the closing “tag” Jack announces that next Sunday the program will originate from the Army Air Base at March Field, and thanks Peter Lorre by paying him three thousand dollars for his performance, but to “be careful how you handle it, the ink is still wet…“

Dennis'  Song:   Dennis sings “Oh What It Seemed to Be”. The song hit the charts in February and March 1946 in versions by Frank Sinatra, Frankie Carle with Marjorie Hughes,  Dick Haymes with Helen Forrest, and Charlie Spivak with Jimmy Saunders

Note:   According to the NBC program analysis cards, "the episode gives the promise of being one of those "Benny ideas" that catches on and gets take-offs later on other programs such as the Fred Allen show". Dennis Day is back to being listed in the opening credits.

Note:   This program is sometimes confused with the January 19, 1947 episode "I Was Condemned" which starred Boris Karloff rather than Peter Lorre.


27.        03/31/46        A SAD SOLDIER IS DISCHARGED

Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, as you all know, this is the month of March...and as I mentioned before, we are broadcasting from March Field...so here we are at March Field in the month of March".

On Location:  From the permanent Army Air Base at March Field, California.

The Show:    After a quick discussion with Don, Mary enters with he usual “military show” enthusiasm.

Jack:   “Well, Mary how do you like it here?”
Mary:   “Fine, I always enjoy visiting a Naval base”
Jack:   “Mary, March Field isn’t a Naval base”
Mary:   “It is during rainy season, brother”
Jack:   “Oh yes, yes. Hey you know, fellows, we’ve had that joke for five years, but during the war they wouldn’t let us discuss weather conditions. For five long years nobody knew it rained in California!”
Mary:   “That’s right, rain is back and California’s got it”
Jack:   “You said it”


    Mary has a date for tonight with Colonel Coontz, and makes a joke about jet airplanes. Jack says they wrote THAT joke five years ago as well, but they didn’t have jet planes then. Phil arrives and tells the crowd to “lay that March field stuff on us”. Jack tells Phil he’s like Grassy Acres, a spot at the camp that’s “green, pretty, and useless”

Phil:   “Oh, I’m not so green, I know what’s goin’ on, I’m hep. I ain’t no paddlefoot”
Jack:   “Paddlefoot…what’s that?”
Phil:   “Well, that’s an officer that commands LSD”
Jack:   “LSD?”
Phil:   “Yeah, Large Steel Desk”


    Had it been aired twenty years later this last scene would have an entirely different meaning.  While talking to Phil Jack notices that a soldier sitting in the front row of the audience hasn’t laughed a single time during the show so far. Jack calls out to the soldier (Mel Blanc) to ask him what’s wrong. The soldiers answers that he’s sad because he is getting discharged today, and he’s remembering all the wonderful times he’s had in the “beautiful barracks” of March field, the wonderful weather, the cute little mess hall….. as the solider gets progressively more hysterical, Jack attempts to calm him down by telling him he’ll receive a button upon being discharged.

    Rochester then calls Jack, who says Rochester should’ve been at March field an hour ago. Roch says that he got lost and came upon a farmhouse. Jack tells him to ask the farmer directions to March field, but Rochester says the farmer isn’t home…just the farmer’s daughter, a soldier, and an M.P. ( not military police, but a minister from Pomona).

    After  a band number the “second routine” begins with Phil taking exception to Jack insulting the band, before Jack’s interrupted by a Colonel (Joe Kearns) telling him there’s a soldier being discharged and it’s time for him to go. The soldier from earlier in the show doesn’t want to leave “until I hear the commercial”, so Don does the LSMFT commercial. Afterwards, Jack asks the Colonel for the name of the sad soldier:

Colonel:    “Private F.E. Boone Jr. of Lexington, Kentucky”
Jack:   “Oh yes, I know his daddy”

Jack bets that a lot of people listen to the program just for the commercials, and Dennis adds that his mother listens to just the commercials and his singing, because she thinks those are the “only good parts”. He tells Jack his mother thinks he is the worst comedian on the air, and is just awful. Jack says that Mary’s mother hates him as well.  Phil Harris’ daughter Jeannie calls to speak to her dad and remind him that “mommy’s” (Alice Faye) birthday is tomorrow. Jeannie’s writing a birthday card and asks Phil how to spell “birthday”…but Phil has to ask Jack on the sly. Then Jack is about to introduce Dennis’ song when Rochester calls back, still lost (“I found roads even Hope and Crosby don’t know about”). Jack tries to give him directions, then tells him to ask someone how to get there:

Rochester:   “Wait a minute, boss, a soldier just came in to use the phone, I’ll ask him”
Jack:   “Okay”
Rochester:   “Say, soldier, how do you get to March Field?”
Soldier:   {hysterical} “March field, March field, they’re taking me away from there…I want to go back, I want to go back, please, please, please!”
Jack:   “What’s going on there?”
Rochester:   “It’s no use, boss, I’ll have to find it myself”
Jack:   “Okay, goodbye”
Rochester:   “Good bye” {click of receiver}


Jack then ends the program by introducing Dennis’ number:

Jack:   “And now…and now, ladies and gentlemen, Dennis Day will sing a song written by Frank Loesser and dedicated to the memory of one of America’s greatest war heroes, Rodger Young”

During Dennis’ song, Jack gives some of the back-story;

Jack:   “Rodger Young…Rodger Young was a private in the infantry who lost his life in the Solomons three years ago in order that an entire company of his comrades would be spared shell fire from the enemy. Rodger Young was just an ordinary guy before he enlisted, and in the Army he was just a private…but he was a hero and he died a hero’s death. In death, songs have been written about him, ball parks and boulevards have been named in his honor. Alive, however, Rodger Young would be just another G.I. looking for a place to live, like most of his buddies. So it is only fitting and proper that one of the first of the many veterans’ emergency housing projects to be completed is “Rodger Young Village” which will open on April 27th in Griffith Park, Los Angeles. Let us hope that naming this series of Quonset huts “Rodger Young Village” will serve as a reminder that the boys are home now, and they must have the things in life that Rodger Young and his comrades fought and died for” {Dennis finishes song}

Dennis'  Song:   “The Ballad of Rodger Young”

Note:   Noting that one of the first Veterans Emergency Housing projects, "Rodger Young Village", will open on April 27, 1946 in
Griffith Park.

 

28.        04/07/46        WEEKEND AT THE ACME PLAZA

Don's Introduction:

Guest Star:  Van Johnson is the guest star.

The Show:   The song "Tell Ya What I'm Gonna Do", written by Johnny Green & Ralph Blaine, is introduced by Van Johnson
and Mary.

Dennis'  Song:

 

29.        04/14/46        VIOLIN PRACTICE INTERRUPTS RONALD COLMANS REHEARSAL

Don's Introduction:

Guest Stars:
   Ronald Colman and wife Benita Hume.

The Show:  Colman and Hume, trying to rehearse, are interrupted by Prof. LeBlanc giving Jack a violin lesson in preparation
for his tour.

Dennis'  Song:


 

30.        04/21/46        ABOARD THE SARATOGA FOUR DAYS BEFORE IT SANK

Don's Introduction:

On Location:    From the aircraft Carrier Saratoga in San Francisco. The show is a "farewell" to the Saratoga, which was leaving in a few days for the atomic bomb tests on the Bikini Atoll.

Dennis'  Song:



31.        04/28/46        THE KID FROM BROOKLYN

Don's Introduction:

Guest Star:  Danny Kaye

Dennis'  Song:
 

32.        05/05/46        LEAVING FOR CHICAGO ON THE TRAIN

Don's Introduction:

Guest Stars:   Ronald Colman and Benita Hume say goodbye to the Benny cast before the casts' 3 week trip to Chicago and New York.

The Show:   The story is about the casts' preparations for the trip. Small guest spots are by Joe Kearns as the Keeper of the Vault, Verna Felton as Dennis' mother, and Frank Nelson, who tries to sell Benny a book about "a man who goes to the electric chair and leaves 3 lovely children...I, Stand, and Condemned". The show is the last of the year from Hollywood, and the last of the year for cast members Mel Blanc, Joe Kearns, Bea Benaderet, Sara Berner, Richard Lane, and Jeannine Roos, none of whom make the trip.


Dennis'  Song:


33.        05/12/46        QUIZ KIDS CONTEST

Don's Introduction:

On Location:   From Chicago, guest starring the Quiz Kids.

At the close of the show, following the commercials from New York, there was not enough time to return to Chicago, so the NBC cue was presented from New York.


Dennis'  Song:


 
34.        05/19/46        FRED ALLEN ASKS JACK TO APPEAR ON HIS PROGRAM
 
Don's Introduction:

On Location:   From New York's ABC 58th Street Theatre

Guest Star:   Fred Allen.

Dennis'  Song:



35.        05/26/46        ED SULLIVAN GIVES JACK AN AWARD        
Don's Introduction:

On Location:  From New York's 58th Street Theatre

Guest Star:   newspaper columnist Ed Sullivan.

The Show:   Ed Sullivan presents Benny with the "Ed Sullivan Award for Modern Screen Magazine". This is the
last program for the 1946-1946 season. "The Fabulous Dr. Tweedy" is the summer replacement show.


 Dennis'  Song: