THE 1947-1948 SEASON
Program from Hollywood. Returning this year to the cast are Jack, Mary, Eddie Anderson, Dennis Day, Don Wilson, Phil Harris, and the Sportsmen Quartet. The writers once again are Sam Perrin, Milt Josefsberg, George Balzer, and John Tackaberry. The show is produced by Hilliard Marks for the agency and Charles Buck for NBC. The commercial announcers are Basil Ruysdael, Del Sharbutt and John Laing, with LA (Speed) Riggs and FE Boone. The commercials feature testimonials from tobacco auctioneers and "experts". Also added this year is the slogan "When you buy--keep your eye on the red bull's eye", and in February, a reference to "the famous Crossley poll" that asked independant tobacco experts what cigarette they smoked.
Bit parts are played by, among others, Artie Auerbach, Mel Blanc, Frank Nelson, Joe Kearns, Sara Berner, and Bea Benadaret. The show finishes 4th overall in the ratings for the year, with a Hooper rating of 26.0.
1. 10/05/47 JACK'S SUMMER VACATION AT SUN VALLEY HOTEL
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: "Ladies and gentlemen, the past summer, all over America millions of people went on vacations...and for the first time in many years, Jack Benny, star of our show, visited the garden spots of America...after finishing a successful radio season last June, he went directly to the beautiful Sun valley in Sun Valley, Idaho".
The Show: Jack returns from vacation. There are flashbacks to Jack's summer vacation at the Sun Valley Hotel in Sun Valley, Idaho, and other hotels/places. Then Jack, Don, Phil & Dennis discuss what they did during the summer. Dennis sings "Naughty Angeline", and the two telephone operators, Mabel & Gertrude, appear.
After Don's first introduction, we flashback to the Sun Valley Hotel in Sun Valley, Idaho: Artie Auerbach plays Donald Farnsworth, who, with his wife, is being checked into the hotel by desk clerk Mel Blanc. Blanc rings for the bell boy... and it is Jack.
Don: "After three glorious weeks in Sun Valley, Jack Benny next visited the world famous Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs"
Flashback to the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs: Bea Benaderet is Genevieve and George Balzer her husband Wilbur, in the dining room of the Broadmoor...they call for the head waiter...and it is Jack.
Don: "The summer wore on, and it was with a heavy heart that Jack finally said farewell to the beautiful Broadmoor Hotel and spent the remainder of his vacation at that jewel of the pacific, Catalina Island".
Flashback to Catalina Island: Jerry Farber is Skinny and Johnny McGovern is Willie, diving for coins tossed off the S.S. Catalina, when they are beaten to them by...Jack.
Don: "But all good things must come to an end, and so did our hero's travels....and now tonight, after a glorious vacation, we bring you the star of our show...Jack Benny"
After that last introduction, Jack and Don discuss summer vacation, and Jack asks Don what he did all summer:
Don: "Oh, nothing much...I just cruised around on my yacht"
Jack: "Well, that's.....on your what, Don?"
Don: "On my yacht"
Jack: "You...you...own a yacht?"
Don: "Yes, I bought a few months ago".
Jack: "Don, you bought a yacht....on what I...on what I..."
Don: "I was lucky in the stock market"
Jack: "Oh, you MUST have been, you must have been..."
Phil tells Jack that he loafed around at home, went to Atlantic City for the Bathing Beauty Contest (Phil was Miss Encino), and then spent three weeks at the Frankfort Distillery.
Dennis enters shouting "Hooray for the Yankees~! Hooray for the New York Yankees~!" (the script reveals that every instance of Dennis saying "New York Yankees" was originally "Brooklyn Dodgers", and vice-versa, but was crossed out.) Dennis says he bet $18 million dollars on the Dodgers, who beat the Yankees. After Dennis' bit there is a knock at the door:
Herb Vigran: "Mr. Benny, as this is your opening broadcast, I came here to tell you..."
Jack: "We cut you at rehearsal~!"
Jack: "Poor fellow...I shoulda told him. He bought a tuxedo and everything"
After Dennis' song, Mary finally enters and gives each cast member a kiss. Mel Blanc (as a telegram boy) brings a telegram from Fred Allen: "Dear Jack...I just read that you're going back on the air tonight for Lucky Strike...what's Lucky about it?" Bea Benaderet and Sara Berner play telephone operator girls Mabel and Gertrude as Jack places a call to his home to talk to Rochester.
The show was running long, so Jack's pre-commercial "plea" for the Community Chest was cut, as was his and Mary's closing discussion.
Note: The typewritten NBC Program Analysis cards give an interesting and lengthy look at how they viewed the cast and crew for this season premiere episode:
"Jack Benny Show" returns to the air for the winter season.
---as in previous seasons, the Jack Benny Show is (sic) variety type starring comedian Jack Benny, with a cast composed of:
Mary Livingstone (often called "Livvy"---played by Mary Livingstone (Mrs. Jack Benny)
Rochester, Mr. Benny's handyman---played by Eddie Anderson
Vocalist and also taking part in comedy routine as "Dennis, the Kid"---also does impersonations---Dennis Day
Vocal Quartet (doing comedy numbers and commercial jingles)---The Sportsmen Quartet
Orchestra---Phil Harris Orchestra
"Mr. Kitzel" (dialectician who does the 'Pickle-in-the-Middle, Mustard-on-the-Top' Hot Dog song, and other parts--not in every broadcast---Artie Auerbach
Various roles including that of "Polly the Parrot"---Mel Blanc
Various roles (including that of Benny's doctor)---Frank Nelson
Ed, Keeper of the Benny Money Vault---Joe Kearns
The Telephone Operators who listen-in on Benny's conversations and talk about him---Mabel, played by Sara Berner, "Goitrude" played by Bea Benadaret
Gladys Zabisco, Jack Benny's girl-friend (not in every broadcast)---also done by Bea Benadaret
Don Wilson, commercial announcer---also does comedy roles as "discoverer of the Quartet", etc.
with Basil Ruysdael and Del Sharbutt (John Lang replaces Sharbutt during season)
Tobacco Auctioneers (commercial)---L.A. (Speed) Riggs and F.E. Boone
The entire production is under Hilliard Marks for the Agency and Charles Buck for NBC. Musical arrangements used by the Harris Orchestra are done by Mahlon Merrick. Script writers, who have been signed for their fifth consecutive season of writing the show, are Sam Perrin, Milt Josefberg (sic), George Balzer, and John Tackaberry. (The commercial slogan this season is "Keep Your Eye on the Red Bull's Eye---Keep Your Eye on the Red Bull's Eye---When you Buy---Keep Your Eye on Lucky Strike!")
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "Naughty Angeline".
2. 10/12/47 JACK FIXES BREAKFAST
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen. Let's go out to Jack Benny's home in Beverly Hills, where, as you know, he lives alone with his butler, Rochester. It's nine thirty in the morning and as usual, one is in bed while the other is in the kitchen preparing the breakfast".
The Show: Which, is, of course, Jack, as the show opens with him looking for food in his refrigerator. Then Rochester drives Jack to visit his doctor for a physical. The doctors are played by Mel Blanc and Frank Nelson. Jacks hums "Potatoes Are Cheaper".
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "Yah Sure, You Betcha".
3. 10/19/47 GOLF MATCH AT HILLCREST COUNTRY CLUB
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, the last few weeks Jack Benny has been taking his golf game very seriously, playing every day. In fact, bright and early this morning, Jack and Rochester got in the car and started for the Hillcrest Country Club".
The Show: Jack goes golfing and loses his golf ball, which the cast has to hunt for. I like the NBC program analysis card notes for this one: "Today's episode has several references to Norman Krasna, producer, who is impersonated by Mel Blanc--(his) Krasna impersonation deals largely with a strange laugh (the "woodpecker laugh") done by Blanc. Krasna last season was referred to by Benny because he (Kransa) supposedly laughed himself mad at the joke Benny made about "I need so-and-so like a moose needs a hat-rack"". The joke was told by Jack on the 04/06/1947 show. George Fazio, the golf pro at Hillcrest, appears.
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "The Whiffenpoof Song".
4. 10/26/47 7th HOLE AT HILLCREST COUNTRY CLUB
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen...last Sunday Jack Benny went out to Hillcrest Country Club to play golf, and on the seventh hole he hit a terrific slice into the woods and lost his golf ball. But that was last week...so now let's pick up Jack and Rochester and see what they're doing."
The Show: Jack loses his golf ball after playing the 7th hole at Hillcrest, and Mr. Kitzel announces that he is a "movie star" in westerns. He sings "Don't Fence Me In".
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "Ghost Dance".
5. 11/02/47 "DARK PASSAGE" MOVIE SKIT
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, as you all know, last Friday, October thirty first, was Halloween...and people young and old all over the nation were bobbing for apples (Jack: yes, sir). So now we bring you a man whose gums are so tender he had to bob for applesauce.....Jack Benny~!".
The Show: A Halloween show. Jack does his version of "Dark Passage" (as Humphrey Benny). Dennis Day plays "Dr. McNulty" (Dennis' real last name). Rochester's entire part in this week's episode has been cut from the show; the script shows a routine between him and Jack about trying to find Jack's golf balls, and lasts two pages.
Dennis' Song: Dennis appears on the episode but does not sing.
6. 11/09/47 CORNER DRUG STORE
Don's Introduction: There is no formal introduction to this episode: see below.
Guest Stars: Ronald Colman and Benita Hume are guests.
The Show: In an interesting variation in a show opener, the show begins with three women meeting Don Wilson on a bus, who tells them a story of something that happened the day before: as a prank, Dennis imitates Ronald and phones Jack to invite him to a costume party. Jack and Gladys Zabisco show up at the Colmans' that night dressed as cowboys. After Jack and Gladys show up, Ronald & Benita escape by sneaking out, and head to the movies....but the movie theatre is playing "The Horn Blows at Midnight"!
Mary Livingstone is not on the show---according to the NBC notes, she was at her parents 40th wedding anniversary (although Mary was 42 years old at the time, if her 1905 birth date is correct. Hmmm...). This is a well done episode....the "mental picture" of Jack and Gladys showing up unannounced at the Colman house dressed as cowboys is very funny, and Ronald and Benita were always great fun as guest stars. Rochester's scene, about finding trying to find Jack's golf ball, that was cut from the show last week is back in this week's show.
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "Mimi" (as a song he plays on a jukebox at a diner...the song is listed as "And Mimi" in the script).
7. 11/16/47 CLEANING JACK' DEN
Don's Introduction: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, let's go out to Jack Benny's home in Beverly Hills where we find Rochester tidying up Jack's den."
The Show: Rochester cleans Jack's den, Jack goes to the Department of Motor Vehicles to renew his drivers license, and Mary talks about her parents' anniversary and her sister Babe. The routine with Jack going to the DMV is pretty much the same routine as the 12/05/1943 episode. Frank Nelson, Bea Benaderet and Elliot Lewis play DMV employees, and Eric Snowden plays the Colmans' butler. One interesting difference between "Mary Livingstone" and Sadye/Sadie Marks....as noted in the previous episode, Mary is talking about her parent's 40th wedding anniversary at a time when Sadye/Sadie was 42 years old.
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "I Wish I Didn't Love You So".
8. 11/23/47 THANKSGIVING EPISODE
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, for many years as an announcer it has been my privilege to introduce a number of very important people. But never have I felt the pride that is glowing within me today as I introduce the gracious and beloved star of our show (Jack: Well~!) Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it gives me extreme pleasure to present to you a man whose very benevolence has earned for him the admiration, respect and everlasting love of millions...and here he is, Jack Benny".
The Show: Don says his great introduction of Jack is because there's only 27 more shopping days til Christmas., and he doesn't want any more shoelaces~! Jack shops for a Thanksgiving turkey, with Mr. Kitzel as the salesman. According to writer Milt Josefbergs' book, they got so many laughs that they used up the allotted time before they finished the program, and were cut off the air. Rumors immediately spread that the network cut off the program because of a dirty joke. However, the script shows that the missing segments were: a song by The Sportsmen called "The Turkey of 29 Pounds", a plea by Jack for the PTA, and the closing tag of Jack calling Norman Krasna's house.
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "How Lucky You Are".
9. 11/30/47 TURKEY DREAM
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, as you all know, Sunday night is a great night for comedy on NBC...one of the outstanding comedians is Fred Allen (Jack : "What?") However, it's too early for Fred Allen...so I bring you his closest friend, Jack Benny".
The Show: Jack dreams he is on trial for the murder of a turkey. One of the character witnesses at the trial is "Fred Allen", played by Ollie O'Toole. Benny show writer Milt Josefsberg's book calls this "one of the worst shows Jack ever did" . All three bits cut from last week show due to time are restored (the Benny show writers were certainly not ones to let good gags go to waste): the "Turkey of 29 Pounds", the plea for the PTA by Jack, and the closing bit about telephoning Norman Krasna (played with the usual Krasna "Woody Woodpecker" laugh by Mel Blanc).
Note: As noted above, in his book about the Jack Benny Show, writer Milt Josefsburg calls this episode "one of the worst shows Jack ever did". Is it? Well, first let's examine that statement. If we take Milt's quote at face value, "ever did" implies considering Jack's whole radio career, which includes the Canada Dry Show, the General Tires Show, etc. If you bring those into the discussion, then the answer is that there are many, many, (did I say many) shows that Jack did that are far worse than this one. For his section of this site Graeme Cree listened to all of the 1930s Benny programs, and I'm sure Graeme still has nightmares about some of those early episodes. What if we limit it to just the years when the program's writers were Josefsberg/Tackaberry/Perrin/Balzer ? Well, then yes, Milt may have a point, this episode is pretty lame. THE worst? Probably not, but I'd place it in the top...well, rather the bottom ten episodes.
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "Don't You Love Me Any More?"
10. 12/07/47 JACK TAKES VIOLIN LESSONS AND GOES TO THE VAULT
Don's Introduction: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, let's go out to Jack Benny's house in Beverly Hills. It is morning and Rochester is preparing the bath for his boss".
The Show: Prof. LeBlanc gives Jack a violin lesson. In order to pay LeBlanc his $1.56, Jack goes down to his vault. Mary Livingstone is not on the show once again (she missed the November 9 show as well). Don Wilson does the closing "pleas" this episode. A routine with Dennis about Rose Bowl tickets, and Dennis' song, were cut from the episode due to time.
Dennis' Song: Dennis appears on the episode but does not sing.
11 12/14/47 JACK HAS A SPRAINED ANKLE
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, as you all know, last week Jack Benny sprained his ankle while playing football with some of the neighborhood kids...he has been confined to his bed all week, and his friends are quite concerned about it...let's drop in on two of them..."
The Show: Well, as you all know, Jack is resting after spraining his ankle playing football last week, just like Don told you. Mary returns to the show. Emily and Martha, the neighborhood girls, appear.
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "So Far".
12. 12/21/47 LAST MINUTE CHRISTMAS SHOPPING
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, as you all know, there are only three more shopping days 'till Christmas...so let's pick up Jack and Rochester on their way down town to do their last minute Christmas shopping."
The Show: The annual Jack Benny show "Christmas shopping" episode, featuring Frank Nelson as a flustered salesman (of course), Mel Blanc as the flustered salesman from last Christmas, Joseph Kearns as the man from the store credit department, Elliot Lewis as the perfume seller, Benny Rubin as the racetrack tout, and Artie Auerbach as Mr. Kitzel.
Jack and Rochester are driving to town to do last minute Christmas shopping:
Jack: "Rochester, how far is it from my house to town?"
Rochester: "About seven miles, boss"
Jack: "Oh, fine...then we oughta be there about noon"
Rochester: "Yeah, it's a good thing we started last night"
Jack: "Yeah.....gee, there sure is a lot of traffic this time of year, and I have so much to do...I better check over this list. Clark Gable, a half dozen shirts...Barbara Stanwyck, one dozen initialed handkerchiefs...Gary Cooper, two pair of silk pajamas....Claudette Colbert, lace negligee...Rochester, I hope we can deliver these things by tomorrow"
Rochester: "Yeah, you promised them they'd have their laundry back before Christmas"
Jack: "Uh-huh...we may have to work nights...oh well, let's not worry about that now"
On the way in, Jack reminisces with Rochester about Christmas past...
Jack: "...you know, Rochester, Christmas is a lot different now than it was years ago...I remember one Christmas Eve when I was a kid...the ground was covered with snow and as I looked out the window, in the distance I could see someone dressed in red. Suddenly there came a patter of hoof beats, and a knock on the door. The door flew open and a man said---"
Rochester: "The British Are Coming~!!"
Jack: "He did not, ee said "Merry Christmas". It was Santa Claus. Then he came into the house and gave my cousin Cliff a sled...my sister Florence a doll...and Rochester, you'll never guess what Santa Claus gave me."
Jack: "A violin"
Rochester: "That sweet old man did THAT?!"
Jack and Rochester try to find free parking at the store, and then Jack goes in to meet up with Mary. Before he buys anything Jack wants to set up a charge account, so he goes to the credit department to talk with the counter person (Joe Kearns). When the credit man asks Jack what his liabilities are, Mary answers The Horn Blows At Midnight.
As Jack lists the many banks he keeps his money in, the scene switches to Dennis Day at the same store, trying to buy Christmas presents for his parents with the help of salesman Mel Blanc. Dennis tells the salesman that everyone is afraid of his mother (Dennis says "when I was born, the stork left me a block away from the house")
Dennis: "Gee, I wish I knew what to buy my mother for a Christmas present...oh, I know, I'll get her one of these...what size is this one?"
Salesman: "Thirty eight"
Dennis: "No, that'll be a little too small...what size is this one here?"
Salesman: "That's a forty four"
Dennis: "That's fine, put some bullets in it and wrap it up"
This is a great, funny bit. However, an OCD continuity note: Dennis gives his mother's name as Patricia, rather than what it had usually been, Lucretia.
After Jack finishes getting a charge account, he and Mary try to start Jack's Christmas shopping. He tells Mary that Dennis asked for a bullet-proof vest, when the store's public address announces that Jack is wanted back at the credit department. The scene changes to Phil Christmas shopping at the same store, talking with a saleswoman who is from Alabama. (Vyola Vonn).
Saleswoman: "...now, what would you like to buy?"
Phil: "Well, I don't know"
Saleswoman: "How would y'all like to see something nice in lingerie?"
Phil: "Now honey, you KNOW you shouldn't throw me a line like that~!"
Saleswoman: (laughing) "Gee, Mr. Harris, you're so cute"
Phil: "Yeah, everybody notices it"
Saleswoman: (laughing) "You know, Mr. Harris, you're so much different than I pictured you to be...on the radio you're such a braggart, you sound so conceited"
Phil: "That ain't nothin', wait til I go on television"
Saleswoman: "Are you all gonna go on television?"
Phil: "Honey, when a man is as good looking as I am, television ain't a luxury, it's a necessity"
After a short band number, the "second routine" begins with Jack reporting to the credit department. They've called him back because they want a loan from Jack. Mary reminds Jack that he came to do Christmas shopping, so he tells the man at the credit desk to call him at home, and Jack begins shopping by wanting to get flowers for Gladys Zybisco. Before he can get too far, though, he's approached by the racetrack tout (Benny Rubin). Jack manages to get away from the tout and then runs into Mr. Kitzel (Artie Auerbach), who is doing his Christmas shopping (as Jack would say, hmmm...). After leaving Kitzel Jack bumps into the tout again, who advises him on which flowers Jack should buy for Gladys Zybisco.
Jack subsequently runs into Don Wilson, also shopping at the same store (small world, huh?). Don shows Jack what he bought for Jack in the toy department...toy wooden soldiers that, when wound, sing a commercial for Lucky Strikes (The Sportsmen Quartet). Jack tells Mary to remind him to get a present for Fred Allen, and then decides to get some perfume for his sister (the perfume salesman is played by Elliott Leiws, in his "mooley" voice). Afterwards he spies on Rochester, who is looking to buy some cuff-links for Jack.
Jack and Mary go to buy a present for Don Wilson, and Jack is helped by a salesman that remembers him buying shoelaces from him last year (Mel Blanc). Blanc starts off slowly but the memory from last year of Jack constantly changing his order makes him more and more hysterical, until he's reduced to just shouting "plastic tips, metal tips, plastic tips, metal tips" repeatedly.
The show closes with a medley of Christmas songs sung by Dennis Day.
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings a Christmas medley of "O Little Town of Bethlehem", "The First Noel" and "Adeste Fideles (O Come All Ye Faithful")
13. 12/28/47 "NEW TENANT"
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, let's go back about an hour to Jack Benny's home in Beverly Hills where Jack has just finished having his lunch".
The Show: Jack is running late to leave for the broadcast. Running so late that he didn't have time to shavem Rochester tell him that the car was run over by a steamroller the night before. Running out of the house to catch a bus, Jack discovers that he left his money in his other clothes. He decides to try and hitch a ride to the NBC studio, but several cars pass him by. Finally a car driven by Sophie (Bea Benaderet) and her husband (Mel Blanc). Because of his unshaven appearance and lack of money, they believe Jack is a bum.
Jack: "You see, I would've taken the bus, but I didn't have the money"
Mel Blanc: "You don't have to explain, Bud. Sophie, slip the poor guy a buck"
Jack: "But I don't..."
Mel: "Give him an extra two bits, he needs a shave, too"
Jack: "Mister, I don't need---"
Mel: "Where are you going, bud?"
Jack: "To NBC"
Mel: "How do you like that, Sophie. Instead of looking for a job he goes to see radio programs"
When Sophie turns the radio on we hear Phil Harris singing "That's What I Like About The South", and Jack realizes they've started the show without him.
Mel: "What's griping you, Bud?"
Jack: "Plenty...they started the program without me"
Mel: "How do you like that, Sophie? This bum's got a ticket to the program and he wants them to wait til he gets there"
They continue to listen to the Jack-less Benny show, with Don introducing Dennis Day, as Dennis sings "The Stars Will Remember". As the second routine begins, Jack finally arrives at the studio and greets Phil and Don (the script reveals that a short bit here, with Jack arriving at the studio and proving to Sophie and her husband that he really is Jack Benny, was cut). Jack tells Phil that Mary has a cold and couldn't be on the program this week. It turns out that the Sportsmen Quartet have colds too, as we can tell by their commercial. When they finish Jack introduces the play:
Jack: "...Don, wipe off the microphone and we'll get on with the show...And now, ladies and gentlemen, for our feature attraction tonight, even though we haven't done it for a couple of years, we're going to present another of our New Year's fantasies called "The New Tenant, or Goodbye '47, Hello '48".
Don asks Jack how they can do the play without Mary? Phil says he rehearses his show across the hall and that his wife, Alice Faye can take Mary's place. Jack seems unsure until Phil adds in that she'd do it for free. As usual in "The New Tenant" plays, Jack takes the part of the old, departing year, in this case Old Year 1947; Phil plays Uncle Sam and Alice takes Mary's role as Uncle Sam's wife Columbia. Johnny McGovern plays "Little 1948". And the God-like Frank Nelson plays Thor, the God of Thunder:
Jack: "Don't be funny, this is my last day on Earth"
Thor: "You've been a lousy year and I'm glad to get rid of you"
Jack: "Lousy year? What're you talking about? I've been as busy as a bee...tremendous production, making automobiles, airplanes, refrigerators, television sets, clothes, typewriters, boats, radios and lots of other things.
Thor: "I know, but they all went to the woman who guessed who Miss Hush was~!"
Jack: "Oh, keep quiet"
Because the historical background information on this is much more interesting than any "New Tenant" play: The "Miss Hush" that Thor refers to was a contest that had been run several times previously on the radio program Truth Or Consequences, a "game" show hosted by Ralph Edwards. Listeners had to guess the identity of the mystery "Miss Hush" voice, based on clues, to win prizes. This latest Miss Hush contest began on October 18, 1947, with this jingle read by the mystery voice: "Second for Santa Claus, first for me/Thirteenth for wreath, seventh for tree/Bring me an auto, a book, and a ball/And I'll say Merry Christmas in spring, not in fall". This latest Miss Hush contest ran for five weeks, and dancer Martha Graham was ultimately revealed as the mystery voice of Miss Hush. Contestants were required to send in letters explaining in 25 words or less why the March of Dimes deserved contributions, along with a donation to the March of Dimes, and their home telephone number. Three letter writers each week were chosen to receive a phone call from Ralph Edwards to try and guess the identity of Miss Hush. And every week that it was not answered correctly, the amount of the prize money grew larger.
The lady that thunder god Frank Nelson refers to as taking all the contest winnings (and good things for the year), who on her December 6, 1947 phone call from Ralph Edwards correctly guessed Martha Graham, was 45 year old Texas housewife Ruth Annette Subbie, who won $21, 500 in prizes. (An enormous amount for 1947, it would be $218, 062 in 2012 money, accounting for inflation). Those prizes were: a 1947 convertible coupe, a $1500 beaver coat, a small airplane, $2000 in cash, two round-trip plane tickets to Honolulu with a two week paid vacation at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, a $2000 house trailer, a complete home laundry, a $1000 diamond and ruby wristwatch, a combination radio-phonograph-television set with 100 records, an electric blanket for every bed in her house, a vacuum cleaner, Venetian blinds for all the windows in her house, a diamond ring, maple furniture, a heating boiler for the house, a topcoat and suit for every male in her household, a gas cooking range, a home freezer filled with frozen foods, a $1000 inside and outside home painting job, a gas refrigerator, and a $1000 home workshop. Can you imagine how much all of that would be worth today? Luckily for Mrs. Subbie one of her three grown children was a pilot, so he got the small airplane that she won. According to newspaper accounts, as soon as they heard her name on the radio, her neighbors streamed over and hundreds of people congregated on her lawn.
A November 1948 newspaper reported that Mrs. Subbie sold the airplane, trailer, furnace, and four other items in order to pay off her mortgage, and was trying to sell the round-trip airline tickets to Hawaii and the two-week stay at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel for $1300 (it was worth $2000), but kept most of the remaining prize. The article states that she was accused of being a "professional contestant"; of paying Ralph Edwards to call her; and of knowing someone in the judge's panel. She also received a very large amount of mail.
For her part, the normally publicity-shy dancer Martha Graham had been unsure about taking part in the whole contest, but the huge amount of attention the contest garnered brought her fame on a scale that frankly would not have been possible without it. The contest had so captured the nation's attention that in November, bookies in New York were selling mimeographed tip sheets, which for one dollar offered to identify the secret Miss Hush. The ad agency in charge of Truth or Consequences attempted to confiscate as many of the tip sheets as they could. Unfortunately for the purchasers, according to a contemporary newspaper account the tip sheet named Miss Hush as Evangeline Booth of the Salvation Army.
This latest Miss Hush contest directly preceded the Truth Or Consequence "Walking Man" contest in which Jack Benny was ultimately revealed as the mysterious Walking Man. These two contests obviously worked their intended magic, as the 1947-1948 season was the highest rated season ever for the wacky stunt/game show Truth Or Consequences. Indeed it would be the highest ratings that any show aired on Saturday evenings would ever receive. As an added bonus, the profits raised by the contests benefited the March of Dimes charity: according to Ralph Edwards Productions, just the 1947 Miss Hush contest alone raised $880,000 for the March of Dimes, an absolutely incredible amount for 1947 (equal to almost nine million dollars in 2012. Other accounts have the amount raised as anywhere from $600,000 to $100,000).
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "The Stars Will Remember".
Note: Once again the NBC Program Analysis card gives an interesting synopsis of the episode:
"New Year's Fantasy": Mary Livingstone is ill and absent from broadcast. Alice Faye, star of screen and radio, subs for Mary today. Program presents a New Year's Fantasy titled "The New Tenant---or Goodbye 19(4)7, Hello 1948". Benny plays "Old Man '47"; the part of "Columbia, wife of Uncle Sam and operator of a boarding house for the 'Years'" is played by Alice Faye. In the sketch, Old Man '47 is being evicted in order to make room for the new tenant, Little 1948, played by Jimmy McGovern. The program has a serious note as Old Man 1947 tells the new tenant about all of the responsibilities of a New Year---mentions the Freedom Train which started in 1947 and must go on it's way to 1948; the Friendship Train which must continue to move with its' cargo of food for the starving; the Marshall Plan which may mean a new way of life for many; and all the other projects which are awaiting the encouragement of 1948 for new ways to make the world a better place.
14. 01/04/48 JACK TRIED TO GET TICKETS TO THE ROSE BOWL
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, as you all know, the New Year was ushered in by one of the nation's gridiron classics played in the Rose Bowl, before a record crowd of ninety-three thousand people. This game always produces statistics that are mulled over by sports lovers for weeks to come. Four hundred and seventy five yards gained by running...three hundred and fourteen yards by passing...resulting in seven touchdowns and seven conversions...yes, even the star of our show has been stunned at the amazing figures compiled by this football classic" (Jack: "Ninety-three thousand people at five dollars apiece...gosh~!")
The Show: Jack gets tickets for the Rose Bowl, but sells his at the last minute for a profit. Mary returns, but Dennis and the Sportsmen are absent. The "wives" of the Sportsmen (played by Elvia Allman and Sara Berner) fill in.
Dennis' Song: Dennis does not appear on this episode.
15. 01/11/48 GOING TO DENVER FOR THE MARCH OF DIMES BENEFIT
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, in a few hours the Jack Benny troupe will board a train for Denver, Colorado, where they are going to open the "March of Dimes" campaign...trips like this require a lot of preparation, so let's go to Jack Benny's house in Beverly Hills where we find Jack and Rochester packing".
The Show: Jack prepares for his trip to Denver, Colorado, in connection with the 1948 March of Dimes campaign. As he and Rochester are packing, Jacks asks Rochester if he has packed all his clothes. Rochester says "I think so...one pair of pajamas, one set of underwear, one pair of socks, one shirt, one handkerchief, and six boxes of Duz". Jack: "That Duz is wonderful...it does everything". Rochester: "No it don't...little old Rochester has to do the ironing". Duz was a laundry soap (as opposed to detergent) whose slogan was "Duz does everything".
Hy Averback debuts as a soft-hearted taxi driver who can't bear to say goodbye to his passengers. Joseph Kearns plays Ed, the vault guard, and Frank Nelson plays the ticket seller. Dennis and the Sportsmen return. Dennis' song was cut due to time: the script reveals he was to sing "Dance, Ballerina".
Dennis' Song: Dennis appears on the episode but does not sing.
16. 01/18/48 IN DENVER FOR THE MARCH OF DIMES BENEFIT
Don's Introduction: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, we bring you the star of our show...a man who is loved and admired by millions, not only a good fellow, but a great artist...and here I am, Don Wilson".
On Location: From Denver, Colorado Civic/Municipal Auditorium (opening and closing commercials from Hollywood).
The Show: Denver is Don's hometown, which is why he introduced himself as the star of the show. Mary wrote a poem in Don's honor:
"To you, Don Wilson, our announcer
we love you all, yes every pound, sir
from the front or from the back
so round, so firm, so fully packed".
The guest is Governor of Colorado William Lee Knous, who presents Jack with a special citation honoring his launching of the 1948 March of Dimes campaign in Colorado. Dennis is ill and did not make the trip. Artie Auerbach appears as Mr. "Hop-Along" Kitzel.
Dennis' Song: Dennis does not appear on this episode, which marks the third consecutive program without a song by Dennis.
17. 1/25/48 ON THE TRAIN TO HOLLYWOOD
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, Jack Benny and his troupe have been on tour campaigning for the March of Dimes in Denver and Pueblo, Colorado...so now let's pick them up on the California Limited en route to Los Angeles...Mary and Jack are playing a game of gin rummy".
The Show: Returning to Los Angeles. Jack and Mary tune into Dennis Day's radio show and hear Dennis sing "A Few More Kisses". Rochester talks to a porter, who asks Rochester what else does he do for Benny, in addition to writing the show? Rochester tells him he is Jack's publicity agent, manager, and personal adviser. Hy Averbak returns as the cabbie who hates to say goodbye, and comedian Joe Besser has a small role as himself, asking Jack for tickets to the show. Phil and Jack are discussing the "real name" of Robert Taylor (Spangler Arlington Brugh) when Jack ad-libs the line "My right name is Benny Kubelsky, what are you mad about?" The line gets a HUGE laugh from the audience, as does Phil's ad lib reply "Why don't you and him move in together?" Talking to Joe Besser, Jack mentions his real-life business manager Myrt Blum, and his real secretary Bert Scott.
Note: This is an extremely funny episode, one of the best of the season. The crowd and the cast seem almost "slap happy", with several instances of the cast cracking up, and the audience really getting into the show and laughing quite a lot. The audiences' reaction to Jack's "my right name is Benny Kubeslky" line is priceless. The speed on several different copies I have of this show is too slow, and almost seems to get progressively slower as the show goes on.
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "A Few More Kisses'.
18. 02/01/48 JACK AND MARY SEE THE COLMANS' MOVIE
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, last night was a big night in Hollywood. The occasion was a special showing of Ronald Colman's new picture "A Double Life"...naturally, all the important stars in Hollywood received invitations to attend this gala affair...and while all this was going on, where was our little star?" (Jack: "Rochester, hand me my pajamas, I'm going to bed").
The Show: Jack didn't get an invitation to the premiere of the film "A Double Life", but Mary calls to tell him she has two tickets. Afterwards they go to a diner at Ciro's with Ronald Colman and Benita Hume. Frank Nelson plays the waiter.
Dennis' Song: Dennis does not appear in this episode.
Note: In the "tag", Jack closes the show with the following statement:
"Ladies and gentlemen, I went to thank Mr .and Mrs.Ronald Colman for being with us tonight...and to Dennis Day, my best wishes and congratulations. Goodnight, folks."
Although Jack doesn't mention the reason, his congratulations are for Dennis' wedding to Peggy Almquist.
19. 02/08/48 NIGHTMARE ALLEY
Don's Introduction: "And now, ladies and gentlemen...let's go out to Jack Benny's home in Beverly Hills...it's Sunday morning and Jack is still in bed."
The Show: Rochester has trouble waking Jack up in the morning. Mary comes over and the three of them drive to rehearsal. The cast do a sketch, a take-off on the Tyrone Power movie "Nightmare Alley", which turns into a parody of Fred Allen's "Allen's Alley".
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "Pianissimo".
20. 02/15/48 JACK'S BIRTHDAY PARTY
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, yesterday, February Fourteenth, was St. Valentine's Day...it was also Jack Benny's birthday...so let's go back to yesterday. A lot of people are making preparations for the big event...we'll look in on some of them.."
The Show: Celebrating Jack's 39th Birthday! The Beverly Hills Beavers use their $1.43 savings to celebrate Jack's birthday. Meanwhile, Mary, Phil, Dennis and Don are all planning their own separate parties for Jack.
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "Dance, Ballerina, Dance".
21. 02/22/48 FROM PALM SPRINGS
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, tonight we are broadcasting from America's foremost desert resort, Palm Springs, surrounded by Indio, Cathedral City, and Twenty Nine Palms...and since we can't bring you the Lady From Twenty Nine Palms, we give you the man of Thirty Nine Years, Jack Benny."
On Location: From World Wars Memorial Hall in Palm Springs, California.
The Show: Dennis imitates Jerry Colonna, calling Jack as the chief of police to say he's arrested Dennis. Artie Auerbach appears as Mr. Kitzel. Frank Nelson plays the supervisor of building Jack's Palm Springs home, and Frank Sinatra is the guest, in a brief spot working as a carpenter in the Palm Springs home.
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "Serenade Of The Bells"
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, last night Jack Benny invited his girlfriend Gladys Zybisco to attend our Sunday morning rehearsal...so let's go back and pick them up on their way to the studio".
The Show: Jack's girlfriend Gladys Zybisco (Sara Berner) comes to rehearsal, where Jack demands that Phil Harris explain "what kind of sense" Phil's "That's What I Like About the South" makes, so they pick the song apart verse by verse. Mary is not on the program tonight due to illness yet again. Mel Blanc and Artie Auerbach play two drug store worke4rs where Jack and Gladys stop for a sandwich before the rehearsal. The script shows that Dennis was to sing "Golden Earrings", but it was cut from the episode, as was Jack's closing plea for Brotherhood Week, and his closing phone call to Mary. The neighborhood girls Emily and Martha appear again.
Dennis' Song: Dennis does not appear in this episode.
Note: A Leap-Year program~!
23. 03/07/48 JACK BENNY IS THE WALKING MAN
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, since time immemorial man has tried to achieve fame,,,we can't bring you a man who has left his footprints on the sands of time...but here's one who left his footprints on 'Truth Or Consequences", the Walking Man, Jack Benny".
The Show: This episode concerns Jack's role as "The Walking Man", which was a continuing contest on the NBC radio game show Truth or Consequences. The contest was to help raise funds for the American Heart Association, and since the December 20, 1947 broadcast of Truth or Consequences, the identity of "The Walking Man" had been a secret, finally revealed the night before this broadcast, on March 6 (also see the list of Benny's guest appearances). Mary returns to the show after missing last week. Jack mentions he's recently had to give speeches at "a lotta dinners...Al Jolson, Kay Kyser...Louella Parsons.", all of which is true. Jack is still going on about "That's What I Like About the South" since finding out that Doo Wah Ditty, Mississippi "exists"; this week Mary reads an encyclopedia entry for Doo Wah Ditty, Mississippi. Dennis sings "What'll I Do?" and Jack sings a song with the Sportsmen about The Walking Man contest that of course turns into a Lucky Strike commercial. Jack's closing plea thanks "the millions of people who entered the Walking Man contest and contributed so generously to the American Heart Association"
There's a nice Jack ad-lib when he'd describing to Don the lengths the producers of Truth or Consequences went through to keep his identity a secret:
Jack: "Don, you'll never know the trouble we went through to keep it a secret. Every Saturday night when Ralph Edwards went on the air, (they) picked me up in a big black limousine with the curtains drawn and drove me to mysterious hideouts...the loneliest places they could find where I'd be all alone".
Don: (dramatically) "No.. !".
Jack: "Hey, Don that was good acting there....I didn't know he could do it. Say that again, Don".
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "What'll I Do?".
24. 03/14/48 WINNER OF THE WALKING MAN
"Ladies and gentlemen, as an emergency measure, at two o'clock this morning, the state of California went on Daylight Savings Time...which means that in California we started the day an hour earlier...this sudden change has even upset the barnyard animals...for this morning when I opened my bedroom window at five o'clock, which was really four o'clock, I heard:
A male rooster crows twice;
Female rooster: "ehhhh, shut up!"
Jack: "What a shame....it's their first argument since they appeared on Bride and Groom...continue, Don"
Don: "Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the change of time has certainly been confusing...so now we bring you a man who gets five o'clock shadow with his four o'clock tea...Jack Benny".
The Show: Don explains to Jack that the daylight savings time change is due to a drought and power shortages in California, and that the extra hour of daylight saves millions of kilowatt hours of electricity. Mary reads another letter from her Mom. Guests are Ralph Edwards, host of Truth Or Consequences, and Florence Hubbard, winner of "The Walking Man" contest. The telephone operator girls Mabel (Sara Berner) and Gertrude (Bea Benaderet) appear. Also, Frank Nelson announces that the Radio Mirror Listener Award for "Favorite Announcer" goes to Don Wilson, and that the "Favorite Comedian" award goes to Jack Benny (Radio Mirror being a popular radio magazine of the day). The Sportsmen Quartet do not appear on the show (Mary says "the Quartet couldn't be here because the baritone got married"). Dennis sings "MacNamara's Band" for St.Patricks Day; after the song, when Jack says to Dennis "I want to congratulate you and all the Irish on St. Patrick's Day, Dennis replies "Thank you, and a good yontiff to you, too" (which is Yiddish). The elderly contest winner Mrs. Hubbard is a good sport and gets in some good lines while chatting with Jack:
Jack: "...well, Mrs Hubbard, now that you've had all this good luck, I suppose you'll be thinking of getting married again...[silly laugh]...won't you?"
Mrs. Hubbard: "No, now that I've all these prizes, I feel that I don't need anyone"
Jack: "But...but won't you be lonely?"
Mrs. Hubbard: "Lonely, but loaded".
(The Inflation Calculator shows that $10,000 in 1948 would be equal to $94,085.53 in 2012.)
There are three funny Jack ad-libs this episode, the first one while talking to Don about the drought at the start of the show:
Jack: "Well listen---this you'll never believe---I mean this sounds incredible but it's been so dry last week I passed a citrus grove and I saw an orange sucking a lemon....you know, the rain today nearly spoiled that joke...you know we nearly took it out?"
And there's another Jack ad-lib after a short bit with Mabel and Gertrude, the telephone operators. Jack is trying to call Ralph Edwards to see why he is late...after Gertrude tells Jack that Ralph Edwards doesn't answer...
Mary: "Jack, wasn't Ralph Edwards home?"
Jack: "No, but we finally got to use that telephone routine we've been saving since Thanksgiving...four times we rehearsed it and had to take it out..."
The third comes after Jack says to Phil, "come on Phil, let's have a band number". The orchestra plays an incredibly brief song, and the there's a moment of silence before Jack speaks:
Jack: "That was the SHORT version....why don't you...why don't you let me know...I wish somebody'd let me know these things."
(the audience laughs)
Phil: "Well, unclench your fist."
(Jack cracks up)
Jack seems to be in a rare mood for this broadcast---not only does he make the above ad-libs but several times he openly criticizes the quality of the jokes (including "you should have tied that joke to the back of Fred Allen" and "you know, I should put on a straw hat for that joke"). There's also a somewhat unusual closing to this episode, in that Jack names some of the "uncredited" cast members and refers to being sick:
Jack: "Ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank Ralph Edwards and Mrs. Hubbard for being with us today. Mrs. Hubbard appears through the courtesy of Carson, Price & Scott. Also on our program tonight were Mel Blanc, Frank Nelson, Bea Benaderet, Sara Berner, and Blanche Stewart. I appeared through the courtesy of penicillin tonight. Goodnight, folks".
Note: All circulating copies that I've heard of this show run wayyyy too slow, and is of horrible audio quality. I'm sure there must be a better copy floating around, but I haven't heard one as of yet. This episode would be a prime candidate for some audio restoration.
Note: Radio historian and author Martin Grams has a fascinating and extremely detailed account of the Truth or Consequences "Walking Man" contest here on his blog:
It's an excerpt from a chapter on the contest, from his upcoming book about the Truth or Consequences radio show.
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "MacNamara's Band"
25. 03/21/48 RONALD COLMAN WINS THE OSCAR
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, today is March Twenty First...so with spring officially here, let's go out to Jack Benny's home in Beverly Hills where we find Rochester doing the spring house cleaning"
The Show: Jack and Rochester do some spring cleaning, and Ronald Colman wins an Oscar. The Sportsmen Quartet return.
26. 03/28/48 JACK IS ROBBED OF RONALD COLMAN'S OSCAR
Don's Introduction: "And now let's go out to Jack Benny's house in Beverly Hills, where we find...hm, must be something wrong here...no, that's what it says...where we find Jack down on his knees scrubbing the kitchen floor".
The Show: One of the series' most famous and iconic shows, the famous "your money or your life" episode.
Jack is doing all of the housework because Rochester beat him at gin rummy. Dennis stops by Jack's house and tells Jack there's a package on his front step: it's a western script from Jack Warner of Warner Bros, "Bad Man Of Bullocks Basement", and Jack goes over to the Colman's' house to ask Ronald to be in the movie. Ronald Colman had just won an Oscar the week before. Jack gets Ronald and Benita to read part of the script, in hysterical "western" accents
On the way out, Jack borrows Ronald's' Oscar to show Rochester, who has never seen one in person. Walking back to his house with the Oscar wrapped in newspaper, Jack is held up:
Robber:"Hey, bud. bud...got a match?"
Jack: "Match? Yes, I have one right here in my..."
Robber: "Don't make a move. This is a stick-up!".
Robber: "You heard me".
Jack: "Mister...mister, put down that gun".
Robber: "Shut up...now, come on.... your money or your life". (Then there a long pause, followed by huge audience laughter). "Look, bud, I said your money or your life!"
Jack: "I'm thinking it over! Now, mister..."
Robber: "Shut up and give me your wallet...and I'll take that package you're holding, too".
Jack: "Oh no, mister, don't take that package...it isn't mine, it belongs to Ronald Colman".
Robber: "Shut up~!".
The robber tells Jack to lay on the sidewalk face down and count to a hundred, and steals Jack's wallet and Ronald Colman's Oscar.
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "Just a Few More Kisses".
Show Closing: Don gives a dramatic cliff-hanger closing to the show: "Will Jack Benny recover the stolen Oscar?...Will Ronald Colman sue him?...Will Bing Crosby be our guest next week?...Tune in and find out".
Note: One of "old time radio's", most famous episodes. Ironically, given it's subsequent legend in the broadcasting career of Jack Benny, and in old time radio in general, this first time out for the gag the audience doesn't react HUGELY to the "your money or your life" line. They do laugh, and you can feel their anticipation of what Jack might say in the pause between the robber's request and Jack's answer, but it's certainly not the "longest laugh" ever on the program. But even today, for many people the name Jack Benny conjures up his catchphrases "Well~!", and "Now cut that out~!" ....and "your money or your life". Overall, it is a very funny episode, and the writing staff were on a heck of a roll this season. The sheer amount of running gags (such as "lonely...but loaded") that have been accumulating this season is pretty extraordinary.
Note: Once again, Mary Livingstone is not on the program.
27. 04/04/48 JACK WANTS TO BORROW BING CROSBY'S OSCAR
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, as most of you know last week Jack Benny visited the Ronald Colmans and he persuaded Ronnie to lend him his Academy Award Oscar...as Jack left the Colman house, the following incident happened..."
The Show: The show opens with a reply of Jack being robbed, and the "your money or your life" line. After the "re-enactment" of the robbery, the "Love in Bloom" theme plays and Don Wilson returns:
"Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that's what happened Sunday night...as we look in on Jack now, it's the following morning"
Bing Crosby and Ink Spots are the guests. Jack tells how he was "beaten and robbed" of Ronald Colman' Oscar last week. Later Jack drives over to Bing's house to "borrow" Bing's Academy Award Oscar, to replace Ronald Colman's. By the time Jack is done exaggerating the story of his robbery, he was attacked by 10 men.
Bing Crosby's son is played by Johnny McGovern. The Sportsmen Quartet do not appear on this episode; the Ink Spots fill in. Bing throws in quite a few ad-libs and sings "Haunted Heart". Some of the closing of the show is cut off by the network.
28. 04/11/48 MURDER AT THE RACQUET CLUB PART ONE
Don's Introduction: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, we bring you the star of our show...toughened by the desert wind...tanned by the desert sun..and frightened by the desert prices... Jack Benny".
On Location: From World Wars Memorial Hall in Palm Springs (commercials from Hollywood).
Guest Stars: Guests are Charles Farrell and Paul Lukas. They perform "Murder at the Racquet Club" part one.
The Show: From 7:02 to 7:04:05 EST, the program is off the air do to AT&T failure of an amplifier in Whitewater, California, on a special line from Palm Springs to Hollywood. At 7:28 EST, the show is cut before completion in order to get in commercials on time to close.
The entire ending section of "Murder at the Racquet Club" is cut off, as is Jack's plea for the Red Cross and his show closing. The script reveals what the closing would have been:
Jack: "Ladies and gentlemen, be sure to hear the Phil Harris/Alice Faye show on Sundays, and 'A Day in the Life of Denis Day' on Wednesdays. I want to thank Paul Lukas and Charlie Farrell for appearing on our program tonight...Paul Lukas will soon be seen in 'Berlin Express'--and Charlie Farrell can be seen behind the cash register at the Racquet Club...'Seventh Heaven', incidentally, was produced by Nineteenth Century Fox...Goodnight, everybody".
Dennis' Song: "I'm Looking Over a Four-Leaf Clover"
Note: Phil Harris does not appear on this episode. Mahlon Merrick takes his place in the show.
29. 04/18/48 MURDER AT THE RACQUET CLUB TWO
Don's Introduction: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, as you all know, for two consecutive weeks we have lost part of our show. Last week we not only lost the ending, but also the beginning...however we still have the pickle in the middle...and here he is, Jack Benny".
On Location: From Palm Springs (commercials from Hollywood).
Guest Stars: Frank Sinatra, Charles Farrell and Samuel Goldwyn. They do "Murder at the Racquet Club" part two. Bea Benaderet and Sara Berner appear as Gertrude and Mabel, the telephone operator girls, as Jack tries to phone Niles Trammell, head of NBC.
The Show: After Don's introduction, Jack talks about being upset because the endings of the last two shows have been cut off:
Jack: "Thank you, thank you...hello again, this is Jack Benny talking...and Don, you know you don't have to make jokes about what happened, you know. Radio is our bread and butter...you know, if I lose my job, you lose your stomach...it's a very serious thing. We lost the finish of the show two weeks ago and lost the finish again last week".
Jack thinks that perhaps the show has been cut off the air because he is too easy going, so he goes to talk to Mr. Foster, the studio engineer (played by Mel Blanc).
Milt Josefburg's book has a lengthy and humorous, if slightly inaccurate explanation of Samuel Goldwyn's seemingly inexplicable line "I was in my room hating myself because I didn't produce Gone With The Wind".
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "Now is the Hour".
Note: Phil Harris is absent from the show for the second week in a row.
30. 04/25/48 CHARLIE'S AUNT
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, Jack Benny has just returned from his stay in Palm Springs...so let's go out to Jack's house in Beverly Hills...it's morning and we find Rochester in the kitchen".
Guest Stars: Back in Hollywood with guest star Dorothy Kirsten of the Metropolitan Opera. Ronald Colman has a brief cameo.
The Show: Jack disguises himself in his "Charlie's Aunt" movie role costume to leave his house, so that Ronald Colman won't see him and ask Jack about his stolen Oscar.
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "Nature Boy".
31. 05/2/48 FRANK SINATRA
Don: "Ladies and gentlemen, as there are only eight more programs left in the current Lucky Strike series, at this time I would like to pay tribute to a man who, for the past thirty weeks has brought joy and happiness into millions of American homes."
Jack: "Don't forget the five hundred and sixty nine thousand trailers".
Don: "A man whose wit, charm and personality have endeared him to the hearts of his public"
Jack: "Keep going, Don, we have a half hour".
Don: "A man who is loved, admired, and respected by every member of his cast"
Jack: "How true".
Don: "A man who every year at this time picks up our options...Jack Benny".
Guest Star: The guest is Frank Sinatra, who sings in place of Dennis Day, who is absent
The Show: The cast's options are up and there are negotiations over the signing of new contracts between Jack and the cast; Don wants his salary raised from the rate of two dollars a pound to three; Phil doesn't like the clause that says he must be in bed by 3:00am Saturday night.
Rochester also wants his salary raised:
Jack: "...anyway, Rochester, you've got nothing to worry about...I'm giving you a substantial raise next year".
Jack: "Yes, you know what the word means, don't you?"
Rochester: "I ain't illiterate, I'm SKEPTICAL!"
Frank Sinatra sings "But Beautiful"; Sinatra is in Studio B rehearsing while Jack's gang are in Studio C. Mary goes to bring Frank over to see Jack. There are many "skinny" jokes regarding Sinatra, of course, and he and Jack negotiate a fee for Frank to sing on the program. Then Rochester calls gives Jack the idea of asking Sinatra to borrow his Oscar to replace the one that was Ronald Colman's. Jack brings Frank out in the hall to discuss it in private--janitor Mel Blanc is vacuuming the hallway while they speak--but just as Frank seems ready to agree to lend Jack his Oscar, he is sucked into the vacuum cleaner operated by the janitor.
Dennis & the Sportsmen Quartet are not on this episode. Artie Auerbach appears as Mr. Kitzel.
In another example of a long-running plotline, the program is still referencing the "stolen Oscar" that belonged to Ronald Colman, almost 2 months after the episode aired.
Dennis' Song: Dennis does not appear on this episode.
32. 05/09/48 RONALD COLMAN'S OSCAR IS RETURNED
Don's Introduction: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, we take you out to Jack Benny's house in Beverly Hills where wwe find Rochester cleaning out the attic".
Guest Stars: Ronald Colman ad wife Benita Hume are guests.
The Show: Colman's Oscar, stolen from Jack Benny on the March 28 program, is returned. Colman admits that the theft was a fake, designed to teach Jack a lesson to quit borrowing. Dennis Day returns to the show, but the Sportsmen are still absent.
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "I'd Give a Million Tomorrows"
33. 05/16/48 ROBERT TAYLOR SUBS FOR JACK
Don: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to present to you a man whose charm and personality have gained him millions of admirers...a man who's not only loved for his.....wait a minute, I must have the wrong script...this is introducing Robert Taylor".
Mary: "That's right, Don...Jack has gone away on a week's vacation and Robert Taylor is taking his place. He should be here any minute".
Don: "Robert Taylor? That's wonderful...but Mary, I still can't get over Jack just packing up and going away on a trip."
Mary: "It's more than just a trip, Don. Jack is spending a glorious week in New York."
Guest Star/Host: Jack is in NY for a brief vacation, so Robert Taylor substitutes for Jack, as you can tell by the episode title!
The Show: Phil has an issue with Taylor's real name, Spangler Arlington Brugh. At the show closing, Mary signs off with "goodnight, doll".
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "Blue Shadows on the The Trail"
34. 05/23/48 "THE EGG AND I"
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, last week the star of our show felt that he needed a vacation, so he took the week off and went to New York. But tonight I am happy to announce that the prodigal son has returned...and here he is, Jack Benny".
The Show: Jack returns, and they do a take-off on "The Egg and I'. Mary reads a letter from her mother, "the Republican dark horse of Plainfield". The Sportsmen Quartet also return to the show.
When Dennis arrives he sees Jack; "Gee, Mr Taylor, I don't know what happened to you since last week, but you look awful now" (referring to last week's guest host Robert Taylor)
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "Haunted Heart"
35. 05/30/48 "I WAS FRAMED"
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, once again we'd like to take you out to Jack Benny's home in beverly Hills...it's evening, Jack has just finished dinner and is relaxing in his usual way".
The Show: The show opens with Jack playing "Nature Boy" on the violin. Jack reads "I Was Framed" (by the author of "I Stand Condemned")
36. 06/06/48 JACK LEAVES FOR DETROIT
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, tonight the entire Jack Benny troupe is leaving for personal appearances in Detroit and Cleveland...opening Thursday at the Fox Theatre in Detroit...as we look in on the Benny household Jack is packing for the trip".
The Show: Preparing to leave for Detroit and Cleveland. The Beverly Hills Beavers give Jack a frog as a going-away . Hy Averback guests as the soft-hearted cabbie, and Mel Blanc, as the train announcer, does his Porky Pig and Woody Woodpecker (or Norman Krasna!) voices. This is the last show of the year for Bea Benaderet (who plays Don Wilson's wife this episode), Sara Berner, Joe Kearns (playing Dennis Day's father this episode), Frank Nelson, and Mel Blanc.
Show Closing: Jack: "Ladies and gentlemen, be sure to listen to 'A Day in the Life of Dennis Day' on Wednesday. Next Sunday we'll be broadcasting from Detroit, Michigan, where we open our personal appearance tour at the Fox Theatre on this coming Thursday--featuring Phil Harris, Rochester, the Sportsmen Quartet and that Metro Goldwyn Mayer glamour star, Marilyn Maxwell. Goodnight, folks".
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "May I Never Love Again"
37. 06/13/48 FROM DETROIT---DON'S WEIGHT IS DISCUSSED
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, tonight we're broadcasting from Detroit, Michigan, the automobile capital of the world...but yesterday they raised the prices of new automobiles, so today we bring you the walking man...Jack Benny".
On Location: From Detroit (commercials from Hollywood).
The Show: Don Wilson's weight is discussed.
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "Mama Macushla"
38. 06/20/48 FROM CLEVELAND
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, Jack Benny and his gang are appearing this week at the Palace Theatre here in Cleveland. Right now Jack is in his dressing room and Rochester is helping him make up for the next stage show...let's look in on them".
On Location: From the Rainbow Ballroom, Carter Hotel, Cleveland Ohio.
Guest Stars: Guest stars are Marilyn Maxwell, Bob Hope, and baseball player Bob Feller.
The Show: Marilyn Maxwell is appearing on stage with Jack during his tour. She sings "Hooray for Love". Bob Hope ad libs wildly during his spot, of course, causing the show to run long. In order to present the closing commercials (from Hollywood) on time, the repartee between Jack and Bob Hope is faded before completion at 7:28:12pm EST
Dennis' Song: Dennis does not appear on this episode
39. 06/27/48 FROM NEW YORK---WITH FRED ALLEN
Don: "Ladies and gentlemen, this is our last broadcast of this season. We've had thirty nine strenuous weeks of radio...and on the shoulders of the star of our show fell the task of carrying this burden alone..so without further ado, we bring you a very tiresome comedian..."
Jack: "That's TIRED~!"
Don: "...Jack Benny".
On Location: From New York (commercials from Hollywood).
Guest Star: The guest star is Fred Allen (Jack will appear on Allen's radio show in one hour).
The Show: Jack and Allen trade insults and hilarious ad libs as the cast prepares for their trip to London. Artie Auerbach appears as Mr. Kitzel.
This is the 39th and last show of the 1947-48 season.
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "Sleep My Child".