THE 1948-1949 SEASON
Program from Hollywood. The writers once again are Sam Perrin, Milt Josefsberg, George Balzer and John Tackaberry. The cast remains Jack, Mary, Eddie Anderson, Dennis Day, Phil Harris, Don Wilson, and the Sportsmen Quartet. The commercial announcers are Del Sharbutt, Basil Ruysdael, and Frank Martin, with LA (Speed) Riggs and FE Boone as the auctioneers. Bit players include, among others, Artie Auerbach, Mel Blanc, Joe Kearns, Bea Benadaret, Sara Berner and Frank Nelson.  The program ends up 3rd overall in the ratings, down 1 from the year before, with a Hooper rating of 26.4. 
There's a  new Lucky Strike slogan for the year. "Lucky Strike means fine tobacco" is still around, but now they've added"Smoke Lucky to feel your level best"; a slogan they repeat seemingly a hundred times before the start of each episode. There's even a jingle: "Feeling low? Feeling tense? /These eight words are common sense/Smoke a Lucky to feel your level best/Smoke a Lucky to feel your level best"
The biggest change this season is, of course, the switch of radio networks from NBC to CBS beginning January 2, 1949. Jack leaving NBC after 16 years was a huge deal, and CBS launched a promotional blitz to announce the change.
Show Opening:   "The Lucky Strike Program, starring Jack Benny...with Mary Livingstone, Phil Harris, Rochester, Dennis Day, The Sportsmen, and yours truly, Don Wilson."

Don's Introduction:
  "Ladies and gentlemen, as most of you know, Jack Benny spent his summer making personal appearances in Europe...on July 19 he opened at the Palladium Theatre in London. So now we take you back to Jack's opening night...he has just finished his first London stage appearance and the audience is leaving the theatre."

The Show:   The beginning of the episode flashes back to Jack's July 1948 European tour.  Jack returns from Europe to the U.S. by ship. He is haunted by a Swiss echo that he still hears---this will be a running gag in the next month's shows

Dennis' Song:  Dennis sings "Tree in the Meadow".
Don's Introduction: "And now ladies and gentlemen, let's go out to Jack Benny's house in Beverly Hills. At the moment, Rochester is alone straightening up Jack's room."

The Show:   The show begins with Rochester reading Jack's diary of his European tour.  Later, Jack and the gang listen to the Boston Braves vs. Cleveland Indians playing in the World Series, while Rochester is just waiting for Satchel Paige to come on. Frank Nelson plays the radio announcer. Jack still hears the Swiss echo.  Despite saying at the close of last weeks' program that the Colmans would appear tonight, they do not. As Jack says at the end of this program "ladies and gentlemen, due to unforeseen circumstances Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Colman couldn't be with us tonight, but they'll visit us in a couple of weeks..."

Dennis' Song:  Dennis sings "Hair of Gold".
3.    10/17/48            SORRY, WRONG NUMBER
Don's Introduction:  "Ladies and is usually our custom to take you to Jack Benny's home in Beverly Hills...but at the moment Jack is taking a bath, so we'll take you to Mary Livingstone's house instead".

The Show:   The show opens at Mary's house, with Mary talking with her maid Pauline (played by Doris Singleton). Barbara Stanwyck guest stars as Jack, Mary and Dennis all go to see the movie "Sorry, Wrong Number". Afterwards, they flash back to "last May", when Jack tried to get his sponsor on the phone before his contract ran out.

Dennis' Song:  Dennis sings "This is the Moment".
4.    10/24/48            THE COLMANS HAVE DINNER AT JACK'S
Don's Introduction:  "And now, ladies and gentlemen, we'd like to take you out to Jack Benny's home in Beverly the moment, Rochester is busy in the kitchen while Jack is in the other room polishing the silver".

Guest Stars:
Ronald Colman and Benita Hume guests tonight as they eat dinner at Jack's house.

The Show:   Mary reads a letter from her mother.  Jack still hears that Swiss echo.

Dennis' Song:  Dennis sings "Down Among the Sheltering Palms".
Don's Introduction:  "Ladies and gentlemen, tonight is Halloween, and in Beverly Hills, as in communities all over the country, the little goblins have already started through the neighborhood playing trick or treat".

The Show:   Jack goes trick or treating for Halloween with the Beverly Hills Beavers. Verna Felton appears again as Dennis' mother. Jack still hears the echo.  Doris Singleton appears as Mary's maid Pauline, and Artie Auerbach appears as Mr. Kitzel.  For the second straight week Jack's closing bit is cut from the script--this week replaced by "Goodnight everybody"

Dennis' Song:   Dennis sings "Down Among the Sheltering Palms"".
6.    11/07/48            JACK SEES A PSYCHIATRIST
Don's Introduction:  "And now, ladies and gentlemen, let's go out to Jack Benny's home in Beverly's morning and Rochester is in the kitchen".

The Show:   Jack goes to see a psychiatrist (played by Frank Nelson) to help him get rid of the Swiss echo he has been hearing. After Jack leaves, the psychiatrist is stuck with the echo.

Dennis' Song:  Dennis sings "Bluebird of Happiness".
7.    11/14/48            JACK IS WORRIED BECAUSE MARY IS LATE
Don's Introduction:  "Ladies and gentlemen, let's turn our watches back to an hour before the Jack Benny the moment, Rochester is driving Jack to the studio".

Guest Star:   Opera singer Dorothy Kirsten is the guest, and sings with the Sportsmen Quartet

The Show:   Artie Auerbach has a spot as Mr. Kitzel, and the Bea Benaderet and Sara Berner return as the telephone operator girls, Mabel and Gertrude.

Dennis' song:   Dennis sings "Buttons and Bows".
Don's Introduction:     "Ladies and gentlemen, once again we take you to Jack Benny's home in Beverly Hills. It's Saturday morning and Rochester is dusting the living room".

The Show:   As the program opens, while dusting Rochester finds a mouse in Jack's piano. Jack awakens and tells Rochester that he and the cast are meeting at the house and then going to the UCLA vs. USC football game. He remembers that he wanted to call his advertising agency, Batten, Barton, Durstine, and Osborn (BBD&O), and dials information (Blanche Stewart) for their phone number.

Jack calls and gets the BBD&O receptionist (Bea Benaderet), who tells him that Mr. Batten isn't in, Mr. Barton is in Chicago, Mr. Durstine is out of town for the weekend, and Mr. Osborn's line is busy. As Jack holds on the phone, Mary arrives at the house and is anxious to leave for the football game:

Mary:  "Jack, I hope the gang gets here so we can leave early"
Jack:  "Why, what's the rush?"
Mary:  "Well, the last time we went to see Southern California play U.C.L.A., you wouldn't pay a dollar to park near the Coliseum, so you kept driving"
Jack:  "Well, certainly"
Mary:  "Then you wouldn't pay fifty cents for parking, and you still kept on driving"
Jack:  "Well, listen, they're not gonna rob me"
Mary:  "You wouldn't even pay a quarter"
Jack:  "Look, Mary..."
Mary:  "Then you wouldn't pay a dime"
Jack:  "Well. Mary, you'll have to admit one thing...when I finally found a parking place, we saw an exciting game, didn't we?"
Mary:  "Yeah...Georgia Tech versus Arizona State"
Jack:  "What's the difference, we saw a game"

The BBD&O receptionist finally patches Jack through to Osborn's office, where the phone is answered by his very Southern secretary (Elvia Allman). She tells Jack that Osborn just went into the office of Mr. Duffy, President of the agency.  Jack asks to be transferred to Mr. Duffy's office so he can speak to Osborn there, so he's turned back to the main receptionist (Bea Benaderet) again. Dennis is the next of the gang to arrive at the house, and sings "Lavender Blue".

Mr. Duffy's secretary (Sara Berner) answers the phone and tells Jack that Osborn just left for an important conference at another agency, so Jack asks to speak to Duffy, and is again put on hold.
Dennis tells Jack that he's quitting the show because he never gets a Sunday off, managing to work in a plug for his own radio show in the process. Phil is the next of the gang to arrive, followed by Don Wilson, who naturally brought the Sportsmen Quartet along.

Finally Jack gets to speak to Mr. Duffy (Earle Ross), and after all this time finally reveals the reason for his call:

Mr. Duffy:  "But what, Mr. Benny? What is it that's bothering you?"
Jack:  " is is almost December and Lucky Strike hasn't sent me my 1949 calender...I've waited and waited and I can't..."

Mr. Duffy's secretary then tells Jack that Mr. Duffy jumped out the window.

The closing tag finds Jack and Mary finally at the football game:

{{Sound: Motor up and down}}
Mary:   "Jack, here's the Coliseum...where are you going to park?"
Jack:  "Oh, I'll find a place, Mary, I'll find a place"
Parking Attendant # 1:   "Park here for the football game, one dollar"
Jack:  "Hmm"
{{Sound: Motor up and down}}
Parking Attendant # 2:  "Par here for the football game, fifty cents"
Jack:  "Hmm"
{{Sound: Motor up and down}}
Parking Attendant # 3:  "Park here for the football game, twenty five cents"
Jack:  "Hmm"
{{Sound: Motor up and down}}
Parking Attendant # 4:  "Park here for the bullfight, one peso"

There is a huge explosion of laughter and applause at the closing line. It's pretty funny, but Milt Josefsberg's book revealed the real reason behind the audience response.
The four parking attendants are played by the show's writing staff; parking attendant number one was Sam Perrin, number two was Milt Josesfberg, number three was John Tackaberry, and number four was supposed to be played by George Balzer. From Milt's book:

"On the November 21 show, Jack used his four writers as actors for a gag, and he was taken completely by surprise when Don Ameche substituted for one of the writers to read the last line. Jack got so hysterical he couldn't even say goodnight to the listeners"

At the end of the program, while the audience (and presumably Jack) were still in hysterics, Don Wilson plugs Jack's appearance on the annual Elgin Thanksgiving Day radio program (this, as well as the other plugs, were not part of the original script, and were hand-written in) and then flubs the title of Dennis Day's radio program.

Note:   Almost every episode this season has begun with a scene at Jack's home in Beverly Hills, rather than in the studio.

Dennis' Song:   Dennis sings "Lavender Blue".
Don's Introduction:    "Ladies and gentlemen, last Thursday was let's go back and show you how Jack Benny and his gang spent the day...our scene opens in Jack's home in Beverly Hills".

The Show:   The program opens in Jack's home, with Rochester singing a version of "Night and Day".  Jack tells Rochester that he's going to Mary's house for a Thanksgiving party. When Mary calls Jack's house a minute later, Rochester does a holiday version of his "star of stage, screen, etc" greeting:

Rochester: "Mr. Benny's of stage, screen, and radio."
Mary: "Hello, Rochester".
Rochester: "Christmas cards printed to your specifications....."
Mary: "Rochester..."
Rochester: "...Will sit with babies, mow your lawn, cater private parties, and will give violin recitals at birthdays, weddings, and meat market openings".
Mary:  "Rochester, this is Miss Livingstone, I've heard all that before".
Rochester:" I know, but we've four parties on this line, as good as anybody's"

Mary informs Jack that the whole gang is at her house already.

Artie Auerbach has a cameo as Mr. Kitzel, out taking his turkey for a walk and stopping by Jack's house to wish Jack a Happy Thanksgiving.  Kitzel calls Jack's advertising agency " Batten, Barton, Bagel and Blintzes". 

Back at the party at Mary's house, Doris Singleton plays Mary's maid, Pauline, who reveals she has a crush on Phil. 
Frank Nelson plays Ernest, a butler that Mary has hired for Thanksgiving dinner (whatever Mary's job is now supposed to be, between her maid and a butler it must pay very well~!).  Jack tells the story of the landing of the Pilgrims ( he says they landed at Cape Cod).  The gang gather at Mary's house; since they are short of chairs, Mary asks Jack to grab the piano bench, leading to a great Jack flub:

Jack:   "Well, here I come with the piano bunch...listen, where...piano BENCH~! Although the other way would be good, too...'here I come with the piano, BUNCH~! Just as good one way or the, really, what's the difference if I say 'here I come with the piano BENCH', or 'here I come with the piano, BUNCH'? It doesn't make any difference. Hey, where...where do you want me to sit, Mary?
Mary:   "Right here, your name's on the place card"
Jack:   "Welll, place cards and everything! How did Phil know where to sit?"
Mary:   "I put his picture on the plate"
Jack:   "Oh"
Phil:   "That's your fault, BUNCH, you got people thinkin' I can't read"
Jack:   "Oh yeah? Let me see you write your name"
Phil:   "Don't change the subject, I'm talkin' about reading!"

The script reveals that an entire phone routine between Mary, Jack and Elvia Allman as Daisy, Jack's date the next night, was cut. As was much of an argument between Don and Jack over the story of the first Thanksgiving (much like their arguments in earlier seasons over historical facts).

The cut scene between Jack and Daisy:

{phone rings}
Mary:   "Hello"
Daisy:   "{filter}{very Southern} "Hello, is this Crestview 7-7071, honey?"
Mary:   "Yes it is"
Daisy:   "Can I speak to Jack Benny please?"
Mary:   "Yes...just a minute, I'll get him"
Daisy:   "Oh, are you his mother?"
Mary:   "No, are you?"
Daisy:   {giggling} "Oh, honey, you're so cute. Now, will you please get little old Jack for me?"
Mary:   "Just a second, I'll get little old Jack...Jack, it's for little old you"
Jack:   "Oh yes...that must be Daisy...{then sugary} Hellllloooooo"
Daisy:   "Hello, Sugar. This is Daisy"
Jack:   "Oh hello, Daisy. Say, did you get the flowers I sent you yesterday?"
Daisy:   "I sho' did, Sugar, and that was cute what you said on the card, 'Daisies for Daisy'"
Jack:   "Yeah...I wrote that without my writers"
Daisy:   "I know...but when I saw 'Daisies for Daisy', it made me wish my name were Orchid"
Jack:   "But that would sound silly, 'Daisies for Orchid', wouldn't it now?"
Mary:   "Jack, we're all at the table"
Phil:   "Come one, Jackson, you can talk to that schlemiel later"
Jack:   "Phil, please...what did you call me form Daisy?"
Daisy:   "I wanted to tell you that it's all right for our little old date tomorrow night"
Jack:   "Good"
Daisy:   "Where are we-all going?"
Jack:   "Well...well...if you can get a ticket for the Biltmore Theatre, I'll meet you there"
Daisy:   "How will I find you?"
Jack:   "I'll be sitting with a big fat guy"
Daisy:   "All right, I'll look for you. Goodbye, you little ole Boll Weevil, you"
Jack:   "Goodbye, you little old schlemiel...I mean, Daisy"
{sound: receiver down}

Yet another episode beginning at Jack's home.

Dennis' Song:   Dennis sings "Bouquet of Roses", and also sings with the Sportsmen Quartet.
Don's Introduction:    "And now, ladies and gentlemen, let's go out to Jack Benny's home in Beverly Hills, where we find....uh-oh, there's something wrong. (crowd noise) There's a crowd gathered on the corner near Jack's house"

The Show:   Yet another program opening with a scene at Jack's home. A crowd has gathered outside of the house because someone has deliberately jumped in front of a is Prof. LeBlanc (Mel Blanc), there to give Jack another violin lesson.  Jack makes a trip to his underground vault to pay him. Don is still mad at Jack for saying that the Pilgrims landed at Cape Cod. They make up, but then argue over Kipling vs. Shakespeare.

Dennis' Song:   Dennis sings "Say it Isn't So".
11.    12/12/48            JACK TRIES TO RELAX AT HOME
Don's Introduction:     "Ladies and gentlemen, in the life of Jack Benny, Saturday is a hectic day of rehearsals...Sunday is an exciting day of the broadcast...but Monday...ah, Monday, that's the day for rest and if you promise not to disturb him, I'll take you out to Jack's home in Beverly Hills and see how he spends his day of leisure."

The Show:   Jack attempts to relax at home but keeps being interrupted. Eddie Cantor guests to remind Jack that he will be on Cantor's program on Friday night. Elvia Allman plays Jack's new girlfriend Daisy Dickinson. 
Show Closing: Jack sings a song to the tune of "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby":

"I guess my day is just about over
I'll have to make the cutest little bow
Next is Phil and Alice Faye,
Dennis Day on Saturday
Be sure to listen, they're a wow.
Oh, they must have been such comical babies
'Cause, brother, get a load of them now
They both got two shows
Brother get a load of them now"

Dennis' Song:   Dennis sings "You Must've Been a Beautiful Baby" (as a record played by Jack).
Don's Introduction:    "Ladies and gentlemen, there are only five more days 'til let's go down to the local department store where Jack and Mary have gone to do their last minute Christmas shopping".

The Show:   The annual Christmas shopping show. Jack buys a $40 wallet for Don, but then exchanges it for one that costs $1.98. Artie Auerbach guests as Mr. Kitzel, buying his wife a Christmas (!) present at the department store, and Frank Nelson of course plays his usual Christmas-time harried store worker. Mel Blanc and Elliot Lewis play other store workers having run-ins with Jack.

During this episodes' opening Lucky Strike commercial, Del Sharbutt suggests giving the "gay, holiday wrapped" Christmas gift of a carton of 200 Luckies, or for that extra special someone, the "Lucky Strike 500's"--a Christmas gift box of 25 packages of Lucky Strike cigarettes.  A gift of 25 cigarette cartons in 2014 would require a significant financial investment~!  The Sportsmen Quartet also sing a Lucky Strike Christmas jingle.

Dennis' Song:   Dennis sings his annual Christmas song "Ave Maria".
xx.    12/22/48           "EXPERIMENTAL BROADCAST # 1"
The Show:   Listed among Jack Benny's personal papers as "Experimental Broadcast #1" , this was a non-broadcast episode, seemingly done as an in house  "try-out" for CBS.  Why exactly CBS would need a "try-out" version of a show that had been on for 15+ years is something that I'm still trying to determine.  This is a basically reworked version of the December 24, 1944 "tree-trimming" episode.

xx.   12/23/48        "CBS CLOSED CIRCUIT BROADCAST"
The Show:   An in-house closed circuit radio broadcast by the CBS Network to their stations and affiliates, starring Jack Benny and Amos and Andy.  Amos and Andy recently switched to CBS, and Jack's show would be doing so in one week.  The 15 minute program is introduced by CBS President William Paley, who then sends it to Hollywood; there is no studio audience present for the sketch between Jack and Amos and Andy.  Among other things, the program details ways to beat NBC at promotions/advertising, and to get loyal NBC listeners to change over to CBS now on Sunday nights.  It also states that Benny will appear no less than 5 times on CBS this week:  Monday on the Lux program, Thursday on Suspense, Friday on The Bob Crosby Show, Saturday afternoon during the intermission of the Rose Bowl game, and Saturday January 1, 1949 on the Gene Autry show.

(Schedule for Jack Benny December 15, 1948-January 1, 1949. Box 32, Sub-Series 2, General 1932-1982, The Jack Benny Papers, Collection
08922, American Heritage Center, University of Wyoming)
13.    12/26/48        THE LAST SHOW FOR NBC ("COMEDIAN OF THE YEAR")
Show Opening:  The Lucky Strike Program, starring Jack Benny...with Mary Livingstone, Phil Harris, Rochester, Dennis Day, and yours truly, Don Wilson

Don's Introduction
Don: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, we bring you our Master of Ceremonies, who today..
Jack: "Wait a minute, Don, wait a I'd like to have the honor of introducing you"
Don: "Me?"
Jack:  "Yes, Don, now give me the microphone...ladies and gentlemen it gives me great pleasure to bring you the man who was selected by Fame Magazine as America's outstanding radio announcer for 1948...and here he is, Don Wilson".

The Show:   This episode is Jack Benny's last show for NBC Radio, ending a 16 year relationship with the network. It is announced that the show is moving to "another network".  Jack and the cast say goodbye, and thank everyone for "years of very pleasant associations" on the NBC network.

The Last NBC Scene:   (Jack is talking to Rochester on the telephone)

Jack : "Goodbye"
Rochester: "Oh, say boss..."
Jack: "Now what?"
Rochester: "I forgot to tell you...there was quite a bit of excitement airplane flew over Hollywood and started skywriting".
Jack: "Skywriting? What did it say?"
Rochester: "Next week Jack Benny's program moves to."
Jack: "Moves to where, moves to where?"
Rochester: "I don't know, NBC's anti-aircraft shot him down."
Jack: "Oh...well. we'll find out later...goodbye, Rochester."
Rochester: "Goodbye"

Show Closing:   Jack: "Ladies and gentlemen, next week we'll be with you again at the same time with the same cast on another network...however, I want to take this opportunity of thanking everyone connected with NBC for a very pleasant association. And I also want to wish everybody a very happy New Year."

The script for this episode shows that this was originally supposed to be the closing scene, after Jack finishes talking on the phone to Rochester:

Jack: "Well, come on Mary, let's go."
(sound: footsteps, door opens)
Mel Blanc: "Hey, Mr. Benny..Mr. Benny"
Jack: "Oh, it's you"
Mel: "Yeah, I'm waiting with the trucks."
Jack: "You can start loading them now..put the orchestra on the bottom, with the pickle in the middle and the piano on top. Come on, Mary"
(applause and payoff)
Jack :"Goodnight, everybody"
Don: "Ladies and gentlemen, listen again next Sunday to the Jack Benny Program which will be heard on another network at this same time".

Dennis' Song:  Dennis sings "Galway Bay".
14.    01/02/49                FIRST SHOW FOR CBS
Show Opening: 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, today marks Jack Benny's first program on the Columbia Broadcasting let's go back a couple of hours and pick up Jack and Mary on their way to the studio...Rochester is driving them".

Guest Stars:  
Featuring a cameo by Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll as Amos and AndyDon Thornberg, head of the Western Division of CBS, plays himself.

The Show:    Jack Benny's first show for the CBS radio network, and he's feeling nervous.  On the way to the studio they turn on the radio:

Announcer: "That concludes another broadcast by your friendly philosopher...and now for a special announcement...remember, only two more hours and Jack Benny will be on CBS"
Jack: "Turn that off~!  That's all they've been broadcasting for the past week...six more days til Jack Benny...five more days til Jack Benny...four more days...two more hours.."
Mary: "Well Jack, if you don't like it, make them stop it"
Jack: "I WILL NOT!"

After Jack and Mary run into Amos and Andy in the studio hall:

Amos: "Say, Andy"
Andy: "What is it, Amos?"
Amos: "That Mr. Benny, he's supposed to be a big comedian...he didn't say nothing funny"
Andy: "Well, just like I told you, he ain't nothin' without Rochester"

Jack tries to locate William Paley, the head of CBS, before his first CBS broadcast. Frank Nelson plays a traffic cop, and Artie Auerbach plays Mr. Kitzel, who congratulates Jack on moving to CBS.  To end the program, Mary and Jack sing a song about the CBS network.
Dennis' Song:   Dennis sings "Look Up"

15.    01/09/49            LUNCH AT THE BROWN DERBY
Don's Introduction:  "Ladies and gentlemen, one of the most popular restaurants in the country is the Brown Derby in Hollywood. So let's go back to yesterday afternoon, and look in as the Brown Derby's headwaiters handle the overflow luncheon crowd"

Guest Star:   Jimmy Stewart

The Show:   Jack and Mary have lunch at the famous Hollywood restaurant the Brown Derby. Jack sees Jimmy Stewart  at the Derby and wants to put him in the next movie he produces.

Jack: "Hey Mary, look who's here!"
Jimmy Stewart: "Huh? Oh, hello Jack, hello Mary"
Jack: "Well, if it isn't Jimmy Stewart"
(audience applauds)
Jimmy: "You know, Jack, Hollywood's a funny say 'well, if it isn't Jimmy Stewart', and everybody in the Brown Derby applauds"

When Jack and Mary sit down with him,  Jack spills the water and the ketchup bottle on Jimmy.

16.    01/16/49             JACK'S SCRAPBOOK
Don's Introduction:  "And now, ladies and gentlemen, let's go out to Jack Benny's home in Beverly Hills, where we find Rochester helping Jack fix up his scrap book"

The Show:   Rochester helps Jack with his scrapbook. Ronald and Benita Colman guest star...Ronald dreams that he is Jack, and that Jack is him. 

Dennis' Song:   Dennis sings "Clancy Lowered the Boom".

17.     01/23/49           DON WON'T SIGN HIS CONTRACT
Show Introduction: The Lucky Strike Program, starring Jack Benny, with Mary Livingstone, Phil Harris, Dennis Day, Don Wilson, and yours truly, Rochester

Don's Introduction:
    Rochester:  "Ladies and gentlemen, very few things go on in Mr. Benny's house that I don't know about. Last Tuesday morning at nine o'clock, Mr. Don Wilson came over to discuss his new contract with Mr. Benny...five hours later, they were still at it in the den behind locked doors"

The Show:    Rochester introduces the show, because Jack has Don locked up in a room, trying to get Don to sign his new contract. Jack's parrot Polly (Mel Blanc) has a cold.  Later, Jack and Mary go to the dentist's office (Frank Nelson plays the dentist).  Mary does the final "tag" announcements in place of Don.

Dennis' song:   Dennis sings "Here I'll Stay".

18.     01/30/49           DON STILL WON'T SIGN HIS CONTRACT
Show Introduction:   "The Lucky Strike Program, starring Jack Benny, with Mary Livingstone, Phil Harris, Rochester, Don Wilson, and yours truly, Dennis Day".

Don's Introduction:
   Dennis: "I have to open the program this week because last week Mr. Benny locked Don Wilson in the den and won't let him out til he signs his new let's go out to Jack Benny's house in Beverly Hills, where we...wait a minute, who's that coming up the walk?...Gee. it's me~!"

The Show:   Dennis Day introduces the show this week, because Jack STILL has Don Wilson locked up in his den because he won't sign his new contract. Dennis says that jack once locked him up for almost 2 years because he wouldn't sign his contract--"and he went around telling everybody I was in the Navy!"  Polly the parrot still has a bad cold---listen for Mel Blanc's excellent and hysterically funny delivery of the line when Jack asks if Polly wants a cracker;  Polly replies "Polly wants to die!". Dennis sings Polly a lullaby, "Tarra Talara" (the audio quality wavers wildly during Dennis' song, but soon corrects itself).  While Jack and Mary walk to Jack's meeting, Artie Aurebach has an incredibly brief cameo as Mr. Kitzel; all he says is "Hello, Mr Benny".  When Jack says he didn't stop, Mary says "I guess he didn't have anything funny to say this week".  Jack the goes to his meeting, which turns out to be the Beverly Hills Beavers. Jack is re-elected club treasurer.

Dennis' Song:   Dennis sings "Tarra Talara"
A very, very funny episode, with several stand-out sections and performances; perhaps in my "Top 10"  episodes list for the decade (that I haven't even finished yet).
19.     02/06/49             DON SIGNS A NEW CONTRACT
Show Introduction:   "The Lucky Strike Program, starring Jack Benny, with Phil Harris, Rochester, Dennis Day, Don Wilson, and yours truly, Mary Livingstone"

Don's Introduction:
   Mary: "Ladies and gentlemen, today it is my turn to make the opening announcement, because Jack still has Don Wilson locked in his den, and he intends to keep him there til Don signs his new we look in on Jack's home, we find him and Rochester discussing the situation"

The Show:   Mary Livingstone introduces the show this week, because Don is still locked up in Jack's den.  Mary, Phil and Dennis pay a visit to Jack's house to protest his treatment of Don. Don finally does sign the contract after the Sportsmen Quartet sing to him.  For the main sketch, Mary tells the gang via a flashback why Jack wasn't on the Ford Theatre radio program with Claudette Colbert and Vincent Price the last Friday night.  Ford Theatre program director Fletcher Markle appears, as do Colbert and Price. (Dennis doesn't sing this week).

20.     02/13/49          JACK'S BIRTHDAY
Don's Introduction:  "Ladies and gentlemen, tomorrow, February fourteenth, is Valentine's Day...and it's also the birthday of the star of our here he is...Jack Valentine Benny"

The Show:   Since he signed his contract last week, Don is back to doing the opening introduction again.  It's Jack's birthday the next day (Feb 14th) so Don and the studio audience sing "Happy Birthday" to  Jack---except for one audience member, Mr. Finque (Mel Blanc). He only came to the show hoping to get a free refrigerator. The Sportsmen Quartet sing a Lucky Strike version of "Love in Bloom" for Jack's birthday.  Jack lets the gang know he is going on the Ford Theatre Program to do "The Horn Blows at Midnight", and Jack gets a letter from his sister, stating that Jack is going to be 39, not 40! 

Dennis' Song:   Dennis sings "There's a Bluebird Singing in My Heart".
21.    02/20/49           THE HORN BLOWS AT MIDNIGHT
Don's Introduction:  "Ladies and gentlemen, let's go back about an hour...Jack is in his dressing room getting ready for the broadcast"

Guest Stars:   Jack Warner, Fletcher Markel

The Show:    Jack is going on The Ford Theatre Program to do "The Horn Blows at Midnight", and head of Warner Bros. studios Jack Warner and director Fletcher Markel both try to dissuade him.  One of the funniest all-time shows, due in no small part to Warner and Mary's hilarious flubbed lines. See below; says Jack: "I KNOW we rehearsed this!" The script reveals that Mr. Kitzel had a scene that was cut.

Flubs   Jack is talking with Warner Bros. head Jack Warner and Mary regarding Jack's movie The Horn Blows at Midnight:

Warner:  "No, Jack, it missed both ways"
Jack: "BOTH ways? What do you mean?"
Warner: "If it had been a little better, we might have gotten our money back in theatres.
Jack: "Yes...?"
Warner: "And if it were a little worse, it would a natural for television"
Jack:  "Never m-m-mind's going to be---I tell you, Mr Warner---it's going to be great when I do it on the Ford Theatre"
Warner: "All right, Jack...if you won't listen to reason, maybe you'll listen to this; we'll give you five thousand dollars not do it"
Jack: "No!"
Warner: "Ten thousand dollars"
Jack: "I'm sorry, Mr. Warner, but money means nothing to me!"
Mary: "I've got to listen to the repeat show and see if he really heard that"
Jack:  "See if I really heard that"
Mary: "See if I really heard that"
Jack: "You ought to make your pictures with Jack Warner. I know we rehearsed this, I know it! Anything else, huh? What?"
Warner: "Just a little shaky..."
Jack:  "Huh?"
Warner: "If I had a pair of dice in my hands it would be very nice"
Jack: "Alright, read just what's there, that's all.Read just what's there. Come on. Here it is. Wait a it is here...'well, Jack'.."
Warner:  "Oh yeah...oh, I see.."
Jack: "Go ahead"
Warner: "You didn't say Mary..."
Jack:  "I say, 'Mary please''ve got the next line"
Warner: "Well, Jack, here's my final brother Harry an I are willing to take you into the firm, and make you one of the Warner Brothers"
Jack:  "No, I'm afraid not...that means I'd have to change my name"
Warner: "If you do the picture...we're going to change ours"
Jack: "I'm sorry, but my mind is made up...I'm going to do The Horn Blows at Midnight on the radio, and that's final, Mr. Warner!"
Warner: "Just call me Sam Goldwyn"
Jack: "What?"
Warner:  " heard me, just call me Sam Goldwyn"
Jack: "You've got to say goodbye first.."
Warner:  "Goodbye"
Jack:  "Goodbye, Jack, goodbye...I can get a fifty dollar actor to play Jack Warner...I had to get THE Jack Warner.."
Dennis' Song:  
Dennis sings "So Dear to My Heart"
22.    02/27/49            JACK HAS A MUSIC LESSON
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, let's go out to Jack Benny's home in Beverly Hills where he is waiting for Professor LeBlanc to arrive and give him a violin lesson. At the moment, the Professor is approaching the house"

Guest Star:   Claude Rains

The Show:   Professor LeBlanc (Mel Blanc) comes over to give Jack a music lesson. Dennis decides to run away from home, and Phil calls to tell Jack the orchestra is starting up a baseball team. Jack listens to his girlfriend, Daisy Dickinson (Elvia Allman), and Don Wilson, on a radio program;  Frank Nelson is the host of the program. Guest star Claude Rains shows up at Jack's house to discuss their appearance on the upcoming Ford Theatre Program production of "The Horn Blows at Midnight". Artie Auerbach stops by as Mr. Kitzel.

Show Closing:  Jack: "Ladies and gentlemen, I want to thank Claude Rains for appearing on my program tonight...and he will soon be seen in Hal Willis' production 'Rope of Sand'...he also will be heard with me Friday night on the Ford Theatre, no matter what his lawyer says. And next Sunday night on my own show, my guests will be Mr and Mrs Ronald Colman.

Dennis: "And don't forget to listen to 'A Day in the Life of Dennis Day, starring me"

Jack:  "Yeah, yeah, you...goodnight, goodnight"

Dennis' Song:  Dennis sings "Forever and Ever".
23.     03/06/49             JACK GOES TO THE RACES

Don's Introduction:   "Ladies and gentlemen, once every year, Jack Benny decides to tempt fate by going out to Santa Anita for the races...yesterday was that let's go back and pick up Jack and Rochester in the car"

Guest Stars:  Ronald Colman and Benita Hume

The Show:   Jack and Rochester are in the Maxwell, on the way to the Santa Anita races, and they pick up Mary. Jack says he hasn't seen her since she went to Palm Springs last week:

Mary: "...we had wonderful weather...and you know, I stayed at the Racquet Club.
Jack: "Oh yes...who all was there, Mary?"
Mary: "Well, there was Robert Taylor, Frank Sinatra, Walter Pidgeon, and Gregory Peck"
Jack:  " must've had a lot of fun"
Mary:  "No, it was dull"
Jack:  "Dull....with Taylor, Sinatra, Pidgeon and Peck?? Geem I can't understand it...who else was there?"
Mary:  "Mrs Taylor, Mrs Sinatra, Mrs Pidgeon and Mrs Peck"

This is the first appearance by Sheldon Leonard in the racetrack tout role, which was formerly played by Benny Rubin; Mel Blanc plays the racetrack announcer, and Frank Nelson plays a waiter. Ronald and Benita Colman guest, as they're at the track as well. It's Benita's first time:

Ronald: "Benita, please, please, I'm trying to pick a horse for the next race"
Benita:  "But, Ronnie, you don't have to do all that figuring...why not just bet on the winner?"
Ronald:  " on the winner?!"
Benita:  "Why certainly, isn't horse racing like wrestling, don't they know ahead of time?"
Ronald:  "I'm afraid not, see, horse racing is a sport...wrestling is just something they use to sell television sets..."

Dennis' Song:   Dennis appears on this episode but doesn't sing.

24.    03/13/49             AFTER THE RACES
Don's Introduction:

Don:  "Ladies and gentlemen, for years millions of people have heard Jack Benny on the radio...last Tuesday night our star made his debut on television here on the West Coast, and the reaction to Jack's first television appearance was electrifying. One man prominent in the entertainment world is Mr. Bertram Scott, who said:
Bertram (Mel Blanc): "I think Jack Benny going on television is going to be a wonderful thing for our industry"
Don: "And what is your occupation?"
Bertram:  "I'm a theater manager"
Jack:  "Hmmm"
Don:  "Thank you, Bertram Scott...and now, ladies and gentlemen, without further ado, we bring you Jack Benny".
(the script reveals a cut bit that was supposed to be the end of Don's introduction: "...without further ado, we bring you a man who comes into your homes through your radio set, through your television receivers, and through your wood work...Jack Benny")

The Show:   The episode begins with Don and Jack discussing  Jack's first television appearance the previous Tuesday night. Then Mary tells the story in flashback of what happened on the way home from the racetrack last week, when Jack lost $4.75 betting on the horses.  After being haunted by the $4.75, and meeting Mr. Kitzel at a gas station, Jack went home and had a nightmare (in his dream, Mary takes an amusing turn as the racetrack tout). It all turns out okay when Jack gets an IRS rebate...for $4.75.

Dennis' Song:  Dennis sings "Clancy Lowered the Boom" for St.Patrick's Day, with Mary, Phil and Don all taking verses written about Jack.
25.    03/20/49               MARY AND VAN JOHNSON ARE LATE FOR REHEARSAL
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, the Jack Benny show holds it's rehearsals on Saturdays, so we'll take you back to yesterday and studio B at CBS".

Guest Star:   Van Johnson

The Show:    The show starts with a flashback to the rehearsal the day before, and Mary and guest star Van Johnson are late (they are driving together).  When Van Johnson arrives, he tells Jack he wants $5000 for his guest appearance.  Jack and Van have a double date at Ciro's with Gertrude and Mabel, the telephone operators. Van sings "It's Magic" in a duet with Mabel, and a quartet of singing cigarette girls sing a Lucky Strike version of the same song.  Eventually Jack and Van ditch the girls and leave them stranded. Dennis has an extremely small part this week, and does not sing.  Van Johnson acquits himself well and does a pretty funny guest turn, including a fair imitation of Frank Nelson's "would I!" catchphrase.

A funny bit with Don and Jack:

Don: "Oh Jack, I was just looking through this Radio Mirror Magazine and there's something in here very nice about you"
Jack: "About me? Gee, that's swell, Don, what does it say?
Don: "It says, 'Genial Don Wilson, who is loved by millions of people, was again selected as radio's number one announcer'"
Jack: Don, why did you say that was about me?"
Don: "Well, Jack, if I hadn't you wouldn't have listened to it"
Jack: "What do you mean I wouldn't have listened to it?! If I'm that kind of guy, would I be going all the way to San Francisco to appear on the Newspapermen's Frolics on next Saturday, March 25th, in the Civic Auditorium at eight o'clock?.....If they don't pay my railroad fare after that, let them get Morey Amsterdam..."

Dennis' Song:   Dennis appears on the episode but doesn't sing.

26.    03/27/49                SPRING CLEANING

Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, as you all know, this is the first week of let's go out to Jack Benny's home in Beverly Hills where we find Rochester doing the Spring cleaning"

The Show:  As usual when the show opens with a scene at Jack's home, Rochester is singing a song, this time to the tune of "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm". Ozzie and Harriet Nelson, of the "Ozzie and Harriet" program, call Jack to tell him that the "Ozzie and Harriet" show is moving to CBS beginning next week. Later Jack goes hiking with the Beverly Hills Beavers.

Note:   Jack calls Phil Harris by his real name when he says the line "You can say that again, Wonga". The script indicates that the "Wonga" was an ad-lib by Jack.

27.    04/03/49                 PREPARING TO FLY TO NEW YORK
Don's Introduction:   "Ladies and gentlemen, tonight Jack Benny is flying to New York let's go out to Jack's home in Beverly Hills, where we find him packing for the trip...Mary and Rochester are helping him"

The Show:    Jack is preparing to fly to New York to perform at an American Heart Association benefit, so Mary and Rochester help him pack (for his 10-hour flight!).  At the airport, Jack hits the perfect trifecta of his usual "travel-based" episode bit characters....Mr. Kitzel (Artie Auerbach), the racetrack tout (Sheldon Leonard), and Frank Nelson as the information clerk.  Mel Blanc plays the train station announcer.  The racetrack tout is particularly funny this episode.

Dennis' Song
:   Dennis sings "Faraway Places".

28.    04/10/49                  DENNIS DREAMS HE'S A STAR

Don's Introduction:    "Ladies and gentlemen, tonight Jack has a date to take Mary to a let's go out to his house in Beverly Hills, where Rochester is helping him get ready"

Guest Star:   Barbara Stanwyck

The Show:   While Rochester helps Jack get ready for his date, Mary's maid Pauline (Doris Singleton) is helping Mary get ready. Barbara Stanwyck stops by Mary's house and Mary invites her to go to the movies with her and Jack. Dennis arrives at Jack's house, trying to tell Jack a joke about two Irishmen and a street car, but Jack keeps interrupting him until he forgets the punchline, followed by this great exchange:

Jack: "...Dennis, what did you come over for?"
Dennis: "Do I have to have a reason to come over and see you?"
Jack:  "No, I..."
Dennis: "Who do you think you are, Winston Churchill?"
Jack: "Oh Dennis, I merely asked you why you came over here"
Dennis: "Well, watch it next time~!"

Dennis and Jack continue to argue. Later Dennis goes home, falls asleep and has a dream that he is the star of the program:

Don:  "The Lucky Strike Program, starring Dennis Day, with Winston Churchill, Aly Kahn, Two Irishmen on a street car, our singing star Margaret Truman, and yours truly, Moby Dick"

Dennis' Song:   Dennis sings "It's a Big Wide Wonderful World"

29.    04/17/49                  EASTER PARADE

Don's Introduction:  "Ladies and gentlemen, it's Easter Sunday...and in cities all over the country people are Easter parading. Right now in Beverly Hills, Jack is getting ready for his stroll down Wilshire the moment he's taking a shower, and Rochester is laying out his clothes.

The Show:    The main plot concerns Jack and Mary taking a walk down Wilshire Blvd on Easter.  Jack and Mary duet on "Happy Easter", and after each verse they run into a different cast member or bit player.  Mary is a fairly good singer, Jack...ehhh, not so much.

First they encounter Joey from the Beverly Hills Beavers, then Phil Harris, then Jack's violin teacher Professor LeBlanc (played by Mel Blanc). After they leave LeBlanc Mary actually pays Jack a compliment, followed by a wonderful non-sequitor:

Jack: "Say, Mary, I can't understand why he hates to give me violin lessons"
Mary:  "I can't understand it, either. You play beautifully"
Jack:  "Well, I....huh...Mary, that was sweet. What made you say that?"
Mary:  "I don't know, just an impulse...yesterday I kicked a cop in the pants"
Jack:  "Oh well, sometimes you have to let yourself go..."

Next we hear from Sara Berner and Bea Benaderet as the telephone operator girls Mabel and Gertrude, then Jack and Mary run into Don Wilson.  Jack and Mary then stop into the drug store where Frank Nelson is an employee. After leaving they next encounter Artie Auerbach as Mr. Kitzel (my copy of this episode has a strange edit between Jack's line ""Mr Kitzel, you certainly look nice in those striped pants, cut-away coat and top hat" and his next line "yes sir, it's just right for Easter". There's no dialog missing but it's a weird edit)The racetrack tout (Sheldon Leonard) is encountered next and has a very funny cameo:

Sheldon: "Hey, bud....bud"
Jack:  "Huh?"
Sheldon: "Come here a minute"
Jack: "Me?'
Sheldon:  "Yeah"
Jack: "Excuse me, Mary....yes?"
Sheldon: "What you doin'?"
Jack:  "We're just strolling along in the Easter Parade"
Sheldon: "How far you goin'?"
Jack: "To La Brea"
Sheldon:   "That's fine"
Jack:  "What?!"
Sheldon:  "You said you were going to La Brea and I said, 'that's fine'"
Jack"  "Wait a minute...aren't you going to try to talk me out of it?"
Sheldon: "Not me, this is my day off"
Jack: "Oh....oh"
Sheldon:  "Well, Happy Easter"
Jack:  "Same to you...come on, Mary"

After leaving the tout they next meet Dennis, who sings "Easter Parade"

Dennis' Song:   Dennis sings "Easter Parade"

30.    04/24/49                  JACK DECIDES TO TRADE IN HIS MAXWELL

Don's Introduction:   "Ladies and gentlemen, television is not only here, it's here to stay...and like other stars in radio, Jack Benny is preparing for the now we take you out to Beverly Hills. At the moment Jack is sleeping while Rochester is going about his morning chores"

The Show:    Rochester says that television has Jack so worried that every night he rehearses a different act, and that the night before Jack had a dance teacher at the house:

Rochester:  "....Imagine him trying to do that kind of dance...oh well, I might as well pick up his clothes and let the air out of the balloons...hee hee hee...isn't that cute, he even put the ironing board up on two chairs and used it for a runway..."

Jack tells Rochester to take down the ironing board and hide the balloons; when there's a knock on the door, Jack tells Rochester " matter who it is, don't mention anything about the new dance I've been working on". It turns out it's Mary at the door, which leads to a funny misunderstanding which is typical of many sitcoms, but not used that often on the Benny show:

Mary:   "Mr. Benny home?"
Rochester:   Yes, he's getting dressed. He'll be down in a minute"
Mary:   "Then I'll wait...and don't let me interrupt you, Rochester...go ahead and finish your ironing.
Rochester:  "....ironing?"
Mary:  "Yes, you've got the ironing board out, haven't you?"
Rochester:  "I wasn't using that, you see, Mr. Benny was---oh oh"
Mary:  "Mr Benny was what?"
Rochester:  "Well...he was getting ready to wallpaper the living room"
Mary:  "Well, back home I used to help my mother paper our house, and Mr Benny is going at it the wrong seems to me that..."
Jack:  "Well, good morning Mary"
Mary:  "Good morning Jack...Rochester told me what you were doing with the ironing board"
Jack:   "Oh he did, eh?? Rochester, I told you not to say anything about..."
Mary:  "But Jack, you should be glad he told me. I can show you a few tricks"
Jack:   "You?? What do you know about it?"
Mary:   "I used to do it with my mother"
Jack   "....what?"
Mary:   "Mama was wonderful. She used to work with a brush in each hand"
Jack;   "A brush in each hand? Didn't your father object?"
Mary:  "No, if she didn't do it, he'd have to"
Jack:   "Mary, what are you talking about?"
Mary:   "Wallpapering the house"
Jack:   "oh...oh...wallpaper, of course...(good boy, Rochester)...."

The little scene is only unfortunately marred by Jack's whispered "good boy, Rochester", which is frankly upsetting to hear so many years later.  Thankfully it's quite a rare occurrence for Jack to talk to Rochester that way.

Jack receives a circular from an automobile company and decides to trade in the Maxwell and get a new car. When  Phil calls Jack from a country club to invite Jack to come play some golf, Jack tells him he wants to buy a new car, so Phil thinks he has the wrong number.  Phil flubs a line as he hangs up, telling Jack "we got eight holes to play" instead of eighteen.

Emily (Gloria Gordon) and Martha (Jane Turner) the neighborhood girls make an appearance, spotting Jack, Mary and Rochester driving to buy the new car. The dealer is on a street packed with other car dealers..

Jack:   "Gosh, look at all the automobile dealers on this street...Honest John...The Smiling Irishman...Mad Man Muntz...Psychiatric Sam...Wild Man Pritchard...ah, here's the place we want...Just Plain Bill..."

Car dealer Just Plain Bill is played by Jim Backus (of Mr. Magoo and Gilligan's Island fame, among many other roles). In a speech that will be a running gag over the next few shows, Just Plain Bill tells Jack:

Bill: "This is the only car on the market that comes equipped with the dynaflex superflowing uni-jet turbovasculator which is syncromeshed with the multi-coil hydro-tension duo-vacuum dynamometer"
Jack:  "Gosh, what does that do for the car?
Bill:  "It empties the ash tray".

Moments later Mary has to read that same description and almost gets through it without a hitch. Just Plain Bill wants $4,200 for the car ($39,094.09 in 2011 money, according to the handy online Inflation Calculator) and Jack faints. When he comes to, Jack brings Bill to see the Maxwell and appraise the trade-in value; when Bill sees the Maxwell he screams. Bill offers three dollars for the Maxwell, and Jack is insulted by the amount. When he protests:

Bill:  "There's no use arguing, this thing is without a doubt the oldest, worst, most beat-up piece of junk I've ever seen~!"
Jack:   "WELL~!  That settles it...Rochester, stop the car".

Dennis' Song:   Dennis does not appear on this episode.

31.    05/01/49                  THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE

Don's Introduction:  "Ladies and gentlemen, for sixteen years I've been introducing the star of our show, and after all those years you'd think I'd run out of things to say about him....well, I here he is, Jack Benny"

The Show:    Mary stops by Jack's house to read him a new letter from her mother ("What does the Ma Kettle of Plainfield have to say?"). Mary makes several flubs while reading the letter.

After Dennis sings his song, Jack announces that they will perform their version of the film "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre", Before they can start, Phil stops by and gets his chance to say the car description from last week ("dynaflex superflowing uni-jet turbovasculator which is syncromeshed with the multi-coil hydro-tension duo-vacuum dymomometer"), getting through almost the whole thing until flubbing the last word.

There are numerous flubs in this episode;

Show Closing (Flub):
Jack:   "Well, ladies and gentlemen, this concludes another program and we'll be with you again next Sunday night...
Mary:   "Oh, Jack..."
Jack:    "...when we---huh?"
Mary:   "Jack..."
Jack:   "What?"
Mary:   "While you were doing the sketch, a wire came for you from Homphrey Bogart"
Jack:   "From WHO?"
Mary"  "Humphrey Bogart"
Jack:   "Not from Homphrey Bogart...did you say?  Mary, what's the matter with you today?"
Mary:   "Oh, Jack..."

There's something very touching in how Jack says  "Mary, what's the matter with you today?"  after her flub.  Although all the flubs on this episode lead to Jack chastising the cast on next weeks' episode, there's more care and concern in Jack's "whats the matter with you today?" than anger. Also note that as the 1940s end we're approaching the era when Mary distanced herself from the program more and more, eventually leading to her recording her lines at home.  (I'd also wonder just why exactly she messed up so much on this episode...her delivery in the closing sketch almost sounds slurred (next week she will blame this weeks' flubs on dental work)

Dennis' Song:   Dennis sings "Careless Hands"

32.    05/08/49                   JACK IS UPSET WITH THE CAST

Don's Introduction:   "Ladies and gentlemen, on last Sunday's broadcast we presented our version of that great Warner Brothers picture, "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre". Immediately after that, the orchestra played our theme song, we went off the air, and here's exactly what happened"

The Show:   The program begins, as noted above, where last week's program ended. Jack asks Phil to tell the band to stop playing, and then gathers the cast around. What's interesting is that Jack sounds genuinely upset. Of course, he's acting, but it definitely perks up the listener's interest to hear Jack's tone of voice sound "really" upset this time, as opposed to the over the top way he usually portrays being upset. And of course, there's the subtext that in this scene Jack is talking to his "real-life" wife:

Jack:  "Now, I don't want anybody to leave the stage. I want to talk to the entire cast"
Dennis:  "Is there anything wrong, Mr Benny"
Jack:  "Yes, there's plenty wrong, look...I don't want to get mad...I don't want to lose my temper...but the broadcast we just finished was one of the sloppiest shows I've heard...everyone fluffing their lines, missing their cues.
Mary:  "All right, Jack, it's over, let's forget it"
Jack:  "We won't forget it, fact, I want to talk to you first"
Mary:   "To me?"
Jack:  "Yes....I can't understand what happened to you when you read your mother's letter...I haven't heard you get words so mixed up since that time in the restaurant when you ordered a chiss sweeze was awful"
Mary:   "I'm sorry, Jack, but I just couldn't help it. Yesterday the dentist put a new gold crown on one of my teeth and it bothers me when I speak"
Jack:  "Look, I don't want any excuses, I'm just telling you that........a GOLD crown?"

The perfect patented Jack Benny pause before ".....a GOLD crown?" finally punctures the tension, giving the episode it's first real laugh.   Jack then chews out Phil for his flub on the "dynaflex, super flowing etc etc" lines, then Dennis for ad-libbing a line during the "Treasure of Sierra Madre" sketch.

Guest Star:   Eddie Cantor guest stars, running into the gang at the drugstore.

Dennis' Song:   Dennis sings "Little Mother of Mine"

Note:   This marks the last appearance of the "Level Best" Lucky Strike commercials

33.    05/15/49                   MARY IS SICK

Don's Introduction:   "And now, ladies and gentlemen, let's go out to Jack's home in Beverly Hills. Jack and Rochester are puttering around the kitchen; at the moment they are defrosting and cleaning out their refrigerator."

The Show:    Phil Harris drops by Jack's house to ask him a question, in secret:

Jack:  "What is it, Phil?"
Phil:  "Jackson, I want to borrow some money"
Jack:  " How much?
Phil:  "Two thousand dollars"
Jack:  " know, is funny. If we were doing a radio program now and you came in and asked me for two thousand dollars, I'd have to turn you down with a joke"
Phil:   "Yeah..."
Jack:  "But now we're NOT on the I can turn you down without a joke. Isn't that funny?"

Jack decides to lend Phil the money, so he goes down into his vault, guarded by Ed (Joe Kearns). After giving Phil the money, Jack is told by Rochester that Professor LeBlanc's wife called and said he wouldn't be able to come over and give Jack a violin lesson. Jack decides to go over to LeBlanc's house and take his lesson there. Before Jack can leave, however, Hoagy Carmichael stops by, completely at random, to try to sell Jack a song (?!). Hoagy sings Jack the song, and asks if he'd like to buy it, but Jack says he can't discuss it because he has to go to his violin lesson, so Hoagy leaves.

While riding in the streetcar to LeBlanc's house Jack meets Dennis, leading to another of the running jokes about Dennis being on both the Benny show and his own radio program:

Dennis:  "Say, Mr. Benny, where are you going with your violin?"
Jack:  "I'm going to take my lesson from Professor LeBlanc"
Dennis:  "You're not kidding're going downtown and play on some street corner"
Jack:  "Dennis, that's silly. Would YOU go downtown and play on some street corner?"
Dennis:  "I don't have to, I've got two shows".

Jack arrives at the house and is greeted at the door by LeBlanc's wife, Suzette (Bea Benaderet). He gives Jack his lesson until the LeBlanc's baby starts to cry. The loudly crying baby, mixed with Jack's violin playing while LeBlanc yells at Jack to stop, combines for an unusually loud finish for an episode.

Note:  I'm sure the first thing you'll wonder about the beginning of this episode is; where's the incredibly annoying "feeling low/feeling tense" "Smooke-a Luckkky" Lucky Strikes jingle?  Without warning they've suddenly gone back to the slightly less annoying "testimony of independent tobacco experts" commercial.
What you'll notice after the episode is that the commonly used episode title "Mary is Sick" has absolutely nothing to do with anything that happens during the episode itself. Yes, Mary is absent because she was sick---but certainly that's happened before, and other cast members had missed programs before, so quite why this particular episode was saddled with this title is a little odd. Of course, it IS a rather aimless episode; despite featuring a fairly bizarre cameo by Hoagy Carmichael, "Jack Goes to Prof. LeBlanc's House for a Lesson" would be a good alternate title.

Note:  The script reveals that the episode "tag" (after the main part at the LeBlanc home has ended) was originally Jack arriving home and receiving a telephone call from Mary; we only hear Jack's side of the conversation as he tells Mary about his violin lesson. This scene was cut.

34.    05/22/49                   THE CHAMPION SET UP

Don's Introduction:   "Ladies and gentlemen, as you may know, this is National Pickle Week. We would like to honor the occasion...but since we can't bring you a pickle, we bring you a man who's a barrel of sun...Jack Benny"

The Show:   Jack and Don discuss National Pickle Week, as Mary returns after missing last week with a cold. Phil tries to demonstrate to Jack how doing a television show will work (throwing in some "Milton Berle steals jokes" jokes along the way).

After Dennis' song, the "second routine" begins with a sketch spoofing two recent films about boxing, The Champion and The Set-Up.Before they begin, Rochester shows Mary how, like the Hooper radio ratings system, he calls people during the broadcast to find out who is their favorite comedian ("This is the Acme Radio your favorite comedian Jack Benny? Oh..."). The Sportsmen Quartet sings "Hawaiian War Chant".

Finally, as the "third routine" starts they begin the play, "The Champion Set Up". Jack plays fighter Midge Benny

Dennis' Song:   Dennis sings "A Chapter in My Life Called Mary"

35.    05/29/49                    THE CAST IS INTRODUCED

Don's Introduction:   "Ladies and gentlemen, this is our final broadcast of the season...and as you know, farewells are always sad. And doing the final program is always sad. So, without further ado, we bring you radio's saddest comedian, Jack Benny."

The Show:  The show begins with a discussion between Jack and Don about National Pickle Week, which leads to Jack threatening to "can" Don. Despite the fact that it is the end of May, guest star Margaret Whiting sings "Baby, It's Cold Outside" with the Sportsmen Quartet (a version that ends with "let's smoke a Lucky Strike").

After the song, at the start of the "second routine" Jack introduces "the man who is responsible for all the musical commercials that we do with the quartet, my arranger Mr. Mahlon Merrick". Following this, Jack then introduces Mr. Kitzel (Artie Auerbach), Joe Kearns (Ed, the Vault Guard), Sheldon Leonard, and Frank Nelson. Then Jack introduces the program's writers: Sam Perrin, Milt Josefsberg, George Balzer, and John Tackaberry. "Our little script girl" Jeanette Eyemann is next, then Dennis Day, followed by his song.

The "third routine" begins with Jack trying to bring out the "telephone operator girls" Bea Benaderet (Gertrude) and Sara Berner (Mabel), but he winds up having to talk to them from the switchboard. They're followed by Mel Blanc, who demonstrates his roles as Polly the Parrot, Professor LeBlanc, the train station P.A. announcer, and Jack's Maxwell car. Finally, Eddie Anderson (Rochester) calls in.

After all of the cast and crew intros, Vernon L. Clark of the United States Treasury Department to thank Jack for his part in the short film "The Spirit of Forty-Nine", which promoted the Opportunity Bond Drive, and to give Jack a citation and a replica of a covered wagon. The "closing tag" features the program's producer Hilliard (Hicky) Marks telling Jack to speed it up because they're running late.

Guest Star:   Margaret Whiting

Dennis' Song:   Dennis sings "Three Wishes"