Guest Star: Frank Sinatra
THE 1949-1950 SEASON
Originating once again from Hollywood, this is the Jack Benny Shows' first full season on the CBS radio network. All of the regular cast members return (Jack Benny, Mary Livingstone, Phil Harris, Dennis Day, Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, the Sportsmen, and Don Wilson), with an expanded role this season for the always versatile Mel Blanc, playing himself. The entire writing staff returns as well. The sponsor remains the American Tobacco Company and their Lucky Strikes cigarettes. Several new commercial angles are tried this year for Luckies, including celebrity "endorsements" during the closing commercial.
Notable episodes this year include the season opener, September 11,1949, in which Jack Benny only appears for four minutes near the end of the episode; the January 8, 1950 episode with Don Wilson's famous "Drear Pooson" flub, and January 15, 1950, which tells the story of how Jack and Fred Allen met, from both of their perspectives.
"The Lucky Strike Program Starring Jack Benny" finishes first overall in the Hooper ratings for the 1949-1950 season, with a 25.3 year-end rating. This is the first time the program has finished first in the overall year-end ratings since the beginning of the decade, the 1940-1941 season (when the show was still being written by Ed Beloin and Bill Morrow). Considering that part of the deal that brought Jack to CBS included a payment from CBS to the American Tobacco Company if the show lost any Hooper ratings points after leaving NBC, this year's first place finish must have been particularly gratifying.
1. 09/11/49 A BUS TOUR INTRODUCES THE CAST
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, to me this is a very exciting day, because it is the opening broadcast of the Jack Benny program. But, to the local chamber of commerce, it's just another Sunday...just another day to sent their fee sightseeing bus on a tour of our fair city,,,so let's go back a few hours and board one of these buses as it makes it's way around our glorious town"
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "Younger Than Springtime"
Note: More so than ever, this season Don Wilson's introductions are either recaps of an ongoing storyline from the prior episode, or a set-up for the storyline that week...not the humorous, joking Don Wilson introductions of Jack that they had been in the 1930s and at the beginning of the 1940s
Note: Another "famous" episode that gets brought up often in writings on old time radio, and the Jack Benny Show in particular, this season-opening broadcast features Jack in only 4 minutes of the entire show.
Note: On Don Yowp's fantastic "TRALFAZ" blog, he has posted a negative review of this episode by critic Harriet Van Horne, from the December 4, 1949 edition of the Pittsburgh Press. I hadn't thought of her name in years, but growing up in New York in the 1970s I remember reading Van Horne's TV columns, and almost always vehemently disagreeing with her opinions. I guess our record still stands~!
2. 09/18/49 EDWARD, MY SON
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, last Sunday Jack Benny did his first broadcast of the season...of the entire half hour, Jack was only on for four minutes...this week he's gonna try for eight. And here he is, Jack Benny~!"
The Show: The show begins with Jack firing Don over his joke about Jack only being on the show for four minutes last week. Mel Blanc stops by to ask Jack if he can have a part on this week's show, saying that he can imitate Humphrey Bogart, Clark Gable, Edward G Robinson, and Al Jolson (his Al Jolson imitation, which is hysterical, is Mel just going "myahhhh"). Jack tells him that he doesn't need any extra actors today. When Mary asks why jack didn't give Blanc the role of a Western Union boy, Jack replies he filled the role already. Before the cast perform their version of the MGM film "Edward My Son", Don requests that the Sportsmen do a Lucky Strike commercial. Jack agrees, but protests when they start to sing "Charlie, My Boy", so they switch to "Edward, My Son". When they finish, Jack sarcastically says that it was wonderful, and asks Don to "get them out of here, will you?":
Don: "Okay....you better sit down, boys"
Jack: "And they can cut that out, too, that hasn't gotten a laugh in three years....now come on, kids.."
The Western Union boy arrives with a telegram for Jack, played by Rochester.
Mary: "Wait a minute, Jack...so that's why you wouldn't hire Mel Blanc for the messenger boy, you made Rochester do it"
Rochester: "Rochester, you can go"
Phil: "(laughing) If that ain't the silliest thing I ever heard, making Rochester....(laughs)....Rochester an actor"
Rochester: "I wouldn't laugh so much if I were you, Mr Harris"
Rochester: "As soon as I learn all the lyrics of "That's What I Like About the South", you're a one show man~!"
Later, the mailman arrives, and he too is played by Rochester. Mel Blanc comes back to plead for a role, so jack casts him in the play as Harry Simpkins, Jack's business partner. They then begin the play "Edward, My Son". Dramatic music crashes every time Jack says "Edward....My Son~!" Jack plays Spencer Holdt, industrialist and financier, Mary is his wife Deborah, and Dennis is Jack's son, Edward. Jack, Mary and Mel all use exaggerated English accents in their roles. Spencer's former partner Harry Simpkins (played by Mel Blanc) shows up:
Mary: "Isn't he the man who was sentenced to hang for murder and was pardoned three minutes after the trap was sprung?"
Jack: "Yes, but don't say anything about his long neck, he's sensitive"
Mary: "Oh, I shan't"
((Mary's line and accent almost crack Jack up))
Rochester appears yet again, as Constance, Edward's nurse. Mary flubs a line, speaking over Rochester, and says "I know I made a mistake, Jack".
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "Roomful of Roses"
Note: As noted above, in a somewhat rare development on the program, Mel Blanc appears as himself, stopping by to see if Jack had a part for him in today's broadcast. Jack tells him no. Not only is this brief scene a set-up to another occasional running gag this season, but as a follow-up to this, Jack actually gives Rochester several roles in the "show", as a messenger boy, a mailman, and a nurse. It's insinuated that Jack gave the messenger role to Rochester instead of Mel Blanc because he wouldn't have to pay Rochester extra. Since, in the often strange "meta" world in which the program exists Rochester is Jack's valet, and not an actor, traditionally it's been rare for Rochester to have an actual acting role on "the show", the meta-version of the Jack Benny Show that is broadcast. This is why he is often worked into the show by either calling the studio from Jack's home, or by having a scene set IN Jack's home. Blanc uses a very exaggerated version of his "real" voice in his role as Mel Blanc.
Note: A very funny, well-done effort all around by all involved, and the 1949-1950 season is actually off to a fantastic start, earning the high ratings it's been receiving lately. Mary has another flub in a season that seems full of Mary flubs. Perhaps her interest (and attention) was waning? It wouldn't be too much longer before Mary began recording her lines on the show at home, without the other actors...and of course she would not take part in the Jack Benny television show.
3. 09/25/49 EDGAR BERGEN, CHARLIE McCARTHY AND RED SKELTON
Don's Introduction: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, let's go back an hour....Jack and Mary are on their way to the studio...Rochester is driving them."
The Show: Jack, Mary and Rochester drive to the CBS Studios, where Jack says that CBS head Bill Paley has reserved a parking space just for him. On the way into the parking lot, Mary makes a fantastic flub in a season of 'em:
Another Mary Flub:
Mary: "Gee, they sure treat you nice, don't they Jack?"
Jack: "Mary, all the networks are nice...and it's about time people realized that there's no animosity between them."
Mary: "There isn't?"
Jack: "Of course not. Now, Take CBS....they even put Johnson's Wax on the floor..."
Mary: "Jack, CBS didn't put it there; so many stars have come over they tracked it in on their heads"
Jack: "On their heads~!? On their shoes~! ((audience laughs)) They must be acrobats...how do you like that, we've got acrobats now...walk in on their heads. SHOES~!"
Mary: "...so many stars come over and track it in on their shoes..."
Jack: "Ohh, we don't have to go through it again. It doesn't matter how it got there....the fact that it's there proves that..."
This is an amusing mistake, because it's not a malaprop or mispronouncing a word; where did Mary come up with "..on their heads'?! That kills the joke, obviously, but the reaction is funny, getting more laughter than the original"..on their shoes" would've gotten.
Jack finds Bill Paley has parked in his spot. As Jack and Mary walk into the studio, Rochester asks Jack why he has paid him in British pounds this week, and Jack ad libs a funny quip about Mary's mistake:
Jack: "I'll explain it to you later...come on, Mary"
Mary: "Oh brother, you don't miss a trick, do you?"
Jack: "Never mind...just walk in on your head."
Mel Blanc turns up as himself again, asking Jack for a role on this week's program, and again does his great Al Jolson imitation ("Myahhh"). Walking to his dressing room, Jack finds ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his dummy Charlie McCarthy inside. Bergen tells Jack that it is HIS dressing room, and that they've switched Jack to dressing room four:
Bergen: "I'm sorry, Jack, but they've switched you to dressing room four. All my things are here and they're going to stay here~!"
Jack: "Well, I'll throw 'em out~!"
Bergen: "You lay a hand on those clothes, and I'll..."
Jack: "Oh yeah~!? Put up your dukes~!!"
Mary: "Boys~! Boys~!""
Charlie: "Let 'em fight, Livvy. The most they can do is LEAN on each other"
Charlie's line gets a HUGE laugh. Jack and Mary leave the dressing room, and run into Dennis, who tells them he's been drafted; he won it on a quiz program ("I got a bicycle, a refrigerator, and two years in the Army"). After Dennis sings "Some Enchanted Evening", Jack and Mary go to dressing room number four, only to find Amos and Andy in it. They tell Jack that the head of the network has given them the dressing room.
When Jack and Mary get to the studio, they find Red Skelton there rehearsing. While rehearsing, Red slips on the floor, and slips in an ad-lib...
Red: "....now this time let's...WHOOPS~!"
Jack: "Red...Red...how did you happen to slip?"
Red: "Well, you see I just came over and I've still got wax on my head"
Nice use, by the writers (or Red if it was an ad-lib) of an in-episode running joke on Mary's flub (the later "Dreer Pooson" episode also works a flub into a punchline later on in the show.)
Red tells Jack that the studio is his, and that they've moved Jack to the "widdle studio" down the hall:
Jack: "The widdle studio? WELL, how do you like that? First they take my parking space...then my dressing room...now my studio...if they think they can kick me around they've got another thing coming"
Mary: "Jack, don't stand around here grumbling. You better hurry to the widdle studio. It's time for your show to go on the air"
Jack: "Oh, it is, eh? Time for me to go on the air? Well, I'll fix them. Let them start the show~!"
Mary: "Jack, look what time it is~!"
Jack: "I know what time it is, but I'm gonna teach them a lesson...Mary, there's a radio...turn it on...let's see how they're getting along without ME"
Don, on the radio: "....And here he is, the star of the Lucky Strike Program...MEL BLANC~!"
Jack: "Mel Blanc~!"
Guest Stars: Edgar Bergen (and Charlie McCarthy), Amos and Andy (Freeman Gosden and Charles Correll), and Red Skelton.
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "Some Enchanted Evening"
Note: Basically this episode is an extended commercial for all of the programs that CBS "stole" away from NBC. It's often an amusing past-time of old time radio fans to inform people that aren't familiar with the work of Edgar Bergen that he was a ventriloquist. On the radio. His Chase and Sanborn sponsored show, featuring Bergen and his "dummy" Charlie McCarthy, began in May of 1937. It was broadcast on NBC and was extremely popular throughout the 1930s and 1940s (the program finished third overall in the ratings for the 1947-1948 season, a season that the Jack Benny show finished fourth) but Chase and Sanborn ended their sponsorship, and the last program was broadcast over NBC on December 26, 1948. Coca-Cola picked up sponsorship for the next season, and Bergen and McCarthy returned to the air one week from this episode, on October 02, 1949, this time on the CBS radio network. They were part of the big CBS "talent raids" that also saw the Amos and Andy program, the Red Skelton program, and of course the Jack Benny program, leaving NBC for CBS. Speaking of Amos and Andy, also guest starring in this episode, they saw their program slip to 8th place overall for the 1948-1949 season, but it would jump back to 6th for this season (1949-1950), when it followed the Jack Benny show Sunday evenings on CBS. In fact, CBS would have all of the top ten highest rated programs for the 1949-1950 season.
4. 10/02/49 JACK TAKES INVENTORY OF HIS PANTRY
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, around this time of year, Jack Benny goes through a rather peculiar annual routine...he takes inventory of all the commodities in his pantry...as we look in, Rochester and Jack are checking off the items"
The Show: Jack and Rochester are taking inventory of Jack's pantry. Mary stops by and while talking to her Jack falls off a stool, but he is all right. Mary answers Jack's phone, and it's Phil Harris calling to ask Jack for two tickets to the Sunday broadcast. The phone call includes this great bit as Phil talks to Mary:
Mary: "...would you like to speak to him?"
Phil: "Talk to that old man when I've got you Livvy? (soft voice:) Why, you gorgeous bundle of loveliness.....(straight voice:) Let me speak to Jackson~!"
Mary: "Phil, what happened?"
Phil: "Alice just walked into the room".
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "Just One Way to Say I Love You"
5. 10/09/49 JACK'S MEMORY IS LOST AND FOUND
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, last week while Jack was taking inventory in his pantry, a big can of tomato juice fell off the shelf and hit him on the head. Since then, Jack hasn't been himself and Mary is terribly worried. So now we take you to Mary's home in Beverly Hills"
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "You're Breaking My Heart"
6. 10/16/49 RECOVERING FROM A COLD
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, last week, while temporarily deranged from a blow on the head by a can of tomato juice, Jack Benny put a thousand dollar deposit on a yacht...He's recovered from his injury, but the loss of his money plus a bad cold have kept him in bed"
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "That Lucky Old Sun"
7. 10/23/49 JACK IS RECOVERING FROM NOSE SURGERY
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, after suffering from a bad cold for several weeks, Jack Benny went to the hospital for a nasal operation. Today he is home again, recuperating and as we look in, Rochester is tidying up the house."
Dennis' Song: Dennis appears on the episode but doesn't sing.
Note: The recording source for this broadcast is the Armed Forces Radio Service; hence, the Lucky Strike commercials, and parts of the Sportsmen Quartet''s song, have been edited out.
Note: Near the beginning of the program, Jack makes the following joke:
Jack: "October 21st, the doctor told me I could leave the hospital...I felt so good and it was such a beautiful day, I decided to walk home...as I started up Santa Monica Boulevard, people kept looking at me and smiling...I smiled back til I realized I was still wearing my nightie...rather than go back and get my clothes, I lit a candle and in the next three blocks I sold twenty-eight Fisk tires...those hospital nightgowns are all right, providing the wind is against you"
There's an old saying, that if you have to explain a joke, than it's not funny. However, that doesn't take into account jokes that were told 63 years ago and reference events or things that have become much less known in the intervening years. For example, things such as Mary Livingstone's "Two Thanksgivings" poem from the 1939 season don't make much (if any) sense without the historical context. While this site is not attempting to explain EVERY joke told on the Benny program that contains an obscure pop-culture reference from long ago, many of the jokes and the stories behind them are fascinating, and Jack's "Fisk tires" joke gets a VERY big studio audience laugh, so, with a little help from a website run by one Charles Fisk III, here is some background information:
Jack's joke refers to advertisements published in the first half of the 20th Century by the Fisk Tire Company. The little Fisk Tire boy first appeared in 1907 when Burr Giffen, a young commercial artist working for Fisk Tire Company, sketched a figure of a yawning boy wearing pajamas. His right arm encircled a tire, and his left hand held a candle. Fisk management was enthusiastic about the sketch, and the clever slogan "Time to Re-Tire" was inked in below the figure. The drawing was copyrighted in 1910 and was registered as a trademark in the u.s. Patent Office in 1914.
The above ad was published circa 1950, so apparently little Fisk nightgown boy didn't do much growing up between 1907 and 1950. But seeing the ad above, and then picturing Jack Benny in a hospital gown roaming the streets with a candle, you can why the line got such a great audience response.
8. 10/30/49 DON WILSON CELEBRATES 25 YEARS IN RADIO
Don: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, in bringing you the star of our show, it gives me great pleasure to bring you a man ...
Jack: "Just a minute, Don, Don hold it a minute.
Jack: "Don, today, instead of you introducing me, I'm going to introduce YOU"
Jack: "Yes, Don....ladies and gentlemen, today not only marks the anniversary of Don's Wilson's twenty-fifth year in radio...but it also commemorates his sixteenth year with me. So, Don, take a bow."
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "The Last Mile Home"
9. 11/06/49 JACK RIDES IN A YACHT
Dennis' Song: Denis sings "Younger Than Springtime"
10. 11/13/49 LAST WEEK'S MISTAKES
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, on last week's program, everybody made so many mistakes in reading their lines that Jack felt it was necessary to call a special meeting...at the moment we find the cast assembled in Jack's living room"
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "Roses In December"
Note: The beginning of this episode closely resembles the scene from the May 08, 1949 episode, where Jack calls a meeting of the cast to discuss all of their flubs from the week before.
11. 11/20/49 JACK GOES TO REHEARSAL
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen...usually at this time we take you out to Jack Benny's house...but right now, Jack isn't home...he's on his way to the studio and Rochester is driving him."
Guest Star: Larry Stevens, Dennis' "replacement tenor", returns to the program to visit, sent by Mary Livingstone to fill in this week for Dennis' absence.
Dennis' Song: Dennis doesn't appear on this episode; Larry Stevens sings "I Can Dream, Can't I?"
12. 11/27/49 JACK SPENDS THE EVENING AT HOME PLAYING CARDS
Don's Introduction: "And now ladies and gentlemen, we take you out to Jack Benny's home in Beverly Hills. It's evening and Jack has just finished his dinner"
Guest Star: Jack's old Buck Benny pal Andy Devine has a brief role this week.
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "You're Breaking My Heart"
13. 12/04/49 TYRONE POWER
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, this may come as a surprise to some of our listeners, but before this program goes on the air, it is rehearsed...let us turn back the clock a couple of hours and sit in on today's rehearsal in Studio B"
Guest Star: Tyrone Power
Dennis' Song: Dennis appears on the show but doesn't sing
14. 12/11/49 TEXAS BENEFIT
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen...Jack is leaving tonight for Houston, Texas, where he's going to be the Master of Ceremonies at the big charity football game there next Saturday. As we look in at the Benny house, Rochester is finishing Jack's packing.."
Guest Star: Frank Leahy
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "Dear Hearts and Gentle People"
15. 12/18/49 MARY BUYS JACK A PENCIL SHARPENER FOR CHRISTMAS
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, let's go out to Beverly Hills. It's morning...and hundreds of people...brimming with the Christmas spirit...are waiting for the local department store to open it's doors."
The Show: The annual "Jack goes Christmas shopping" episode.
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "I Must Have Done Something Wonderful"
Note: This episode was actually recorded in advance ("transcribed") on December 09, 1949 for broadcast tonight 12/18/49
16. 12/25/49 ROCHESTER IS SHOCKED BY ELECTRIC ALARM CLOCK
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, if you go out to Beverly Hills and look in the window of Jack Benny's house, you will see a very pretty Christmas tree...a picture of peace and serenity...but if you could have been there yesterday...well, why not...?"
Dennis' Song: Dennis performs a song for Christmas, "Ave Maria". Jack and Mary sing "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town"
17. 01/01/50 JACK CAN'T MAKE MARY'S PARTY
Don's Introduction: "Happy New Year everyone...yes, this is New Year's Day, and we're going to take you to the home of Mary Livingstone in Beverly Hills...at the moment, Mary and her maid Pauline are straightening up the house after last night's celebration".
The Show: Rochester has plans to go out and party for New Year's Eve, but upon seeing that Jack is staying home by himself, Rochester cancels his plans to stay in and celebrate together with Jack. This episode is often referenced when discussing Jack and Rochester's relationship, and it really does get to the heart of why and how they got along so well together, and the ending is genuinely touching.
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "I've Got A Lovely Bunch of Coconuts"
Note: This episode was actually recorded in advance ("transcribed") on December 27, 1949.
Note: Ironically, the plot of this episode, which was the last show recorded in the 1940s and the first show broadcast in the 1950s, is partially based on the last show to be broadcast in the 1930s, 12/31/1939.
18. 01/08/50 "DREER POOSON" FLUB
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen...1949 is gone and forgotten, but to Jack Benny 1950 will always be remembered...because 1950 is what he paid for his new suit...and here he is, Jack Benny~!"
The Show: The cast performs a murder mystery, "Murder at the Romanoffs"
Guest Stars: Frank Sinatra, Rosalind Russell, Gene Kelly, Prince Michael Romanoff
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "Marta"
Note: The (in)famous "Dreer Pooson" flub follows immediately after Don Wilson's introduction of Jack, as listed above:
Jack: "Thank you, thank you, hello again, this is Jack Benny talking....and Don, I want to ask you something...how did you know that I bought a new suit?"
Don: "I heard it on Drear Pooson....."
Jack: "You heard it on what? Wait a minute...I want to hear this. You heard it...you heard it on what?"
Don: "I heard it on Drew Pearson's broadcast."
Jack: "Ladies and gentlemen, he got the award for being the best announcer. That gives you a rough idea. Dr. Gallop must have given it to him. Now, wait a minute, Don, Drear Drearson...Drew Pearson is a commentator who specializes in national affairs. Why would he mention that I bought a suit for nineteen dollars and fifty cents?"
Don: "Because Wall Street feels that it indicates a definite trend toward a Bull Market."
This became a rather famous old time radio flub, both for Don Wilson's original mistake, and for the speed in which the Benny show writers worked a reference the flub into the show as it was being
broadcast live. This excerpt is from the book "The Jack Benny Show: The Life and Times of America's Best-Loved Entertainer" by Benny show writer Milt Josefsberg, published in 1977:
"Radio had such an immediacy to it, something TV lacks, that sometimes we didn't even wait for the following week to correct or capitalize on a mistake. If it happened early enough in the program, and an appropriate spot was found later in the script, we'd change it while we were on the air. When veterans of the radio era gather and reminisce, one such situation stands out. It happened when Jack was supposed to get into a political argument with Don Wilson, and, as usual, Don was to stick to his guns because he had a full fund of facts. The clincher came when Jack asked Wilson why he was so sure he was right, and Don was to answer with firm finality "Because I read it in Drew Pearson's column'. And because this was to terminate the debate, Don was to deliver it with more emphasis than any of his other dialogue. But what he boomed out was "I read it in Dreer Pooson's column'. Jack repeated "Dreer Pooson', the audience laughed and the show went on.
As I said, however, it happened in the opening lines of the show. The program was to end with a scene where Jack went to a swanky hotel to meet someone. And prior to entering the hotel, Jack was to talk to the doorman played by his always encountered arch-enemy, Frank Nelson, who hated Jack in every role that he played. In this scene Nelson was the doorman at the hotel and Jack was to open the conversation by asking, "Excuse me, are you the doorman?" And Nelson would sneeringly say, 'Well, who do you think I am in this red uniform---Nelson Eddy?" (For those readers too young to remember, Nelson Eddy was a wooden-visaged actor who sang beautifully, usually opposite Jeanette MacDonald, and it seemed that in every other picture he was cast as a member of the Canadian Royal Mounted Police whose red uniforms look so splendid in Technicolor). This hotel doorman scene took place a full fifteen minutes after Don tongue-twisted Drew Pearson's name into "Dreer Pooson'. Jack, a completely unsuspecting shnook, now approached Frank Nelson and asked, "Excuse me, are you the doorman?', and Nelson shattered Jack's composure when he answered, "Well, who do you think I am, Dreer Pooson?' The new answer not only undid Jack, but it had the same hysterical effect on the cast, crew, and musicians, all of whom had heard Frank rehearse the regular written line about 'Nelson Eddy', and all of them thought 'Dreer Pooson' was an ad-lib on his part. What actually happened was that when Don made his fluff the writers, listening to the programs proceedings in the control booth, got the happy idea of changing Frank's line. We qucikly motioned to him where he was sitting on stage waiting to go on. We got him into the booth, suggested our change, and he immediately penciled in our new line"
The scene later in the episode with Frank Nelson's line:
Jack: "Okay, men...this is Romanoff's Restaurant...and that man there in the red uniform and the gold braid must be the doorman...I'll ask him....Pardon me, are you the doorman?"
Nelson: "Who do you think I am, Drear Pooson?"
(Nelson's original line as listed in the script was: "No, I'm the clothes rack, they hang the silliest things on me".)
As can be seen by the lines from the actual episode as listed above, Milt's memory isn't quite 100% correct. Don and Jack weren't having a political argument before Don's "Dreer Pooson" flub, and later in the episode, Frank Nelson's original doorman line as shown in the script actually had nothing to do with Nelson Eddy. Nelson's "who do you think I am, Dreer Pooson" line does bring the house down, though, stopping the show for several seconds as the audience, crew and Jack all crack up laughing.
Another, much lesser known second flub:
Near the end of the murder mystery, playing "Mitzi LaRue", Mary's line "yes...Carlton Quince was killed...there he is at that corner table...dead" instead came out as this:
Mary: "Yeah, Carlton Quince was quilled..."
Jack: "Quilled?....one lousy rehearsal..."
Another, much lesser known third flub:
A running joke during the murder mystery this episode has been that, after every time Jack says "...or my name ain't.." , it is followed by the Sportsmen Quartet doing a quick LSMFT song set to "chase" type music. After his "Captain O' Benny character interrogates Rosalind Russell, Jack says his "...or my name ain't.." line, and the Sportsmen Quartet completely and totally flub the quick song. Right after it Jack ad libs : "That was the lousiest thing I ever heard in my life~! One rehearsal, that's all I ask~!"
Note: Incidentally, this is really the first "old style" Don Wilson "joke" introduction of Jack this whole season, so far. It also leads into the Drew Pearson mistake.
Note: Prince Michael Romanoff ran the restaurant "Romanoffs", where this episodes' murder mystery play takes place.
Note: Dennis usually got very funny lines for his entrances, and this episode is no exception:
Jack: "...but tonight we're doing a very important play. It's an exciting melodrama that takes place in a restaurant in...
Dennis: "Well, come on, come on, let's get this corny sketch over with"
Jack: "Huh?....Dennis you're late"
Dennis: "So what, you wanna make something out of it?"
Dennis: "You heard me, Clyde, you ain't wearin' ear muffs"
Dennis: "Dennis Dennis Dennis...you make me sick~!"
Jack: "Now, look kid, if you think you can come in here and.."
Dennis: "Don't crowd me, son"
Jack: "For heavens sake, Dennis, what's come over you?"
Dennis: "It's my New Year's resolution. Nobody's pushing me around anymore.
Phil: "That's telling him, wormy"
(Phil's "wormy" remark was apparently an ad-lib)
Note: During the play, in this very funny scene Jack, as Police Captain O'Benny, gains another new catchphrase:
Jack: "...but I'm really disgusted with you men...why even our bloodhound, Prince, is smarter than you...come here Prince...here, Prince"
Prince (Mel Blanc): ((Mel pants like a dog))
Jack: "Prince, how much is one and two?"
Prince: ((barks three times))
Jack: "That's right...now, what's six minus four?"
Prince: ((barks two times))
Jack; "Right again, Prince....now, what is the square root of seventy three thousand, four hundred twenty nine?"
((pause...then light scratching sound))
Jack: "Put down that pencil and figure it out in your head~!.....Stupid dog~!"
Note: As with the "Chiss Sweeze Sandwich" episode, the most commonly used title for this episode is a reference to a famous flub. In the case, if not for the flub this episode would most likely be named "Murder at Romanoff's". It's also interesting that, while this episode is almost always mentioned due to the famous flub, it does feature as guest stars Rosalind Russell and Frank Sinatra.
19. 01/15/50 HOW JACK MET FRED ALLEN
Don's Introduction: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, let's go back a few hours. It's just before our regular Sunday rehearsal and Jack is in his dressing room waiting for his guest star to appear"
The Show: Jack decides to have Fred Allen on the show as a guest star despite their past battles, after seeing Allen on the street selling maps to movie star's homes (Allen's radio show had been cancelled; the last broadcast was June 26, 1949). While they wait in the dressing room for Allen to appear, Rochester asks Jack if he should make out the payroll:
Jack: "Yes, Rochester. And on Don Wilson's check, deduct fifty cents"
Rochester: "Fifty Cents?"
Jack: "Yes. And in the stub make a notification...'Deduction for D.P."
Rochester: "D.P.? What does that stand for?"
Jack: "Drear Pooson...he'll understand"
After Jack goes to the stage and listens to Phil rehearse the orchestra, Dennis makes his entrance:
Mary: "Jack, Jack, let's get on with the rehearsal"
Jack: "We'll start when Fred Allen gets here"
Mary: "Is Fred Allen gonna be our guest?"
Jack: "Certainly, Mary. I told you last week"
Mary: "I thought you were kidding"
Dennis: "Getting Fred Allen is no surprise to me"
Dennis: "I could see the handwriting on the wall"
Dennis: "You're in the middle of your season...you gotta start getting laughs, kid"
Jack: "Now, look..."
Dennis: "Some Sundays I'm ashamed to go home"
Jack has the Sportsman Quartet locked in a studio closet singing the LSMFT jingle 500 times, punishment for their flub the week before. As Jack wonders why Fred Allen hasn't shown up yet and where he could be, we transition to a nearby dinner where Allen is having coffee. He talks with the waiter (Mel Blanc) for a bit before the scene switches back to Jack at the CBS Studio. Don Wilson asks Jack how he first met Allen. Jack tells Don the story of how it happened many years ago during vaudeville at it's height, at the Metropolitan Theater in Boston. In Jack's version of the story, he was in his dressing room having just finished a show (after taking seven bows) when Fred Allen came in seeking advice on becoming a "sophisticated comedian" like Jack. When Allen asks Jack what he thinks if "this new entertainment medium that's just starting up now, this thing called radio", Jack tells him he already has an idea for a radio program:
Allen: "You have?"
Jack: "Yes...on my program each week, I'll visit a place called Benny's Boulevard, where I'll start knocking on doors, and ask topical questions of four people.."
Allen: "Four people?"
Jack: "Yes...a Southern Senator, a rube who says 'Howdy, Bub', a Bronx housewife, and an Irishman"
(this of course describes the regular "Allen's Alley" sketch on Fred Allen's own radio program, and the characters Senator Claghorn, Titus Moody, Mrs. Nussbaum, and Ajax Cassidy)
After Jack finishes telling Don the story and says Allen stole his idea, Rochester finds Allen at the diner, and says he can walk Allen over to the CBS Studios. As they walk, Allen tells Rochester the story of how he first met Jack Benny. It was at that same Metropolitan Theater in Boston, only in Allen's version he was the headliner, coming off stage after taking eleven encores. Jack comes into the dressing room and says he wants to become a great comedian like him. Allen says to Benny if he wants to earn big money that he should turn to radio:
Allen: "Yes, it's a gold mine...say, I'm working on an idea for a program for myself....now, my idea is this---I'll be the star, you see, and I'll have a valet, a very naive young boy tenor, a girl to insult me, a drunken orchestra leader, and a fat announcer"
When Rochester and Allen get to the CBS studio, Allen says he can't go in, that he can't let Benny give him a job. When Rochester asks him how he's going to live since he has no money, Allen again starts selling maps to movie stars homes.
Guest Star: Fred Allen
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "Happy Times"
20. 01/22/50 "I WAS BETRAYED"
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, at the end of every Lucky Strike program, Jack and the cast go through a little ritual...so let's go back to last Sunday, immediately after the show, and watch what happens"
Guest Star: Red Skelton
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo"
21. 01/29/50 TO NEW YORK BY TRAIN FOR THE HEART FUND BENEFIT
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, in a few hours Jack Benny and his entire troupe leave for New York to start off the campaign for the National Heart Fund. So now, let's go out to Jack Benny's house in Beverly Hills"
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "There's No Tomorrow"
Note: Verna Felton reprises her role as Dennis' mother.
Note: This episode was actually recorded in advance (transcribed) on January 19, 1950.
22. 02/05/50 FROM NY: HEART FUND BENEFIT
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, tonight we are broadcasting from New York City for the opening of the 1950 Heart Campaign...so without further ado, I bring you the man who is here to help launch the campaign...Jack Benny~!"
On Location: The show is broadcast from New York City
Note: Perhaps the dullest and/or least funniest introduction of Jack in years?
Note: Mel Blanc shows up again as himself, having come from Hollywood hoping for a part on the show.
Note: At the show's closing, Dr. H.M. Marvin, President of the American Heart Association, gives a speech.
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "Dear Hearts and Gentle People"
23. 02/12/50 ALLEN'S ALLEY SPOOF
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, this is our second week in New York. So let's go out to the Acme Plaza Hotel where Jack is staying. Our little star is in bed..."
On Location: The show is broadcast from New York City.
Guest Stars: The Ink Spots, and in the Allen's Alley spoof former Fred Allen cast members Kenny Delmar as Senator Claghorn, Peter Donald as Ajax Cassidy, and Parker Fennelly as Titus Moody. Delmar was of course also a former announcer for the Jack Benny Show.
Dennis' Song: Dennis does not appear in this episode
24. 02/19/50 JACK RETURNS TO LOS ANGELES BY TRAIN
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, for the past two weeks Jack Benny and his troupe have been in New York...so now let's pick them up on the Superchief en route to Los Angeles...Mary and Jack are playing a game of gin rummy"
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes"
Note: This episode recycles script portions from earlier train episodes, most notably 01/25/1948
Note: Actor Ray Bolger (The Wizard of Oz) appears in the closing Lucky Strike commercial
25. 02/26/50 "THE WHISTLER"
Don's Introduction: "Ladies and gentlemen, last night Jack Benny was in Washington, D.C. where he was Master of Ceremonies for the annual White House Photographers' Ball. Immediately following the affair he boarded a plane and flew back to Hollywood. And here he is, Jack Benny~!"
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "Scarlet Ribbons"
Note: This episode was actually recorded in advance (transcribed) on February 20, 1950.
Note: In a somewhat disturbing trend, for the second week in a row the program relies heavily on an earlier script. This time it is the 10/20/1946 episode titled "The Fiddler".
Note: Rochester sings the mid-show Lucky Strlke commercial, "The Lucky Side of The Street" (to the tune of "The Sunny Side of The Street")
Note: This time it's Hedy Lamarr in the closing Lucky Strike commercial
26. 03/05/50 BUCK BENNY RIDES AGAIN
Don: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, once again it is my pleasure to introduce the star of our show. And since today is March the fifth..
Phil: "How do you do, ladies and gentlemen, this is Phil Harris, the one and only...
Jack: "Phil...Phil...that introduction was for me"
Phil: "Oh, I'm sorry , Daad, but when Donzy said fifth, I just naturally opened my mouth"
Jack: "Well, cork it up again and sit down. Continue, Don"
Don: "Yes, ladies and gentlemen, this is the month of March, and, as you all know, March comes in like a lion, and goes out like a ham, and here he is, Jack Benny~!
Guest Star: Sarah Churchill (Winston Churchill's daughter)
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "Blossoms on the Bough".
Note: Hey, what happened to Don's original joke for the introduction? Phil interrupts after Don says "...and since today is March the fifth", but when Don resumes the intro it's with a pretty poor, entirely different, joke.
27. 03/12/50 SAGEBRUSH SOAP CONTEST
Don's Introduction: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, let's go out to Jack Benny's home in Beverly Hills where, even as you and I, Rochester is filling out his income tax"
Guest Star: Howard Meighan, Vice President of the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS).
The Show: Jack enters and wins a contest to create a slogan for "Sagebrush Soap'. Jack's winning entry: "Now is the hour/To take a shower/While the bloom is on the sage".
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "Clancy Lowered The Boom"
Note: Frank Nelson, as the person announcing the winning slogan for Sagebrush Soap, gives Jack's home address as 360 N. Camden Drive.
Note: Mary does not appear in this episode.
28. 03/19/50 "THE CHAMPION"
Don: "Ladies and gentlemen, just four days from now, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present their annual awards. And when the winners are announced, Jack Benny, being a man of high ideals and character, will be the first to say...."
Jack: "I was robed.
Don: "And here he is, Jack Benny~!"
Dennis' Song: Dennis sings "Music, Music, Music"
29. 03/26/50 FROM PALM SPRINGS
30. 04/02/50 FROM PALM SPRINGS AGAIN
31. 04/09/50 FIFTY CENTS TO A BUM
32. 04/16/50 JACK GETS THE HOUSE PAINTED
33. 04/23/50 THE BEVERLY HILLS BEAVERS
34. 04/30/50 LOOK MAGAZINE STORY
35. 05/07/50 JACK BUYS A NEW SUIT
36. 05/14/50 MOTHER'S DAY
37. 05/21/50 JACK GETS A HAIRCUT
38. 05/28/50 HOW JACK MET THE CAST