THE 1935-1936 SEASON
"The Jell-O Program Starring Jack Benny" was broadcast Sunday evenings from 7:00 to 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time, over the NBC radio network, with the show originating from radio station WJZ in New York City. The returning cast members for the 1935-1936 season are: Jack Benny as the Master of Ceremonies, Mary Livingstone as the MC'S girlfriend; Don Wilson as the announcer; Johnny Green as the Orchestra Leader, and Sam Hearn as Schlepperman. Debuting this season is Kenny Baker as the tenor vocalist.
"The Jell-O Program Starring Jack Benny" finished in 3rd place overall in the Hooper Ratings for the 1935-1936 season, with a total rating of 26.8
Copies of this season's shows were donated to UCLA by the Benny family. The following technical information regarding copies of the shows broadcast this season is from the Jack Benny Papers (Collection 134), Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, University of California, Los Angeles: "Tapes of this series were made from uncoated aluminum discs (12" 78 rpm). Due to poor storage conditions prior to their donation to the University, many of these reference discs have suffered serious corrosion. This has acted to seriously degrade playback quality and has resulted in numerous instances of sticking and jumping of grooves. Certain shows (noted) were recorded on 12" 78 rpm acetate coated discs and these are of better quality and are less damaged than the uncoated ones." From this 1935-1936 season, programs 1-19, 22-23, and 36 missing from the UCLA collection. Since programs 6, 17, and 22 do circulate among collectors and fans (see below) those recordings must not originate from the UCLA Jack Benny collection. I've added some of the information for this season from the UCLA Collection as a "Note" on some episodes; these are notated at the end of the entry as (BC).
This episode guide/log for this season was written entirely by Graeme Cree.
NOTE: The 1935-1936 Season Log was REVISED in November, 2012
1. 09/29/35 EPISODE LOST
The NBC Program Analysis Sheets note: Jack Benny returns. Cast includes Mary Livingstone, Michael Bartlett, tenor, and Johnny Green's orchestra. Don Wilson, announcer. From Hollywood. (BC)
2. 10/06/35 EPISODE LOST
3. 10/13/35 EPISODE LOST
4. 10/20/35 EPISODE LOST
5. 10/27/35 EPISODE LOST
The NBC Program Analysis Sheets note: Last time for Michael Bartlett. (BC)
6. 11/3/35 KENNY BAKER'S DEBUT (30:21)
Orchestra Opening: The orchestra opens with "Eeny Meenie Minie Moe" from "Beat the Band". Don opens the show as usual, but Jack is missing. Mary says he's downstairs getting a shave. Transition to a Sitcom Scene:
Situation Comedy: Jack is downstairs getting a shave and haircut from Pascuale, his very Italian barber. Jack and Pascuale shoot-a da breeze until Mary comes down to get Jack. Pascuale charges 20 cents for a haircut, shampoo, hair tonic, shave, hot towel and a vibration. Mary insists that's what Jack gets for coming to one of those gyp joints. Mama mia! What-a kinda prices are those??
The Show: The orchestra plays "Anything goes". Jack arrives in the studio, and warns Mary not to make fun of his haircut because after his latest movie, "It's In the Air", the public sees him as the romantic type. The doorbell rings, and in walks the show's new tenor, a kid named Kenny Baker. Kenny is nervous, unassertive, and a little star-struck, finding himself in such august company in November. Jack introduces Kenny to the rest of the cast. Kenny is grateful and/or apologetic to all of them. Kenny sings "A Rose in Her Hair" from "Broadway Gondoliers". Jack asks Kenny about his background, and suggests that the similarity of the names Kenny and Benny might lead to confusion. Kenny asks Jack to change his, so Jack changes their names to Stoopnagle and Budd. Mary hands Stoopnagle a fan letter from Miss Flora Fenchell of Lake Forest, Illinois. Miss Fenchell has won a beauty contest in Atlantic City, and wants to know how to break into pictures. Stoopnagle promises to show her how in tonight's play. The orchestra plays "Cheek to Cheek" from "Top Hat".
Play: "Open Up that Goldwyn Gate". At the Parafox Studio, Jack is a super-colossal-stupendous movie producer, who only needs to hear the name of a location to decide that a picture made in that locale would be great, and decide to invest hugs sums in the movie. Don suggests a movie in India, so Jack orders 10,000 elephants, and 50,000 Maharajas without even hearing a plot. Throughout the play, Miss Fenchell wanders in and out, trying to find the right person to talk to. Jack gets bored with the India idea, so Don suggests making the movie in Arabia. Jack loves it and orders 20,000 camels, 40,000 sheiks, and 50,000 deserts! Jack makes more preparations, and finds that they're out of camels. Don suggests moving the movie to Spain. Jack loves that idea too, and orders 30,000 bulls, 50,000 bulls and a million castanets. An actor comes in for a job, and Jack hires him for $1000 a week, sight unseen. The bulls haven't arrived yet, so Don suggests filming the picture in Russia. Jack orders 20,000 beers and 50,000 Volgas. Pascuale the barber comes in looking for Jack, which gives him the idea of moving the picture to Italy! Jack orders 10,000 miles of spaghetti. For the heck of it, Don and Mary suggest moving the picture to New Jersey, so Jack orders 10,000 mosquitoes, 20,000 Jersey cows, and 30,000 Jersey sweaters. Miss Fenchell finally finds Jack and tells him about her beauty contest in Atlantic City (at last the two plots have converged) so Jack tacks on 10,000 miles of boardwalk and 20,000 ocean waves to the order. The elephants from the India idea arrive even though Jack cancelled the order, because an elephant never forgets.
The Show: After the play, Jack orders 50,000 taxis and 100,000 streetcars to take him home.
Don's Introduction: "And now we bring to you the cheerleader of this program, Jack Benny."
Minor Roles: Harry Baldwin, Blanche Stewart
Note: In the opening commercial, Don reads a viewer mail from a listener who claims that Jell-O stands out in front like a bolt of lightning on a dark and cloudy night. (Don't we get enough poetry from Mary??)
Joke: (At the barber)
Pascuale: "You want-a just a shave, or a first-a class-a shave?"
Jack: "I only want to bleed in one or two places."
Joke: (At the barber)
Pascuale: "Say. You like feets-a-ball.
Jack: "Feetsaball? I never heard of that."
Pascuale: "You grab the ball, 22 men jump on your neck, you lose."
Joke: (At the barber, discussing feetsaball)
Jack: "Hey Pascuale, you like-a da Prince-a-town and da Cor-a-nell?"
Pascuale: "Hey, let me do-a de dialect. I understand how."
Joke: (At the barber)
Pascuale: "Say! How you like-a the way Joe Louse beat Max-a Baer?"
(I think I mentioned it in the notes for "Russia Through a Keyhole", but when a scene is nothing more than an excuse for 10 minutes of bad accents… I've got absolutely no problem with that. The Louis-Baer fight took place on 9/24/35, and Max probably needed a Baer Aspirin after he was through).
Joke: (At the barber)
Pascuale: "Hey boss, what kind-a work-a you do?"
Jack: "I'm on the radio, and I broadcast all over America."
Pascuale: "Well, you can thank all the Italiano people."
Pascuale: "Because Marconi discovered the radio, and Columbus discovered America."
Jack: "Hey, wait a minute! Listen, wait!..."
Mary: "He's right, Jack, let's get out of here."
Pascuale: "Hey, what program-a you got?"
Pascuale: "Oh, I like-a da guy what says Ras-a-berry, Straws-a-berry, Cherryberry, Orange, Lemon and Lime-a-berry."
(Actually, Nikola Tesla discovered and patented radio before Marconi. I've got that on no less authority than a Nancy Drew computer game that my wife and I recently played: http://herinteractive.com/Mystery_Games/Nancy_Drew/The_Deadly_Device/pc)
Note: Marconi and Tesla were both still alive at the time of this broadcast. Speaking of Marconi and his work in wireless communications, Marconi was once quoted as saying "Have I done the world good or have I added a menace?". There's no truth to the rumor that he was listening to The Chevrolet Program when he said this.
Joke: (Back at the show)
Jack: "I stopped over at the barbers for our first routine."
Don: "Was he a good barber?"
Jack: "Yes, our audience laughed at him."
Mary: "What's "disillusion", Jack?"
Jack: "Well Mary, on the air, you see, your listeners can't see you, all they can do is visualize, you see?
Mary: "Oh, I get it. What does visualize mean?"
Jack: "Well Mary, look. Visualize means that they draw a mental picture of the activity up here which enables them to conjure up the clitoscopic procedure."
Mary: "Ha, ha, ha, ha! Ha, ha, ha, ha!"
Jack: "What are you laughing at?"
Mary: "That's the funniest haircut I've ever seen!"
Mary: "Oh Johnny, what does visualize mean?"
Johnny: "I don't know, I just handle the music here."
Joke: (Don no longer even needs a word to associate to drag in a commercial)
Jack: "Say Don, do you know any big words?"
Don: "Oh, just words like Strawberry, Raspberry, Jell-O."
Jack: "Now, wait a minute, Don. 'Jell-O' isn't such a large word."
Don: "No, but it's the largest selling gelatin dessert in the world, and every day millions of people eat it."
Jack: "Well, I thought we dragged that in by the heels gracefully, didn't you, Don?"
Don: "Yes, it didn't sound a bit obvious."
Note: Kenny Baker replaces interim singer Mike Bartlett. Mike is not mentioned in this episode, but he served as a temporary singer after Frank Parker left at the end of last season. Mike signed a 13 week contract with Jack, and left after five weeks to sign a movie contract. None of his episodes survive.
Joke: (Jack welcomes Kenny to the show)
Jack: "I want you to feel right at home and be at east. Remember, this is one big happy family. Depending on options, of course."
Mary: "What's a diversion, Jack?"
Jack: "Quiet, Mary."
Mary: "That's what I thought."
Note: Stoopnagle and Budd were a radio comedy team of the 1930's.
Note: The letter writer's name is derived from Florence Fenchell, Jack's sister. Considering that Flora is a not-too-attractive beauty contest winner with a thick Bronx accent, you have to wonder how this sketch went over with sis.
Joke: (In the play, Jack discusses the studio's films)
Jack: "What did 'Earaches of 1935' do in Philadelphia yesterday?"
Jack: "Hmm. And what did Nutty Marietta do?"
Mary: "She went out to lunch."
Forgotten Humor: For some reason, titles with a year in them seem to have been popular in the 30'. "Golddiggers of 1933", "The Big Broadcast of 1937", Jack's parody title, "Earaches of 1935". Even the Three Stooges got into the act with a short entitled "Termites of 1938".
Joke: (In the play)
Flora: "I have a contract to appear in pictures with this company."
Mary: "So, you won a beauty contest, eh? Can you act?"
Flora: "No, but I certainly am beautiful. Ain't I got the cute kisser?"
Mary: "Order 20,000 camels. Yes, camels. You know, a horse with a wart on its back."
Joke: (In the play, an actor auditions for a job with Parafox)
Actor: "I say, I'm an actor! The people tell me I'm a second Jack Benny."
Mary: "We don't even want the first one."
Joke: (In the play, Flora continues trying to get an interview)
Flora: I just won Atlantic City in a beauty contest."
Knocking Man: "What??"
Flora: "I mean I won a beauty contest in Atlantic City."
Knocking Man: "Oh, you did, eh? Well, aren't you a little old?"
Flora: "I wasn't when I first came in here."
Note: The name of Jack's character keeps changing throughout the play. Mr. Parasite, Paradise, Parakeet, Parachute, Paraffin.
Note: Kenny does not appear in the play. It looks like they're trying to portray him as too new and fresh to participate in any extra activity yet (and who knows, maybe he really was).
Note: The fan letter is from Miss Flora Fenchell (a variation on the married name of his sister, Florence Fenchell).
Note: Kenny's character is immediately established as a mild-mannered reporter type who apologizes and/or asks permission for everything. His two successors, Dennis Day and Larry Stevens adopt the same basic blueprint for their characters. Kenny does it better than Larry, but less well than Dennis.
7. 11/10/35 EPISODE LOST
8. 11/17/35 EPISODE LOST
9. 11/24/35 EPISODE LOST
10. 12/01/35 EPISODE LOST
11. 12/08/35 EPISODE LOST
The NBC Program Analysis Sheets note: Sam Hearn added. (BC)
12. 12/15/35 EPISODE LOST
13. 12/22/35 EPISODE LOST
14. 12/29/35 EPISODE LOST
15. 01/05/36 EPISODE LOST
16. 01/12/36 EPISODE LOST
17. 01/19/36 JACK AND JOHNNY ARE IN JAIL (25:44)
Orchestra Opening: The orchestra opens with an unidentified number. Don announces that Mary has laryngitis, and won't be on the program tonight. Jack and Johnny are also missing. According to Kenny, they had an auto accident, and were arrested. Transition to a Sitcom Scene.
Situation Comedy: Jack and Johnny were arrested for speeding and knocking over a telegraph pole. Mary sent her sister Mamie over to try to help them. Mamie calls a politician friend to help get Jack out of jail, but gets so wrapped up chatting that she forgets to ask. Kenny drops by with a copy of "Anthony Adverse" to help Jack pass the time. Don arrives and announces that Jack is cleared to broadcast the next two episodes from his cell if he can't get out. Jack announces "The "Jail-O Program", and introduces the Kenny singing "Little Rose of the Rancho" from the picture of the same name. Afterwards, there is much applause, which Jack believes must be from the other prisoners, since the studio audience isn't supposed to be there. Jack tells the other prisoners a sad story about lobsters that seems to take up about 45 of the show's 30 minute running time. Johnny finds a piano and plays an unidentified number. They chat with the other prisoners for a while. Shleperman drops in, and he's a lawyer now (Vhat else?). His defense plan for Jack mostly consists of telling Jack to testify that he doesn't remember anything. The orchestra plays "Music Goes Round and Round" with Johnny at the piano, and the case goes to trial.
In court, the prosecutor calls Don, who confesses that Jell-O does indeed have six delicious flavors. Johnny left early. Jack is called to the stand. Jack claims not to remember anything, as instructed. Mamie is called to the stand. The prosecutor asks if Jack had to leave Waukegan in a hurry in 1912 (the heck??). Jack bamboozles him by cross-examining the prosecutor, which leads to a slew of questions, cross-questions, objections and counter-objections. It almost sounds funny, but it's not. The orchestra is called to the stand, and their testimony consists of offering another number. The show peters out before we can hear whatever rinky-dink resolution might have given to the story.
Don's Introduction: None, as Jack begins the episode in jail and away from the program.
Special Guest Stars: Clarence Muse
Recurring Guest Stars: Sam Hearn
Minor Roles: Wally Baker, Harry Baldwin, Fred Shields, Blanche Stewart
Note: Mary is out with laryngitis. Her sister Mamie appears in the jail. In later years, Mary’s sister was named Babe.
Note: Don gives MARITAL advice in the opening commercial!:
Don: "This is that famous year when lovely ladies get a break. In other words, it's Leap Year, and, forgive me, ladies, just this once, if I hand out a tip for the bachelors, and that is 'look before you leap, boys'. Looking is the important matter of food. And, if she can't make biscuits and she can't make pies, be sure she does know about Jell-O."
Now, wait a minute. Don's always bragging about how easy Jell-O is to make. So, aren't we stretching a point doing a commercial about having guys be sure to marry a girl who can make Jell-O, when supposedly anyone can do it? Make up your mind, Don. You can't have your Jell-O and eat it too...
Followup Note: I was afraid for a moment that Don was going to get onto the touchy-for-the-1930's subject of MIXED marriages. You know, like what happens when a guy who likes Orange dates a girl who likes Raspberry. I guess you couldn't go there on radio in those days.
Joke: (In the cell)
Jack: "What a jail. I feel like a quarter in Don Wilson's pocket; I'll never get out!"
(In these days, Jack is not particularly or consistently cheap. As a result, cheap jokes tended to be randomly assigned across the cast. Jack gets some of them, but not all.)
Joke: (In the cell)
Don: "I don't see you, Jack. Where are you?
Jack: "Right here, in Cell 6."
Don: "Well, don't forget the Jell-O; to 'sell six' delicious flavors: Strawberry, Raspberry, Cherry, Orange, Lemon and Lime!"
Jack: "Even in jail I get that!"
Note: Anthony Adverse was a 1,224 page novel that Jack did his version of next season. In bringing that particular book, Kenny is suggesting that Jack's not getting out of stir any time soon.
Racial Humor (False Alarm Department): (What looked like it was going to be a racial joke ended up being a celebrity guest spot).
Jack: "Look at that colored fellow over there in the opposite cell."
Johnny: "Yeah. I wonder what he did."
Jack: "Hey, son?"
Man: "You callin' me?"
Jack: "Yeah. How long you in for?"
Man: "I'm here on parole. Leavenworth is my home."
Jack: "Hey, you must have done something! What are you in for?"
Man: "Well, they gave me 15 years for drawing money out of a bank without a bankbook."
Jack: "They did?"
Man: "Yeah. then they gave me 20 years for stopping the man that tried to stop me."
Jack: "No kidding!"
Man: "Then they gave me 7 years for toting a razor without shaving cream.
Jack: "Hmmm. Well, is that all?"
Man: "No. They gave me 30 days more for just being no good."
Jack: "Awww. Say, what's your name?"
Man: "Clarence Muse."
Jack: "Clarence Muse?? Hey! Wait a minute! Listen, I saw you in a picture!"
Man: "Yeah. They gave me 10 more years for that!"
(Muse was the first black actor to star in a film (1929's "Hearts in Dixie"). He acted for over 60 years, and appeared in over 150 movies.)
Knockless Knock Knocks: (In the cell)
Guard: "Hey, you. What's the idea of sawing those bars?"
Jack: "Oh, pardon me. I'm just killing a little time, that's all. You know, there's really nothing to do around here. If I caused any damage, I'll be glad to pay for it."
Guard: "Oh yeah? Hey, where did you get that saw?"
Mamie: "I gave it to him. I belong to a sawing circle."
Joke: (In the cell)
Jack: "Say, I didn't know you were a lawyer."
Shleperman: "Vhat else?"
(Either I'm going crazy, or this catch phrase is starting to get over. Or both.).
Joke: (In the cell)
Shleperman: "Vhat did you do?"
Jack: "Well, I was driving my car, and I, uh..."
Shleperman: "You didn't do it!"
Mamie: "Yes he did, they have three witnesses."
Jack: "Mamie, will you please go home."
Shleperman: "(Unintelligible, line asking for the whole story)"
Jack: "Well, I was driving 72 miles an hour in my car and ran into a telegraph pole."
Shleperman: "You were going 15 miles an hour and ran into a toothpick! Remember that."
Jack: "Well, how do you know?"
Shleperman: "I got three witnesses coming from Chicago. Now Mr. Benny, the Judge will ask you 20 questions. Like, for instance, where were you on the night of April 12th, at a quarter to five."
Jack: "I don't remember."
Shleperman: "That's it!"
Jack: "But supposing he asks me questions about the accident?
Shleperman: "You don't remember."
Jack: "Listen. I was driving 72 miles an hour, and I knocked down a pole!"
Shleperman: "Don't be foolish. You wasn't driving, and the pole knocked YOU down!"
Joke: (In the cell)
Shleperman: "I just won my last case.
Jack: "Who was it?"
Shleperman: "A fellow that parked in front of a hydrant, and I got him off with 30 years.
Joke: (In the cell)
Shleperman: "Oh, that's Johnny Green, I'm presuming."
Shleperman: "Well, what was it you do?"
Johnny: "I don't remember."
Shleperman: "Quite right."
JOKE: (In the Courtroom)
Judge: "What kind of a fellow is Jack Benny?"
Don: "Well Judge, I don't know quite how to describe him. But, if you ever see two men sitting in a cafe and one of them reaches for the check, the OTHER one is Jack Benny."
JOKE: (In the Courtroom)
Prosecutor: "Now tell me, young lady, what is your occupation?"
Mamie: I wash dishes and double for Mary Livingstone."
Prosecutor: "Were you or were you not at a party with Jack Benny earlier this afternoon?"
Jack: "I object!"
Prosecutor: "what right have you to object?"
Shleperman: "He don't remember!"
Verdict: I really wanted to like this episode. By putting Johnny in jail with Jack, I was hoping they'd use it as a springboard to develop some kind of gimmick for Johnny, after doing so little with Bestor for the last year and a half. But no such luck. Johnny gets bored and leaves 2/3 of the way through, and the script is extremely raggedy. There are few good lines, the lobster story goes on forever, the sound quality is very bad and hard to hear in places, and the story itself doesn't make a lot of sense. Jack was going 72 miles an hour in his car. Well, there's a problem right there. Jack's Maxwell wouldn't go 72 if you pushed it over a cliff. Somehow he got up to 72, and hit a telegraph pole. At that speed, you'd think it would be fatal. But no, there's not the slightest hint of injury. Jack and Johnny just get tossed in jail. They don't get a ticket, mind you, Jack is in the slammer. Once there, they kind of run back and forth, looking for a couple of good jokes, and throwing everything they can think of to the wall to see what sticks. Nothing does. The high point of the episode is probably Shleperman's shyster lawyer routine, but overall this is a pretty weak show.
[EPISODES 18-19: Lost]
20. 02/09/36 SERGEANT BENNY OF THE NORTH WEST MOUNTED (29:02)
ORCHESTRA OPENING: The orchestra opens with "Comme Ci, Comme Ca", from "A Night at the Opera".
The show has returned to New York after broadcasting in Hollywood for almost a year. Jack is a little nervous getting back to such a big studio and crowd, but Don tempts him onstage with a dish of Raspberry Jell-O (too bad he wasn't still working for Chevrolet, huh?). Mary offers her autograph to the crowd, but gets no reaction at all. Kenny arrives, and this is his first time away from California. Johnny has been visiting relatives. Don welcomes himself back in the name of Jell-O. The orchestra plays "Love is a Dancing Thing" from "Home Abroad". Jack announces that a contest is starting this week, but gets interrupted before he can announce the prize. The Knocking Man drops by to welcome Jack back to New York. Jack starts to announce the contest again, but is interrupted when Mary takes a phone call from Mama. Jack has another go at announcing the contest, but is interrupted by a news reporter, who tries to juggle six different thoughts at once, but can't get any of them out. Kenny sings "Carry Me Back to the Lone Prairie." Jack tries again to announce the contest, but is interrupted by the mailman with a fan letter. The letter comes from Victoria Van Koover, a woman in Saskatchewan, asking for a play about the Northwest. They have no such play, but Mary writes one and makes it VERY snappy (about 15 seconds). The orchestra plays "Mile a Minute", with Johnny on the piano, and the play begins.
PLAY: Sergeant Benny of the Northwest Mounted". Takes place in Alaska between Fairbanks and Pickford (do you Nome?), where the temperature is 40 jell-o zero. Jack dresses down his men for never getting their man, but runs out of dialogue. Mary hands in a few more pages of script. Jack tries to get a report from Benny Rubin, but his dialect keeps changing. Mary writes a few more pages, as Don gets the commercial in. Jack tries again to announce the contest, but is again interrupted when he gets to the prize part. Jack's men are sent out to track a fur thief. They get their man, but it turns out to be the victim rather than the criminal. Jack turns to Mary for assistance in resolving the plot. She suggests kissing and making up. Benny Rubin ends the play rather than find out who was supposed to be kissing whom. The contest never does get introduced.
DON'S INTRODUCTION: "And now, let us welcome back to New York from California, that Sun-kissed comedian, Jack Benny."
SPECIAL GUEST STARS: Benny Rubin
MINOR ROLES: Harry Baldwin, Cliff Nazarro
NOTE: Strains of "Love in Bloom" are played as Jack walks onstage. Although this song later became Jack's signature piece, it is the first time it has appeared in surviving radio episodes. The song first appeared in the 1934 movie "She Loves Me Not", starring Bing Crosby and Kitty Carlisle. According to columnist Mark Steyn, the number became associated with Jack one evening when Jack and Mary went to a nightclub, and the bandleader invited Jack to sit in on the next number. Jack borrowed a violin and played along with the number, which happened to be "Love in Bloom". This performance drew a few left-handed compliments in a gossip column the next day. As a result, when Jack and Mary walked into another club a few days later, the orchestra struck up "Love in Bloom", and a legend was born.
For the remainder of this season, the number is featured prominently. The orchestra frequently plays a few bars of it as Jack first walks onstage, and it is mentioned frequently, culminating with an appearance by the authors, Leo Robyn and Ralph Rainger themselves. After this season, the song virtually disappears for a long time, and is mentioned only rarely until Fall 1944, when it turns up in force as Jack's opening theme song, where it remained until his radio show ended in 1955.
There was a 1935 movie entitled "Love in Bloom", starring George Burns and Gracie Allen, but this seems to have no relation to the song.
NOTE: Back in New York, Jack comments that he's not staying in "his old place", he has a new apartment on the East Side, about a 30 cent sleigh ride from the studio. If we'd ever heard much about his old place, that might mean something.
MARY'S POEM: Mary's New York poem isn't short and sweet, but it is short:
New York City, New York City,
Gee you're pretty, it's a pity,
You can't be in old Miami
Where it's warmer, gee I'm witty.
THE KNOCKING MAN: The Knocking Man is just what he sounds like: a guy who knocks. Specifically, he knocks on the door, delivers a quick quip, and then beats a hasty retreat. Apparently, he thinks this is Laugh-In. Knocking becomes a recognizable semi-regular character on 1/3/37, when he delivers New Years greetings that last a whole month, but he makes a few small appearances before then. He may be a successor of sorts to The Bulldog Man (1/6/35), but with a broader repertoire.
THE PLAY: I'm not sure what this is a parody of. "Sergeant Preston of the Yukon" began in 1938 as a radio series called "Challenge of the Yukon". Maybe the play is a parody of some other work, or maybe it's more or less original.
LETTERS FROM MAMA: Mary takes a phone call from her mother in this episode, in which we hear only her side of the conversation and infer the rest. In later years, Mary was famous for receiving letters from Momma and reading them during the program.
NOTE: In this episode and a few others, Jack says "Play, John" to jumpstart the orchestra. For the previous two years, he'd been saying "Play, Don".
Jack: "What have you been doing since we got in? Have you been around to see the sights?"
Kenny: "Yes Jack, I spent all day yesterday in Green Wich Village.
Jack: "Uh Kenny, that's not Green Wich. Here in New York, that's pronounced 'Greenwich'. Greenwich. See? Who did you go with?"
Kenny: "Johnny Grin."
WORD ASSOCIATION COMMERCIAL:
Mary: "Kenny, you must visit Grant's Tomb."
Kenny: "Sure, I will. Cary Grant's a friend of mine."
Jack: "Listen Kenny, that's not Cary Grant, that's Ulysses."
Don: "And that reminds me. Jell-O has six "Ulysses" flavors: Strawberry! Raspberry! Cherry! Orange, Lemon and Lime!"
NAMES FOR THE BAND: Johnny Green and His New York-afornians.
KNOCKLESS KNOCK KNOCK:
Mary: "Otto went to the Olympic games in Germany."
Jack: "Yeah? How did he make out?"
Mary: "He won the Hundred Yard Dash-hund."
KNOCKLESS KNOCK KNOCK: (Jack reads the fan letter)
Jack: "Our home is near the Yukon. So, give us a play of the Northwest, or you know what Yu-kon do."
NAMES FOR THE BAND: Johnny Green and His Unmounted Musicians.
DAFFYNITION: (During the Mountie Play)
Jack: "Where ees Officer Andre?"
Mary: "Andre is in his igloo."
Jack: "Igloo? What is an igloo?
Mary: "A lot of ice without Ginger Ale."
SHAMELESS PLUG: (During the Mountie Play)
Jack: "Andre, look at theese thermometer. What does she say?"
Don: "Eet ees 40 'Jell-O' zero."
Jack: "Forty, eh? What is AT&T?"
Jack: "Buy me 10 shares of thermometer. And keep the window closed so it will go up."
JOKE: (During the Mountie Play)
Jack: "I hear you are having trouble with the horses."
Johnny: "Oui, oui. We play them to ween, and they come een second."
Mary: "I thought that would get a bigger laugh."
Jack: "Yeah, so did I. "
NOTE: For the second consecutive year, The New York World Telegram Radio Editors Poll has named The Jell-O Program the best program on the air, and for the third year, they've named Jack radio's outstanding comedian. Jack thanks his writer, Harry W. Conn, and the show's previous tenor, Frank Parker, who is present in the audience, and who helped them win last year.
NOTE: According to the UCLA collection, this recording originates as an acetate (BC)
21. 02/16/36 DRUG STORE (10:56)
Orchestra Opening: The orchestra opens with "Life Begins When You're In Love". Don mentions that Jack had a birthday two days ago, and wants to know how old he is. Jack responds by changing the subject to the contest (and, from this we can infer that the object of this contest is not to guess how old Jack is.) Mary brings Jack a present, in the form of a book entitled "How to Prevent Rheumatism at Your Age"). Kenny talks a bit about New York, and, after a big cut in the recording, sings "Moon Over Miami" (interesting juxtaposition there…). Jack tries to announce the contest again, and gets as far as saying that it's a contest of skill that will last 10 weeks, but he is again interrupted when he's about to name the prize, this time by the mailman. He delivers a fan letter by a fan who has observed that Jack only works half of a 30 minute show every week, and wants some tips for dealing with her sons, who are loafers too. Jack dictates an answer to Mary, explaining that when he's not doing the show, he runs a drugstore. After the next number, you'll see him at work. The orchestra starts to play a number, but the episode cuts out halfway through it.
DON'S INTRO: "And now we bring to you a man who took Horace Greeley's advice and went west, then took Jello's advice and came back, east: Jack Benny."
SPECIAL GUEST STARS: Benny Rubin
MINOR ROLES: Harry Baldwin, Vi Klein, Blanche Stewart
NOTE: A few strains of "Love in Bloom" as Jack comes onstage again.
JACK'S AGE: (One of the few times that Jack's real age is mentioned on the show, although you have to read between the lines to catch it.)
Don: "Come on Jack, how old are you? Now, what are you ashamed of?"
Jack: "Well Don, you know life begins at 40."
Jack: "And that makes me just two years old. Nyah!"
Don: "Well Jack, all I can say is I hope you live to be a hundred."
Mary: "It won't be long now."
LIVING TO BE A HUNDRED: There are a couple of jokes like this in the Benny series; jokes about living to be a hundred, and how close he is to it already. There are at least a half dozen jokes on the Burns And Allen radio show about George living to be a hundred. Those come off as a little spooky now, considering that that's exactly what he did.
CLUES TO MARY'S IDENTITY:
Mary: "I just thought I'd drop in and earn the few bucks I get here."
(Okay, so Mary is no longer just a fan of the show. She's not officially Jack's wife. She has been called his girlfriend, but any onscreen romance she and Jack have is extremely muted, if not nonexistent. According to this line, Mary is definitely a paid member of the show's staff. She plays the role of a comedian, but all of these lines are supposed to come off as impromptu and unscripted. So, who is Mary officially, that she should be a member of this show's cast? Based on all the clues, I'm going to guess that Mary is SUPPOSED to be one of the incidental players, like Harry Baldwin and Blanche Stewart. Somebody whose job description is simply to take parts in the plays. She ends up doing a lot more than that, but it's all on the side.
Mary: "Say Jack, your birthday was February 14th, wasn't it?"
Mary: "Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!"
Jack: "Why? What are you laughing at?"
Mary: "If you'd waited eight days more, you'd have been the Father of our Country."
Jack: "Hmm. I suppose if I'd been born two days sooner, I'd be Abraham Lincoln."
Mary: "Imagine YOUR face on a penny!"
Jack: "Well anyway, Mary, it's a great honor to be born in the same month as Lincoln and Washington. Imagine the three of us crowded into such a short month. I don't know how February did it."
(The funniest line in here is "Imagine your face on a penny." This line is 10 times funnier than it has any business being.)
RUNNING JOKE: The last is one of Mary's running jokes, used numerous times on the series. Someone says something, Mary begins laughing uncontrollably for no apparent reason. Jack asks why she's laughing, and she gives a punch line that makes it sort of make sense in hindsight.
KNOCK KNOCK JOKE: (Speaking of George Washington)
(Knock, knock, knock)
Jack: "Who's there?"
Kenny: "I 'Kenny' tell a lie, it's Kenny Baker."
(I was going to call this a Knockless Knock Knock, but it's actually got a knock in it this time!)
Jack: "Have you been to Madison Square Garden yet?"
Kenny: "Yeah, I was there last week. I saw a bunch of fellows on skates with big sticks, beating up a doughnut."
Jack: "Kenny! They were playing hockey!"
Kenny: "No, they all showed up."
JOKE: (Jack tries to announce the contest)
Jack: "Tonight we are starting a contest that really does require brains.
Mary: "Why don't you start something we can all play?"
JOKE: (Jack is interrupted while trying to announce the contest)
Jack: "Hmmm. The mailman. Mary, hold this bag of gold, we'll give it away yet."
Mary: "Okay. Here's your letter, Jack."
Jack: (Reading) "Hmmm. Dear Mr. Benny. We have been listening to all of your programs…"
Mary: "Why don't you open it?"
Jack: "Oh, yes. Sorry. 'Dear Mr. Benny, we have been listening to all'… funny, it says the same thing inside…"
NOTE: Jack really is 42 years old in this broadcast. He started lying about his age pretty early.
NOTE: The mysterious contest apparently never does get announced.
NOTE: According to the UCLA Collection, their recording consists of two 4-minute excerpts, with the rest of the program missing from the collection (BC).
22. 02/23/36 ETERNAL TRIANGLE (29:05)
Orchestra Opening: The orchestra opens with "Goody, Goody". After a few comments about Don's intro, Jack tries to introduce the contest again, but is interrupted by The Knocking Man, asking for the time. Jack realizes that Mary isn't there, and calls Plainfield looking for her. Mary is home taking care of a baby with the measles (her care giving involves writing a poem about measles). She agrees to come to the program. The Knocking Man comes by for the time again. Kenny calls, asking to miss the show, because it's cold outside. Jack threatens Kenny with being fired, and he makes it over in about two seconds. Johnny calls and asks if he can miss the show because he has laryngitis. Jack tells him to gargle and come in. Johnny arrives, and the orchestra plays "Dancing Feet". Jack attempts to get testimonials about Jell-O from this week's guest stars. His first star is Mr. Don Wilson. Mr. Wilson has written a short play about Jell-O, in which Jack and Mary are a couple about to go to a play. Unfortunately, they never do get around to mentioning Jell-O, which is surprising, considering the author. Jack's next guest star is Mr. I. L. Probatore of the Grand Opera Company. He has some really good things to say (and sing) about Jell-O. Unfortunately, it's all in Italian, and incomprehensible. The next guest star is Miss Hedda Lettuce, a 27 year old cook who has been cooking for 30 years. She mostly serves pasta and crawfish, but thinks people would probably like Jell-O too if they tried it. Next is a baker named Kenny who sings "Alone" from "A Night at the Opera". The Knocking Man asks the time again. Jack introduces the play. The orchestra plays "Pickle-ino" from "Top Hat", with Johnny at the piano, and the play begins.
DON'S INTRODUCTION: "And now we bring to you, late of the Ringling Brothers Circus, Jack Benny and his troop of aerial artists."
PLAY: "The Eternal Triangle". Jack and Mary are a married couple with closets big enough to hold three salesmen. Jack has to go on a business trip, and Mary is unusually eager to get rid of him. Jack leaves Mary alone with her maid. Once he's gone, Kenny arrives to romance Mary. Kenny hides when Jack returns for his snowshoes. When Jack leaves, Johnny arrives to romance Mary. Mary has to hide Johnny and Kenny both when there's another knock at the door. This time it's Don, who wants to romance Mary and tell her about Jell-O. Someone else knocks at the door. There's no place left to hide, so everyone runs out the back. When they leave, Jack arrives to romance Lina the maid. In Scene 2, they do a geriatric version of the same scene, taking place in 1986. It's almost the same, but this time the play ends with the Knocking Man asking the time.
MINOR ROLES: Harry Baldwin, William Edmunds, Sam Hearn, Blanche Stewart
Mary: "And that's not all, Jack. The baby has the measles."
Jack: "She has? What are you doing for her?"
Mary: "I wrote the swellest poem! 'Measles, Measles, dear old Measles!"
NAMES FOR THE BAND: Johnny Green and His Laryngitis-Struck Orchestra
JOKE: (Jack is trying to get a testimonial from one of his guest stars)
Jack: "And now we bring to you a woman who has been a cook in the best families for the past 30 years. Miss Hedda Lettuce."
Jack: "Miss Lettuce, how old are you?"
Jack: "Hmmm. And you've been a cook for some of the best families in America."
Hedda: "Yes, sir."
Jack: "Well, tell us, Miss Lettuce, in the 30 years you have been cooking, what dishes have you served mostly?"
Hedda: "Pasta and Sausage."
(applause and a scream)
Jack: "And there are many more people screaming for Jell-O. And now Kenny, who has been a baker for years, will sing "Alone" from the motion picture "A Night at the Opera". Oh Kenny, what do you owe your success to?"
Kenny: "I don't know, I don't get much money here."
Jack: "I can't get a testimonial from anybody! Sing, Kenny."
Jack: "And now tonight, folks, we are going to offer something unusual in the line of a play. First, we tried to get 'A Midsummer Night's Dream', but up until a late hour, we could not get in touch with the author. Then we tried to get 'Rose Marie'. But Rose wasn't home and Marie wasn't interested. Then we tried to get 'Three Men on a Horse'…"
Mary: "…But the horse complained."
JOKES THAT DON'T TRANSLATE TO PRINT:
Jack: "Say Kenny, I want to compliment you. Your voice sounds even better in New York than it did in California. What's the reason for this improvement?"
Kenny: "Well, we all get better, Jack. Gee, when I first saw you, I didn't like you at all."
Jack: "You know, Kenny… well, never mind."
NOTE: “Love in Bloom” is used as the theme song for this week's play.
NOTE: They do a similar (unnamed) play on 5/8/38, about Mary hiding armies of lovers in her house. Jack's boyhood friend Bidey Talcott even gets a part in that play.
NOTE: This week's play is filled to the seams with people knocking at the door, and yet they didn't find any spot for The Knocking Man until the very end. There's no justice, I tells ya!
NOTE: Due to illness, Jack had to cancel his live appearance at the State Theater in Cleveland this week. Starting this Friday, he'll be at the Stanley Theater in Pittsburgh. Mark your calendars.
NOTE: "Love in Bloom" gets another credit at the end. It's not clear why with some songs they always name the movie or show that it's from, but with others they don’t.
23. 03/01/36 EPISODE LOST
24. 03/08/36 INCOME TAX ADVICE-VISITING THE ZOO (29:56)ORCHESTRA OPENING: The orchestra opens with "Don't Say a Word, Just Dance", and sure enough, they don't say a word (it's an instrumental piece). Don opines that Jack saying "Jell-O again" is getting monotonous, and that the show is in a rut. He and Jack switch roles with each other. They restart the show, with Jack introducing Don as Jack. Don mugs for the audience, while Jack constantly interrupts with Jell-O commercials. When Mary arrives, Don introduces her as Kenny, and she plays along. When Kenny arrives, Don introduces him as Mary, so he reads a wacky poem, which causes Jack to jump in with another commercial. A little old lady comes along, and is introduced as Johnny Green. Everything breaks down at this point, as people start getting confused about who's who, and begin calling each other by the wrong names. The orchestra plays "We Saw the Sea" from "Follow the Fleet". Everyone re-assumes their correct identity. Jack introduces the play, which begins.
PLAY: Income Tax Advice. Jack and Mary are tax assessors working with Johnny, an Italian organ grinder, a racehorse, and Kenny, all of whom have come to pay their taxes. Kenny owes a song, so he sings "Let's Face the Music and Dance".
THE SHOW: After the play ends, there's a lot of program left for a change. Kenny feels out of place in New York, so Jack offers to show him around. The orchestra plays "Let Yourself Go" from "Follow the Fleet", Jack, Mary and Kenny leave early to see the sights.
SITUATION COMEDY: Jack, Mary and Kenny go to the Zoo. They wander around the circus, toss out a few wisecracks, and meet the usual funny passersby. Jack tries to feed peanuts to an elephant. He meets a parrot who won't respond to "Polly want a cracker?", but responds enthusiastically to "Polly want Jell-O?". Jack meets radio comedian Benny Rubin again and trades a few quips with him. Rubin shows them the monkey cage, but they find Johnny and his orchestra inside. Johnny pleads with Jack to tell the zookeeper who they are, but Jack is unable to identify them. The orchestra closes with an unidentified number that sounds like it came out of some old Max Fleischer cartoon.
DON'S INTRODUCTION: "And now, ladies and gentleman, we bring to you... (a few plinks of music) ...Jack Benny."
JACK'S INTRO: (When Jack takes Don's role, he does his own opening introduction).
"And now we bring to you our Master of Ceremonies, that stage and screen star, Jack Benny."
SPECIAL GUEST STARS: Benny Rubin
MINOR ROLES: Harry Baldwin, William Edmunds, Vi Klein, Blanche Stewart
KENNY'S POEM: (Kenny does the poem because he's playing Mary's role)
Spring is nearly here, oh spring is nearly here!
Birdies singing everywhere, people changing underwear!
So have a care, oh have a care,
Cause Spring is nearly here.
THINGS YOU COULDN'T SAY TODAY: Don's opening commercial assures us that Jell-O is the gayest dessert out there.
NOTE: As a result of the role-switch, Don gets to say "Jell-O again". Over the next few years, circumstances will permit almost everyone in the cast to say it at least once. That's how catchy that phrase is.
Jack, as Don: "That was Johnny Green, playing The Lost Chord. And now, we bring to you our Master of Ceremonies, that stage and screen star, Jack Benny!"
Don, as Jack: "Jell-O again, this is Jack Benny, the funnyman of this program. (How am I doing?)"
Jack, as Don: "Fine, Don. That's a great idea, now I'll take your part. Tell me Jack, how did you do at the Stanley Theater in Pittsburgh last week?"
Don, as Jack: "Well, I'll tell you, Don, I had a wonderful week. My jokes killed 'em, and when I finished my violin solo, the audience cheered."
Jack, as Don: "Well Jack, the way you played Love in Bloom, they should cheer at the finish."
Don, as Jack: "Oh yeah, well one day we turned away 5000 people."
Jack, as Don: "Say, this is a cute idea, isn't it? Switching parts."
Don, as Jack: "Oh, yeah."
(knock, knock, knock)
Jack, as Don: "Come in."
Don, as Jack: "Well, well, if it isn't Kenny Baker. How are you, Kenny?"
Mary: "I'm Mary."
Jack, as Don: "You're playing Kenny's part tonight."
Don, as Jack: "How are you, Kenny?"
Mary, as Kenny: "Gee, it's a thrill!"
Don, as Jack: "Well Kenny, I see that you've finally bought yourself a suit of Eastern clothes."
Mary, as Kenny: "Yes, I got two pair of pants with it."
Jack, as Don: "Those jokes don't fit you, Mary."
Mary, as Kenny: "No, but the pants do."
WAC: (Don and Jack have switched roles)
Don as Jack: "Well, you went to see the six day bicycle race. Who won it?"
Mary as Kenny: "I don't know, I only stayed five days."
Jack as Don: "And speaking of the six-day race, let me tell you about Jell-O, with it's six day-licious flavors!"
(In this sketch, Jack does the Jell-O plugs every bit as enthusiastically as Don always does.)
Don, as Jack: "Oh Mary, here's Don Wilson."
Jack, as Don: "Hello, Mary."
Kenny, as Mary: "Hello, Toots. Want to hear a poem I wrote, Don?"
Jack, as Don: "No."
Kenny, as Mary: "All right, maybe Jack will listen. Here it is. It's entitled "Spring".
Jack and Don Together: "Hmmmm…"
Kenny, as Mary: "Spring is nearly here, oh spring is nearly here. Birdies singing everywhere, people changing underwear. So, have a care, oh have a care, cause spring is nearly here.' How's that, Kenny?"
Mary, as Kenny: "One of us is rotten."
Jack, as Don: "And speaking of spring, why not spring over to your nearest grocer, and ask for the big red letters on the…
Don, as Jack: "Not yet, Don! Not yet, please!"
Jack, as Don: "Oh, oh. Aw, Jack, people are dying to know what program this is!!"
(A wonderful exchange, particularly the way Jack and Don both say "Hmmm" simultaneously; Don because he's playing Jack, and Jack because it comes naturally. Also, the enthusiasm with which Jack jumps into the Word Association commercials.)
NOTE: In the 1930's, Tax Day was on March 15, rather than April 15.
Jack: "And now we take you to the Income Tax Office, which is not unlike the bank, except that the Pay Teller is missing."
JOKE: The theme song for the Income Tax play is "Happy Days Are Here Again".
JOKE: (Johnny goes to the Tax Office)
Jack: "What's your name?"
Johnny: "Johnny Green."
Johnny: "Orchestra leader?"
Jack: "Were you born in this country?"
Johnny: "No, what orchestra leader was?"
NOTE: Despite what he just said, I had comedifact.com check out this statement, and they have discovered that Johnny was actually born in New York City. Comedifact rates this joke "Pants on Fire".
JOKE: (Johnny pays his taxes)
Jack: "Mr. Green, what was your gross income for 1935?"
Jack: "I see, and what was your net?"
Johnny: "Twelve dollars."
Jack: "I, uh, I suppose that you took everything off that you're entitled to."
Johnny: "Everything but my shirt. And it won't be long now."
Jack: "Did you have any bad investments last year, Mr. Green?"
Johnny: "Yes, I bet on Max Baer to beat Joe Louis."
Jack: "Hmm, any dependents?"
Johnny: "Max Baer."
JOKE: (In the Income Tax Play)
Jack: "What's your name?"
Giuseppe: "Giuseppe Antonio Paramacino."
Jack: "How do you spell that?"
Giuseppe: "You no spell, you just put-em a down. How much-a do I a-owe?"
Jack: "What business are you in?
Giuseppe: "I'm a six-a day bicycle rider."
Jack: "A six day bicycle rider, Miss Livingstone."
Mary: "I'll just put down a peddler."
Jack: "That was "Let's Face the Music and Dance", from "Follow the Fleet", sung by Kenny Baker of California, the state that sends us oranges, and now and then, a lemon."
JOKE: (Kenny hasn’t got the hang of this dating business)
Kenny: "Say, what are you doing tonight, Mary?"
Mary: "Oh, nothing. Why?"
Kenny: "Do you like Chinese food?"
Mary: "Oh, I love it!"
Kenny: "Not me, I'm going to a dance tonight. So long."
Mary: "Hmm. Three million men in New York and I'm talking to him."
Jack: "What's the matter, Mary?"
Mary: "Oh, nothing. Do you like Chinese food, Jack?"
Jack: "Certainly, why?"
Mary: "Kenny's going to a dance. Ha, ha, ha, ha!"
Jack: "What's funny about that?"
Mary: "I don't know. They laughed when Kenny said it."
JOKE: (At the Zoo)
Kenny: "Aw gee, this is swell! I never saw so many animals in my life! Say! What are those with the trees growing out of their heads?"
Jack: "Not trees. Horns. Horns! Those are elks!"
Kenny: "Gosh, look how they crowd each other."
Mary: "They're fighting to pay their dues."
NOTE: Jack buys a bag of peanuts from The Knocking Man for 7 cents (with a 2 cent deposit on the bag). It's hard to say if this was meant to be funny, or if prices really were this low in 1936. According to the inflation calculator, 7 cents in 1936 would be $1.12 today, which sounds pretty good for cinema/carnival prices.
FORGOTTEN HUMOR: (At the Zoo)
Jack: "Look at that one, Kenny, that's a stork. You know, the bird that brings the babies."
Kenny: "That one looks all broken down."
Mary: "That's the one that brought the quintuplets."
Jack: "He was retired on a pension."
(A reference to the Dionne Quintuplets, born May 28, 1934.)
FORGOTTEN HUMOR: (At the Zoo)
Jack: "Polly want a cracker? Polly want a cracker?... He won't talk, must be Freddy Allen's bird."
(This one's a head scratcher. There was absolutely no feud between Jack and Fred at this time. And I've never heard anything about Fred Allen having a bird, so it must have been some very short-lived joke that didn't go any farther. According to this page
Fred did a show on 2/19/36 (only two weeks earlier) with a guest character called "The Minah Bird". Apparently, this joke is a reference to that episode, and they just expected that a lot of the audience would remember it.)
NOTE: Jack starts a week's engagement in Washington next week.
NOTE: Love in Bloom gets another credit at the end.
Note: The UCLA Collections notes that this program exists as a badly damaged acetate (BC).
25. 03/15/36 WASHINGTON BENNY-GO-ROUND (Edited) (18:58)
ORCHESTRA OPENING: The orchestra opens with an unidentified song (cut).
The episode is being broadcast from Washington DC, so everyone talks about the sights they've seen. Jack mangles a famous quotation, and suddenly it's open season on twisting famous quotes into Jell-O slogans. Mary asks where Seattle and Tacoma are, so Jack has to explain that there are two Washingtons. This leads to a routine about places named after famous people. Kenny arrives from the main Post Office, where he was hoping to get stamps wholesale. The orchestra plays "You Hit the Spot" from "Collegiate" (cut). Jack jokes about how good Johnny's last name is for St. Patrick's Day. Johnny whispers that Mary forgot to write a St. Patrick's Day poem. Jack tells Johnny to keep it mum, but a phone call reminds Mary about it, so she recites a poem on the spot. Kenny sings "A Little Town in the Old Country Down" (cut). Jack is guest of honor at a French embassy banquet, so he leaves he show early to attend. The orchestra plays an unidentified number (cut).
PLAY: None. Jack leaves the show early.
SITUATION COMEDY: At the embassy, Jack is telling a dull story that gets big laughs anyway from the stuffy attendees. Mary arrives, claiming to be the Secretary of Labor Day. Jack makes a speech, and starts to play an impromptu violin solo, when he is shot! Don steps in to make a speech about Jell-O, but he's shot too. Mary tries to cover with a poem about Washington, but she's shot too! Good grief, have we turned into a snuff film all of a sudden? Play, Johnny, assuming you're still alive.
DON'S INTRO: "And this week, we bring to you from Washington, that national comedian and his entire cabinet, Jack Benny."
MINOR ROLES: Harry Baldwin, Dave Fess, Katherine Lee, Hugh McLevey, George Metaxa, Blanche Stewart
Jack: "Jell-O again, this is Jack Benny coming to you from Washington DC, and only one mile from the White House. Think of it, Don. Just one mile from the White House."
Don: "Well, what's so wonderful about that?"
Jack: "That's closer than Al Smith ever got!"
(Alfred E. Smith (no relation to Neuman) was the loser of the 1928 Presidential election, and therefore the most recent major party candidate to run for President without ever serving.)
JOKE: (The show is in Washington, DC)
Don: "Say Jack, have you been to the Smithsonian Institute yet?"
Jack: "Why Don, where else do you think I got my jokes for tonight?"
Jack: "Don, who do you think I was talking to this morning?"
Don: "The janitor?"
Jack: "No Don, stop kidding. I was talking to Senator LaFollette of Wisconsin."
Don: "Senator LaFollete of Wisconsin? I don't think I know him."
Jack: "Oh, sure you do. You remember the fellow who said "LaFollette, we are here"?
Don: "Well, I'm really not up on historical quotations. All I remember is one."
Jack: "What's that?"
Don: "When Sherman said 'Jell-O is swell!'."
Jack: "Oh, yes, yes. And you remember when Patrick Henry said 'Give me Strawberry or give me death'?"
Don: "I certainly do."
Mary: "And you remember what Mary Livingstone said?"
Jack: "What, Mary?"
Mary: "I regret that I have but one joke to give to this program."
CONTINUITY ALERT: Don says he's not up on historical quotations, but in future, he and jack will have extended feuds over historical quotations, like who said "Don't Give up the Ship", and other historical facts, like where the Pilgrims landed. Robert LaFollette served in the US Senate from 1925 to 1947.
CONTINUITY ALERT: Mary claims not to know where Seattle and Tacoma or, or that there's a Washington State in addition to Washington, DC. In real life, she was born and raised in Seattle.
JOKE: (The show is in Washington, DC)
Mary: "Isn't it marvelous how a big city like this crossed the Delaware?"
(I thought this joke was only slightly cute, but it got a good laugh, plus applause. It's not even a Mary Joke; this is the kind of thing Kenny should have said.)
JOKE: (The show is in Washington)
Jack: "You know, there are a lot of things to see here, Mary. Have you been to the Capital, yet?"
Mary: "No, what's playing there?"
Jack: "Do you realize that there are a lot of cities named after great men, Mary? Why, there's Washington, Dc. Lincoln, Nebraska. Jefferson City, Missouri. Columbus, Ohio."
Mary: "Well, there's no city named after you, is there?"
Jack: There isn't? What about Al-beny… New York."
JOKE: (Kenny thinks he can get stamps cheaper at the Washington Post Office).
Jack: "Oh, you're going to get stamps wholesale, huh?"
Kenny: "Yeah! I got three red stamps this morning for six cents!"
Jack: "What are they in your home town, Kenny?"
Kenny: "Two cents apiece!"
Jack: "Oh, if I were you, I'd buy hundreds of them. And don't forget, you can get green stamps for a penny apiece."
Kenny: "Oh, I'd sooner pay a little more and get the ripe ones."
JOKE/DAFFYNITION: (Johnny has a Don Bestor moment)
Jack: "Well, of course, it's always a pleasure to talk to Johnny. After all, he's a Harvard man, at least you can hold an intelligent conversation with him."
Johnny: "Well, thank you, Jack. My mental faculties await your disposition."
Jack: "Well, well. How do you like being in Washington, Johnny?"
Johnny: "Oh, I'm just here on a mission of altruism to obviate the prosaic tenor of this program."
Jack: "Ha, ha, ha, ha."
Mary: "I think you're better off with Kenny."
Jack: "No, no, Mary, I'm all right. But of course, one word sort of staggered me there for a second. Mary, what's 'prosaic'?"
Mary: "A town in New Jersey."
(Pulling out the "prosaic" joke from 9/14/34 again, and, considering how catchy it is, it's amazing they only used it twice).
NOTE: According to Wikipedia, not only did Johnny really go to Harvard, he entered at the ripe young age of 15. Come to think of it, Bestor was a rambling rec from Carnegie Tech. And to think that Jack's next orchestra leader will have a degree from Doo-Wah-Diddy Tech.
Johnny: "What this country needs is more music."
Jack: "You're wrong, Johnny! What this country needs is a good five cent nickel!"
Mary: "You're both wrong, what this country needs is bigger and better poems!"
Don: "You're all wrong! What this country needs is more Jell-O! It's twice as rich as ever before!"
Jack: "The country?
Don: "No, the Jell-O!"
NAMES FOR THE BAND: Johnny Green and His Washingtonians.
MARY'S POEM: [7:00]
Dear old Ireland, Dear old Ireland.
With your pretty lakes and dells,
you are sure a bit of heaven.
Dear old Ireland, you are swell.
Jack: "Well, so far it's all right."
Land of Ireland, we salute you,
on this here St. Patrick's Day.
How we love you and adore you,
on this 17th of May.
Jack: "17th of May?"
Mary: "Yes, March didn't rhyme."
Believe me, folks, this is no blarney.
How I love you, dear Killarney.
And that pretty spot where your river Shannon flows.
And though I like your dells and lakes,
I'd love to win your old sweepstakes.
Even if it's the second prize, goodness only knows.
Jack: "But Mary, supposing you win the sweepstakes, then what?"
Mary: "Then Labor Day, oh Labor Day, you will disappear."
Jack: "Oh, by the way, Kenny. Do you know That Old Irish Mother of Mine?"
Kenny: "No, but I'd love to meet her some time."
Jack: "Hmm, that reminds me, there's a place in Ireland that gives me an idea.
Kenny: "There is?
Jack: "Yes, it's called Kilkenny!"
FLUB CITY: (Jack is getting ready for the party)
Jack: "I'm sorry I can't ask the rest of the gang along. Look, here's my hand-graved invitation. It says… (correcting himself) hand ENGRAVED invitation. It says, you are… fine Master of Ceremonies, can't even speak English. It says you are kindly requested to be our Guest of Honor at the Ritz Fair tonight."
Johnny: "Gee that's swell, I hope you have a great time, Jack."
Jack: "Well, thanks Johnny. I know you'd enjoy it, but we can't all be lucky. I guess I'll take my violin along. They might ask me to play something."
Mary: "They won't, but you'll play."
Jack: "Gee, I don't know what to play, either, if they ask me. Oh Johnny, do you know how The River Shannon Grows?"
Johnny: "It just flows along."
Jack: "Oh. Did I say 'grows' or 'goes'?"
JOKE: (At the Embassy Party)
Knocking Man: "Announcing Senator and Mrs. Fuddleberry of East Virginia.
Jack: "Ah, glad to know you, Senator. And you two, Senorita."
JOKE: (At the Embassy Party)
Knocking Man: "Announcing Congressman and Mrs. Hergimer Van Snoot, of Minnesconsin."
JOKE: (At the Embassy Party)
Knocking Man: "Announcing Lord and Lady Havadish."
Jack: "Havadish? Of London?"
Knocking Man: "No, of Jell-O."
JOKE: (Ben Franklin shows up at the Embassy Party??)
Lady: "Oh, Benjamin and Mrs. Franklin. I'm so glad you got here.
Jack: "Well, I am thrilled. I'm Jack Benny, the fellow who makes the cracks on the radio."
Ben: "Well, I put one in the Liberty Bell. Don't use it."
JOKE/FLUB: (At the Embassy Party)
Knocking Man: "Just a minute. Are you one of the invited guests?"
Mary: "Yes, I'm Secretary of Labor Day."
Jack: "Why, Mary…"
Mary: "Quiet, Jack. Don't crab it."
Jack: "Hey Mary, where's Kenny Baker?"
Mary: "He came through the kitchen, disguised as a ham."
Jack: "Hey, did you meet all the secretaries here, Mary?"
Mary: "No, if I can't meet the… meet the bosses, then skip it."
Jack: "You should have skipped that line, too."
(Jack learned very on that flubs and fluffs are funny. As a result, he nearly always calls attention to them when they occur.)
JOKE: (At the Embassy Party)
Don: "Jack, meet the French attaché, Monsieur Rue del la Paix."
Jack: "Well, glad to know you, Rudy."
JOKE: (Jack orders dinner at the Embassy Party)
Jack: "Give me some consommé Julien, and filly of Hialeah."
Waiter: "With Pimlico sauce?"
NOTE: All next week, Jack and Mary will be on stage at Lone Century, in Baltimore, MD.
Note: The UCLA Collection calls the skit for this episode "Banquet at the French Embassy", notes that it was broadcast from Washington, DC, and that the opening announcement and musical selections were not recorded. (BC)
26. 03/22/36 WHY NELL LEFT HOME
This program does not seem to circulate amongst fans, but it does exist in the UCLA Collection, which notes that the point of origin is Baltimore, Maryland, that the 0pening announcement and musical numbers were not recorded, and that the program is incomplete (2 of 4 Sides missing). The NBC Program Analysis Sheets note that the guests this episode were the husband-and-wife vaudeville team of Block and Sully (Jesse Block and Eve Sully) (BC)
27. 03/29/36 CINDERALLEN (30:31)
ORCHESTRA OPENING: The orchestra opens with "Wahoo" (McDaniel??).
Jack is back in New York, and talks about his trips to Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Washington. Jack and Don argue about the respective merits of the Eastern US vs. the West. They finally disagree about whether the Mississippi River counts as part of the East or the West, and agree to split the difference. Jack asks the others their opinion. Mary likes the South, Kenny (from California) likes the West. Johnny would like to live in Jack's own apartment. The orchestra plays "A Bit of Heaven". A violinist named Fritz Packard tries to audition for the program. He seems to be a bit hard of hearing, and the orchestra already has enough fiddlers. Packard turns out to be Shleperman, who plays a bit of "Love in Bloom" on the violin. Kenny sings "Awake in a Dream" from "Desire". Jack reads a letter from a lady in Constantinople with 12 kids, who wants to see a play for the whole family, like Cinderella. With the cast short of women, Jack changes the lead character to Cinderallen, and introduces a male version. The orchestra plays "Doing the Prom", with Johnny on piano, and the play begins.
PLAY: Cinderallen (a male version of Cinderella), later stolen by Jerry Lewis for the 1960 movie "Cinderfella". The play is a fairly straight telling of Cinderella, that goes up to midnight at the ball. The glass slipper appear, even though the angle about using it to locate Cinderallen after the ball is cut from the story. Cinderallen doesn't even succeed in leaving the ball before midnight, and changes back into rags in front of everyone. Shleperman explains that the suit was only rented until midnight. Play, Johnny!
MINOR ROLES: Harry Baldwin, Sam Hearn, Bill Shelley, Blanche Stewart
NOTE: Jack expresses surprise that Fred Allen didn't come up with the title Cinderallen. Fred has been mentioned occasionally, and even guested in a lost episode, but any hint of a feud between Fred and Jack is still almost a year away.
DON'S INTRODUCTION: "And now, let us welcome back from New York, that wandering boy, that prodigal son, that vagabond lover, Jack Benny!"
JOKE: (East vs. West)
Don: "Well, I hate to argue with the boss, but listen. What's the East got that the West hasn't got?"
Jack: "Oh, that's right, Don. You're from Denver. I guess I started something. But you must admit that you have no place out West like Niagara Falls."
Don: "No, but we have the Grand Canyon."
Jack: "Yes, but after all, what can you do with a canyon? It's so empty, Don."
Don: "Is that so?? Say, it would take three Niagara Falls to fill one Grand Canyon!"
Jack: "Well, it can't be so good if they want to fill it."
(Jack will soon move to Hollywood to stay, so forget this entire conversation).
JOKE: (East vs. West)
Jack: "Well Don, here in New York, we have that great Central Park."
Don: "And out west, we have Jellostone Park!"
JOKE: (Life in New York City)
Jack: "Johnny, our focus tonight deals with the East vs. the West. If you had your way, where would you live?
Johnny: "Where you are, Jack. I like your apartment."
Jack: "Well, thanks. Gee, it's some place, isn't it?"
Johnny: "Yeah, on a clear day, you can see the window.
NAMES FOR THE BAND: Johnny Green and His Eastern Californians.
Jack: "Of course, Johnny, I come, you know, I myself, I come from a family of musicians. You know, my father was quite musical."
Johnny: "Oh, really?
Jack: "Yes, my father had a beard so long that he played a violin three years before he found out it was a cello."
(Of course, Jack's dad ran a clothing store, which has been mentioned on this show many times. We've never heard anything about him playing an instrument, and this joke isn't nearly funny enough to be worth making things up.)
NOTE: This is one of the very rare times that Shleperman appears on the show itself, rather than in a play or sitcom scene.
FORGOTTEN HUMOR: The letter from the woman with 12 kids was signed "Mrs. Dionne Cantor", a reference to the Dionne Quintuplets, born in 1934. In fact, this is the second Dionne Quintuplets joke they've had recently, isn't it?'
JOKE: (Don describes the Cinderella plot)
Don: "Cinderella is the stepdaughter of a very aristocratic mother who has two daughters of her own. They all go to a ball at the Royal Palace, given by the King. They don't ask Cinderella to go as she has no clothes or social standing."
Jack: "The first reason is enough."
NOTE: Cinderallen's evil stepbrothers are Donald and Jonathan (Wilson and Green).
NOTE: Kenny claims that he'll be 21 next week. Actually, he was 24, and turned 25 in September. Does everybody on this show lie about their age???
JOKE: (Cinderallen's evil stepbrothers have insulted his looks)
Jack: "I am not homely. I'm better looking than Lani Ross. Ain't I, Mary?"
Jack: "Oh, well…"
Mary: "Anyway, I'm not in the play yet."
KNOCKLESS KNOCK KNOCK: (In the play)
Jack: "You may be my stepmother, but don't come a step... father."
(This joke doesn't get laughs, it gets applause)
KNOCKLESS KNOCK KNOCK: (In the play)
Cinderallen: “I'm so unhappy. I wish I were Victor Hugo so I could be Less... Miserable.”
NOTE: Cinderallen's Fairy Godfather turns a table into a carriage with big red letters on the license plate, and turns six boxes of Jell-O into the horses. Considering the kind of stuff gelatin is really made of, did they HAVE to tell this joke???
NOTE: Johnny Green opens at the Paramount Theater on Saturday, April 4.
JOKE: (Cinderallen's godfather touches Jell-O boxes to turn them into horses for the coach)
Fairy Godfather: "Remember! You must be home by 12!"
Jack: "Yes Godfather, now could you touch something else and turn it into ten bucks so I can take the princess out?"
Fairy Godfather: "I was just going to touch YOU for ten bucks!"
JOKE: (Cinderallen's coach takes him to the ball)
Kenny: "Here you are, sir. The Roxy."
Jack: "I don't want the Roxy, I want the Palace! And get there before the prices change."
KNOCKLESS KNOCK KNOCK: (In the play)
Jack: "You dance just like Ginger Rogers.
Mary: "You dance just like Fred Astaire."
Jack: "Well, I know enough steps... to be a stair."
NOTE: Johnny is opening at the Paramount Theater this Saturday.
NOTE: Love in Bloom gets another end credit.
28. 04/05/36 CLOWN HALL TONIGHT (29:46)ORCHESTRA OPENING: The orchestra opens with "You" from "The Great Ziegfeld".
Jack gives a thumbs up to Don's introduction, and discusses spring, which somehow ends up with them looking ahead to Christmas in short order. Mary reads a Spring Poem. Kenny is enjoying his first spring in New York. A Knocking Man (but not THE Knocking Man) comes by to deliver the spring for Jack's new bed. Kenny shows his appreciation for Jack's kindness by giving him a pressed carnation. Jack responds by going into a routine about hobbies (Some kindness!) Jack and Johnny can't figure out what to do with a pressed carnation, other than giving it away as a present, namely to Kenny. The orchestra plays "Breaking in a Pair of Shoes." Jack goes to the mailbag again. After doing Cinderallen last week, they received 27 letters, including the alphabet. The 27th letter is from three listeners, who can no longer listen to Fred Allen, as they work Wednesday nights, and so would like Jack to swap time slots with Fred. As a compromise, Jack does a vest pocket edition of Fred's program. Everyone wants Fred's role, but Jack takes it for himself, as usual. Kenny sings "I'll Follow My Secret Heart" from "Conversation Piece".
PLAY: "Clown Hall Tonight", a parody of Fred Allen's radio show, "Town Hall Tonight" (a precursor to Allen's Alley), which ran under that title from 1935-1939. The show begins with a vignette of various people rushing to tune in to Clown Hall Tonight tonight. Rather than taking Fred's role, Jack is "Fred Benny". Jack imitates Fred's voice, through the clothespin-on-the-nose technique. Jack opens with a feature similar to his old News Roundups, except that after each headline, there's another small vignette in which we hear from people involved in the story. As is usual with Jack's parodies of Fred's show, he canvases public opinion about who is the better comedian, Fred Allen or Jack Benny? (Fred Benny doesn't seem to be one of the choices). Fred does a short routine with his sidekick, Seattle/Tacoma/Portland Hoffa. He presents a short play entitled "Charlie Chan in China", in which they accidentally arrest up Charlie Chaplin, who won't talk (because he's a silent movie star, get it?) "Peter Van Green's" orchestra plays "Cheek to Cheek" from "Top Hat", with Johnny on the piano. Next is the Amateur Segment. The prizes are cut in half, since Jack's show is only a half hour, while the real Clown Hall is 60 minutes. The first amateur performer is a talking bird that's not feeling very talkative. Next is George A. Gumblemeyer, who plays the player piano. Third is Mary Livingstone Dope, who does imitations. Last is Shleperman, who is now a Jewish hillbilly (Vhat else?), who sings cowboy songs. The first three acts get no audience reaction at all. Shleper-billy gets two claps, and wins by default.
DON'S INTRODUCTION: "And now we start off the Spring season by bringing you that flowery speaker, that gilded lily, that budding genius, Jack Benny."
MINOR ROLES: John Brown, Sam Hearn, Blanche Stewart
NOTE: For the play, they stretch a point by letting Jell-O be Fred's sponsor. In real life, Fred's sponsor was Sal Hepatica, a laxative, which only came in one flavor, and it wasn't delicious.
NOTE: The Benny/Allen feud does not exist at this point. Jack's character in the play is "Fred Benny". However, even with no feud ongoing, Jack uses the clothespin-on-the-nose technique to imitate Fred’s voice. Amazingly, this did not start the feud right there.
VIEWER MAIL: Don reads a letter from a repentant heretic who dared buy ANOTHER brand of gelatin dessert (!!), and bitterly rued her decision, when she found it had neither the grand taste nor the gay colour of genuine Jell-O. She begs forgiveness, is granted absolution, and rejoins the One True Brand. Unfortunately, Don reads her name over the air, which will probably humiliate her for life.
MARY'S POEM: (Mary reads a Spring Poem.)
Mary: "Hickory Dickory Dock. The mouse ran up the clock. The clock didn't strike."
Jack: "What was wrong?"
Jack: "Well Kenny, this is your first spring in New York. How do you like our weather?"
Kenny: "Oh, I don't mind it. I'm still wearing my winter underwear."
Jack: "You are? Why Kenny, this is April. For heaven's sake, how long do you wear your winter underwear?"
Kenny: "Down to my ankles."
Jack: "Well anyway, Spring is here, so Johnny, play something. You know, something appropriate, like April Showers bring May flowers."
Mary: "And Mayflowers bring pilgrims."
Jack: "And pilgrims bring progress."
Don: "And progress brings Jell-O, with its six delicious flavors: Strawberry, Raspberry, Cherry, Orange, Lemon and Lime!"
(Can you believe they actually had the nerve to do that old "May flowers bring pilgrims" joke? Can you believe the writer actually had the nerve to accept money for writing it?)
NOTE: Johnny and the Boys are playing the Paramount Theater this week.
JOKE: (Jack casts the play)
Jack: "I'll be Fred Allen.
Johnny: "I wanna be Allen."
Kenny: "No, I want to be Allen."
Jack: "No, I saw the letter first. I'm going to be Allen. All those in favor say Aye."
Johnny and Kenny: "Aye… wanna be Allen."
KNOCKLESS KNOCK KNOCKS: (Jack casts the play)
Mary: "What'll I play, Jack?"
Jack: "You can be Portland Hoffa. Just mull through it."
Mary: "Well, a Hoffa loaf is better than nothing."
JOKE: (Ordinary people drop what they're doing to see Clown Hall Tonight)
Don: "Here they come! Doctors!"
Nurse: Oh, Doctor! Doctor! Aren't you going to finish the operation?"
Doctor: "No, I've got to leave immediately."
Nurse: "But there are six more stitches to make."
Doctor: "Put a zipper on it, it's Clown hall Tonight!"
DON'S INTRO OF FRED BENNY:
Don: "And now, ladies and gentlemen, we present to you that phenomenal diva of (incoherent blabbing noise), Fred Benny, in person!"
JOKE: (Jack does the News Roundup)
Jack: "New Haven, Connecticut. Professor Hergimer J. Plaid, noted scientist of Yale University. Hoo, hoo, hoo…"
(Jack tries to imitate Fred's laugh and fails badly)
Jack: "Discovered that you… Boy, am I awful… Discovered that you can get milk out of a turnip. Clown Hall News will show you the effect of this discovery on the youth of today. The Scene: A farm in New England."
Rube: Oh, Zeke? Zeke?"
Zeke: "What is it, Rube?"
Rube: "Just read in the paper where a scientist claims you can get milk out of a turnip."
Zeke: "He does?"
Rube: "Yeah, pretty good, ain't it?
Zeke: "Yeah, but who's going to get up at 4 in the morning to milk a turnip?"
NOTE: The voice of Zeke in the preceding joke sounded a lot like Sam "Shleperman" Hearn, doing the same voice he did on Jack's show in the 1950's, playing the Rube from Calabasas (a country-fried melon farmer, who always called Jack "Rube", for no particular reason).
JOKE: (Jack does the News Roundup)
Jack: "New York, New York. Controversy rages in many homes as to who is the better comedian: Fred Allen or Jack Benny? Clown Hall News takes a house-to-house canvas."
(knock, knock, knock, knock)
Jack: "Wait till I take the pin off my nose. How do you do?
Woman: "How do you do?"
Jack: "I'm from Clown Hall News. Do you listen to comedy programs?
Woman: "Yes sir, all of them."
Jack: "Whom do you like better? Fred Allen or Jack Benny?"
Woman: "Jack Benny, now take that gun away from my ribs."
JOKE: (In the play)
Jack: "Once again, Clown Hall News brings you the outstanding Clown of the week."
Jell-O Chorus: J! E! L, L! I!!"
Jack: "After all these years, they can't even spell it!"
Jack: "And now we are still in a musical mood, we will have a number from our Clown hall Quartet. Give us a number, boys."
Jack: "Thank you."
JOKE: (Jack introduces one of the amateurs)
Jack: "Now, the next artist this evening is Mr… Mr… what's your name, young man?"
Gumblemeyer: "George A. Gumblemeyer."
Jack: "George A. Gumblemeyer, I see. And what does the A stand for?
Jack: "Well, you're certainly at home for an amateur, and I wish you were…"
(That's a typical Allen crack, you've got to laugh at that one.)
JOKE: (Jack interviews Amateur Contest entrant, Mary Livingstone)
Jack: "What are you going to do for us this evening?"
Mary: "I going to do imitations."
Jack: "That's funny, I'm doing an imitation right now of Fred Allen."
Mary: "That's what you think."
KNOCKLESS KNOCK KNOCKS: (Jack introduces Slim Shleperman, the singing cowboy)
Jack: "Well, well, what do you do, young man?
Shleperman: "I'm a hillbilly.'
Jack: "A hillbilly,, I see. Where do you come from?"
Jack: "With that dialect, you come from Kentucky?"
Shleperman: "Yes, I 'Kentucky' good English."
Jack: "Even Allen wouldn't have stood for that one."
JOKE: (The Clown Hall audience votes on the Amateur talent)
Jack: "Next, Mr. George A. Gumblemeyer, the piano player."
Jack: "Well, well, did I hear a pin drop? Next, Miss Mary Livingstone.
Mary: "It's even an amateur audience."
NOTE: During the play, Jack makes several efforts to imitate a "Woo hoo!" sound of Fred's, which I don't remember hearing him make.
29. 04/12/36 AH, WILDERNESS (27:07)
ORCHESTRA OPENING: The orchestra opens with "It's No Fun".
The show is broadcasting from Cleveland. As a result, Jack tells a joke about Euclid Avenue that couldn't possibly get applause anywhere else. Jack is appearing at Lowe State Theater this week, and has a press clipping in which he is almost mentioned by name. Don wrings another Jell-O commercial about Easter, while Mary has written a poem about it. She starts to read it, but Jack interrupts her by jump-starting the orchestra. The orchestra plays "Goody, Goody", and when it finishes, Mary is still reading her poem. Incensed, she says this is the last poem she'll write one, and succeeds in getting applause with that. Jack and Johnny discuss their living arrangements in Cleveland (Johnny and the boys are all sharing one room). Jack announces the play. Kenny sings In the Hills of Old Wyoming (I thought they were in Cleveland!?) As the play begins, they hear Eugene O'Neill turning off his radio.
PLAY: "Ahh, Wilderness", based on the Eugene O'Neil play, and the 1935 movie of the same name, starring Lionel Barrymore, Wallace Beery, and Aline MacMahon. Jack and Mary are another country couple, with a son named Wilderness, who is 29 and still doesn't know the facts of life. Uncle Ferncliff (actually Shleperman) finds a love letter written from Wilderness to someone named Annabelle. Jack takes Kenny aside to tell him about the facts of life. He reads the letter, and asks Kenny about it. Kenny replies by going into a song. Jack can't go through with the talk, and so has Uncle Ferncliff do it. Fernshlep gives Kenny advice about treating women coldly and never letting them know you care. Jack jumps back in to give the opposite advice: give 'em lots of affection. Shlep walks out, and Jack tries to call Annabelle for Kenny, but Shleperman answers! The recording cuts out. The resolution isn’t quite clear, but it sounds like Shlep took Jack’s advice after all, and used it to win Annabelle out from under Kenny’s nose.
DON'S INTRODUCTION: "And now we bring to you from Cleveland, the pride of Waukegan, the idol of California, Ohio's favorite son, Jack Benny of New York."
“Easter's here but once a year, even as you and I.
A rag, a bone and a hank of hair, a laugh, a tear, a sigh.
Easter bonnets soon appear, in the rain or fall....”
(We hear pieces of this poem a couple of times in other episodes.)
MINOR ROLES: Sam Hearn, Blanche Stewart
NOTE: Today is Easter. Don's opening commercial talks about how women are parading around in their Easter finery today, but that the colors of Easter cannot surpass the colors of Jell-O. I'm not sure what Don's getting at with this, unless to suggest that women should be wearing Jell-O instead of Easter dresses today. And you thought this program was G-rated.
NOTE: In the commercial, don refers to them as "6 grand flavors", when it's six DELICIOUS flavors! Get it right, pal!
NOTE: There are a few strains of "Love in Bloom" after Jack's intro. The song has not yet gone into hibernation.
Mary: “You leave Jack alone. He’s got more talent in his little finger than you’ll ever have.”
Don: “I don’t believe you.”
Mary: “Neither do I, but that’s what he told me.”
Jack: “Thatta girl, Mary.”
Mary: “Shut up!”
Jack: “I do pride myself on the way I take care of my suits.”
Mary: “That suit locks… looks like you forgot to take it off the hanger.”
Jack: “You nearly killed that joke too.”
(We’ve mentioned it before, but Jack learned early on that the audience loves flubs. When one occurs, Jack will nearly always call attention to it to try to milk an extra laugh out of it.)
Jack: “You know Johnny, there’s something about you when you stand there leading that orchestra. I don’t know, there’s a word that fits you and I just can’t think of it."
Johnny: “Well, how about genius?”
Jack: “Well, that’s cute, yes. I really had another word in mind, but genius will do.”
Mary: “Ha, ha, ha, ha! Ha, ha, ha, ha!”
Jack: “Mary, what are you laughing at?”
Mary: “Imagine a genius with a haircut.”
“Well anyway, Johnny, you deserve your success.”
Johnny: “Thanks, Jack. You’re white.”
Jack: “Thanks, Johnny. You’re Green.”
(There’s an expression that’s not coming back any time soon.)
Johnny: “Say Jack. I have some relatives here who are great fans of yours, and I’d like you to meet them right after the broadcast. Do you mind?”
Jack: “Oh, of course not, Johnny. I’ll be glad to. Are they distant relatives?”
Johnny: “No, they’re right outside.”
JOKE: (Jack casts the play)
Jack: "Do you like the part of the uncle, played by Wallace Beery?”
Don: “Yes, and I like Strawbeery, Raspbeery, Cherry, Orange, Lemon and Lime!”
JOKE: (In the play)
Jack: “Here it is 8:27 and that boy of ours is still gallivanting around.”
Mary: “Well, don’t worry. He’s a good boy, and smart too. He got the biggest marks in his school and stood at the head of his class.”
Jack: “Well, where he got the marks, he had to stand.”
(This is another one of those odd lines that gets both laughs and applause).
JOKE: (In the play, the title is explained.)
Kenny, walking in: “Ah, father. Ah, Mother. Ah, Uncle.”
Jack, Mary and Shlep: “Ah, wilderness!”
JOKE: (In the play)
Jack: “Young man, do you realize what time it is?”
[the clock strikes four times]
Jack: “Exactly. You had your mother all upset coming in at this hour. She was a-walking up and down in her bare feet with tears in her eyes. And why?”
Mary: “There were tacks on the floor.”
JOKE: (In the play)
Jack: “I knew many girls when I was a young man. But your mother was different.”
Mary: “Sure, I was different. I said yes.”
JOKE: (In the play)
Jack: "Leave the room, Rita. I’m going to have a talk with Wilderness about The Facts of Life.”
Mary: “Well, I hope YOU learn something.”
JOKE: (In the play)
Jack, reading Kenny’s love poem: “Rose are Red, violets are blue, sugar is sweet, and so are you. Signed, Wilderness.”
Kenny: “Gosh! Did I write that??”
Shleperman: “It wasn’t Eugene O’Neill.”
JOKE: (In the play)
Jack: “A woman needs love, affection and correction. I may be wrong about Annabelle, but if she’s the woman of your dreams, go to her, son. Go to her.
Kenny: “I fear it’s too late, father. She can’t see me from a hole in the wall.”
Jack: “Well, there is a resemblance.”
NOTE: The UCLA Collection notes that last 3 minutes of the program were not recorded (BC)
30. 04/19/36 I GOT A HEAVY DATE (11:03)
ORCHESTRA OPENING: The orchestra opens with "Everything Stops for Tea".
Jack congratulates Johnny on his number, and says he doesn't know what they'd do without him (in a few months, he'll find out). A telegram arrives from Mrs. Otis Elevator, who wants Jack to tell the story of his life, and help get her son off to a good start. Jack and Don reminisce about when they were kids. Kenny sings "Maria" and the play begins.
DON'S INTRODUCTION: "And now we bring to you our weekly Boogie Man, Jack Benny!"
PLAY: "I Got a Heavy Date". Jack is out of work on a park bench, and meets Mary Livingstone. He's attracted to her, but feels like a failure. Mary feels like a failure too, because she starts to write poems, and can never figure out a last line. She reads one ("Labor Day! Oh, Labor Day!") which Jack comes up with a finish to. Jack resolves to make good in the world, then come back and marry Mary. Jack goes out into the world. He fights in World War I. He goes to the Chicago World's Fair. He meets Shleperman. He goes through the Crash of '29. He makes good on radio. He starts working for Jell-O. Now a success, Jack meets Mary again, and proposes. She accepts! The recording cuts out before we get to find out why Jack and Mary were married then but aren’t supposed to be married now.
MINOR ROLES: John Brown, Sam Hearn, Blanche Stewart
NAMES FOR THE BAND: Johnny Green and His Gentlemen
NOTE: This show is broadcast from Baltimore.
JOKE: (Jack reads the viewer mail)
Jack: “Dear Mr. Benny: My husband and I both think you are a splendid example of American manhood. And we would like our son to grow up and be just like you. But he would rather have a bicycle.”
Jack: “Can you imagine, that, Mary? What’s more important, to be on this bike… program, or have a bicycle?”
Mary: “You can get places with a bicycle.”
Jack: “I nearly killed your answer.”
Jack: “Ah Don, remember our childhood days together?”
Don: “Ah, I certainly do, jack. And do you remember the old swimming hole?”
Jack: “Which one?”
Mary: “The one in your bathing suit.”
CONTINUITY ALERT: They’ve been pretty clear on the fact that Jack grew up in Waukegan and Don in Denver. And now, for the sake of this one joke, they grew up together? Go figure.
JACK’S REAL AGE SLIPS OUT:
Jack: “Tonight folks, we hearken to the plea of an anxious mother, and present the story of my life: 39 years in all.”
Don: “But Jack, you’re 42.”
Jack: “I know, Don. But I’m not counting the three years I spent waiting for someone to request this.”
JOKE: (In the play, Jack meets Mary on a park bench.)
Mary: “What’s your name?”
Jack: “Jack Benny. But you can call me Jack. What’s yours?”
Mary: “Mary Livingstone, but you can call me any time!”
NOTE: The UCLA Collection notes that this recording is incomplete: 4 of the 7 sides are missing, and that the closing announcement was not recorded (BC)
31. 04/26/36 PROFESSOR BENNY TEACHES ABOUT THE BOSTON TEA PARTY (28:34)
ORCHESTRA OPENING: The orchestra opens with "Yours Truly Is Truly Yours".
Don Wilson is out this week, replaced by Pat Weaver (henceforth called "Doodles"). Jack is broadcasting from Boston after being in Cleveland and Baltimore the last two weeks. Jack thinks Don has lost weight until he realizes it's another announcer. Jack pulls Doodles aside and gives him the usual spiel he gives to new announcers, about how they should only mention Jell-O when it fits the conversation, but not drag it in to the conversation by the heels. The Knocking Man drops by to welcome Jack to Boston. Mary was followed to the studio by a bull (which turns out to be a cop). Mary meets Doodles. Doodles tries to compliment her, but she takes all his compliments as vicious insults. The orchestra plays "Lost". When they're done, Mary is still berating Doodles. Everyone is leaving early for Johnny's party, but Jack hasn't been invited, and claims not to care. Jack offers to show Johnny the sights of Boston. Johnny says Boston is his home town, but Jack insists most people don't know their own home town very well, and gives some examples. Kenny sings "You" from "The Great Ziegfeld". Everyone leaves the show to travel to the party. Jack beats around the bush about being invited. He finally wangles an invite when it turns out he's the only one with a car, and then plays hard to get. Then he plays easy to get when it turns out that hard to get might not get him in the door.
PLAY: None. Everyone leaves the show early.
SITUATION COMEDY: Everyone loads up the car to travel to the party. As they leave, the orchestra plays "Let's Face the Music and Dance", from "Follow the Fleet". Afterwards, Jack announces this number, even though he's not at the program any more (the guy is in a rut!) They row across a moat to the party, and Mary takes umbrage at Doodles again. They're greeted at the party by someone who sounds like The Knocking Man (at least the voice "rings a bell", yuck, yuck, yuck). They meet various guests, including a British Lady who turns everyone's name into something-athan (Johnathan, Jackathan, Kennathon, Marathon…). As the conversation progresses, it's clear that she really has that European vowel shift down pat (and I don't mean Weaver). She introduces them to her friend Shlepington (Actually Shleperman, vhat else?). Shlep forces a lot of tea on Jack. The time comes for the annual Boston Tea Party ceremony, where they throw the tea overboard. By this time Jack has drunk so much tea that they throw him overboard too.
THE SHOW: After the closing commercial, Doodles lies to Mary and says it was a pleasure meeting her, which sends her off onto another angry tirade.
PAT'S INTRO: "And now we bring to you, not the Hero of Bunker Hill, not The Catch of Cape Cod, not the Dean of Harvard University, but who do you think? (a few strains of Love in Bloom) Give up?"
MINOR ROLES: Harry Baldwin, Sam Hearn, Blanche Stewart Pat Weaver
NOTE: This episode is broadcast from Boston.
NOTE: I have no idea who Pat Weaver is. He might be Sigourney Weaver's father: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sylvester_Weaver_(executive) Maybe another Pat Weaver, not well remembered today. Or heck, maybe he really is Doodles Weaver. Stranger things have happened.
NOTE: Fat jokes are not a standard for Don Wilson yet. There have been a few, but there was also at least one joke about Jack and Don wearing the same shirts. In this episode, however, Jack spots Doodles and comments on how much weight Don has lost.
NOTE: The end of the episode features possibly the first commercial for Jell-O Ice Cream Mix. Only five delicious flavors for this one: Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry, Orange Pineapple and Tutti-Frutti. Just add milk and whipped cream to the mix and place in your 'automated refrigerator'. Makes the best ice cream you ever tasted (naturally). Automated refrigerator sold separately.
RUNNING JOKE: Mary is enormously offended at anything Doodles says to her, however innocuous it may be. Mary actually does a pretty good job with the tongue-lashings she gives Doodles, so it's surprising that they never re-used this routine for Mary again later. Maybe they shouldn't have wasted it on a one-shot character.
Jack: “Say Don, you’ve lost a lot of weight since last Sunday. Have you been on a diet?”
Jack: “What happened?”
Doodles: "Well, I happen to be another announcer. You see, Don Wilson couldn’t make it.”
Jack: “Oh, well the streets are narrow here. He had a little trouble last year. You know that Wilson guy is pretty heavy.”
Doodles: “I know, but the streets in Boston aren’t that narrow.”
Jack: “They’re not, eh? You know what happened yesterday?”
Jack: “Two worms collided in the middle of Washington Street and held up traffic for three hours.
Pat: “Is that a fact?
Jack: “No, but I thought it might get a laugh.”
NOTE: That last is a real Radio Joke. It’s awful, and could never get a laugh on camera, but on radio, they sometimes tell jokes like this designed to create a mental image in a medium that’s short on images. Even on radio, that worm joke isn’t very funny, though. The one about Don not coming to Boston because the streets were narrow is another such joke, and that one is noticeably better.
Pat: “Oh yes, there’s a lot of American history connected with Boston.”
Jack: “Oh, yes.”
Pat: “You know, Paul Revere rode here.”
Jack: “That’s right. Say, was that Rockingham Park, or Narragansett?”
Pat: “I don’t know, I even forgot the name of the horse.”
Jack: “I think we did that joke last year, huh?”
[knock, knock, knock]
Jack: “Come in.”
Knocking Man: “Mr. Benny?”
Knocking Man: On behalf of our great Commonwealth, it affords me great pleasure to welcome you to Boston.”
Knocking Man: “And I hope that your sojourn in this metropolis will be most diverting.”
Jack: “Well thank you, and who may you be?”
Knocking Man: “I may be the mayor, but at present I’m just a dishwasher at Chiles.”
Jack: “Well, a fraternity brother, huh? Washa Uppa Disha?”
Knocking Man: “No, Moppa Uppa Floora. Goodbye.”
Jack: “Well, I must say that it’s a great thrill for me to be playing in Boston. You do meet such cultured and intelligent people.”
Kenny: “Hello, Jack. What was that last line?”
Jack: “Oh Kenny. I was just telling Pat that in Boston you meet such cultured and intelligent people.”
Kenny: “You said the same thing about Cleveland.”
Jack: “I know, but I can’t write new stuff every week.”
Jack: "Oh Kenny, this is our announcer for tonight, Mr. Weaver.”
Kenny: “How do you do, I’m sure!”
Pat: “Well, how do you do? Have you seen much of Boston during your stay, Mr. Baker?”
Kenny: “Aw sure, I’ve been everywhere. This morning I was out to Harvard University.”
Pat: “Gee, I’ll bet it was a thrill.”
Jack: “You can get 3:1 on that.”
NOTE: We haven’t discussed it much, but “It’s a thrill!” is more or less Kenny's catch phrase. It doesn't sound like a catch phrase in print, though. You have to imagine him kind of gushing the line out with glee.
Jack: “Mary, this is Pat Weaver. He’s taking Don Wilson’s place this week.”
Pat: “Well, how do you do, Miss Livingstone. I’ve always been a great admirer of yours.”
Mary: “Oh, yeah?? Well, let me tell you something, Mr. Weaver! We’d better understand each other right now! I’m a home girl and I don’t live in taxis! You can keep your old diamonds and furs, who wants ‘em? And another thing, I get more kick out of a good book than a highball, so there!”
Jack: “But Mary!”
Mary: “I’ve got a good mind to tell Mrs. Weaver.”
Pat: “Why Miss Livingstone, I didn’t say anything.”
Mary: “Well, I know what you’re thinking! You mean are all alike! You love us, you marry us and then you look around for a Pinochle game! Well, you can’t do that to me!”
Jack: “Why Mary, all he said was he’s glad to meet you!”
Mary: “Yes, but the way he said it! I suppose the next thing he’ll do is invite me to dinner, and then what?”
Jack: “What are you talking about?”
Pat: “But Miss Livingstone, I wasn’t going to ask you to dinner.”
Mary: "Ooooh, so I’m not good enough, huh? Well, you can keep your old New England boiled dinner, I don’t like that kind of food anyway! And another thing, a girl isn’t safe any more! Believe me, you wouldn’t talk to me like that if my big brother was around!”
Jack: “Mary, listen! Listen! Oh, play Johnny, play!”
NOTE: As mentioned, Mary really does a good job with the run-on blather in this scene. It's very reminiscent of Monty Python's Travel Agency Sketch.
Jack: “Johnny, you know, there’s an old saying that nobody knows less about a town than a man who was born there.”
Johnny: “Well, I don’t agree to that.”
Jack: “Hey, wait a minute. You take my hometown, Waukegan. Until I was 18 years old, I never even knew where the railroad station was.”
Johnny: “How’d you find out?”
Mary: “The Sheriff showed it to him.”
JOKE: (heading out to the party)
Kenny: “Gee, I hope there’s dancing. You know, Jack, I’ve been taking ballroom dancing from a girl who teaches me and she says I’m doing fine.”
Jack: “Oh, ballroom dancing, eh?”
Kenny: “Yeah, one more lesson and I can dance alone!”
NOTE: Jack mentions that he plans to stay home and watch the movie "Follow the Fleet" for the 12th time.
JOKE: (Everyone has realized that Jack has the only car to get to the party in)
Johnny: “Say, Jack?”
Jack, smugly: Mmm hmm??”
Johnny: “Why don’t you drive us to the party?”
Jack: “Well, I’d like to Johnny, but gee, while everybody’s inside having fun, I don’t want to stay outside and wait.”
Johnny: “Why Jack, you don’t have to stay outside and wait.”
Mary: “No, you can go home.”
JOKE: (Loading the orchestra’s instruments into Jack’s car)
Jack: “Hey Roy, slide that trombone in.”
Knocking Man: “Hey Jack, how can I get my coronet in?”
Mary: “Push the middle valve down.”
Jack: “Say Johnny, are you sure this is the right place? This is the waterfront.”
Johnny: “I know, Jack. We have to take the robot out to the party.”
Jack: “The row what??”
Johnny: “A rowboat.”
JOKE: (Rowing over to the party)
Jack: “Hey, wait a minute, Johnny. We can’t all get in that dinky little boat. How deep is the water?”
Johnny: “About two feet.”
Jack: “I don’t mean in the boat.”
Kenny: “Gee, I’m afraid.”
Jack: “Don’t worry Kenny, if anything happens, I’ll save you. I used to be a lifeguard. Ask Mary.”
Kenny: “Hey Mary, is Jack a good swimmer?”
Mary: “No, but he can wave like the devil!”
JOKE: (Rowing over to the party)
Jack: “Where’s Mary?”
Mary: “Here I am, Jack. I just went below deck.”
Jack: “Below deck? This is a rowboat!
Mary: “Oh, no wonder I’m all wet.”
WAC/FLUB: (Rowing over to the party)
Kenny: “Oh Jack, what was that Boston Tea Party about?”
Jack: “Well, as I remember it, they were having a little blowout in Boston Harbor, and the tea was too strong, so they threw it overboard.”
Pat: “They might have thrown the tea overboard, but they certainly ate the Jell-O with its new extra-fresh rich… fresh fruit flavor!”
Jack: “Thattaboy, Pat, that was fine! You didn’t drag that in.”
Pat: “Much! So, try Jell-O with its much delicious flavors: Strawberry, Raspberry, Cherry, Orange and Lime.”
Jack: “Hey, wait a minute! Wait a minute, Pat! The Lemon was left out.”
Mary: “Maybe they’re saving it for the tea.”
JOKE: (At the party)
Society Matron: “Au revoir, Shlepington.”
Shleperman: “Toodle-doo, second mate.”
Jack: “Second mate?”
Shleperman: Yes, I vas married twice.”
NOTE: The UCLA Collection notes that the point of origin is radio station WBZ in Boston, that Pat Weaver substitutes for Don Wilson as announcer (both noted above), and that the WJZ local commercial replaces the closing network commercial (BC)
32. 05/03/36 CODE OF THE HILLS (27:44)
ORCHESTRA OPENING: The orchestra opens with "At the Codfish Ball", from "Captain January".
This episode celebrates Jack's 4th anniversary on radio (give or take a day), and Jack is annoyed that nobody else seems to have remembered it. Mary and Johnny have forgotten. Kenny remembers, but only because he read it in the newspaper. Jack's previous orchestra leader, Don Bestor, drops in to congratulate Jack on his anniversary. Don and Don renew their acquaintance. The two orchestra leaders, Bestor and Johnny, exchange NOTES (ya get it?) The orchestra plays "The Lady Shall Have Music". Former Jell-O tenor Frank Parker drops in to congratulate Jack on his anniversary (and do that "Hair! Hair!" joke one last time). Bestor and Parker meet Johnny and Kenny. Jack announces the play, with Bestor and Parker taking parts for old times sake. Kenny sings "There's a Small Hotel" from "You're On Your Toes", and the play begins.
PLAY: "Code of the Hills", a hillbilly play involving a Hatfield/McCoy style feud between the "Jake Bennys", and the "Bestor Parkers". The feud has been going on for 200 years. Kenny is killed in the crossfire. The shooting continues until Kenny is killed again. The orchestra plays "She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain" to cover the noise, since the feuders don't have silencers. Johnny and Bestor are shot. Frank drops by to borrow ammo from Jack. Hezekiah Shleperman drops in to buy Jack's land, but Jack wants to finish the feud before leaving. The feud ends when Don is shot in the middle of a Jell-O commercial, and both sides are in agreement about it.
Don: "Ladies and gentlemen, tonight marks Jack Benny's 4th anniversary on the air. Radio marches back!”
"Hello, National Broadcasting Company? This is the president of Canada Dry. Who's going to be the Master of Ceremonies on my program?"
"What, that punk?"
"Hello, NBC. This is the president of the Chevrolet Company calling. Who will be the comedian on our program?"
"What, that punk?"
"Hello, NBC. This is Mr. O'Neill of the General Tire Company. Who's going to be the funny man on my program?"
"What, that punk?"
Don: "Radio marches on! And now, ladies and gentlemen, Jell-O brings you "That punk", Jack Benny!"
SPECIAL GUEST STARS: Don Bestor, Frank Parker
MINOR ROLES: Harry Baldwin, Sam Hearn, John McGowan, Bill Shelley, Blanche Stewart
NOTE: Sam "Shleperman" Hearn plays the presidents of Canada Dry, Chevrolet, and General Tire.
Jack: "Gosh, I'm so excited, it's my 4th year on the air. Isn't that a wonderful record, Don?"
Don: "Oh, I don't know, Jack. Amos and Andy have been on the air six years."
Jack: "Well, that's only three years a piece. I'm talking about a single performer."
NOTE: Don mentions that Rudy Vallee has been on the air for 7 years.
Jack: "Ah, May 3. Mary, you remember May 3, 1932, exactly 4 years ago?"
(Jack's real anniversary on radio is May 2.)
CONTINUITY ALERT: Jack is annoyed that Mary, and even Johnny forgot his anniversary, but neither of them were there on that opening day.
FORGOTTEN HUMOR: Kenny read about Jack's anniversary in the newspaper. A 'newspaper' was a crude means of transmitting daily news from the pre-internet age, printed on very cheap paper that turned your fingers black while reading it. They were also used for imprinting images onto Silly Putty.
JOKE: (The two Dons renew their acquaintance)
Jack: "Say Don, you remember Wilson."
Bestor: "Oh, sure. Hi, Don."
Wilson: "Hello, Don."
Bestor: "How you feel, Don?"
Wilson: "Fine, Don."
Jack: "Well, that's 'Don'."
JOKE: (The two orchestra leaders compare notes)
Bestor: "You've got a good orchestra, Mr. Green. What size baton do you use while conducting?"
Johnny: "Well, I formerly used a 7 inch baton, but now I get much better results with a 9 inch one."
Bestor: "Hmm. I use a 15 inch stick myself."
Mary: "It's easier to hit the musicians."
THE LAST (?) HAIR JOKE!:
Jack: "You know, I've got to pay you two boys a compliment. I mean, you both have swell orchestras. You know, your music is so soothing and restful. It never gets in your hair."
Frank: "Your what?"
Jack: "Hair! Hair! What's on your head??"
Frank: "My nose. I had my face lifted."
Jack: "Frank Parker, for heaven's sake!"
NOTE: This is the second time Frank has visited the show since leaving it. The first time was when the Radio Editors poll named last year's show the best on the air. Parker was in the audience, but didn't come onstage.
A GOOD LINE TO REMEMBER: (You could use this one in real life a lot)
Jack: "Well, well, Frank, is it really you?"
Frank: "Yes, Jack. Happy as a lark, and ready to give you the bird."
Frank: "Gee, that's nice of you, but you didn't have to come all the way over here, Frank. Gee, you could have sent me a telegram."
Frank: "Awww, I wouldn't know what to say."
Jack: "Oh, Frank. Stop.
Frank: "No, that's not enough."
Frank: "Oh Jack, I only kiss her like a father."
Mary: "Yeah, Father Time."
GEOGRAPHY ALERT: Jack says that the play takes place in the Bluegrass Country, 200 miles south of Louisville. The Bluegrass Country is in Kentucky, but 200 miles south of Louisville would place it in the middle of Tennessee.
HILLBILLY EXCLAMATIONS: "By gum, and by Jell-O!"
THE FEUD: (The Benny/Bestor Parker Feud actually started over the Hair Joke!)
Jack: "Remember when he-uns and we-uns were working on the same program? One night I asked him how many hairs on a monkey's face. And he said the next time you shave, count 'em. He knew I couldn't count!"
CONTINUITY ALERT: I'm sure that hairs on a monkey's face joke has been used on the Benny Show before, and probably after this time, but I can't seem to find it at the moment.
CONTINUITY ALERT: Mary says that the Feud has been going on for 200 "yars". Since Jack's show wasn't on that long ago, this is hard to understand.
Parker: "Say, how did we-uns make out today, Don?
Bestor: "We got three Bennys and a skunk."
Parker: "Oh, four Bennys, huh?"
JOKE: (In the play, Frank is borrowing ammo from Jack)
Jack: "When'll I get these bullets back?"
Frank: "About two minutes if my aim is good."
NOTE: An unidentified announcer does the Jell-O Ice Cream Mix commercial at the end of the program.
NOTE: At some point in the episode, the orchestra played "There's a Swell Hotel" from "On Your Toes".
NOTE: The UCLA Collection notes that the recording of this episode is an acetate, that this is the Fourth Anniversary Program, that there is a WJZ cutaway as in program 31, and that the recording has lightning static. (BC)
33. 05/10/36 JACK TEST DRIVES A CAR (28:30)
ORCHESTRA OPENING: The orchestra opens with "I've Got a Heavy Date".
Jack hasn’t arrived yet. Don explains that he’s doing a show that’s running late. Through a process that would be much too complicated to explain even if it made sense, Don tunes into the theater.
SITUATION COMEDY: Transition to another sitcom scene. Jack is at the Clark Theater in Detroit, doing a live performance with Mary. Apparently, Jack is performing for a crowd of Zen Buddhists. At least, you can hear the sound of one hand clapping every time he tells a joke. The lone heckler gets more laughs than Jack does. Mary comes on, and gets laughs with the same jokes that Jack flopped with. Mary sings “Eenie Meenie Minie Moe” and goes over well. Jack offers to play “Love in Bloom” on his violin, and that Buddhist one-hand-clapping guy is back. Jack notices that they’re late for The Jell-O Program, and leaves the theater.
THE SHOW: Back at the show, the orchestra plays "Welcome Stranger". Jack arrives, and apologizes for his tardiness, blaming it on the enthusiasm of his live audience, and all the encores he had to take. The Knocking Man brings a special delivery letter for Kenny. Since it’s Mother’s Day, his mother has sent him a check. Mary calls her mother up, and reads a Mother’s Day poem. Mom hangs up. Kenny sings "A Touch of Your Lips", and leaves early for a date. A salesman, mistaking it for “Motor’s Day” comes by, trying to sell Jack a new car. Jack takes the car out for a test drive. The orchestra plays "It's You I'm Talking About" from "Florida Special". Mary gets a call saying that Jack was in an auto accident during the test drive, and was taken to the hospital. Transition to another sitcom scene.
SITUATION COMEDY: Jack is in the hospital, waiting to see the doctor when his cast arrives. Dr. Shleperman arrives to check Jack out. Jack needs a blood transfusion, so Shlep looks for volunteers. Johnny would like to volunteer, but he’s anemic. Don answers the call. Jack takes a transfusion from Don, and immediately begins eulogizing Jell-O with its six delicious flavors!
DON'S INTRO: "Ladies and gentleman, this is most embarrassing, as Jack Benny hasn't arrived yet, and we've just learned he still has his act to do at the Park Theater here in Detroit, where he's appearing all this week. So we'll tune you in directly to the theater and see if we can catch Jack on the stage."
MINOR ROLES: Harry Baldwin, Ed Beloin, Sam Hearn, Guy Robertson, Blanche Stewart
NOTE: The episode is broadcast on Mother's Day, from Detroit.
NOTE: The orchestra's opening number, "I've Got a Heavy Date", is one of Johnny Green's own songs. Johnny's first wife, Carol Faulk, once commented "We didn't have children, we had songs."
CLUES TO MARY'S IDENTITY: Jack introduces Mary to the Clark Theater crowd as his "partner".
MARY SINGS: Mary sings "Eenie Meenie Minie Moe" during the sitcom scene. This number must have been popular, as it's played a few times as an instrumental piece around this time.
JOKE: (Johnny has a gig)
Jack: “How’s business in the theater, Johnny?”
Johnny: “Oh, swell Jack. SRO.”
Jack: “Standing room only, huh? Say, congratulations.”
Mary: “Say Johnny, you ought to see Jack on the stage this week. It’s SOS.”
Johnny: “What’s that?”
Mary: “Same old stuff.”
Jack: “Of course, I wasn’t lucky enough to go through college like Johnny did, but I did attend public school.”
Johnny: “Well, that’s something.”
Mary: “Jack was in second grade so long, the kids thought he was a teacher.”
JOKE: (Don reminisces)
Don: “Ah, you know, Jack, I can remember years ago when Jell-O was only half as rich as ever before, and didn’t have that extra-rich fruit flavor.
Jack: “Too true, Don. Too true.”
Don: “Ah, yes. And I can remember when the big red letters on the box were only little red dots.”
CONTINUITY ALERT: Isn’t this only Jell-O Season 2? Don’s memory sure goes a long way back.
MARY’S POEM: Most of it is cut, but it ends with “Once you put me cross your knee, with my back up toward the ceiling, gee how you applauded me.”
NOTE: The car salesman is Mr. Gene Chiselwitt from the Majors Motor Company. His car, the Synthetic 7, gets 15 miles for every 15 gallons of gas. It's only $380, but if you want to go a little higher, they have the Synthetic 9 for $12,000.
KNOCKLESS KNOCK KNOCK: (Jack is looking at a new car)
Salesman: “And talk about economy. You can get 15 miles for every 15 miles of gasoline.
Jack: “Well, I don’t need a car right now.”
Salesman: “And talk about speed. Why, this little car is so fast it will take your breath away.
Jack: “Take my breath away? What do you do, drive it or gargle with it?”
Salesman: “With this car, you don’t need gargles!”
Salesman: “Of course this model is built especially for touring. If you buy this car, you get a trailer.”
Mary: “What’s a trailer, jack?”
Jack: “A man from the finance company.”
JOKE: (Jack is looking at a new car)
Salesman: “Now, as a special inducement, the moment you buy this car we give you 20 gallons of gas free.”
Jack: “What about the oil?”
Mary: “He’s giving you that now.”
CONTINUITY ALERT: Jack says that he already owns a car that costs $3500. In later years, when Jack becomes cheap, he will have retroactively owned his jalopy of a Maxwell back to the early 1920's.
JOKE: (Jack is in the hospital)
Jack: “Oh, my head.”
Johnny: “Mary, look at Jack’s head. Do you think it’s swollen?”
Mary: “Not any more than usual."
JOKE: (Jack is in the hospital)
Jack: “Shleperman, are you a doctor too?”
Shleperman: “Hey, vhat have I got to lose? But don’t vorry. You’re my first patient here. And if you die, it wouldn’t cost you a penny.”
Jack: “But suppose I recover?”
Shleperman: “Then I’ll die.”
JOKE: (Jack is in the hospital)
Mary: “What do you think we ought to do, Doc?”
Shleperman: “Well, the first thing you got to do is give him two of these pills every hour.”
Mary: “Will that do him any good?”
Shleperman: “No, but worse he can’t get.”
ANEMIA: What, Johnny's anemic too?? As you'll see in future episodes, anemia jokes have an inexplicable popularity on this program.
TYPE AND TYPE, WHAT IS TYPE?:
When Shlep looks for volunteers for Jack's transfusion, nary a word is said about blood type. Kids, don't do try this at home. If you young scamps try to give each other transfusions, be very sure that the blood types match first. Fortunately, Don is the blood donor, because 4 out of 5 vampires agree that Don's blood comes in six delicious flavors.
NOTE: Jell-O Ice Cream Mix is being introduced to Metro New York and New England. Still only five delicious flavors, and automatic refrigerator required, but not included.
NOTE: This episode was broadcast from the Venetian Room of the Brook-Cadillac Hotel in Detroit.
NOTE: The UCLA Collection notes that the skit this episode is called "Mother's Day", and that the point of origin is WXYZ, Detroit, the show being recorded onto acetate. (BC)
NOTE: It's possible that this episode may be the first written by Bill Morrow, possibly with Ed Beloin; see "The Writers" article page on this web site for more information (BC)
34. 05/17/36 EVERYBODY'S NOT SO HOT (Incomplete, Edited) (15:07)
ORCHESTRA OPENING: The show’s opening is cut, and opens with Don’s introduction.
Jack comes in tired and dragging. He says he’s come in every week for the last 74 weeks saying Jell-O again. He’s pooped, the show is getting staid and predictable, and he’s tired. Mary comes in feeling blah also. Johnny and the boys are playing at the Erroll (Aero?) Theater in Philadelphia, and wants to leave early today. Johnny says that when he plays “Love in Bloom”, the crowds boo Jack. Jack says he’s learning a new song for next year: “Moon Over Miami”. Jack gets a telegram from the Mayor of Miami asking him to reconsider. Don interprets the Mayor’s telegram as an endorsement of Jell-O. Jack is starring in a new movie, “The Big Broadcast of 1937”. Johnny wants to be in pictures too, but Jack warns him it’s not easy. Kenny has signed a contract with Monotonous Films, but doesn’t have much in the way of acting skills. Jack tries to teach him to do a dramatic scene, but Kenny definitely doesn’t have the hang of it. Everyone leaves for California to meet with the producer of Jack’s new movie. Kenny sings a song (cut and unidentified), and we transition to a sitcom scene.
SITUATION COMEDY: Jack and the gang arrive at Paramount to talk to Jack’s producer about his new picture. Jack promises to try to get parts for Johnny and Mary, but tells them that the key is to play hard to get, and not let them know how much you want the job. As luck would have it, the Producer is looking for both an orchestra leader, and a girl who reads crazy poems. Unfortunately, Jack plays it so hard-to-get that they don’t get the parts. The show cuts out in mid-scene.
ANNOUNCER’S INTRO: "And now, we bring to you that star of stage, screen and Jell-O, Jack Benny."
PLAY: The intro is given by an unnamed announcer (not Don).
MINOR ROLES: Harry Baldwin, John Brown, Sam Hearn, Blanche Stewart
NOTE: Again, we hear strains of "Love in Bloom" as Jack enters, but it's played in a washed out manner, to reflect Jack's lack of pep in the first part of this episode.
NOTE: Jack claims to have been saying "Jell-O again" for the last 74 weeks. This is actually the 76th Jell-O episode, but not without a rest. There was a two month break at the end of Jell-O Season 1. Jack's longest working stretch was when he did Chevrolet Season 2, General Tire, and Jell-O Season 1 back-to-back-to-back.
Jack: “Say Don, what would you do if you were run down?”
Don: “I’d take the license number.”
Mary: "When you look Good, there must be something the matter with you."
Jack: "I don't get that."
Mary: "What I mean is this. When you look Bad, that's Good. Because you're normal. But when you look Good, that's Bad because it's not you."
Jack: "Well, how do I look?"
Mary: "Good. And believe me, that's Bad."
Mary: “You’ve been working too hard, Jack. Why don’t you buy yourself a Zeppelin and get some air.”
Jack: “A Zeppelin?”
Mary: “Yeah, you know, those big frankfurters that are flying over here from Germany.”
NOTE: The Hindenburg would explode less than a year later, on May 6, 1937.
JOKE: (Jack’s real age slips out again)
Mary: “If you keep this up, you won’t live go be 40.”
Jack: “I’m 42 now.”
Mary: “Boy, was I hot!”
Kenny: “You know, there’s a millionaires’ daughter who’s been annoying me lately with candy and flowers and following me around everywhere. I just can’t get away from her.”
Jack: “Oh. Well, why don’t you go around incognito?”
Kenny: “Oh, I did that, Jack. When I registered at the hotel this morning, I signed my name Frank Parker, just to throw her off.”
Jack: “Did it work?”
Kenny: “Did it? That’s who she’s with tonight.”
Jack: “A millionaires’ daughter, huh? Well, next time, register as Jack Benny.”
Kenny: “I did that too.”
Jack: “You did? What happened?”
Kenny: “I had to pay two of your laundry bills.”
Jack: “You know, Mary, everyone in pictures has that certain something. For instance, there’s Fred MacMurray. You know Fred MacMurray.”
Mary: “I know all three of them.”
NOTE: As with many episodes this season, the episode gets VERY choppy in points.
JOKE: (Jack tries to teach Kenny how to read lines dramatically, and reads this speech from a sailor returning home to his wife)
Jack's Version: "So, this is what's been going on, huh! You've let 8 years in the Navy separate us! When I get you alone, I'm going to kill you! Kill you!! KILL YOU!!!"
Kenny's Version: "So, this is what's been going on, huh? Gee, you've let 8 years in the Navy separate us. When I get you alone, I'm going to kill you three times."
NOTE: It doesn't completely translate to print, but the preceding may be the all-time best Kenny Baker gag.
NOTE: The UCLA Collection notes that the skit is "Jack Returns To Hollywood", that the recording is an acetate, and that it is incomplete, with 4 of 7 sides missing (BC)
35. 05/24/36 LEAVING NEW YORK FOR CALIFORNIA (Incomplete) (14:32)
ORCHESTRA OPENING: The opening is cut.
An unidentified announcer introduces Jack. The orchestra plays "Moon Over Miami" as Jack enters (apparently referring to his comment last week that he would be replacing "Love in Bloom" with that song). Don reminds Jack that last week he said he was tired of saying "Jell-O Again", but here he is saying it again. Jack says he has to keep it, as it's become a signature phrase for him. Jack gives examples of the catch phrases of other radio personalities. Jack is leaving for California tomorrow to make "The Big Broadcast of 1937" and needs to start packing. A Knocking Man (but not THE Knocking Man) from the Hoboken & Hollywood Railroad comes by to offer Jack a special rate on train tickets. Jack was thinking of going by air, but the man insists that the train goes through "Air-izona". Mary is already packed. Another Knocking Man tries to sell Jack plane tickets, but Jack is leery of a plane with swimming pool and floor show. Jack and Mary discuss how screwy the US map is (South Dakota in the North, North Carolina in the South, and West Virginia in the East). Don tries to sell them Jell-O tickets. The orchestra plays an unidentified instrumental piece, and Jack says that Kenny sang "No Regrets" (There may be a BIG cut in there somewhere, but it's hard to hear). Jack dips into the mailbag again, and reads a letter from a woman in the Bronx who's tired of hearing Jack talk about Hollywood all the time, but never New York. Jack realizes that probably few people have heard of New York, and decides to do a play to sort of put New York on the map. The orchestra plays an unidentified number, and the play begins.
PLAY: An unnamed play about life in New York. Jack tours Manhattan, doing Manhattany things, like taking a taxi, talking to a "Buddy, can you spare a dime?" style guy on the street, and visiting the automat, where he meets another salesman trying to sell him steamship tickets to California. Jack meets Kenny, Johnny and finally Shleperman at the automat, but the program cuts out before we can find what he's doing there.
INTRO: "And now we bring to you the boss of our program who leaves for California tomorrow, Jack Benny."
MINOR ROLES: Harry Baldwin, Ed Beloin, John Brown, Charles Cantor, Sam Hearn, Blanche Stewart
Jack: "Well, anyway folks, Jell-O again."
Don: "Uh Jack, I thought you told us last Sunday that you were tired of saying "Jell-O again". Now, can't you get something new?"
Jack: "I could, Don, but you see, I'm identified with it."
Don: "Mmm hmm."
Jack: "You see, every radio artist is known by a line he's made popular.
Don: "Now, what do you mean?"
Jack: "Well, if you were telling a story about radio people, you wouldn't say, uh, 'Kate Smith and Rudy Vallee went over to see Fred Allen, and ran into Ed Wynn, who came in with Ben Bernie', and so forth and so on."
Don: "Well, what would you say, then?"
Jack: "You'd say, uh, 'Hello everybody', and 'Heigh-Ho everybody' went to see 'Town Hall', and 'Soooooul' came in with 'Yowsa', looked at 'How'm I doin', Big Boy?', and said I'd like to spend this half hour with you. Then Jell-O again came in (that's me, Don) and met some Beedle who opened up a bottle. You see, you don't have to mention names."
Don: "Well, I know, Jack, but you would you get me into that party? I mean, how would they know me?"
Jack: "By the big red letters on your nose."
Jack: "So, immediately after the next number, ladies and gentlemen, we will show you New York City, from Times Square to Columbus Circle, where men are men and women are fan dancers."
JOKE: (At the automat)
Mary: "Say Jack, there's Johnny Green and his orchestra."
Mary: "At the water fountain, I guess Johnny's treating."
JOKE: (At the automat, after Jack leaves)
Mary: "Oh, miss? Where's the ham?"
Waitress: "You were just talking to him."
JOKE: (At the automat)
Jack: "He wants us to go by steamer through the Panama Canal."
Mary: "Not me, I always get seasick."
Jack: "But this goes through the canal."
Mary: "Canals make me sick too."
Jack: "Oh, why don't you go home?"
Mary: "I get homesick, too."
NOTE: The UCLA Collection notes that the skit is" Tour Of New York City", that the recording is an acetate, and that it is incomplete: 4 of the 7 sides are missing (BC)
[EPISODE 36: Lost]
37. 06/07/36 BENNYMOUNT FILMS WITH ROBIN & RAINGER (Incomplete) (15:01)
ORCHESTRA OPENING: The opening of the show is cut, and picks up immediately after the orchestra has played "I Don't Want to Make History" from "Palm Springs".
In last week's (lost) episode, Jack and Johnny had a fight of some kind, and Jack ended up splitting with Paramount in a dispute over the size of his role in "The Big Broadcast of 1937". Don says they've got nothing prepared for tonight, but Johnny notices that Leo Robin and Ralph Rainger, the authors of "Love in Bloom" are in the audience, and calls them onstage. Jack tells them about songs that Johnny and Don have written. Since Robin and Rainger also wrote "I Don't Want to Make History", Jack plays it for them on his violin, but they fail to recognize it from his rendition. Robin and Rainger smash Jack's violin and leave in a huff. Paramount calls, begging Jack to come back. Wait no, it's just Jack's cook asking what he wanted for dinner. (Well, it SHOULD have been Paramount begging). Kenny sings "You Started Me Dreaming". Kenny has already started shooting a picture of his own now that they're back in California. Speaking of that, Paramount still hasn't called. Jack decides to form his own film company, Bennymount Studios. The orchestra plays "I've Got A Heavy Date", by Johnny Green (cut), while Jack constructs the Bennymount Films studios. Transition to a Sitcom scene at Bennymount.
SITUATION COMEDY: Jack is in his office at Bennymount Studios, putting movies on the drawing board with a fervor similar to his part in the "Open Up That Goldwyn Gate" sketch from 11-3-1935. Jack plans movies, all the while asking if Paramount has called yet. Jack listens to script pitches, and buys one sight unseen for $10. He plans to film it, since Paramount still hasn't called. Jack hires an Irish tenor and negotiates with a director (Pat C. Flick) to help make his new picture, but is unable to close the deal. The episode cuts out.
DON'S INTRO: Unknown (cut).
SPECIAL GUEST STARS: Leo Robin, Ralph Rainger
RECURRING GUEST ROLES: Mel Blanc, Pat C. Flick
MINOR ROLES: Harry Baldwin
NOTHING PLANNED FOR TONIGHT: Jack says that they have nothing planned for tonight. It sounds like a throwaway line, as they immediately go into a routine with Robin and Rainger. However, the nearest I can tell, this is the first episode made after Jack's split with his first writer, Harry W. Conn, who left them in the lurch without a script. So they REALLY had nothing planned, at least not until the last minute. A lot has been said about the split between Jack and Conn. I can't add much to that, except to say that the scene between Jack, Robin and Rainger, is quite probably the funniest scene Jack had ever done on radio up to that time. I made an .mp3 of the sequence, listened to it a couple of dozen times over the space of a month, and, between the repartee, and Jack's wonderfully bad rendition of "I Don't Want to Make History", I laughed out loud at it every time.
NOTE: "Love in Bloom" is from the movie "She Loves Me Not", released in 1934, and starring Bing Crosby and Kitty Carlisle. Apparently it has no relation to the movie "Love in Bloom", released in 1935 and starring George Burns and Gracie Allen. A Bing Crosby recording of the song was a hit in 1934. The notes to 2/9/36 explain how it became Jack's signature piece. In their writing partnership, Rainger did the music and Robin the lyrics. Leo Robin died in 1984 at the age of 1984, but Rainger was killed in a plane crash in 1942. Their biggest hit was "Thanks For the Memory", which later became Bob Hope's signature song.
Jack: "So you're Leo Robin and Ralph Rainger, the writers of Love in Bloom!"
Robin: Yep, that's us."
Rainger: Yep, that's us."
Jack: "Well, I'm sure glad to meet you."
Robin: "Thanks, Mr. Benny."
Rainger: "Thanks, Mr. Benny."
Jack: "Well, one thing you have to admit, boys, I certainly put your song over."
Mary: "The echo spoke first that time."
Jack: "Well, I want to tell you something, fellas. That's one of the greatest numbers ever written! Ah, what a song! Can it be the trees that fill the breeze, with rare and magic perfume. You know, I've been playing that number for the last two years. Did you fellas make any money on it?"
Rainger: "Not in the last two years."
Mary: "Yeah, with separate checks."
JOKE: (Jack tunes up his violin)
Jack: "Some tone, hasn't it, boys?"
Rainger: "Yeah, yeah. Is that a Stradivarius?"
Jack: "If it ain't, I'm out ten bucks."
Robin: "Why Jack, you can't buy a Stradivarius for ten dollars."
Jack: "Well, this is a demonstrator."
JOKE: (Jack plays "I Don't Want to Make History")
Jack: "Well, how did you like it boys?"
Rainger: "That's a catchy tune. What is it?"
Jack: "Why that's your song!"
Robin: "It is?? Give me that fiddle."
Jack: "Awww, fellas!"
Robin: "Goodbye, Mr. Benny."
Rainger: "Let that be a lesson to you."
Jack: "Hmmm. I don't NEED lessons!"
NOTE: Mary takes a call from Jack's unnamed female cook, who's never been mentioned before, and never will be again.
Jack: "Did Paramount call yet?"
Jack: "Well, one thing about me, I don't worry."
Mary: "You don't? Then why are you so grey?"
Jack: "Well, battleships are grey, they don't worry, do they? (in Jewish mother voice) Believe me, you find a battleship that worries..."
JOKE: (At Bennymount)
Jack: "Have you written anything before?"
Writer: "Yes, The Story of My Life and How I Was Killed."
Jack: "How you were killed??"
Mary: "He must be a ghostwriter."
NOTE: This marks Mel Blanc's first appearance on the show. However, his lines all seem to be in the part of the show that's missing.
NOTE: The UCLA Collections notes that the skit is " Bennymount Pictures", and that point of origin is NBC Studios, Hollywood. It also states that "these Hollywood shows were recorded off the air (KFI) at 7:30-8:00 pm. This is explained by the fact that the Benny programs, like many other radio shows of the period, were actually done twice: once for convenient listening in the eastern part of the country, then repeated for Western listeners 2 or 3 hours later." The Collection also notes that the orchestra’s 2nd number and the close of program were both not recorded. The recording is incomplete: the 1st of 4 sides is missing. The recordings are 12" 33-1/3 acetate transcriptions dubbed from 78’s. (BC)
38. 06/14/36 OPENING OF BENNYMOUNT STUDIOS (20:33)
ORCHESTRA OPENING: The orchestra plays an unidentified number (mostly cut).
Jack still wants to know if Paramount called. (No, they didn't). Jack opens with a News Roundup. The orchestra plays "I Can't Understand." Johnny and Jack discuss the standoff with Paramount. Jack is unwilling to play such a small role as a butler. Jack is rattled, and starts to introduce Robin and Rainger, until Don tells him that that was last week. Jack determines to go through with Bennymount Films, if Paramount doesn't come through. Jack reads an article about Phil Baker coming to Hollywood to replace someone in a film, and wonders if Phil is replacing him. Mary calls Paramount and confirms this. Jack poses as Lawrence Tibbet, and talks to Mitch Leisen, the director, to undermine Phil Baker. Kenny sings "Gee, It's a Thrill" (cut). After a big cut, the program resumes just as the orchestra has finished playing "Robins and Roses" with Johnny at the piano. Don transitions the show to a sitcom scene.
SITUATION COMEDY: Jack Bensky and Mary Livingworth are working at Bennymount Studios, to create super-colossal pictures. At least until Paramount calls. Jack tries to find a story to produce. Kenny comes in, trying to sell a story, called "A Message to Garcia", but Jack turns him down rather than pay cash. A French writer tries to sell Jack a story called "A Massage to Garcia", but Jack's part is too wee-wee. Shleperman shows up as a Mexican writer (Vhat else?) trying to sell a story called "A Message to Garfinkel". Jack offers $10 for it, which Shlep claims is the lowest price he ever sold the story for. Jack prepares to produce the script, when a message comes through from Lou Ginsler at Paramount, offering to give Jack another line of dialogue. The stalemate is resolved!
DON'S INTRO: "And now we bring to you the eyes and ears of Hollywood, that rambling reporter who brings you all the news, Jack "Scoop" Benny!"
MINOR ROLES: Harry Baldwin, Sam Hearn
NOTE: Jack does this News Roundup under the name "Scoop Benny". When he did roundups on The Chevrolet Program, he used the name "Jack Benny, the Earth Galloper". I told you that name wasn't catchy enough to last.
JOKE: (Jack opens the News Roundup)
Jack: "Jell-O again, this is Scoop Benny, your Hollywood Reporter, coming to you by the way of all flash. With the latest news reports, through the courtesy of the Hollywood Hammer. Sees all and knocks everything. All the that was overlooked by Louella Parsons, Lloyd Pantagis, and Jimmy Fiddler. Of course, folks, I'm no Louella Parsons, and I'm no Pantagis."
Mary: "You're no fiddler, either."
NEWS ROUNDUP JOKE:
Jack: "MGM, California. There's a $200 reward being offered for the return of a valuable gold watch, stolen from the director during the filming of Crime Doesn't Pay."
Mary: "What time is it, Jack?"
FORGOTTEN HUMOR: (A typical News Roundup joke)
Jack: "Pacific Ocean, California. Eddie Cantor, famous star, and his wife Ida, sailed for Honolulu for a little son.
(This joke gets laughs and applause. Many jokes were made around that time about how Cantor, with his five daughters, was hoping for a son. One of Eddie Cantor's daughters, Natalie, married Robert Clary, aka Corporal LeBeau, of Hogan's Heroes).
JOKE: (Jack is holding out on Paramount)
Jack: "If Mr. Ginsler thinks I'm going to play the part of a butler, he's crazy… Did he call me yet, Mary?"
Mary: "No, he's not that crazy."
JOKE: (Jack is holding out on Paramount)
Kenny: "Say Jack, did Paramount call yet?"
Jack: "No Kenny, they know it's useless. They know I'm not going to take a part like that. Me, a butler!"
Kenny: "You're not worried, are you?"
Jack: "No, Don. I mean Johnny. I mean Kenny.
Mary: "You left me out."
Jack: "Pardon me, Gracie."
PHIL BAKER: Phil was a radio comedian and emcee of the time, former partner of Ben Bernie, and best remembered for his quiz show "Take It Or Leave It" (later changed to "The $64 Question")
LAWRENCE TIBBETT: A well known American opera singer of the time.
Mary: "What are puppets, Jack?"
Jack: "Small dogs, and don't bother me."
Kenny: "My name is Kenneth G. Baker.
Jack: "What's the G for?"
Kenny: "It's a thrill!"
(Nope, I don't get this one at all, and Kenny's real middle name is Laurence.)
JOKE: (At Bennymount)
Jack: "So, you've written a story, huh?"
Kenny: "Yes, it's called 'A Message to Garcia'."
Jack: "Hmm, 'A Message to Garcia', huh?"
Mary: "He'd rather have a message from Ginsler."
Jack: "Quiet. 'A Message to Garcia'. What part would I play in that?"
Kenny: "A telegraph blank."
Jack: "Well, that's better than a butler. I like that idea, though. What do you want for it?"
Kenny: "Fifty dollars cash."
Jack: "Oh. You must have cash?"
Mary: "Ha, ha, ha, ha! Ha, ha, ha, ha!"
Jack: "What are you laughing at, Mary?"
Mary: "The message to Garcia is Collect."
JOKE: (At Bennymount)
Jack: "We've got to get into production! I need a story."
Mary: "Well, here's something that just came in. Read this, Jack."
Jack: "Hmm. Hmm, let's see. Store burns down. Needs money desperately. Everything gone. Why, this is the silliest thing I've ever read! What is this?"
Mary: "A letter from your father."
(With jokes like this, you never know if they're based on truth or not. Jacks dad is living in Miami a couple of years later. Did the clothing store in Waukegan really burn down or not? Why kid about a thing like that?)
Mary: "There's an author to see you, Jack. He's waiting downstairs."
Jack: "Another one?"
Mary: "Mmm hmm."
Jack: "What's his name?"
Mary: "San Luis Obi... obith... Obispo (terrible flubbing of "Obispo".) San Luis Obispo Pedro Don Martinez, Jr."
Jack: "Tell him to come up one at a time."
Mary: "He said you can call him San Luis Obispo Pedro for short."
Jack: "If I can get that far, I'll go the whole way!"
(This is one of the rare times that Jack doesn't call attention to a flub. Mary blew the line so badly that it would have been overkill.)
NOTE: Somewhere during the cut portion of the program, the orchestra played "All My Life" from "Laughing Irish Eyes".
NOTE: The UCLA Collection recording is incomplete; the middle (approximately 8 minutes) is missing; also, the first 30 seconds and orchestra’s numbers were not recorded.
The point of origin is NBC Studios, Hollywood. The recording information is the same as episode # 37: "these Hollywood shows were recorded off the air (KFI) at 7:30-8:00 pm. This is explained by the fact that the Benny programs, like many other radio shows of the period, were actually done twice: once for convenient listening in the eastern part of the country, then repeated for Western listeners 2 or 3 hours later". (BC)
39. 06/21/36 VACATION PLANS (17:41)
ORCHESTRA OPENING: The orchestra opens with "She Shall Have Music", from the picture of the same name.
Love in Bloom drags as Jack comes onstage. He's due for a vacation, but can't take one, as he's accepted the butler's role with Paramount. Don is staying on as Master of Ceremonies of the Jell-O Summer Program. (Don promises to hold himself down a little, so as not to upstage Jack.) Mary plans to either go to China or buy an ice cream cone. Kenny comes in, wishing Jack happy Father's Day. Jack forgot that it was Father's Day today, and forgot to send his father a present. Mary sent her mother a book because her father can't read. This summer, Kenny is just going to rest from the rigors of singing a whole song every week. Johnny asks if Jack brought his violin, as the orchestra needs a fly swatter. The orchestra took up a collection and bought Jack a handkerchief. Everyone thanks Jack for his work, except Don, who thanks Jell-O. Kenny sings "Would You?" from "San Francisco" (cut). Jack explains that Paramount caved to his demands, and they start shooting tomorrow, but he still doesn't know who his leading lady will be. Mitch Leisen, the director of Jack's movie, arrives to help Jack prepare. Mitch makes various suggestions for improving Jack's look, including putting a hat on him and having him act barefoot. Mitch helps Jack rehearse his one line, "Madame, you're wanted on the phone". It sounds like a simple line, but Leisen simply isn't satisfied with Jack's delivery. Jack tries it several ways, none of which satisfy Leisen. Jack mentions he was promised that his part would be bigger, so Leisen allows him to change "phone" to "telephone". Shleperman arrives to say that Jack is wanted on the telephone. Leisen loves the way Shlep delivers the line, and has Shlep practice reading it a few times. The orchestra plays the closing number.
DON'S INTRO: "And now we bring to you for the last time this season, that worn out master of ceremonies, Jack Benny."
SPECIAL GUEST STAR: Mitch Leisen
MINOR ROLES: Harry Baldwin, Sam Hearn, Russell Hicks
NOTE: “Love in Bloom” is played once more when Jack enters, then virtually disappears from the show until 1944.
THE BIG BROADCAST OF 1937: According to imdb.com, Jack has the top role in this movie, playing the role of Jack Carson. Sam Hearn is in the movie also, playing the role of Shleperman. There doesn't seem to be any butler in the finished movie.
Jack: "Gee, you know, I intended to send Dad a tie or something, but it slipped my mind. Gosh, I certainly am negligent."
Kenny: "What does 'negligent' mean, Jack?"
CONTINUITY ALERT: Since Jack's dad owns a clothing store, a tie wouldn't have been that great a present anyway. Unless of course, it really did burn down, in which case this would be a good way to start building up stock for his new store.
Johnny: "Say Jack, did you bring your violin along tonight?"
Jack: "Yes sir, I have it right here. Do you want me to play the next number with you?"
Johnny: "No, we're looking for a fly swatter."
Jack: "Oh, yeah? Well I'm going to hand you fellows the surprise of your life. This summer I'm going to take a few more lessons and brush up a bit. Then you'll see."
Mary: "A few MORE?"
Mary: "Go on, you never took any violin lessons."
Jack: "I did too."
Mary: "Then your teacher didn't."
NOTE: Professor LeBlanc, Jack's long-suffering violin teacher, does not exist at this point. Hence the argument about whether Jack has ever taken violin lessons.
Johnny: "We have a little surprise for you, Jack. You've been a great guy to work with, and you've always treated us square..."
Jack: "Ooh, well..."
Johnny: "So, on behalf of the boys in the orchestra and the members of the cast and myself, I want to present you with this pure Irish linen handkerchief."
Jack: "Aww gee, a handkerchief! Boys, I really don't know what to say. It's things like this that made Scotland famous. Did all of you give it to me?"
Johnny: "Yes, Jack. The orchestra boys each chipped in $2, and the rest of the cast gave from $5 - $10 apiece."
Jack: "Gee whiz, how much was the handkerchief?"
Johnny: "A quarter."
Jack: "What happened to the rest of the money?"
Johnny: "Well, we had about $70 left, and didn't know what else to get you, so we all went out and had a good time."
(knock, knock, knock, knock)
Jack: "Who's that knocking at the door, Mary?"
Mary: "The sound effects man."
CONTINUITY ALERT: Mitch Leisen arrives to help Jack rehearse his one line in the movie, "Madame, you're wanted on the phone". Last week we were told that Paramount had agreed to give Jack a second line. Jack does mention that Paramount had said that his part would be bigger, but Mitch doesn't seem to know anything about it. It seems like jokes and routines about someone getting one line in a movie and overthinking how to deliver it are fairly common. Seinfeld once had a multi-episode story arc about Kramer getting a movie role with the one line: "These potato chips are makin' me thirsty."
Jack: "Now, listen Leisen, you've been louisn' this part up long enough."
Jack: "In the first place, Mr. Ginsler said my part would be bigger."
Mitch Leisen: "Oh, he did, eh? All right, I'll tell you what. Instead of saying 'phone', say 'telephone'."
Jack: "Well, thanks. 'Madame, you're wanted on the telephone'."
Mary: "Say, Jack. I know how you can make your part even bigger."
Mary: "Well, if the Madame gets a divorce, you could say 'Mademoiselle, you're wanted on the telephone'."
Jack: "That's right and if she happens to be French, I could say 'Mademoiselle from Armentieres, you're wanted on the telephone'."
Mitch: "Now, wait a minute, Jack. Don't try to hog the picture."
NOTE: At the end of the show, Jack thanks his first writer, Harry Conn, but says he's been out for the last 12 weeks due to illness. Bill Morrow and Ed Beloin have been writing for those weeks. Conn left the show in a money dispute.
NOTE: Jack's show won the Radio Guide poll for best show again this year.
NOTE: The Jell-O Summer Show featured Don Wilson as MC, the comedy team of Tim Ryan and Irene Noblitt, the Don Voorhees Orchestra, and Tenor, Martin Bow. I wonder if any episodes survive. Hearing Don MC the show would be a kick.
NOTE: Irene Noblitt is better known as Irene Ryan. Irene Ryan is better known as Granny Clampett from The Beverly Hillbillies.
NOTE: Last episode of the 1935-1936 season. The UCLA Collection notes that the guest was Mitchell Leisen; that Kenny Baker’s song was not recorded; and that the point of origin was the NBC Studios in Hollywood. The recording info for this Hollywood shows is the same as episodes # 37 and # 38 "these Hollywood shows were recorded off the air (KFI) at 7:30-8:00 pm. This is explained by the fact that the Benny programs, like many other radio shows of the period, were actually done twice: once for convenient listening in the eastern part of the country, then repeated for Western listeners 2 or 3 hours later"; the show was recorded onto 12" 33-1/3 acetate transcriptions dubbed from 78’s. (BC)