In an attempt to keep us all updated on all things Jack Benny, I am partially turning this notes and updates page into a "sort of" Jack Benny blog as well.  This way I can write about many Benny-related items other than just news and updates about this website.  I'll also be linking to some interesting Jack Benny things on the internet, that perhaps don't fit in on the permanent "links" page.  I won't be linking to any pages with MP3 copies of Jack Benny radio shows though, mainly because I personally can't verify every download, and I certainly don't want to be responsible for anyone downloading a computer virus.

Update---September 4, 2015

On the main page I mentioned that there was a recent release of upgraded and/or remastered versions of the circulating Jack Benny radio programs. W. Gary Wetstein uploaded the recordings, and he is generously making the mp3 files available for free download from his Dropbox.

The following description of the new releases was posted online:

"If you're into old radio at all, if you like Jack Benny's show in the slightest, I think you'll probably want to check this out: A complete set of HIGH QUALITY mp3s of all 749 surviving episodes of the Jack Benny radio series!

I'm pretty confident most folks have never heard these before, because they haven't been widely available online. I collaborated on creating these files a few years ago-- a friend who had excellent source copies of the entire series did me the honor of letting me collaborate with him in creating a new set of mp3s to replace all the old copies floating around. Though the whole finished set was uploaded to the Internet Archive, the files were pulled down when the IA received a "Cease and Desist" letter from Radio $pirit$. The result is that the only Jack Benny shows that remain over at the IA are scattered around in haphazard, incomplete collections of the same old low bitrate, edited, often poor sound quality mp3s that have been circulating for over 15 years.

If you've tried to collect the Jack Benny shows before, you're probably aware of some very commonly misdated mp3s. E.g., the prior mp3s of Mar 11, 1945 "How Jack Found Rochester" were always misdated duplicates of a later show. All such errors have been corrected here, meaning that even if you already have what seems like a "complete" collection, there are probably going to be shows here that you've never heard before.

Also, unlike the previously circulating mp3s, the source material for the shows in this new collection was predominantly the original NBC transcription discs and the CBS master tapes. This means that not only is the sound quality far better, but also that many, many shows here are in more complete form than were previously available, replacing dozens of shows previously only available in versions heavily edited for the AFRS or for commercial purposes.

For those interested in the prehistoric era of the Benny radio show, in addition to generally much better sound quality, all the record skips that made the prior versions practically impossible to listen to have been meticulously corrected, enabling you to really be able to follow the programs for the first time (and hear for yourself just how weak the Harry Cohn-scripted shows were!)

There are also a number of shows from the late 1930s avaialble in East Coast and West Coast versions, which is especially a treat in the case of a Fred Allen guest show from 1938. The West Coast version of this show was as usual far looser, and with an ad lib genius like Fred Allen on hand, the differences in the two broadcasts are quite marked.

No noise reduction was applied; in most cases, the recordings are totally pristine anyway. But in cases where a show has some surface noise from the transcription disc itself (most commonly in the WWII era), we decided to leave it alone for now-- those can always be adjusted further later. The only audio corrections we made were to stretch/compress the playback speed when necessary, remove record skips, and even out volume levels (our intent was to create as authentic a reproduction of the source material as possible.)

Thanks to a friend's paid Dropbox account, I can finally make these available to people in bulk myself, directly, rather than just being frustrated that these files aren't over at the Internet Archive where they belong!

Please download any or all that you want, and most importantly-- please SHARE THEM, in any and every way you can. That's the whole point here. This material is all in the public domain, and the Benny show is the most important and best remembered comedy from the whole old radio era. It deserves to be widely accessible for FREE in as high a quality format as possible, and if the IA can't do it-- then we'll just have to spread these around ourselves!

Would the real Jack Benny want us paying companies for these shows when they're part of the public domain? I hardly think so!"

Much thanks again to Mr. Wetstein for these great upgrades.  On just the first few shows that I checked, the quality upgrade was tremendous for some shows which had previously only circulated in poor quality recordings. I'm sure Graeme and myself will be incorporating much of this new information in the weeks and months to come~!

Another benefit, as mentioned, are the Benny programs for which both the East Coast and the West Coast broadcasts survived.  There are East/West recordings for the following Benny programs:

10-08-39, 10-15-39, 12-17-39, 01-07-40, 05-05-40, 01-12-41, and 03-02-41

Here is the link to the Dropbox. If you have a Dropbox account, you can download directly. If not, you can download each individual year as a zip file, and then just extract the mp3 files from that.

Link to Jack Benny Shows Dropbox

Update---September 3, 2015

Well, as is becoming more frequent, this is a mea culpa for the lack of updates to the site recently. Health issues and other fun things have been taking up a lot of my time lately, but I do hope to post some updates soon. I've been working on finishing up the correct formatting for the 1950s seasons.  

Graeme Cree has outdone himself in his log for the 1954-1955 season, the final one for the Jack Benny radio program. It's a tremendously entertaining log, and must've been a tremendous amount of work too. Graeme has transcribed each episode of the 54-55 season in full~!

I'm still figuring out the logistics of fitting it all in here. Editing in Google Sites has slowed almost to a crawl, and there are size restrictions on each individual page, so I'm trying to use hyperlinks, etc. I apologize for the delay but it will be worth it when it's done.


I've been gradually (too gradually for my liking) uploading updates, revisions, corrections, etc, to the site over the last week.

For quite a while I've been seriously considering a complete re-launching of this site (aka making a new web site) which would focus less specifically on the Benny radio program in the 1940s and more on the entirety of Jack Benny's radio career. This way, the season logs would be in chronological order (1930s, then 1940s, then 1950s) incorporating Graeme Cree's wonderful work on the Thirties and Fifties. We would keep all the articles, spotlights, etc. Any feedback/comments/criticism of this proposed idea would be very welcome.

Finally, a very Happy 81st Anniversary of his 39th birthday to one Mr. Jack Benny, born on February 14, 1894.


October 2013 marks the fifth anniversary of the Jack Benny in the 1940s site. There's been some fairly major upgrades on the site recently: I've finally managed to upload more of my notes for the 1939-1940 and 1945-1946 seasons, Graeme Cree has completed his detailed season logs for all of the programs broadcast during the 1930s, and he has also finished the season logs for the 1950-1951 and 1951-1952 seasons. More site upgrades/updates will be coming over the next few months.

Your Money or Your Life...

Well, this is a difficult update to write. After 19 years working for the same company, I was let go without any warning on Friday April 8, 2013.  To say this was a bit of a shock is an understatement. We have a seven year old daughter and a daughter that just turned one year old on March 19, both of whom need medical insurance (as do myself and my wife). Right now we are focusing on job searching.

I apologize for the lack of site updates recently. Thanks very much again everyone for your patience.

Jack Benny's Second Farewell Special

Steven Thompson posted this link to the entire program "Jack Benny's Second Farewell Special", originally aired in 1974:

I'll be posting a brief article regarding Jack's late 1960s-early 1970s television special sometime soon. In the meantime, enjoy the above broadcast, which unfortunately turned out to be Jack's last.

We previously posted the link to Steven's blog; Steven's Facebook page can be found here:


Everyone visiting here should also check out Don Yowp's wonderful blog "Tralfaz". In addition to some great stuff about Warner Bros.and Hanna-Barbera cartoons, there is usually at least one Jack Benny-related post per week, such as this one at the link below, about the terrific Sara Berner.  There's quite a bit of overlap between the Jack Benny show and the voice actors for Warner Brothers  and Hanna-Barbera cartoons: not only the great Mel Blanc, of course, but also Bea Benaderet, Sara Berner, Arthur Q Bryan, Verna Felton, among others, all provided voices for numerous cartoons. Years after the Benny radio show had ended, Phil Harris worked with Walt Disney studios on the films The Jungle Book and Robin Hood.  (And I'm sure all of you HB fans out there know where the name "Tralfaz" is from~).  Check out his great blog, and tell him you saw it here~!


In this post, the nice blog   "The Shellackophile"  (about 78-rpm records) spotlights the album "Jack Benny Fiddles With The Classics":


Stephen Thompson's blog "The Booksteve Channel" takes a look at NBC's 1981 television special "A Love Letter to Jack Benny":


Irving Fein, who began managing Jack Benny's career in 1947, passed away on August 10, 2012 in West Hollywood at the age of 101.

Fein began as Jack's publicity and advertising director (in other words, a "real-life" version of the radio program's Steve Bradley character), eventually becoming the executive producer of Jack's television program (and after the cancellation of the regular show, the yearly television specials that Jack did until his death in 1974).

Several obituaries have noted that the Benny radio program was faltering in the Hooper ratings when Fein took over managing Jack,  and the ratings then began to improve.  After Fein began we see ratings-grabbing events such as the "I Can't Stand Jack Benny" contest, and the "Walking Man" contest on Truth or Consequences.  Fein also managed the career of one of Jack's closest friends, George Burns.
  In 1977 Fein wrote the book "Jack Benny: An Intimate Biography", a fascinating look at his 28-year stint as Jack's manager and friend.

There are several obituaries of Irving Fein currently on the internet, but rather than link to some of them, I'd like to direct you to the following:  a link to the "Archive of American Television" web site, featuring a terrific 3+ hour on-camera interview with Mr. Fein conducted in 1998:

This wonderful interview is a "must-see" for any Jack Benny (and George Burns) fan, covering such things as the Walking Man contest, Jack's radio personality versus his personality in real life, George Burns' love of Gracie Allen, and much more.


This is just all types of awesome. 10 minutes of pre-production make-up tests (silent, unfortunately) of Jack and Walter Matthau for the film "The Sunshine Boys". Jack was originally supposed to co-star in the movie, but passed away before production...his part was taken by his long-time close friend George Burns.


Writer Scott D. Southard has a very nice essay about Jack Benny titled "Jack Benny as my Comfort Food" on his blog:

"It Was Eighty Years Ago Today..."

To paraphrase The Beatles.....May 2, 1932 marked the debut of a new radio show,  "The Canada Dry Program", Jack Benny's first radio program as a host.  The program aired at 9:30pm EST, originating from radio station WJZ in New York (which surprisingly has no affiliation with Jay-Z). As the May 2, 1932 New York Times listed in their radio listings:

                                            9 :30-Olsen Orch. ; Ethel
                                          Shutte, Songs; Jack Benny. Comedy

This initial "Canada Dry" cast included Jack, George Olsen and his orchestra, Ethel Shutte, Fran Frey, Bob Borger, and Bob Wright. Of course, the debut of this new show was not exactly a big event:  Jack had made his first-ever radio appearance only two months earlier at 8:45pm on the March 29, 1932  Ed Sullivan show, and he was basically an unknown property (in radio, at least).  The "Canada Dry" debut didn't even make the special "Today's Highlights" list in the Times radio listings.  This program, however, was the start of an incredible 16 year relationship between Jack Benny and the NBC radio network.  Although this 1932 "Canada Dry" show has little in common with any of the 1940-1949 Jack Benny shows covered here, as the first starring vehicle of perhaps the most famous radio comedian, it is definitely a historical "pop culture" event worth noting.


On a self-indulgent note, my wife and I were pleased to welcome our second child (and second daughter) and future Jack Benny fan Riley Grace Cairns on March 19th, 2012. Daughter and Mom are both doing well, and Riley is already placing her hand on her cheek Benny-style as if to say "Well!" Emily Elizabeth, now fast approaching 7 years of age, is very busy being a great big sister.


I received an interesting e-mail from very knowledgeable Judy Garland radio collector/historian John Walther, from Hamburg Germany, concerning a "mystery" sketch he has featuring Jack Benny and Judy Garland. It's a reprisal of a sketch the two had done previously on episode # 72 of the AFRS (Armed Forces Radio Service) program "Mail Call" in January 1944. On that show, Jack calls Judy at the movie studio to say they are going to be appearing on an upcoming "Mail Call", and that he would like to rehearse their scene together; a love scene, such as she had done with Gene Kelly in Judy's 1942 movie "For Me and My Gal".

However, there is a second version of the sketch; it runs approx. 11 minutes.  The 11 minutes is all Mr. Walther has of whatever show it was taken from.  This sketch has the same premise as the above sketch, but in this version Jack says he wants to rehearse with Judy for their upcoming appearance on the Elgin program. It would appear to be from circa 1946, but according to my research/listening, I don't have Jack and Judy appearing together on either of the Elgin holiday programs that year, the Thanksgiving or Christmas shows.

If anyone has any answers or guesses where this second version of the sketch comes from, please e-mail me at:

Myself and Mr. Walther have been investigating this for a few months, and would love to have a resolution to our search~!


Thank you very much to my beautiful wife (and proof-reader) Melissa, and my equally beautiful daughters Emily Elizabeth and Riley Grace. 

Also very special "thank yous" to Samuel Brylawski, Emmett D. Chisum, and Shannon Bowen Maier, for all of their considerable help with my research. This site literally wouldn't have bene possible without their assistance. Many thanks as well to the great old-time radio historian Jay Hickerson for his original privately printed Jack Benny episode list from way-back-when!  I still treasure my copy (with my penciled-in notes) and it was a tremendous help when I was first starting out in Jack Benny "fandom".

And much thanks of course to our great web site contributor Graeme Cree for his wonderful work on Jack Benny in the 1930s and 1950s.

And to the dedicated fans of Old Time Radio; both prior to the internet and since: without their tireless efforts in the preservation, documentation, and recording of Old Time Radio programming, many of these programs would be just distant memories in books, instead of being listened to and enjoyed by generations to come.