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115 of 121 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Well!..."
MILL CREEK box sets offer good-to-average-quality audio and video transfers of public domain material at a most reasonable price.

The Jack Benny Program aired on radio from 1932 to '55. Many of that show's scripts were recycled for television, beginning in 1950. Benny's CBS-TV series ran until 1965. The core cast (on radio and TV) changed little over the...
Published on November 21, 2007 by Annie Van Auken

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun but of bootleg Quality
The first set of discs arrived and all but one was damaged due to poor handling on the part of the manufacturer. (No fault placed on Amazon.)
Amazon, as usual, was quick to replace the faulty discs. If you purchase this collection you should check each disc for deep surface scratched as soon as they arrive.
The programs were fun to watch on my PC or after I...
Published on November 1, 2008 by Steplander


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115 of 121 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Well!...", November 21, 2007
This review is from: Best of Jack Benny (DVD)
MILL CREEK box sets offer good-to-average-quality audio and video transfers of public domain material at a most reasonable price.

The Jack Benny Program aired on radio from 1932 to '55. Many of that show's scripts were recycled for television, beginning in 1950. Benny's CBS-TV series ran until 1965. The core cast (on radio and TV) changed little over the decades: Dennis Day replaced tenor Kenny Baker early on; Bob Crosby (Bing's younger brother) took over for bandleader Phil Harris in 1952.

At one time or another, almost every Hollywood, radio and TV star guested on Jack's show. This four DVD set offers only a fraction of Benny's 258 television episodes, yet the viewer is provided an excellent illustration of his popularity within the "Showbiz" community.

An unrelated highlight of this collection is a 1943 documentary about Hollywood's war efforts. Among the 58 cameo appearances here are: Benny, W.C. Fields, Louis Armstrong, Bette Davis, Errol Flynn, Bob Hope, Alfred Hitchcock, Frank Sinatra, Orson Welles, Irving Berlin, James Cagney, Bing Crosby, Clark Gable, Marlene Dietrich and Walt Disney.

The Martin & Lewis Collection - COLGATE COMEDY HOUR (17 episodes) is highly recommended for fans of early TV comedy/variety programming.

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Program list includes episode numbers, airdates and guests (where available):

DISC ONE--
(#17) Fred Allen Show (4/19/53) - Fred Allen/Eddie Cantor
(#19) Honolulu Trip (9/13/53) - Marilyn Monroe
(#21) Humphrey Bogart Show (10/25/53) (Bogie as "Babyface")
(#22) Johnnie Ray Show (11/15/53) - Johnnie Ray/Danny Thomas
(#23) Irene Dunne Show (12/6/53) - Irene Dunne/Vincent Price
(#25) The Liberace Show (1/17/54) - (Jack visits Lee's house)
(#26) Jack Dream's He's Married to Mary (2/7/54)
(#28) Goldie, Fields and Glide (3/21/54) - Bing Crosby/George Burns/Bob Hope
George Burns and Gracie Allen Show - Guest Star: Jack Benny
(#31) The Road to Nairobi (5/23/54) - Bob Hope/Martin & Lewis (spoof of Hope's "Road" movies)
(#33) Jam Session At Jack's (10/17/54) - Dan Dailey/Kirk Douglas/Fred MacMurray/Tony Martin/Dick Powell

DISC TWO--
(#34) How Jack Met Mary (10/31/54) - Joyce Randolph/Frank Wilcox/Sheldon Leonard
(#84) Christmas Shopping Show (12/15/57) - Mel Blanc/Frank Nelson
(#41) Four O'Clock in the Morning Show (2/6/55) (Jack has insomnia)
(#69) Talent Show (12/30/56) - Jayne Mansfield (cameo)
(#87) Honeymooners Show (1/26/58) - Audrey Meadows
(#103) Ernie Kovacs Show (1/25/59) - Ernie Kovacs/Ray Kellogg
(#127) Hong Kong Suit (11/6/60) - Gisele MacKenzie
(#130) Lunch Counter Murder (12/4/60) - Dan Duryea
(#134) Jack Casting for Television Special (1/1/61) - (Jack reminisces on "The Life Of Jack Benny")
(#136) Don's 27th Anniversary with Jack (1/15/61) - John Daly/Nancy Kulp/Howard McNear
(#193) Jack Rents His House (2/5/63)

DISC THREE--
(#80) The Hal March Show (10/20/57) - Frances Bavier (host of "The $64,000 Question" gets to experience Jack's version of the game show)
(???) THE JACK BENNY HOUR (11/3/65) - Beach Boys, Bob Hope, Walt Disney, Elke Sommer/John Ireland (various skits)
(???) Christmas Show (?) - Edgar & Frances Bergen
(#53) New Year's Day Show (1/1/56) - Coaches of UCLA and Michigan State
EASTER SEALS TELEPARADE OF STARS
(#160) New Year's Eve (12/31/61)
(#165) Police Station Show (2/4/62) - Hayden Rorke/Joan Benny
(#131) Jack Goes to a Concert (12/11/60) - James & Gloria Stewart

DISC FOUR--
MARCH OF TIME: Show Business at War (5/23/43) - (An astounding assemblage of nearly 60 top-rank celebrities, from Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson to Daryl Zanuch)
(#24) Reminiscing About Last New Year's Eve (12/27/53)
The Art Linkletter Show (10/23/55) - Peggy King (vocalist)
(#13) Jack Gets Robbed (11/13/52) - Beverly Washburn
(#5) Dorothy Shay (11/4/51) - Dorothy Shay
GENERAL ELECTRIC THEATER ("The Face Is Familiar") (11/21/54) - Ronald Reagan (host)/Jack Benny
GENERAL ELECTRIC THEATER ("The Honest Man") (2/19/56) - Jack Benny/Zsa Zsa Gabor/Charles Bronson
YOU CAN CHANGE THE WORLD (doc.-1951) - Jack Benny/Bob Hope/Bing Crosby/Irene Dunne/William Holden/Loretta Young
THE BING CROSBY SHOW (1/3/54) - Jack Benny/Sheree North
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66 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of Jack Benny, November 24, 2007
This review is from: Best of Jack Benny (DVD)
An excellent collection. Although some of the episodes are available elsewhere, about half aren't, including some real rarities. I hadn't seen the HONEYMOONERS sketch before, with both Jack and Dennis Day doing credible impressions of Ralph and Ed. Besides Jack's own shows, there are other appearances like 2 TV plays he starred in, an TV special TELEPARADE OF STARS and a BING CROSBY SHOW he guested on. At it's very reasonable price, it is worth getting for the more unusual items, even if you have the more common ones. For the newcomer, this is the perfect introduction to Jack, with classics like HOW JACK MET MARY and the CHRISTMAS SHOPPING show, which has a wonderful performance from Mel Blanc.
Having said this of course, what we really need for all 50's U.S. comedy classics like Jack, BURNS AND ALLEN, BOB CUMMINGS and BILKO are complete season by season sets like has been done so well with I LOVE LUCY...and how about a complete collection of Jack's later hour specials, like the George Burns one brought out recently? In the meantime, this is probably the best collection to be going on with.
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88 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely delightful, November 11, 2007
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This review is from: Best of Jack Benny (DVD)
When I ordered this, I was expecting excerpts from Jack Benny programs. Instead, to my surprised delight, there are entire programs, most complete with Lucky Strike cigarette commercials. LSMFT. Young people don't know what those letters stand for (thank goodness), but if you are old enough to be a Benny fan, the letters are indelible in your brain.

There are some very funny bits and the great characters associated with Benny: Rochester, Mary Livingston, Don Wilson, Mr. Kietzel, Mel Blanc, the race track tout, etc. etc. And then there are the guests, Fred Allen, Eddie Cantor, Johnny Ray singing "Cry," Marilyn Monroe, Vincent Price, Liberace, Humphrey Bogart--a veritable who's who of show business stars in the 1950s.

The programs hold up very well. They are still funny. They are still warm and wonderful.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great collection of complete Jack Benny Program episodes, May 3, 2008
This review is from: Best of Jack Benny (DVD)
This is the most entertainment I have gotten for under ten dollars in a long time - four discs of complete episodes of The Jack Benny Program and various other shows in which Jack appeared, including that of George Burns and Gracie Allen. Just about every star of the 50's and 60's shows up on Jack's show, and the show is presented complete with commercials in most cases. This is most interesting since Lucky Strike cigarettes sponsored Benny's show for much of its tenure. How ironic to see Humphrey Bogart plugging cigarettes during an episode in which he appears just a few years before the same product takes his life.

Especially fun are the guest appearances by Mel Blanc and Bob Hope - Benny just can't resist breaking up during their routines. Then there is an episode entitled "Jam Session" in which a number of stars including Kirk Douglas, Fred MacMurray, Dan Dailey, and Dick Powell join Jack in his living room for an impromptu musical session. The group, in need of refreshment, find a number of vending machines placed throughout the room to dispense cold apples and soft drinks at a price, of course. They've obviously been to Jack's house before.

There is a running gag through the shows about the failure of Jacks's 1940's film "The Horn Blows at Midnight". I don't know if it failed in the 40's, but if you ever get a chance to catch it on TV, give it a try - it really is pretty good.

As for the controversy over Rochester, I'd say his role in TV was groundbreaking. Benny treats Rochester more as a member of the family than a servant, and several times Rochester's ingenuity and wisdom save Benny from himself. More importantly, Rochester's ingenuity saves himself from Benny's cheapskate ways more than once, and when that's not possible at least Rochester gets off a wisecrack at Benny's expense. It's not at all the painful portrayal of racial stereotypes you see in some of the 1940's Charlie Chan films.

Some people have criticized the video quality of this pack. The quality is definitely "unrestored", but I would put it on par with the best quality that you find in some of those public domain 50 movie packs. Sure there are some scratches in the video here and there, but the audio is quite clear. Highly recommended.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fun but of bootleg Quality, November 1, 2008
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This review is from: Best of Jack Benny (DVD)
The first set of discs arrived and all but one was damaged due to poor handling on the part of the manufacturer. (No fault placed on Amazon.)
Amazon, as usual, was quick to replace the faulty discs. If you purchase this collection you should check each disc for deep surface scratched as soon as they arrive.
The programs were fun to watch on my PC or after I transferred them to my Ipod but forget about viewing most of these shows on a regular TV. The compression used on most of these programs is so great that the images are blurred and pixilated. (Yes, I understand what the original source material is... filmed Tube... but what I'm talking about here is extreme digital compression.) I have no idea what the original source material looks like but on episodes like "The Honeymooners" the pixels, at times, were the size of postage stamps on a regular TV... the original source HAD to be better than this. I was left wondering if the producer of this collection found some of these programs on the internet as small streaming Quicktime movies and then converted them to Standard TV format, because THAT's how bad the quality is but why it looks decent on my ipod.
But, despite the poor "bootleg-like" quality, these programs were fun to watch, and even just listen to, on the PC or Ipod and worth the low price.
Just don't expect a collection of clean transfers.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tonight Show and Saturday Night Live in a Time Capsule, December 29, 2007
By 
j. (Upstate NY) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Best of Jack Benny (DVD)
This collection of episodes is fantastic. All the great stars of the day appear as guests in skits, routines and song and dance sketches. The full length episodes include the Lucky Strike commercials that are entertaining as well. The comedy writers today could take a lesson from the quality of the past material.

This collection is more than a scratchy violin rendition or Jack Benny calling "Oh Rochester". It is quality comedic entertainment that I can only compare to the Tonight Show (Johnny Carson) and Saturday Night Live (Early Years) in a Time Capsule.

The transfer to DVD is good, with some occasional blips from the day, but is not bothersome.

While the pricing is very good, I picked this up on a discount site for one third of the price, with a discount during a semi annual promotion.

Update: 4/5/08 - This is at Walmart in the bin for five bucks. This is a great price for the value and fantastic content.

Enjoy, j.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing, October 1, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Best of Jack Benny (DVD)
[ASIN:B000UVV260 Best of Jack Benny]]
I looked forward to getting this set of DVDs because I loved the old Jack Benny show. This made it all the more disappointing when I viewed the DVDs and found that that were of such poor quality. To be sure, the episodes from the 50s were likely recorded from kinescope, but these recordings made everything look much worse. They were completely unwatchable, so I sent them back. Surely there must be a good set of recordings of the Jack Benny Show available for fans to enjoy this great comedian once again. What a loss if this is all that's available.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most complete collection - Hands-down best value - Laughed for hours!, February 3, 2008
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This review is from: Best of Jack Benny (DVD)
This is the most complete Jack Benny Show set on Amazon, and by far the best value. Having enjoyed this set so much, I searched Amazon for other available episodes. To my surprise, I could only find one episode that I did not already have on this set--and I had to search really hard for that one.

I haven't laughed so much in ever-so-long! This has got to be good for your health! Even during those times when the actual routines a little too silly, you know the actors are having a good time, you can't help but laugh. Just a few dollars for hours of laughter. I think this was my best investment of 2007.

Picture quality is typically very good, considering the technology which has preserved them for us today. Only a couple of episodes have apparently come from films that left images looking a bit fuzzy or washed out. The worst quality film image is in the "Honeymooners Episode," but that doesn't stop it from being one of the most enjoyable episodes on the set (and my personal favorite). I'm oh-so-glad they included it in spite of the inferior film quality. It's a hoot, with Dennis Day and Audrey Meadows giving spot-on performances.

I recommend a family game of watching to see who can be the first to detect Mr. Benny having trouble surpressing a smile. (When teamed with Bob Hope, he pretty much gives up fighting this losing battle.) There are two versions of Jack's touching New Year's Eve story which could spark an annual friends-and-family viewing tradition.

A couple additional details which might be useful:

The DVD's are all single-sided--no need to worry about double-sided DVD's. This is my third DVD set from Mill Creek Entertainment. In spite of bargain-basement prices, they are always of very respectable quality.

Only 34 of the 40 shows are actually Jack Benny shows or specials. The other six are other shows or films featuring Jack Benny. These are an additional treat, giving a taste of others shows of the era, including George Burns and Gracie Allen, the Bing Crosby GE Show, and General Electric Theater (hosted by Ronald Reagan).
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Love Jack, hate Mill Creek's garbage release, March 26, 2012
This review is from: Best of Jack Benny (DVD)
Save your money on this one. The best picture on any of these episodes is fair at best. The "Honeymooners" episode is so poor that you can't even make out the people in the episode. It looks like a dupe of a dupe of a dupe of a VHS tape.

Mill Creek should be embarrassed for putting out junk like this.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars High Hopes Didn't Pan Out, February 15, 2008
By 
Paul K. (Toledo, OH.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Best of Jack Benny (DVD)
I had great hopes for this collection, but wound up sadly disappointed. Discounting the fact that the shows' video had not been cleaned up in the slightest, with a few episodes being of extremely poor quality, I would've still been content in watching the artistry of a master comedian. But the collection has other problems. I've had two sets now, in which the DVDs lock up at different places. Amazon has been great about replacing them. But the problem remains. In frustration, I'm simply keeping what I now have, but would recommend any other potential buyers to consider this before making a purchase.
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Best of Jack Benny
Best of Jack Benny by Various (DVD - 2011)
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