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Customer Review

68 of 82 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The dean of American comedy returns ... and it's about time!, April 12, 2013
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This review is from: The Jack Benny Program: The Lost Episodes (DVD)
Mr. Benny was known for his pauses but he never made us wait as long for a laugh as we have had to wait for his TV work to be on DVD. It is long overdue for The Jack Benny Program to be released in a respectful fashion and the possibility that some of the shows in this set might have been lost forever is frightening. Big 'Thank You's' go right up front to the Shout Factory and everyone involved for making Mr. Benny's work available here.

When Jack Benny came to radio from vaudeville in 1932, he realized that to sustain a weekly program he needed to develop a style of comedy with a depth that was not existent yet. Rather than stand in front of a microphone and tell jokes endlessly, he developed a comic character (in fact a whole cast of them) that became real and lasting to generations of Americans. It was Benny, more than any other that invented the sitcom formula that has been used ever since .... and it could still be argued that no one has ever done it better.

When Benny moved to TV in the 50's, a certain magic from radio was lost but great things were gained as well. We got to see his annoyed looks to go with the celebrated pauses. We got to see the expressions on Rochester's face that went with that wonderful voice of his. We got to watch as Jack and Gisele MacKenzie played warm and hilarious violin duets. You will see those things here as well as other timeless fun with guest stars like: Red Skelton, George Burns, John Wayne, Frank Sinatra, Milton Berle, Dick Van Dyke, Gary Cooper, Tony Curtis, Jack Paar, Robert Wagner & Natalie Wood .... and that is a partial list. This set also includes a show with the Rev. Billy Graham and a program done with President Harry Truman at his library in Independence, Missouri!

In addition there are bonus features well worth having, not just filler. However, it cannot be stressed enough that the real value here is Jack Benny and the marvelous players he created great comedy with for decades. Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson, Mel Blanc, Dennis Day, Don Wilson, Mary Livingston, et al.

Let's hope this is just the beginning of a series of DVD sets from The Jack Benny Program. It is way, way overdue. A season by season treatment of every episode still in existence is really what is called for. Nothing less can pay proper tribute to the one man who contributed more to comedy in the last century than any other. With his shows available on DVD, Benny could easily continue to influence comedy for the next hundred years as well.
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