Best of Jack Benny
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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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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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Stroll-down-memory-lane gift for my father-in-law. He loves it. Has far more material than other products like it, and the quality meets expectations.Published 3 months ago by Roger
Although Black & white. It nostalgic for me.
Thank you Amazon
If you like watching old Jack Benny shoes this is a must to have to your collection.Published 5 months ago by nick1969
Ordered this and a couple others all great quality picturesPublished 7 months ago by Larry williams