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Best of Jack Benny
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39 Episode Set + Documentary!
Star of Vaudeville, Radio and the Big Screen, Jack Benny brought his highly-successful radio program to the small screen in 1950 and the show ran until 1965. Along for the ride were his famous cast of co-stars including Eddie Rochester Anderson, Don Wilson, Dennis Day and Mary Livingstone, who all shared in the fun and misadventures of their famous boss. Whether dealing with his love of money, his perpetual age of 39 or his beloved Maxwell automobile, Jack Benny and his gang entertained one and all!
Also included in this 4-DVD set is a brand new, never-before-seen documentary chronicling the fascinating journey of the incomparable Jack Benny.
EXCLUSIVE DOCUMENTARY Brand New featurette produced exclusively for this DVD collection!
The Jack Benny Program won 7 Emmy awards and received 13 additional nominations!
Amazing list of guest stars include: Bob Hope, George Burns, Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Jimmy Stewart, Humphrey Bogart, Marilyn Monroe, Vincent Price, Jerry Lewis and dozens more!
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Actually, you get just 32. You also get a poor-quality kinescope of a special Jack did for NBC in 1965, shortly after his weekly series ended, some other shows Jack made guest appearances on, and some shorts where Jack appears only fleetingly.
The slightly-deceptive labeling and the poor-quality kine of Jack's 1965 special are the only reasons I am not giving this collection a five-star rating.
But other than that, this is something fans of Jack Benny and classic television comedy should own. The 32 "Jack Benny Program" episodes in this set are for the most part kinescopes of live shows (or later, videotaped shows) that weren't part of the rerun package of filmed episodes that appeared on CBS-TV's daytime schedule in the 1964/65 season and subsequently syndicated to local stations.
One big "plus" is that most of these 32 shows have the original commercials (mainly for Lucky Strike cigarettes, but there's one 1963 show sponsored by Benny's longtime radio sponsor Jell-O, and some Eastern Airlines spots in his 1965 NBC special). Seeing the Lucky Strike spots show how huge cigarette manufacturers were as TV sponsors until such advertising was outlawed in early 1971 (but resist any temptation to go to your local convenience store and ask for a carton of Luckies!).
Benny, on radio, was among the first to "blend" the "middle" commercial into the show's entertainment content. There are a number of examples of that in quite a few of these episodes.
The "Hawaii Trip" episode on disc 1 is historically significant: I believe it's the only time Marilyn Monroe ever made a guest appearance on a TV comedy or dramatic program.
(I have also heard an "urban legend" that Jack came close in 1960 to signing Clark Gable for a guest shot, but Gable fell ill and passed away before he could film his episode)
This is an inexpensively-priced way to sample one of the funniest TV comedy shows of all time, a series whose humor has stood the test of time.
The comedy is first rate. It seems so innocent, especially with the all the Lucky Strike cigarette ads--which are almost worth the price of admission alone. It's so obvious why Johnny Carson loved Jack Benny so much.
This is the other set that includes all of these episodes plus the "The Face is Familiar" GE theater piece.
Best of Jack Benny
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