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Jack Benny

Isn't Romantic Comedy redundant?

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ken123
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Jack Benny

Postby ken123 » April 17th, 2007, 7:24 pm

Does Mr. Benny have any fans ? To Be or Not To Be, might be a good place to start . :lol:

jdb1

Postby jdb1 » April 18th, 2007, 2:58 pm

I think I've seen only "To Be" and "The Horn Blows at Midnight," the latter long, long ago. I remember liking them both, though. I do like Benny's style, and I heard a number of his radio shows, which were broadcast for a time by a local college radio station. Very, very funny.

The comedy motif of the sane man reacting in the middle of madness is one still going strong. It's too bad Benny is largely unknown today. I don't think his style would look particularly dated. I'd love to see more of his films, and his TV show as well.

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movieman1957
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Postby movieman1957 » April 24th, 2007, 8:53 am

Like John I'm more a fan of his radio and TV work. In those formats I thought he was a riot. I've seen 'To Be or Not To Be" and "George Washington...." while enjoyable I didn't think they were great.

Maybe by radio and TV time he had his character worked out. He certainly was ldeally suited for the shorter format. (I have the DVD of his TV show on my Netflix list.)
Chris

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."

jdb1

Postby jdb1 » April 24th, 2007, 9:16 am

JohnM wrote:I'm a tremendous fan of his, but more so because of his television show, rather than his films, which I like, as well. I wish there were pristine copies of his television series available on DVD. It, along with The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, were my favorite television shows, when I was a kid.


The thing about Benny, though, for me is that I long ago outgrew O&H (except for Rick, of course), but I still find Benny's show very funny. In light of the enduring popularity of Bob Newhart and of Garry Shandling's shows, I think audiences today would appreciate The Jack Benny Program, once they got over the horror of having to watch in b&w. TVLand afficianados would already know about Mel Blanc and Bea Benaderet, who were regulars on Benny's show, and if they are familiar with MASH, they'd get the Dennis Day thing (Fr. Mulcahy used to imitate him - Mulcahy: "Now, Mr. Benny?" Hawkeye: "Sing, Dennis").

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Postby nightwalker » September 12th, 2007, 3:05 pm

I agree that Benny was not particularly well-served by most of his motion pictures, although there are exceptions. BUCK BENNY RIDES AGAIN and THE MEANEST MAN IN THE WORLD feature him in roles not all that dissimilar to his "cheapskate" character we all know & love from his radio and television series. With a few tweaks scriptwise, GEORGE WASHINGTON SLEPT HERE could have been MR. BLANDINGS BUILDS HIS DREAM HOUSE, and a character such as Benny's could only have improved an already pretty enjoyable premise!

Benny could do more with an expression or, in the case of his radio show, a silence, than almost any other comedian. Who could ever forget the following exchange between Jack and a robber (played by Mel Blanc):

Mel: Your money or your life!

Jack: (Silence)

Mel: I said, Your money or your life!

Jack: I'm thinking it over!

Although TO BE OR NOT TO BE is not one of my favorite films, the reasons have nothing to with Benny, and I would say that his performance, as well as those of some of the rest of the supporting cast, give the film what appeal it has for me. I particularly enjoy his reading of the line "So they call me 'Concentration Camp' Ehrhardt, eh?"

I too would vote for a DVD restoration and release of his television show!
Last edited by nightwalker on September 12th, 2007, 4:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Bogie
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Postby Bogie » September 12th, 2007, 4:19 pm

My only exposure to Mr. Benny was his 50s TV show and his radio show. I find the radio show very funny at times. There's a site that I know of that has like over a thousand episodes of his radio show. I tried to access it just now but it seems to be gone. I hope it hasn't been taken down. Anyways Benny was a master of timing and most of his jokes don't "read" funny but when you hear or see them they'll leave you on the floor laughing.

feaito

Postby feaito » September 12th, 2007, 4:45 pm

I enjoyed his performances in "To Be Or Not to Be" and "Broadway Melody of 1936". I also have o disc some excerpts of the lost 1929 film "Chasing Rainbows" which I have yet to watch.

I'm curious about his 1941 film "Charley's Aunt" (I've seen stage representations of the play upon which the movie is based and it's deliriously funny). I'd also like to see "George Washington Slept Here".

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MissGoddess
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Re: Jack Benny

Postby MissGoddess » September 13th, 2007, 9:55 am

ken123 wrote:Does Mr. Benny have any fans ? To Be or Not To Be, might be a good place to start . :lol:


He has one of his very newest fans in MOI, after I rented some dvds of his famous television series. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Having already thought he was just great in To Be or Not to Be, and funny enough in The Horn Blows at Midnight (I still have to see Washington Slept Here), I wanted to get a better idea of why he is consistently ranked at or near the top of so many comediens' lists of the greatest.

I confess to laughing myself silly over many of the episodes--even when I didn't think I would find them funny, he would make them funny---or rather, the way he allowed others around him to be funny and he would react, tickled me to death.

I also enjoyed seeing his interviews on Merv Griffin's show. What a sweet man he was, and a great talent to be sure.

jdb1

Postby jdb1 » September 13th, 2007, 11:32 am

Yes, Miss G, I guess you can see how most of the dryer comedians of this era owe a lot to Mr. Benny. I remember how Johnny Carson idolized him. Benny's humor was of the sort that translated well into television, and that was due in large part to his own persona and artful timing. Seeing those Bob Newheart episodes on TV this week brought that idea home to me. Newheart is really very much the Jack Benny character, a little hipper, and without the violin.

Of all the old time radio shows I've listened to, I find The Jack Benny Program consistently the funniest. He had great writers (the original "kids in the hall," as he called them), and his cast made everything even better.

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Postby movieman1957 » September 13th, 2007, 12:30 pm

I recently saw a Benny show (courtesy Netflix) where Bogart was a guest. They did a gangster?Phillip Marlowe spoof that was very funny. Bogart was funny too. He even played his violin with Liberace on another one. That one was good too.

One thing radio loathes is dead air of any duration. Sometimes his pauses were so funny because the pause was more prominent because there was only silence. No visual was needed. It was so much a part of his character. Too bad more people don't know him.
Chris

"Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana."

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MissGoddess
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Postby MissGoddess » September 13th, 2007, 12:51 pm

jdb1 wrote:Yes, Miss G, I guess you can see how most of the dryer comedians of this era owe a lot to Mr. Benny. I remember how Johnny Carson idolized him. Benny's humor was of the sort that translated well into television, and that was due in large part to his own persona and artful timing. Seeing those Bob Newheart episodes on TV this week brought that idea home to me. Newheart is really very much the Jack Benny character, a little hipper, and without the violin.

Of all the old time radio shows I've listened to, I find The Jack Benny Program consistently the funniest. He had great writers (the original "kids in the hall," as he called them), and his cast made everything even better.


I first learned about Benny's influence on the Carson show with writer William Katz's article here:

http://powerlineblog.com/archives/018173.php

I can easily see his influence on Bob Newhart, too, who is a great Reactor. I have been enjoying seeing The Bob Newhart Show on American Life TV network.

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Postby MissGoddess » September 13th, 2007, 12:53 pm

movieman1957 wrote:I recently saw a Benny show (courtesy Netflix) where Bogart was a guest. They did a gangster?Phillip Marlowe spoof that was very funny. Bogart was funny too. He even played his violin with Liberace on another one. That one was good too.

One thing radio loathes is dead air of any duration. Sometimes his pauses were so funny because the pause was more prominent because there was only silence. No visual was needed. It was so much a part of his character. Too bad more people don't know him.


I want to get into the radio shows next, but that will wait until I have more time---because I suspect they will become an addiction. :wink:


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