The Jack Benny Program (1950–1965)

TV Series  -   -  Comedy
8.3
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The comic misadventures of the skinflint comedian and his friends.

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15   14   13   12   11   10   9   8   7   … See all »
1965   1964   1963   1962   … See all »
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 7 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete series cast summary:
...
 Jack Benny / ... (256 episodes, 1950-1965)
Don Wilson ...
 Don Wilson / ... (239 episodes, 1950-1965)
...
 Rochester Van Jones / ... (176 episodes, 1950-1965)
Dennis Day ...
 Dennis Day / ... (143 episodes, 1950-1965)
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Storyline

Jack Benny was a regular on his own radio program since 1932. He brought the program, with his underplayed humor, to TV along with his radio regulars. Jack, who remained 39-years-old, kept his money in his basement and drove his old Maxwell car just as he had done on the radio. Written by J.E. McKillop <jmckillo@notes.cc.bellcore.com>

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Comedy

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Release Date:

28 October 1950 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Jack Benny Show  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Most of Jack Benny's original radio cast appeared on television with him, including Don Wilson, Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson, Dennis Day, and his real-life wife Mary Livingstone made several guest appearances. In one episode Jack dreamed that he and Mary (his platonic friend on the show) were married and had a teenage daughter. Their daughter was played by their real daughter, Joan Benny. See more »

Quotes

[Bob walks on carrying Jack's trousers]
Bob: Welcome to the Lucky Strike Program. In just a few minutes, you'll see our star, Gypsy Rose Benny.
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Connections

Referenced in Say Goodnight, Gracie (1983) See more »

Soundtracks

Love In Bloom
(theme song)
by Leo Robin and Ralph Rainger
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User Reviews

A woven, recurring blend of comfortable, reassuring humor
24 March 2002 | by (Sapporo, Japan) – See all my reviews

In the early 1960's TV Guide critic Cleveland Amory started his review of "The Jack Benny Program" with "There are two kinds of jokes. Regular jokes and Jack Benny jokes." Regular jokes hit you, if you are lucky, only once. Jack Benny jokes hit you, if you are lucky, over and over. What Cleveland Amory at the time was referring to was the way a joke that popped up in the beginning of any given Jack Benny program episode was not an end in itself but a set-up for two, three, or four jokes that would emerge throughout he show.

Some time before I was born, Jack Benny started to use, but never milked, familiar masks: his awful violin playing, his stingy nature, his offense at being insulted by his patented pause followed with, "Well!", his insistence that he was thirty nine years old, and his recurring attempts to get a renowned musician to play his pitiful song, "When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano".

"Hello, Police Department? I want to report a lost wallet. It is brown leather. Inside there are three one dollar bills. And the serial numbers are......" Inside a sauna: "Gee. I haven't sweated this much since they closed the banks in 1934."

As Jack Benny delighted in telling later in life, sometimes the stories behind the jokes were even more funny than the jokes themselves. Jack would work with the writers in mid-week before any given show. As Jack told it, one week one of the writers thought up the scenario, "Jack is walking down the street and a thug comes up to him with a pistol and demands, 'Your money or your life!'" All readily agreed that that was a good premise for a joke. "But how is Jack going to respond?" All in the room were puzzled and when one writer got impatient by calling out, "Well?", Jack, still stumped for a good punch line, snapped back, "I'm thinking it over!" When the other writers started laughing, Jack asked, "What's so funny?" It took Jack Benny a few moments to get it that he had just invented the best joke of his career.

That Jack will forever be remembered as being forever thirty nine years old is now not a joke but an inspiration for us his fans and survivors to hold on to youth and humor for as long as he did.


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