The Jack Benny Program (1950–1965)

TV Series  |   |  Comedy
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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   1961   1960   … See all »
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 8 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 / ... (240 episodes, 1950-1965)
...
 Rochester Van Jones / ... (177 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

In the early years this was originally titled "The Lucky Strike Program" after the show's sponsor, Lucky Strike cigarettes, which had also sponsored Jack Benny's radio program. The 16mm television syndication prints had the title cards replaced with ones that gave the title as either "The Jack Benny Program" or "The Jack Benny Show". Footage of Benny welcoming the audience to "The Lucky Strike Program" remained intact. See more »

Quotes

Jack: When another comedian has a lousy show, I'm the first one to admit it.
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Connections

Referenced in Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In: Pilot (1967) See more »

Soundtracks

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

The Jack Benny Program
4 February 2005 | by (Durham,North Carolina) – See all my reviews

This was one of the great comedy shows of all time and one of the TV's Golden age of programs that begin in the early 1950's and continued onward into the mid-1960's. Jack Benny had been a regular network-radio personality since 1932. When he made his first tentative forays into television in 1950,it was mainly a series of specials that aired on a infrequent basis in what would eventually become his regular Sunday night-time slot(that ran from October of 1950,and ending in June of 1962). Ten of them aired during the 1950-1951 season and 1951-1952 seasons. From October 5, 1952,through the following January his show was televised once every four weeks,and when he returned again,on September 13,1953,it was an alternate-week basis that lasted through June of 1960. For his last five seasons,"The Jack Benny Show" aired every week. It was shown on two major television networks. First it ran on CBS-TV from October 28,1950 through September of 1964. Then the show switched networks,this time over to NBC-TV from September of 1964 through September of 1965,which lasted one season.

It amazingly ran for an impressive fifteen seasons on prime-time television. 1950-1965.

The format of the show,and the personality of its star,so well honed in two decades on radio,made the transition television almost intact. Jack's stinginess,vanity about his supposed age of 39,basement vault where he kept all his money,ancient Maxwell automobile,and feigned ineptness at playing the violin were all part of the act-and were,if anything,bolstered by their visibility on the TV show. Added to Jack's famous pregnant pause and exasperated "Well!" were a rather mincing walk,an affected hand to the cheek and a pained look of disbelief when confronted by life's little tragedies. The show also made some headway into the relationship between employer and employee and "The Jack Benny Program" was the only show on television where you could see individuals of different races and backgrounds working with each other. The two regulars that were with Jack throughout his television run were Eddie "Rochester" Anderson,as his valet and Don Wilson as his announcer and friend. Appearing on a more irregular basis were Dennis Day,Artie Auerbach,Frank Nelson,Mary Livingstone(Mrs. Jack Benny),and Mel Blanc,all veterans from the radio show. Blanc,the master of a thousand voices for several cartoon characters(including Bugs Bunny as well the voice of Barney Rubble on "The Flintstones",and Mr. Spacey on "The Jetsons"),was both heard as the engine of Jack's Maxwell and seen as Professor LeBlanc,his long-suffering violin teacher.

Jack's underplayed comedy was as popular on television as it has been on the radio. After fifteen years as more or less regular television performer,he cut back his schedule to an occasional special and continued to appear until his untimely death in 1974. But it wasn't until 12 years after "The Jack Benny Program" went off the air,CBS brought back several episodes of "The Jack Benny Show",originally filmed in the early 1960's,for a limited run in August of 1977. CBS had also aired repeats of this series on weekday afternoons from October of 1964 to September of 1965 as "The Jack Benny Daytime Show",and on Sunday afternoons from October of 1964 to March of 1965 as "Sunday with Jack Benny"


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