The Jack Benny Program (1950–1965)

TV Series  |   |  Comedy
8.7
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Ratings: 8.7/10 from 637 users  
Reviews: 16 user | 4 critic

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 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

Sara Berner, who played Mabel Flapsaddle, left the show in 1954 due to what the media reported as a "misunderstanding". She was replaced by Bea Bernaderet as Gertrude. Berner returned to the show for one more episode in 1955. See more »

Quotes

[on trial for murder, Jack has Perry Mason defending him]
Jack: I can't understand it. On your show you always win.
Perry Mason: Maybe my writers are better than yours.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Uncensored Comedy: That's Not Funny! (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

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

 
Character Comedy
3 April 2009 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Jack Benny was unique among the great comedians this country has produced. Only his comedy was not the product of gags or situations, though he used them. His comedy arose out of an indelible character he created, the lovable tightwad who came into our homes via radio and television for over 30 years.

In real life Jack Benny was not a tightwad, in fact he was a generous man whose charitable giving was known if not publicized. That of course would have ruined the image and the image was the linchpin of his comedy.

Because we knew his character so well, the cheap gags followed. They would mean nothing to anyone else, but because it was Benny we laughed at a burglar saying your money or your life and Benny stalling with a reply of I'm thinking. The sounds of his Maxwell car were second nature, they brought laughs because Benny was too cheap to buy a new car. And his Social Security number, 000-00-0001 in deference to his age.

The Jack Benny Show took us inside the pretend world of tightwad Jack Benny. His announcer Don Wilson, real life wife Mary Livingston, butler Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson, and the perpetual adolescent with the piping tenor Dennis Day all were part of that world. On radio Phil Harris as the brash band-leader was there, but he didn't make it to television, deciding to strike out on his own. All of these people bounced gags off Benny's tightwad character and all got generous laughs at his expense. But the laughs were coming for Benny's character, not necessarily out of anything he said necessarily.

Some his shows were classics and allowed people to really enjoy themselves. One of my favorites had Raymond Burr as a guest star who did courtroom sketch and broke into a song and dance before the jury. Burr looked like he was having a great time. Another show I remember had long time show business friends Bing Crosby and George Burns as guests, reminiscing about back in the days when the three of them were a vaudeville trio act.

His shows were welcome in millions of American homes including mine. Would that another Jack Benny would come on the scene today.


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