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"That nice Jewish boy on Rochester's show"

Author: kevin olzak (kevinolzak@yahoo.com) from Youngstown, Ohio
28 August 2013

One of America's most beloved comedians, Jack Benny was a most deserving guest of honor, and Dean Martin does not disappoint. Jack's tightwad image, honed for decades on radio and television, plus the fact that he passed away by the end of 1974 lends a touch of poignancy to the affair, as George Burns expresses his feelings about their friendship, lasting 55 years: "I tell him how much I enjoy his violin playing, and he tells me how much he likes my singing." Pearl Bailey describes Benny's act: "he talked about George Burns. That was his act." Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor Zubin Mehta is very funny, describing Jack's touring on violin: "the audience was glued to their seats. It was the only way we could get them to sit down!" The uproarious Rich Little does not only Jack and George Burns, but also Jimmy Stewart, who appears on the dais himself to reveal how Jack saved his life by unselfishly donating his blood for a needed transfusion, reducing Jimmy's gratitude from s "50 dollar present" to a solitary Christmas card (it's in the blood!). Demond Wilson, then popular on SANFORD AND SON, describes how Jack's casting of an actual black performer for Rochester saved him a fortune on 'burnt cork' (he remembers Jack as "that nice Jewish boy on Rochester's show"). Singer Wayne Newton lovingly talks about Jack and Mary's 45 year marriage (Foster Brooks: "Jack married her when he was minus-6," in reference to Benny's perennial age of 39), still sharing a romantic glass of wine at bedtime: "every night she goes to bed with a cold duck!" Florence Henderson makes the claim that Jack is "the real father of the Brady Bunch," but tires of having to sneak out to McDonald's (!). There are other memorable turns from Joey Bishop ("you 90 year old fiddle player!"), Foster Brooks (as Benny's auditor), Norm Crosby, Dick Martin, Mark Spitz, and the ever funny Jack Carter. In conclusion, Jack Benny ponders his longtime success with Dean: "I can't drink like you do, I can't act like George C. Scott, and when it comes to Frank Sinatra, well, g'night folks!"

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