General Electric Theater (1953–1962)
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The Face Is Familiar 

A man who has a face no one can remember is suckered into serving as the stooge for a bank robbery.



(teleplay) (as Hugh Wedlock), (teleplay) | 1 more credit »


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Tom Jones
The Boss
Kem Dibbs ...
Sam the Barber
Marie (as Joy Lansing)
Second Bank Teller (as Joe Kearns)
Woman in Restaurant
Paul Maxey ...
Man in Restaurant
Vending Machine Man
Gertrude Hanover
Harlan Warde ...
First Bank Teller


A man who has a face no one can remember is suckered into serving as the stooge for a bank robbery.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama




Release Date:

21 November 1954 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Jack Benny had also appeared in a network radio version of this story on the series "Suspense" on January 18, 1954. See more »

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User Reviews


Elsewhere I've remarked that a film experience is only partly influenced by the filmmaker's intent. You can enhance or even modify that intent by circumspectly shifting contexts. It helps when the film has what I've called "folding" built in, where the role of the viewer is acknowledged.

Sometimes when you do this shifting, you exploit the artistic nature of the thing. Other times, as here, you take something almost useless and retroactively make art of it, Duchamplike.

The version of this that I saw was the whole TeeVee show, introduction, commercial and play. For those not familiar with the show, it was a scheduled show playing in prime time for about a decade with a different "play" each week. It had lavish sponsorship for the time so in its plays (half drama, half comedy) they could afford celebrities. The sponsor was General Electric founded by Edison, at the time the world's largest defense contractor and has often had the highest market capitalization of any company on earth.

They were deep into defense, "atomic power" (too cheap to meter...) and were (in this program and others) consciously defining a role for women as wife and consumer of home appliances.

The host of the show was Ronald Reagan, a pleasant fellow who couldn't get work in regular movies because he was a soulless actor in an era defined by Brando's commitment. So he made a living introducing the story of the week and building the GE brand. During his eight year gig, he was to transform from a simpleminded liberal Democrat to an equally simpleminded conservative Republican. Most biographers credit this change to exposure to GE propagandists.

Later, when Reagan became president, the most popular of modern times, GE earnings increased 25 times. (By this I mean 2500%!) During his tenure, many scandals occurred and lies uncovered but never "stuck" to him, so he was called the "teflon president."

Also during his tenure, he borrowed a trillion dollars, greatly benefiting the rich under a "trickle down" policy.

The story of this episode has Jack Benny as a waiter with a face so non-descript, people cannot recall him even if they have just conversed with him. This quality is exploited by gangsters who trick him (he's dull too) into stealing money from a bank. Lots of Benny jokes throughout. The humor is of course that all his technique is in his facial expressions and Benny's face was among the world's best known at the time.

The punch line of the story is that the robbers were caught but couldn't describe their patsy.

Okay. Watching this, you get three layers:

-- The layer of the Reagan story; one that changed the world for every human that has lived since. Profoundly.

-- The layer of the unwitting crook who stole money for others and eluded blame.

-- The layer of the extensive GE commercial which in this case was a 10 minute history lesson on how GE invented sonar, defeated German subs and won the war.

Have fun with this, fellow deep viewers.

Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.

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