Jack Benny is preparing his New Year's Eve radio broadcast but takes time out to take his valet Rochester to meet his girlfriend Josephine arriving on a steamer. Fred Allen and his sister ...
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Jack Benny is preparing his New Year's Eve radio broadcast but takes time out to take his valet Rochester to meet his girlfriend Josephine arriving on a steamer. Fred Allen and his sister Barbara are also en route to the dock to meet Barbara's daughter Mary, returning from a personal appearance tour in South America. Josephine is her maid. Their cars get involved in an accident and, in a bumping contest, Fred reduces Jack's old Maxwell to junk, and is taken to jail. Mary loses her dress in an accident and Jack offers to get her another one, but winds up being arrested for stealing. Barbara tells Mary that Fred is a nervous wreck because of Jack's continual slander of him on Jack's radio program. Jack hires the Merry Macs away from Fred and Fred decides to go to Miami for a rest. Jack decides to open his radio program from Miami. They meet, have another brawl, and end up in jail again. The two are in a motorboat accident where both are knocked unconscious and Mary, in an effort to end ... Written by
Les Adams <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Love Thy Neighbor" captures something of a bygone era. In the first half of the 20th century, radio had many "shows" that made stars out of performers. Some were comedies, others were musicals with singing, and others were plays. The latter included drama, mystery, comedies, sci-fi and horror – just about anything that the movies offered that could be portrayed with sound alone. There also were some early game or contest shows. Commercial television developed after World War II, and had many of the same types of programs. Some of the best radio programs segued to TV and continued to be hits. But, many more soon died out as radio programming changed. Radio acting shows were becoming obsolete.
Jack Benny was one of the most successful entertainers to make the transition. His 24-year radio show gave way to one of the longest running TV programs. The Jack Benny Program was on the air from 1950 through 1965. His was a combination sitcom, revue, and stage show with jokes and songs. Benny also was one of the entertainers who succeeded in movies.
The plot of this movie develops around a fake feud that Benny and Fred Allen concocted. Allen had his own radio show, and the two comedians constantly lambasted one another on the air. They exchanged guest appearances a number of times. Their feud was so overblown that all the radio audience knew it wasn't real. But it was a constant and sure source of much laughter week after week.
The plot being what it is in this film, the main characters play their real lives. Besides Benny and Allen, Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson is in in a fine role and performance. Marty Martin, Virginia Dale and Jack Carson have good roles. It's too bad the plot couldn't have been written to include at least cameos of the other mainstay people on Jack's show. Those would include his wife, Mary Livingstone, singer Dennis Day, and comedy sidekicks Don Wilson, Phil Harris and Mel Blanc. Most of these moved with Benny from radio to TV, at least for a few years.
I think the feud begins to wear thin in this film, although the humor otherwise is very good. Mary Martin is a delight in her song, "My Heart Belongs to Daddy." No doubt older people will enjoy this film more than younger viewers. It is a nostalgic look at some of the good entertainment of years gone bye.
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