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The Jack Benny Program 

Not Rated | | Comedy | TV Series (1950–1965)
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The comic misadventures of the "skinflint" comedian and his friends.
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Popularity
4,396 ( 82)

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Years



15   14   13   12   11   10   … 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 ...  Jack Benny / ... 256 episodes, 1950-1965
Don Wilson ...  Don Wilson / ... 240 episodes, 1950-1965
Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson ...  Rochester Van Jones / ... 178 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 television along with his radio regulars. Jack, who remained thirty-nine-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>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy

Certificate:

Not Rated
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 October 1950 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Jack Benny Show See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Several episodes were adaptations of plots used on his radio show. Examples of this are season eight, episode seven, "Christmas Shopping Show", and season eight, episode eleven, "Jack At The Races". See more »

Quotes

[Our heroes enter a jungle clearing carrying a tiger on a pole]
Jack: These last 2 miles were rugged, weren't they?
'Clyde': I knew as soon as we got off the freeway, we'd run into trouble.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Bachelor Father: Bentley, the Homemaker (1958) See more »

Soundtracks

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

An Appreciation
2 November 2010 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

I think one reason Benny is so beloved by fans is that he comes across as a genuinely likable guy beneath all the funnyman routines. Unlike many comedians, there's nothing of the "smart Alec" or "wise guy" about him. Not that these are disqualifying traits—Bob Hope, for one, made an immensely successful career as a wise guy. But the thing with Benny is that no matter how vain or cheap he appeared in his stage act, there was always an air of underlying likability. So when he tipped the sweating waiter a nickel or preened as the world's best comedian, fans laughed and forgave him.

Consider that his show lasted an amazing 15 years on a medium with a reputation for devouring funnymen. Much of that success is due to a cast of well-honed regulars that the writers skillfully blended into the program whether live or on film. Basically, we knew what to expect from each—a wise-cracking Rochester, a jovial Don Wilson, a sensible Mary Livingstone, a dazed Dennis Day, and, of course, Jack's two perennial nemeses Mel Blanc and Frank Nelson. The latter two furnished many of the petty annoyances that were the basis of much of Jack's comedic schtick. Speaking of style, it also looks like Jack was mainly a "reactive" comedian— that is, his humor grew out of exasperated, low-key reactions to life's many petty annoyances, which were also ones the audience could relate to.

My favorite routines were the spoofs of popular movies, like Gaslight or Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It was the latter, I believe, where dressed up as the fearsome Hyde, Benny attacks this feeble old lady who, nevertheless, proceeds to flip him in six different directions before he slinks away, a totally defeated Hyde. I don't know how they did it, but the contrasting appearances and unexpected outcome were hilarious.

I doubt the show would succeed with today's hyper-energized audiences, where much of the humor is more obvious and more over-the-top. Jack's era was, of course, a period of tight restrictions on what could be said or shown. But his show under-played that tight framework like a virtuoso, week-in and week-out. I guess these few words amount to my little appreciation of a program that gave me so many pleasurable moments. So, the time spent trying to think this out is time well spent. Thanks, Mr. Benny. In my book, you are an enduring classic.


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