Sunday, 23 March 2014

Voice of Benny

Some time ago, Tim Lones sent us a note about a Jack Benny radio appearance in 1930. It was in connection with a post here debunking what Benny claimed for years that his first radio broadcast was on the Ed Sullivan show in 1932. Tim mentioned a programme called “Voices From Filmland.”

We stumbled across an ad for the show featuring Benny, which you see to the right. It appears Benny only made a guest shot on the broadcast of January 20, 1930. Unfortunately, I haven’t found anything which specifically states what Benny did on the programme.

The show was broadcast over CBS. The Buffalo Courier-Express of January 12, 1930 describes it thusly:
Voices from Filmland, which began January 6th, originates at KHJ in Los Angeles and presents each Monday evening at 7.30 o'clock (Eastern standard time) music by the Los Angeles Biltmore orchestra, the Biltmore Trio and the M. G. M. studio orchestra, as well as bits from current talking motion pictures. With each program several well-known movie stars will appear.
The debut date may have been incorrect or incomplete. There’s a listing for a “Voice of Filmland” broadcast on a Tuesday morning in June 1929 on a Pittsburgh station.

“Voices From Filmland” aired opposite “Roxy and His Gang” on NBC-Blue and “Piano Twins” (Lester Place and Robert Pascocello) and “Back of the News In Washington” (Elliott Thurston) on NBC-Red. It seems to have been broadcast live from the West Coast; in 1930, few shows did because of the availability and cost of broadcast-quality lines.

The show didn’t last long. The last broadcast was on April 7th.

1 comment:

  1. Eric O. Costello24 March 2014 at 03:11

    If this was a one-off appearance, it was likely in connection with the movie "Chasing Rainbows," which King, Love and Benny were all in. It's a partially lost film, with its colour sequences missing (including the final reel's rendition of "Happy Days Are Here Again.") That film was released generally in February of 1930, right around the time of the broadcast. I would wonder if this was, as the blurb you quoted says, re-enacting bits from current motion pictures.