Sunday, 15 March 2015

A Real/Fake Jack Benny Show No. 2

The gossip magazine Radio Mirror came up with an interesting idea: take a bunch of scripts from a radio show during the regular season, them mash them together to make a composite script and the new publish it as a new “broadcast” while the show is on summer hiatus.

The magazine did it twice in 1937 and again in 1938. This is the second one from ‘37, published in the October edition. It picked the Jack Benny show and, no doubt to the delight of the sponsor, even included the Jell-O commercials.

Jack’s conversation with director Gensler is apparently lifted from the June 7, 1936 broadcast; no audio exists of it today. Gensler was played by Mel Blanc in his first-ever appearance on the Benny show. The drug store routine, for which audio also doesn’t exist, is from Feb. 16, 1936. The woman customer whose husband was low was played by Blanche Stewart, the other woman was Violet Klein. The car dealer routine is taken from the broadcast (in Detroit) of May 10, 1936, with Guy Robertson as the salesman. As you can see, Jack doesn’t have a Maxwell yet; much of his character that we know today hadn’t been developed.

By the way, the reference to Potash and Perlmutter isn’t about a vaudeville team. They were characters in books written by Montague Glass. They appeared on stage in Jewish dialect and later in films.

We’ll post the “broadcast” from 1938 next month. The photos in this post accompanied the article. I have no idea what Jack is doing in the second one.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Brought you through special permission of Jack Benny, to fill the hot evenings with amusement until he returns from his trip abroad — another readio-broadcast. You can’t hear it, but you can read it and get thirty minutes of the same fun you have when you tune in his Sunday night program. On these pages you will find more of the best laughs and playlets that have made this the year’s most popular program. It’s all based on material furnished by Jack himself.

IMAGINE it’s Sunday evening at your regular time for listening to Jack, Mary, Don Wilson, Phil Harris, Kenny Baker and the gang. There go the NBC chimes . . . “This is the National Broadcasting Company” . . . then we hear Don Wilson: DON: The Jell-O program! Starring Jack Benny, with Mary Livingstone and Phil Harris and his orchestra. The orchestra opens the program with “It Looks Like Rain in Cherry Blossom Lane.”
(We hear the brightest of the hit tunes, played as only Phil Harris and his gang can play it.)
DON: Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, Jack, Mary, and all the rest of us are still aboard the good ship Jelloa, taking a European vacation cruise. You wouldn’t know Jack — he’s so tanned and healthy looking he’s almost handsome — and here he is!
JACK: Jello-O again folks . . . Don, I wouldn’t care how you introduced me tonight.
You can kid me all you want to and I won’t mind. I feel too good, too full of pep and everything. My, what a tonic this ocean sun is!
DON: Well, you do look fine. Even the circles under your eyes are tan.
JACK: And then I had such a swell time at the masquerade ball last night.
DON: Funny, I didn’t see you. How did you dress?
JACK: Oh, I didn’t bother much. I just stuck forty candles on my head and went as a birthday cake. How were you dressed, Don?
DON: I sat on a plate all evening with a lot of sliced bananas around me.
JACK: Oh, you were that dish of Jell-O, were you? I might have known. Wasn’t it kind of uncomfortable sitting on a plate all evening?
DON: I didn’t mind it, until someone started to pour cream and sugar on me.
JACK: Here comes Mary. Funny, she must have been there last night but I didn’t recognize her either . . . Hello, Mary. How were you disguised at the party?
MARY: (It’s Mary all right. There’s no mistaking that voice.) Why, I had on a big red hat with a long yellow feather, tan buttoned shoes, a brown furpiece around my neck, a parasol in one hand and a bookcase in the other.
JACK: Mary, what were you supposed to be?
MARY: A rummage sale.
DON: Say, Jack, did you see Phil Harris? He was asking if you’d brought your violin along on this trip.
JACK: (Trying not to sound pleased.) Oh he was, eh? Did you hear that, Mary? Phil wants to know if I brought my violin. Maybe he wants me to play with the orchestra . . . Oh, Phil, were you looking for me?
PHIL: Yes, I was. Say, Jack, have you got your violin with you?
JACK: Yes sir, I have it right down in my stateroom. Did you want me to play the next number with you?
PHIL: No, we’re looking for a fly swatter.
JACK: Oh yeah? Well, I’m going to hand you fellers the surprise of your lives. This summer — starting just next week — I’m going to take a few more lessons and brush up a little bit. Then you’ll see.
MARY: A few more? Go on, you never took any violin lessons.
JACK: I did, too!
MARY: Then your teacher didn’t.
JACK: (Good and mad now) Say, listen here! I could play “The Bee” when —
DON: Now, Jack, don’t let it get your goat. We were only fooling. Why, you know how we all love you — particularly after you’ve given us this swell trip and everything —
JACK: Yes, it has been fine, hasn’t it? Still, I’ll be glad to get back to Hollywood, go on the air again, and start my new picture. You know, I was so good in my love scenes in “Artists and Models” that in my next picture they’re going to give me two leading ladies.
DON: Is that so?
JACK: (And you can practically see him hooking his thumbs into the arm holes of his vest.) Yep. Of course, I prefer comedy, but if I’m the romantic type — well, what can I do?
MARY: Play comedy.
DON: Say, Jack, here’s Kenny Baker. He wants to ask you something.
JACK: Why hello, Kenny. What do you want?
KENNY: Well, you know I’ve signed a contract to make a picture as soon as we get back, too.
JACK: Oh, have you, Kenny? I’m glad to hear it. What company?
KENNY: Monotonous Films.
JACK: Well, that’s a nice company. Makes a lot of pictures too. How did you get the job?
KENNY: Incognito. I told them I was Robert Taylor.
JACK: Oh boy, wait until they find out!
KENNY: But I’m a little worried. Jack. You know, you’ve had so much experience, I wish you’d give me a few pointers. I’m a little weak on dramatic lines, and comedy, and character parts.
JACK: Well, what can you do?
KENNY: I could make love, with a little encouragement.
MARY: (Hopefully) Encourage him, Jack.
JACK: Don’t worry, Kenny, all you need is a little coaching. For instance, take a scene like this. Suppose you come home to your wife after eight years in the Navy and you find her in the arms of another. Now you walk in and say, “So this is what’s been going on, eh? You’ve let eight years in the Navy separate us. When I get you alone, I’m going to kill you, kill you, kill you!
KENNY: Do I kill her?
JACK: No, she’s never alone. Now you try it, Kenny.
KENNY: (He rattles the speech off without any expression at all) So this is what’s been going on, eh . . . Gee, you’ve let eight years in the Navy separate us. When I get you alone I’m going to kill you three times, so help me.
KENNY: What will I do now?
MARY: Tear up your contract.
JACK: No, Kenny, try again and put some fire into it.
KENNY: Okay, Jack ... So this is what’s been going on, eh? After eight years I find you in the arms of another.
JACK: No, Kenny, Gable wouldn’t do it that way.
MARY: Gable wouldn’t stay away eight years.
KENNY: Gee, this is too hard. Jack. Shall I try something else?
JACK: Yes — sing, Kenny.
(Kenny sings “You’re My Desire”) and makes a swell job of it, too. Then, as he finishes:
SALESMAN: Mr. Benny, Mr. Benny! . . . Hello, Mr. Benny, remember me?
SALESMAN: That’s what I thought, now I can speak freely. My name is Chisleworth, Chester C. Chisleworth, and I represent the Major Motors Company. Now, how about buying a car now, while you’re on your vacation, and then it will be all ready for you to use when you get back to Hollywood. JACK: Well . . .
SALESMAN: Let me show you our catalogue. Now right here is the best buy in America today, the Synthetic Seven. Yes, sir! What a car! And talk about economy — why, you can get fifteen miles to every fifteen gallons of gasoline.
JACK: Well, I don’t think I’m interested —
SALESMAN: And talk about speed — why, this little car is so fast, it will take your breath away.
JACK: Take my breath away! What do you do, drive it or gargle with it?
SALESMAN: With this car you don’t need gargles. Our windshields are sun-proof, windproof, shatterproof, and bullet-proof.
JACK: Sounds pretty good, eh, Mary?
MARY: Yes, and he’s got nice eyes, too.
SALESMAN: Now, just look at this picture of the car, Mr. Benny. Notice its beautiful lines, those lovely curves. Just look at that streamlined chassis!
Jack (Doubtfully): I don’t know — I like Loretta Young better. What’s the price of that Synthetic Seven?
SALESMAN: Three hundred and eighty dollars — but if you want to go just a little higher, we’ve got the Synthetic Nine.
JACK: How much is that?
SALESMAN: Twelve thousand.
JACK: Hm, not bad.
SALESMAN: Of course the nine is built especially for touring. If you buy it, you’ll get a trailer.
MARY: What’s a trailer, Jack?
JACK: A man from the finance company — I ought to know.
SALESMAN: Now, as a special inducement, the moment you buy this car we give you twenty gallons of gas free.
JACK: What about the oil?
MARY: He’s giving you that now.
JACK: Well, you see, Mr. . . .
MESSENGER BOY: Radiogram for Mr. Benny.
JACK: Ah! Just in the nick of time! (We hear the rattle of paper, then Jack reads): “Arriving by plane this afternoon. Must discuss story of your next picture. Signed, Gensler, Paramount Studios.” Well, can you imagine that! Flying all the way over here to discuss the picture with me! Gee, it certainly must be a big part.
MARY: Either that or they’re worried.
JACK: I’ll have to go and rest — he’ll be here any minute now. Play, Don — I mean John — I mean Phil!
(Phil Harris’ orchestra begins to play “Where or When” from the musical comedy, “Babes in Arms,” but soon, over the music, we hear the drone of an airplane motor — then a babble of voices — and when next we hear Jack, he and the DIRECTOR of his new picture are deep in discussion. Listen:) JACK: When do I come in?
DIRECTOR: Very soon now. Here’s where it gets dramatic.
JACK: Oh! (And he clears his throat before he goes on, reading:) “As we fade in, we find the lover seated on the davenport with a beautiful blonde. He takes her in his arms and says, ‘Darling, I can’t live without you.’ She says, ‘I can’t live without you.’ Then he says, ‘I can’t eat without you.’ And she says, ‘I can’t eat without ketchup.’” ... That’s quite romantic, isn’t it?
DIRECTOR: Yes. In fact, we worked two weeks on that one line. We didn’t know whether to use ketchup or chili sauce.
JACK: And you worked two weeks on it.
MARY: One more week and she could have had mustard.
DIRECTOR: “The lovers move closer together, and as he puts his arm around her you hear the beautiful strains of a violin playing ‘Love in Bloom.’”
JACK: Here I come, Mary.
DIRECTOR: “Then a shot is heard!”
MARY: There you go, Jack.
DIRECTOR: “Then as the music dies out, you see the lovers sitting on the floor, looking out of the window at the moonlight.”
JACK: Oh, they’re on the floor now, huh? What happened to the davenport?
DIRECTOR: We loaned it to Metro.
JACK: Oh, I see . . . You know, Mary, the studios exchange courtesies like that. We loan Metro a davenport and they loan us Garbo.
JACK: I’m not in the picture yet. Do I come in soon?
DIRECTOR: Right away. “As they are looking out of the window, the butler enters the room and says, ‘Madame, you’re wanted on the phone.’” That’s you, Jack.
JACK: Who, the butler, the madame, or the phone?
DIRECTOR: The butler, of course.
JACK: (Disgusted) That’s fine. I’m supposed to be the star and I play the butler.
(Mary starts to laugh.)
JACK: What are you laughing at, Mary?
MARY: I’m not even in the picture and I got a bigger part than you have.
JACK: Now wait a minute, we’re not through yet. What happens after that?
DIRECTOR: Well, Jack, then we go into a lot of specialties, dancing, music and comedy — so you’ll be out of the next six reels.
JACK: I’ll be out for six reels! Well, can’t I do anything during that time?
DIRECTOR: Sure, you can do anything you want to — you can play golf, or you can go down to the beach and take a swim.
JACK: I can’t swim.
MARY: You ought to be able to learn in six reels.
JACK: Well, there’s something to that . . . Now, what do I do next?
DIRECTOR: Ah, you’ll like this, Jack. In the last reel you have another big scene —
JACK: I know — the phone rings again —
MARY: And you swim in and answer it.
DIRECTOR: No, this time there is a knock at the door . . . The husband comes in unexpectedly and you hide in the closet.
JACK: Why do I have to hide in the closet? I haven’t done anything.
MARY: (There’s no stopping this girl) I’ll say you haven’t.
DIRECTOR: You see. Jack, you’re really not the butler at all. You’re a detective dressed as a butler.
JACK: Oh, now I get it. I’m a detective and I hide in the closet to trap the lover.
DIRECTOR: That’s it exactly. Now when the husband comes into the room and sees his wife in the arms of another, he kills himself, and the lovers live happily ever after. You get the idea?
JACK: Yes, but when do I come out of the closet?
MARY: After the preview.
JACK: Now see here, that part isn’t big enough for me. I thought I was going to be the star of this picture. I won’t play it!
DIRECTOR: Oh, Mr. Benny . . .
JACK: No, sir, there’s no use arguing with me!
DIRECTOR: Well, then, I guess we’ll just have to get Fred Allen —
JACK: Now wait a minute — don’t fly off the handle. Maybe we can talk this thing over. Just why isn’t my part bigger?
DIRECTOR: You see, Mr. Benny, the studio is afraid you can’t act the part it had in mind for you at first. Maybe you’re not exactly the type, you know.
JACK: What part was it?
DIRECTOR: A storekeeper — a druggist, in fact — very wise and gentle and philosophical. But then we got to thinking it wasn’t exactly the sort of part you’d like—
JACK (He’s very emphatic now): It’s exactly the sort of part I like, and I do it very well. In fact, I’m playing a druggist in our dramatic offering for this broadcast. Now you just listen, and you’ll see. The idea of saying I’m not the type!
(There’s a fanfare of music — then Don Wilson’s voice).
DON: Ladies and gentlemen, tonight Jack Benny makes history by appearing in an entirely new role — that of Jack Bennypill, owner and proprietor of Bennypill’s Pharmacy in Medicine Hat. Lights! Curtain!
(Fading in, we hear the tinkle of a cash register, the clink of glasses, the hiss of a soda-fountain. Then Jack speaks):
JACK: Yes, ma’am, what can I do for you?
WOMAN CUSTOMER: I’d like to have this prescription filled right away, my husband IS awfully sick. Quick, please— he’s very low.
JACK: How low is he?
WOMAN CUSTOMER: Right now he’s playing pinochle with a worm.
JACK: Oh! Let me see that prescription . . . two grains of salicylate of sodium . . . one grain of phenol-barbitol, and a corned beef sandwich.
WOMAN CUSTOMER: Mustard on the sandwich, please.
JACK: Yes, ma’am. How about Russian dressing on the pheno-barbitol?
WOMAN CUSTOMER: Yes, and hurry up.
(We hear the door open and slam).
JACK: Pardon me a moment, ma’am.
What can I do for you, sir?
KENNY: I can’t sleep nights; what do you suggest?
JACK: How about a nice alarm clock?
KENNY: That sounds good. How much are they?
JACK: Well, these clocks over here are one dollar.
KENNY: One dollar! Why, they’re marked fifty-nine cents.
JACK: Well, that’s all a dollar is worth today. But they’re very good clocks. I make them, myself. See the name. Big Benny?
KENNY: Well, never mind. I’ll take some chewing gum.
JACK: Chewing gum, okay. Shall I send it?
KENNY: No, just stick it on my shoe.
JACK: Oh, shooing gum.
Woman Customer: Hey, how about my prescription?
JACK: Oh yes, ma’am. Let’s see that again . . . two grains of Silly Symphony . . . one grain of Ricardo Cortez . . . and one grin from the audience. (The door opens again.) Oh, pardon me a moment. What can I do for you, Miss? . . . Oh, hello, Mary.
MARY: Let me see . . . Give me a chocolate malted frappayed fudge ice cream soda plain, with maraschino cherries and nuts.
JACK: How about some whipped cream?
MARY: No, I’m on a diet.
JACK: All right, I’ll make it right up for you.
MARY: While I’m waiting, give me a New England boiled dinner.
JACK: Wait until I fix the drink for you.
(We hear him fixing it.)
MARY: Wait a minute, don’t put any ice cream in it.
JACK: No ice cream, all right.
MARY: Wait — no malt, please.
JACK: I see — no malt either.
MARY: You might as well cut out the fudge, too.
JACK: Okay.
(We hear the sound of charged water.)
MARY: Wait a minute . . . just plain water.
JACK: Hey, all you’ve got here is a glass of plain water and a straw.
MARY: That’s what I want.
JACK: This is a new drink, folks. A Scotch surprise. Here you are, Mary. That will be a penny for the straw.
MARY: I don’t need the straw.
JACK: One more customer like you and this place will be a garage.
WOMAN CUSTOMER: Clerk, I want this prescription filled immediately. My husband is very low.
JACK: Oh yes, let’s see that again . . . Hm, two grams of laudanum . . . one ounce of permanganate of potash . . . two ounces of perlmutter . . . (The door opens again) Pardon me, lady, I’ll be right with you.
ANOTHER WOMAN: (Groaning) Oh oh oh oh oh!
JACK: What’s wrong? What can I do for you? (She groans some more) Sit down here — I’ll get you some water. (She groans louder) What’s the matter?
THE OTHER WOMAN: Give me a three-cent stamp!
WOMAN CUSTOMER: How about my prescription?
JACK: Are you still here? Mary, help me out — take care of that woman, will you?
MARY: Let me see that prescription, Toots . . . two grains of pyramidon . . . one gram of Schenectady . . . one ticket to Syracuse. . . (The door opens again)
JACK: What can I do for you?
PHIL: Say, have you got any aspirin?
JACK: Yes.
PHIL: Well, why don’t you take some, you look terrible.
(The door slams behind him)
JACK: Hm, now I know what’s the matter with this place. I’m sick.
WOMAN CUSTOMER: Will you please hurry up with that prescription? My husband is very low.
JACK: Yes, ma’am, just a minute.
(That door opens again.)
DON: Good evening, good evening.
JACK: How do you do, sir. Anything for you?
DON: I’d like to get some Jell-O. You serve it here, don’t you?
JACK: Yes, you little mind reader.
DON: Is it genuine Jell-O with the big red letters on the box?
JACK: It is, if we expect to be back on the air next Sunday.
DON: Then I’ll have some.
JACK: There you are sir . . . Well, guess it’s time I was locking up. Come on, Mary.
WOMAN CUSTOMER: How about my prescription. I’ve been waiting all day long and my husband is very low.
JACK: Lock her up, Mary, we’ll take care of her tomorrow . . . Play, Phil!
(Phil Harris strikes up with “Strangers In the Dark.”)
JACK: That was the last number of this special vacation broadcast, coming to you through the courtesy of Radio Mirror. Well, Mr. Gensler, now do you still say I can’t act?
DIRECTOR: It was wonderful. Jack! Stupendous!
JACK: So I don’t have to play the butler’s part?
DIRECTOR: I should say not! You don’t have to play any part. You’re fired!
JACK: Oh! Good night, folks.
Jack Benny and his gang return to the air over the NBC-RED Network on Sunday, October 3, at 7:00 P. M. Eastern Standard Time, with a repeat West Coast broadcast at 8:30 P. M. Pacific Standard Time.

No comments:

Post a Comment