Sunday 13 May 2018

What, Me Work?

There are many people, I suspect, who would like to spend their 70s travelling, socialising or just relaxing; they would rather enjoy their time while they’re healthy. And there are others who still want to keep working. It helps, of course, that you enjoy your work.

Jack Benny enjoyed his work, so he kept working, even when he was 80. He kept up a gruelling schedule, too, performing concerts all over North America when he wasn’t working on a TV special.

Here’s Jack talking about working as he plugs one of his specials in a United Press International column of March 13, 1968.

Jack Benny Goes On Forever

HOLLYWOOD (UPI)—Jack Benny at 74 continues to work, not for his famed penury nor for the applause of audiences, but because it is his own formula for youth.
You can see for yourself next week (March 20) when the magnificent comedian stars in his only television special of the year.
A staple of American humor for a half century, Benny has become a beloved avuncular funny man. It is no exaggeration to say that Jack appears 25 years younger than he is. He thinks that way too.
Would Be Bored
"I should work a certain amount of time every year because I enjoy it," he said at lunch recently. "And it helps keep me young and fit. I'd get bored if I didn't work. Besides, I'm not that good a golfer.
"Look at Bob Hope, he's working all the time and he's a great golfer.
In the past year Jack has made only three television guest appearances: On "Hollywood Palace," "Smothers Brothers" and "Kraft." He has refused dozens of other opportunities to play the guest.
"I turned them down because if I was appearing all over the tube, then my own special wouldn't be very special, would it?" he asked. Next week Benny's NBC show will be special indeed. His guests are Lucille Ball and Johnny Carson, not to mention a number surprise cameo visits from among Hollywood's top stars.
It did not take a psychiatrist to see Benny perk up when he discussed the show. You could almost see his metabolism change.
"Psychologically I would miss entertaining people," he admitted.
"People want to see me now because they don't see me on TV every week. That's why I spend 15 weeks a year on the road doing concerts and personal appearances.
"You can't quit altogether because the public forgets about you. And I don't want that. Not now. Or if you quit for a couple of years and something good comes along, nobody wants you."
Benny said he will continue his policy of one television special a year, plus his appearances on the road. The pace is just enough to keep him young and in the public eye.
Not that you'll catch Jack Benny refusing to accept the loot that goes with it either--not by any means.

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