Sunday, 17 March 2019

The Not Rawther Amusing Lunch

Jack Benny would try to accomplish a simple task but get hamstrung by waitresses, store clerks, cab drivers and all manner of people. That was the fake Benny on his radio and TV show.

Actually, it happened to the real Benny, too.

Here’s a newspaper column from October 8, 1947. All Jack was doing was trying to have a peaceful lunch and conduct an interview. But he ended up with nothing but headaches. To be honest, some of the things here could have been incorporated into a radio script. You have to feel sorry for him.

In Hollywood

NEA Staff Correspondent
HOLLYWOOD, Oct. 18. — Jack Benny was taking a beating.
You expect it on his radio show and in his movies but it was rather surprising to find Jack squirming in the No. 1 booth at Mike Romanoff's (where three tiny pieces of Irish stew meat, an onion the size of a grape and a potato the size of a marble cost $2—coffee 25 cents.)
Jack was trying to tell me about his summer vacation motor trips, but Mary Livingstone kept butting in.
Mary wasn't there. She was home and Jack was trying to get her on the telephone. Three times he got up and called and always the line was busy.
Jack was boiling. "I can never get my house," he whimpered. "Mary is always talking on the phone. She talks for hours. Sometimes it's Gary Cooper's wife. Or Mrs. William Goetz. Or Claudette Colbert. Mary talked to Mrs. Goetz in New York once for two hours and 20 minutes."
THEN there was Simpson.
I didn't catch his first name, but Simpson was wearing short trousers and a bored expression and looked to be about 10 years old. Mike himself brought him to the table, so Simpson must have been important. Mike hardly ever speaks to people unless they make $5000 a week or more.
Mike introduced Simpson to Jack and said:
"He's from England. He's heard you on the air." "Oh," said Jack. "So you're a fan of mine? Well, well, WELL."
Simpson continued to look bored and said: "I find you rawther amusing."
Jack squirmed behind a $3 plate of something or other.
"RAWTHER, amusing?" his voice cracked.
"Yes," said Simpson, who just stood there, not asking for an autograph, or anything.
"Well, well, WELL," said Jack. "I guess I better telephone Mary again." Jack went past Simpson like a hot rod.
Simpson stood there for a moment and then Mike led him away. Later, I saw Mawster Simpson toying with a double chocolate ice cream sundae with the same wild abandon with which he greeted Jack.
JACK came back and said, dejectedly:
"She's STILL talking."
Jack looked relieved, though, at the absence of Mawster Simpson.
He told me about driving to Chicago and up to Canada this summer with Frank Remley, the guitar player with Phil Harris' band. Remley is Jack's favorite traveling companion—"Mary wouldn't drive from this booth to the next one."
Jack and Frank stayed overnight in little towns and talked to little people and ate breakfast at 6:30 one morning at the home of a small town newspaper reporter in Utah and had a whale of a good time.
Maybe he'll make another movie, Jack said.
"When I find the right story. Studios keep sending me scripts about beaten down characters but they never seem to be my type. They're for Dennis Day—not me." Jack got up to telephone Mary again. She was still talking.

1 comment:

  1. Yet, Jack LOVED Mary. Even when he "fooled around", he always returned to her.