Sunday, 22 September 2019

Look Who's In Town

One of Jack Benny’s loves was getting in the car with someone and going somewhere. That “someone” wasn’t his wife, Mary Livingstone. Trips to Paris or London, fine. Driving around the U.S.A.? Not really. So Jack had travelling companions; one was the guitarist on his show, Frank Remley.

Remley didn’t make the trip with Jack described in the July 12, 1941 edition of the Lincoln Star. According to old issues of Variety, Harvey Cooper was Jack’s trainer while Harry Lee was his stand-in during filming of The Horn Blows at Midnight and needed eight-inch lifts in his shoes (he had been connected with Jack since 1933, but the paper doesn’t say how). The Star didn’t send an entertainment reporter to cover Benny’s arrival. Instead, the guy covering the night police beat did. He probably welcomed the change of pace.

Jack talks about his radio show—and listener complaints—and life making movies.

Jack Benny's Famous "Maxwell" Is A High-Powered '41 Maroon Convertible

Jello again!
He didn't say that last night but the ever-popular radio and screen comedian was in Lincoln—"Maxwell" and all. Jack Benny, in fact, paid his first visit to Lincoln in some 18 years.
And when the night police reporter heard about it he knew it would sort of be stepping out of bounds you know, fires, accidents, etc. But on the other hand, surely someone had to talk to Mr. Benny. So—
When we found Mr. B., he had just finished a steak at the Cornhusker hotel and was chatting with two traveling companions and A. Q. Schimmel, hotel manager. It was about 11:30 p. m.—we wouldn't be sure.
Between Puffs.
But he graciously granted our request for a few words. And between puffs on a big cigar—he really smokes them—we learned, for one thing, that Mr. Benny isn't afraid of being caught in the draft.
"I'm one that missed it," he said.
The comedian is motoring from Los Angeles to Chicago. He will spend about two weeks, he said, and fly back. Two friends, Harvey H. Cooper, and Harry Lee, are traveling with him.
Well tanned, Mr. Benny was attired in a slack suit with open collar and appeared very comfortable, indeed. Although his hair is greying somewhat, he looked like Jack Benny and no one else.
Benny finds radio and motion picture work equally interesting.
"When you make a good picture, it's interesting," he said, "and when you give a good program, it's interesting. On the other hand, if you give a 'louzy' program, it is very uninteresting."
Constant Worry.
The entertainer confessed that radio "is a little more difficult" explaining that it is always a constant worry. "It is the script-writing," he said, "that takes the time."
Asked concerning the whereabouts of Rochester, Mr. Benny said that he is in the east making personal appearances as are other members of his troup[e]. His trip to Chicago is merely a vacation, he said, to visit friends and relatives.
One of the many things Mr. Benny has to watch in his radio script is the use of common-place expressions. Once he referred to spending money "like a drunken sailor" and had to write apologies to naval big-wigs the world over.
"All you're saying is that when a sailor gets drunk, he spends money," he commented. "It should be a compliment." Use of "a starving Armenian" likewise brought the actor considerable grief.
Life Not Easy.
Mr. Benny was quite enthusiastic about his latest picture, "Charlie's Aunt" which will be released in about two weeks. He appears with Kay Francis and a number of English actors.
The life of a comedian isn't always easy, either, Mr. Benny told us explaining that while working on pictures, he is in the habit of arising at 6:30 every morning.
"It's not all like you see it on the screen. In fact it reminds me of that old gag, 'Paris isn't like you see it on the post cards.' "
But to get back to that "Maxwell" we learned that it's a high-powered, 1941 maroon convertible. So, now we know what he means when he says:
"Buck Benny rides again!"

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