Sunday, 27 June 2021

Cheap, Cheap

Have you gone to the store and think “I’m not paying that much for THAT”?

That’s why we laughed at Jack Benny.

Saving money makes sense. But Jack did it to such a degree that it was ridiculous. And, so, we laughed.

Here are two short items on Jack from columns ten years apart. Jack is cheap in both of them, though the second one refers to it only in passing. Both columnists think it’s funny.

First, from December 3, 1956, and then December 2, 1966. The second is, more or less, a review of a Benny TV special. I believe it is on video-sharing sites on-line.

Old Jokes the Best Jokes
HOLLYWOOD (NEA) — There's nothing Jack Benny won't do to save a buck. He's even dancing with Ginger Rogers now because Fred Astaire "wanted too much money." It's the plot of a forthcoming Jack Benny show on CBS-TV and its one of the reasons why Jack remains daisy fresh after all these years. Too many cooks spoil the broth and too many jokes spoil the comedian. Jack sticks to one joke—Mr. Tightwad—and America howls.
You need Jack’s auditor to count the number of comedians who have failed to survive in television, but the comedy character Jack created on radio is humming right along in the home screen age. Why, kids who weren't even born when Jack was Mr. Radio stop page boys at Hollywood's Television City these days and ask: "Tell me, where does Jack Benny park his Maxwell?"
Even Jack will tell you now that he likes TV better than radio.
"I'd better like it," he grinned, "because radio doesn't mean anything any more."
Several of Jack's shows this year were filmed last summer in Europe. In one chapter, made in Rome, Mary finds him standing beside a fountain — the one used in "Three Coins in a Fountain."
Jack's comedy is as simple as that—and I'm laughing already.

‘Miss America Pageant’ Spoofed by Jack Benny
NEW YORK (AP) — Jack Benny turned up on NBC Thursday night in his annual special and, for a lot older viewers, it was a happy reunion with a friend of long standing.
In the whirling world of television, Jack Benny does not change, even though his show does, slightly. There were the anticipated "cheap jokes," any number of the long Benny takes, a little violin playing—and some smooth help from his guest stars.
Trini Lopez and his guitar were there for some songs; the Smothers Brothers did a variation of one of their routines.
The big number was a spoof of the "Miss America Pageant." Jack, in a horrendous black wig, presided over "The Miss Northern and Southern Hemisphere Pageant," and introduced 10 very pretty girls as finalists. Phyllis Diller was on hand for comedy contrast.
It was all good, comfortable fun, more like a visit than an extravaganza. Maybe Jack Benny could increase his television visits -- three or four a year would be about right.

Benny died in 1974. How did the Associated Press’ Bob Thomas open his story about the passing? “Jack Benny, the make-believe miser....”

Jack was cheap in everyone’s minds even at the end.

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