The Jack Benny Program

The show first aired in 1932 on the NBC Blue Network.

Don Wilson was probably the best known of the announcers in the series.
Mel Blanc appeared in many roles, including making the sound of Jack's sputtering, wheezing old car. His first role on the show was a running gag in which someone sent Jack a pet polarbear for his birthday.

One of the favorite characters was Jack's valet, Rochester, played by Eddie "Rochester" Anderson. Interestingly the real Rochester had his own block-long estate, an expensive car, and 3 servants.

Jack's character was billed as a tightwad but in real life Jack was anything but. He was known for his over-tipping, and his benefit work. Jack Benny was born on Valentine's Day, 1894 in Chicago. Jack's journey into show business began at age 6 when his father gave him a violin. He actually could play well but would never reach the expectations his parents had for him.
One of Jack's favorite lines was "now cut that out."
Jack based many of his shows on real-life experiences. Of course, many listeners thought it was all real, as if they were actually visiting Jack and his gang at his home.

Chevrolet became one of the show's sponsors when Canada Dry abruptly cancelled as a reaction to Jack giving them a good-natured ribbing on the air.

Jack was great for Los Angeles because he used many of its landmarks in the shows, i.e. Mulholland Drive, the Brown Derby, the La Brea Tar Pits, etc.
The audience for the Jack Benny Program totaled 30-million weekly.

Three of Jack's co-stars wound up with their own shows; Phil Harris, singer Dennis Day, and Mel Blanc. Dennis Day's real name was Owen P. (Eugene) McNulty, and Phil Harris was a former bandleader.
Mary Livingstone's first role on the show was as the president of the Jack Benny Fan Club. Although Mary played Jack's girlfriend on the show, they were married in real life.
Dennis Day was with Jack for 35 years. Jack Benny wound up earning $400,000 a year, a huge sum in 1937...and today as well.
The last surviving cast member, Phil Harris, died in 1995.

Jack Benny books available.
Additional Books By/About Jack Benny
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