Friday, September 10, 2010

OTR Friday with Vic & Sade and Jack Benny's Writers and Cast

Jell-O, it's time to smile again with two of the richest and funniest shows of all time...and I ain't just counting radio...stage, screen and television have nothing on these folks.

First a visit with radio's "Home Folks" from May 11, 1939. Rush finds himself in a tight spot, as Sade is off on a car trip to Carbury and Vic having spent the evening at the lodge (The Drowsy Venus chapter of The Sacred Stars of the Milky Way), he gets corralled into offering boarding to a good piece of the Davis familyw without his parents permission.

My favorite Vic-ism from this episode. While Rooster, Rotten and Roper Davis slumber upstairs and Vic is told the news he has been displaced, "The Midnight bells will chime in a few minutes and here I stand in my brilliantly lighted Livin' Room."

The news nearly has Vic swallowing his shoes and screaming like a heck, let Rooster, Rotten and Roper sleep their heads off...

From June 1, 1939 is an example of an every summer running gag that shows Paul Rhymer's intricate knowledge of the workings of mid-western life, one that would never have occured to any other writer that wasn't steeped in the culture themselves. The perrenial holiday happening of friends, family and neighbors selling mail order Christmas cards in the balmy days of June, July and August.

That in itself is all the vein Rhymer needs for his rich mining of character comic gold. Just listen in on Grandpa Snyder's sly selling technique and Rush's reading of the Christmas card slogans...true earmarks of the genius of Rhymer's words.

Moving on to that blue-eyed man from Waukegan...

Jack Benny (maybe more than anyone) knew the power of his writers and supporting cast.

Someone once asked him why he didn't get more of the punchlines for himself. His answer was, "It doesn't matter who gets the laughs, Monday morning people still talk about 'The Jack Benny Program'!"

Here in "Speaking of Radio: The Jack Benny Program" part 2, the spotlight falls first on Jack's core writer's Sam Perrin, Milt Josefsberg, John Tackaberry and George Balzer (pictured top to bottom below), as well as...

...two marvelous character actors, Sarah Berner and Bea Benederet (below) who played the switchboard operators on the program.

The true secret to Jack's longevity is, he held these contributers talents high above the value of his own.

And I don't believe any of it was lip service.

Jack Benny was the biggest fan of comedy there was. Enjoy!

Talk to you soon!


Lysdexicuss said...

I listened to this 53 minute Jack Benny piece while working my part-time job today. I love hearing writers talk about the process they go through. The story behind 'Your Money or your Life' is priceless~! Thanx Uncle Jeffy~!

Jeff Overturf said...

I'm glad you're diggin' these Lys.

I find it interesting that, in only the second part of this 12 part series, already the writers and bit players were getting such attention.

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