Wednesday, April 02, 2008


So I picked up a copy of this for five bucks:

I knew that 40 episodes of a 50 year old program for five bucks was going to have some shabby quality, but I didn't care. Whimsically, I purchased this because I like Jack Benny. When I was a teenager, my folks bought me two tape sets, stored in hard plastic like old timey radios. One set was mystery, the other comedy, each cassette had two episodes of a show. The mystery was OK, had Hitchcock, The Shadow --those were fine enough, but what I really enjoyed the most was Arch Obler's Lights Out. ( One of the two episodes I had was the Revolt of the Worms, you can stream some eps, including that one, HERE.

Anyway, in the comedy set were also some jewels: Burns & Allen, Abbott & Costello, Roy Rogers (eh, not so much for me), and of course, Jack Benny! This was my fav from the comedy set. The timing and delivery of the cast just cracked me up, still does to hear Benny talk about the "picture" he would do that is "pathos mixed with comedy, where at a certain POINT...(point being high pitched and silly). Great stuff.

So this DVD set, and I am about 17 eps in, is a great one. The cast was spot on: Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, Don, Mary, and the various singers in the stables. And also truly a cavalcade of stars, some that have lasted the test of time, others L. & I go, who is that: Marilyn Monroe, Burns & Allen, Mel Blanc (a regular), Eddie Kovacs, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope (zinging one-liners like a fiend!), so many more. It's interesting to compare to what we see on tv today: 24, Lost, Two and a half men, Law & Order, E.R..... our only variety comedy is after 11pm, and these shows seem so canned. Also, the stars on Jack Benny were so...dignified? I dunno, it's a curious observation.

Oh, and another really interesting thing is the advertisements. Lucky Strike was the sponsor and the ways in which they incorporated plugging it is often embarrassing to watch. Sometimes it is fairly charming, in fact, after a few episodes, I had the Lucky Strike tune rattling in my head!
Here is a good one too, manly man Lucky Strike!

Anyway, it is some fine television!

Listening: Ketchup Mania,
Guitar Wolf
Reading: The Eternal Frontier by Tim Flannery

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