Our Jack Benny month continues with an unexpected salute from his arch rival, Fred Allen. In 1941, Fred dedicated his entire show to salute Jack Benny’s tenth year on the radio. Though Jack would have made his first appearance on the air waves in 1931, it was as a guest appearance on the Ed Sullivan show. Jack wouldn’t have his own show until the following year.
To the surprise of his cast members, Fred startes right off with featuring Jack Benny in his News of the Week spot. Fred looks at a few current events in the year Jack hit radio. Who was president? Who was governor? What were the top sports teams and news events? What other notable events are remembered for 1931? The Empire State building, cellophane, and zippers are all mentioned. Kenny Baker sings, Because of You.
Al Goodman plays a musical interlude to transition to the next segment of the show. Portland and Kenny join Fred in his salute, and are ready to do their part. Fred has the mayor of Waukegan, Bitey Talcott to talk about Waukegan’s pride and joy, and claim to International fame. Win Murray sings, Romantic
Continuing his salute to Jack Benny, Fred welcomes Amos and Andy. They all visit the lodge hall and include the Kingfish in celebrating that star of the Jello program, Rochester. Kenny sings, On Wings of Song.
Fred presents a cavalcade. The Highlights of a Lowlife, or Benny Marches On. In his own way, Fred shares some background on Jack”s cast. Don Wilson’s birth, some background behind Phil harris, a look at Mary in the May Company. We even see why Kenny Baker left the show for Fred, and how Dennis joined on. Fred examines Jack’s movie career.Through it all, Kenny, Al, and even Portland see that Jack is being misused as the object of Fred’s attentions. But in his own way, Fred has offered Jack a sort of a tribute in his anti-salute.