The much awaited, much anticipated performance of Jack Benny’s most famous flop. Though it failed in the box office, this airing of the film was actually more popular than the movie ever was in the theaters. Possibly thanks to the weeks of promotion that Jack gave to it in his radio show, building public interest. It’s a story of an angel sent to earth to destroy it.
The story starts out with Claude Rains as a minister of small planets, and Jack Benny as a minor angel with a mission. There’s such a mess with wars, and downfall that it isn’t worth saving. The angels in the ministry office discuss the quick creation of the earth, and the nitwit of an angel who is to be assigned to the job. As long as angel, nathaniel has been playing trumpet in the heavenly symphony, he should be able to handle the task, but true to Jack Benny’s form, he manages to play the wrong notes.
Through the happenings of the heavenly hosts, we get a glimpse of some well known earthly figures of history. Nathaniel gets his assignment, instructions, and special horn. Elizabeth, a female angel, and admirer of Nathaniel puts the finishing touches on providing the accessories that Nathaniel will need to accomplish his mission. Modern clothes, money, and the like.
After the commercial, Jack finds himself arriving on earth in New Ampsterdam… er… make that New York. He admires the changes that have come about since last time he was here, 300 years ago. In talking to the public, Jack admits his real age, in a sideways kind of way.
Nathaniel tells how he was killed all those years ago. As much as Nathaniel tries to be friendly, and low key, folks just think he is an escapee from a looney bin. Nathaniel is optomistic, and out of touch with the common man, and begins to have doubts that the earth is as bad off as all that.
Looking for a good place to blow his horn, Nathaniel finds himself at the Waldorf Astoria. It’s only a few minutes before midnight, and he takes the elevator to the roof. When a woman is found sobbing, Jack’s advice almost has her ready to jump over the side. When her boyfriend rushes in and a last minute reconciliation takes place, the trumpet is tossed over the edge. With the ticking clock, there’s not time to get it from the street. What now? Will Nathaniel be demoted, and face a future of being a cloud scrubber? Will he lose his promotion? We’ll find out after the commercial, and station break.
Back in the main office, Claude Rains complains about Nathaniel’s past performance, and wants to have him recalled. Elizabeth pleads his case, and he gets another chance. On earth, it’s nearly midnight the following night. Mrs Watson, a nice old lady has won a sweepstakes, and is travelling. The conversation turns to Jack Benny, and she shares a little about the true nature of Jack, as far as not being stingy. After hearing the plans of the nice old fan, Nathaniel is again having second thoughts, not wanting to ruin her dreams.
To top it off, a little French girl, rebounding from a prison camp in the previous war shares her optimistic out look on life. More ammunition to lead Nathaniel to find good in the world. More word of the post war hope of recovery is brought out, but will it stop nathaniel from his duty. What will the chief say if he doesn’t go through with it? Will there be a reprieve?
I think it can safely be said that since the world as we know it didn’t end in the 1940’s, that there’s a happy ending and life on earth goes on. And I’m sure that nathaniel returns happily to the 3rd Phalanx, 15th Cohort in good standing.
Other performers include: Ann Whitfield (Little Alice Faye from the Phil Harris show), Jane Morgan (Mrs Davis from Our Miss Brooks), Joe Kearns, Hans Conried, and others.