Continueing on the topic of running gags, George tells how running gags came about. Especially how they were unplanned, and ofen ran for longer than expected. He tells about the routine with the Mexican man named Sy, and how the famous “I Hate Jack Benny Contest” got started. The contest was an idea for just one show, but led to 11 weeks. It was a real contest, with a $10K give away. Fred Allen was the final jidge, and read the winner’s names on he air. Ronald Coleman’s first appearance was to read the winning entry, but became a favorite with the audience, and returned for many appearances on the show. George retells the flow of events on the show with the contest, and shares a few clips of funny and poiniant moments.
With the presentation over, comments from the audience opens up. George is still working at this time, and e explains some of the complications of the modernentertainment system. He compares how shows work now, with the relationship of the team he had on Jack’s show. He attributes it to the pressure of puting together a full show to air live, and knowing to not mess with a script once it is done. In modern shows, he claims actors change a line to be funny, at cost of ruining several that follow.
A question is addressed about Jack’s song he wrote, that made it into the show. Designed to be funny because it was so bad, it ended when a Mexican group sang it, and it was beautiful in Spanish.
In discussing the longevity of the show, George goes over how many hours that is in air time. He also claims to have all the scripts he as written in his library. He also responds to what was said of him in a co-writer’s book. Sometimes teams fight, or disagree, but the team on the Benny show got along well. George shares one time where he got his way when the others thought it wouldn’t work.
Was Jack as bad at the violin as he played on the show? George talks about Jack’s real skills, and some of the concerts he put on. He claims to play as badly as Jack did on the show, actually took a real playing ability. A question about George’s early days leads to discussing the events of why the team of writers changed. Bill Murrow went into the Army, and Ed Beloine wanted to move onto films.
Time’s up, and the session is over.