Episodes from this time period of the show are sparce, but here’s a classic, and a milestone featuring Kenny Baker’s first appearance.
Jack gets a shave and haircut from Pasquali, an Italian barber, and the two talk about football. Mary comes to his rescue and teases Jack about his beret… er, I mean haircut. Johnny Greene and the band plays, Anything Goes.
On stage, Mary plays the part of a dumb girlfriend, and gives Jack a hard time by misunderstanding what the word “visualize” means. Kenny Baker timidly enters to be introduced as the new tenor. After meeting the cast Kenny sings, As a Rose.
Jack reads a fan letter, requesting help to get into pictures. Can he help? Will the beauty contest winner stand a chance to break into Hollywood? Johnny Greene plays, Cheek to Cheek.
The play is about breaking into Hollywood, and the scene is at the reception desk where Mary fields incoming phone calls. Jack is the studio bigwig who makes big demands for the production of his latest film creation. Elephants, camels, bulls, and other exotic animals are ordered. Not to mention wild changes in exotic settings for the movie. Will there be a place for that beauty queen from Jack’s fan letter?
Note: the beauty contest winner is Mary Kelley, Jack’s girlfriend before he met and married Sadie Marx. Sadie would take the stage with Jack in vaudeville, and later change her name to Mary Livingston after joining the cast on the radio.
PS: During kenny’s introduction, Jack hints that a confusion about names might occur. Kenny and Benny. In his own entertainment past Jack was forced to drop a stage name when the Old Maestro, Ben Birney thought Ben K Benny was to similar to his own name. The result was the birth of a new stage name, Jack Benny.
For more fun, listen to Keith and the Retrobots talk about this one: Jack Benny 351103 Kenny Bakers First Show. (retro257)