Over 90 minutes of classic fun. The audio track of a television special, featuring some of Jack’s best television moments, and presented by George Burns, Bob Hope, and Johnny Carson. It’s funny all by itself, and could do without the cheesy laughtrack the producers put in. It seems that it was taped without a live audience. The laughs from the clips are real.
George Burns revisits a few of Jack’s most noted signature gags. The vault, the Maxwell, and his one word reactions. Classic clips from Jack’s TV show are shared. Bob Hope joins George with a Smothers Brothers appearance where they guess his age, and comment on his walk. Johnny Carson pitches in a clip and a memory on Jacks pantomime reactions. Even in video, the routine with Sy still works with just the audio track. Si! Jack rosins up his bow for some classic bits of his violin playing that’s so bad, its good.
Johnny, George, and Bob comment that it wasn’t how funny Jack was, but how funny the show was. Clips are shared that showcase Lawrence Welkand , Gregory Peck, Interuptions were also a feature of Jack’s shows. Sometimes it was an unannounced cameo appearance of a celebrity, and sometimes he was cut off in mid joke. Even outbursts from the audience might happen. After showing clips from a farewell special of Jack’s, Johnny shares memories, and more clips from it. Clips include appearances by Don Rickles, and Lucille Ball,
Bob Hope is back to share a few of his favorite moments in sharing the stage with Jack. On a clip, Frank Sinatra proves he can be funny too, when he interupts Jack, then sings, I Get a Kick Out of You. Jack and Bob help to spoof each others theme songs. George returns with some of his favorite clips, driving Jack nuts on his TV specials. Including what was apparently an ad lib song during their statues sketch, and more song and dance fun.
Johnny, Bob, and George even play a few of Jack’s classic moments from the radio. Listen in to some moments with the old gang, Mary Livingston, Don Wilson, and Phil Harris. Frank Nelson, Ed in the vault, the two telephone operators, the train announcer, , and other characters. Jack talks about the transition from radio to TV, and some of his worries. Joined by Dinah Shore, she and Jack talk about his poor reviews of his early TV shows.
George shows some featured clips of Rochester, and Dennis Day. Even on TV, most of his cast of characters followed him. Though Mary never made the move to TV, she made a telephone appearance. Phil wasn’t a regular, but he made a special appearance, where Jack made fun of his signature song, That’s What I Like About the South.
The guys discuss Jack’s violin playing, and his concerts in his later years. Join Jack, doing some serious playing during one of his television specials. It’s a serious piece, with just a touch of bad for comic affect. Imagine Jack Benny and Phillus Diller doing a scene from the Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft film, the Graduate. The lines are the same, but the delivery is hillarious. In a more clear spoof, with Lucille Ball, and Marian Michael Morrison (John Wayne), Jack tells how he met them and got them started in show biz. Even presidents made appearances on the stage with Jack including Harry Truman, and Ronald Reagan, while he was still Governor.
George gives a rapid fire run of clips to highlight the number of stars who appeared on Jack’s show over the years. Then a final word of tribute is shared by the 3 friends of Jack. Jack would do about anything for a laugh, but George shares a few things that Jack loves just as much, his family.
PS: What? You don’t care for the audio track? You can find this on You Tube with this 9 part series. Each segment is roughly 10 minutes.
- A Love Letter to Jack Benny” – 1981 – part 1 of 9! – YouTube
- A Love Letter to Jack Benny” – 1981 – part 2 of 9! – YouTube
- A Love Letter to Jack Benny” – 1981 – part 3 of 9! – YouTube
- A Love Letter to Jack Benny” – 1981 – part 4 of 9! – YouTube
- A Love Letter to Jack Benny” – 1981 – part 5 of 9! – YouTube
- A Love Letter to Jack Benny” – 1981 – part 6 of 9! – YouTube
- A Love Letter to Jack Benny” – 1981 – part 7 of 9! – YouTube
- A Love Letter to Jack Benny” – 1981 – part 8 of 9! – YouTube
- A Love Letter to Jack Benny” – 1981 – part 9 of 9! – YouTube