TV: THE JACK BENNY PROGRAM

by Peter Tatchell (reprinted from LAUGH MAGAZINE #1, 1991)

jackbennyThe year 1950 was a pivotal one for American television. It was no longer the poor relation of network radio and could afford to attract such major talents as Bob Hope, Eddie Cantor, Jimmy Durante, George Burns and Gracie Allen, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, and Jack Benny. The medium’s “golden age” had begun.

By the late 1940s, Benny’s radio show was one of the most popular on the air with a solid cast of ensemble players built up since the 1930s . . . Mary Livingstone (the real-life Mrs. Benny), rotund announcer Don Wilson, manservant Eddie “Rochester” Anderson, boozy orchestra leader Phil Harris, and scatterbrained vocalist Dennis Day. Cartoon voice Mel Blanc and a half a dozen others also appeared regularly in character roles.
(Check out the Laughterlog profile on THE JACK BENNY PROGRAM in the RADIO section)

Benny first appeared on the small screen on March 8 1949 at the launching of Los Angeles local station KTTV (11), but his network debut required much thought and preparation. It took place in New York City on October 28 the following year, and went out live to CBS stations east of the Mississippi (the others getting a recording the following month). The 45-minute telecast also featured radio regulars Wilson, Anderson and Blanc and featured guests Ken Murray and Dinah Shore.

In those early days of television none of the big names appeared on a weekly basis, and in Jack’s case he did only three other shows that first season (each running 30-minutes, and all out of New York). By the end of 1951 technical advances allowed production to move to Hollywood, but the Benny team resisted the temptation of airing a weekly programme and throughout the 1950s he appeared every six weeks (1951/2), every four (1952/3), every three (1953/4) then on a fortnightly basis for the rest of the decade. Jack also starred in four one-hour specials in the late 1950s. It wasn’t until his eleventh season (1960/1) that The Jack Benny Program could be seen every week.

With the transfer to television all the radio cast appeared at one time or another, with Wilson, Anderson and Livingstone semi-regulars in the early years, and Day seen more often in the 1960s. Mary had never enjoyed performing in front of an audience and by the late 1940s (with the advent of recording tape) had pre-recorded her part for the radio show. By 1958, the retirement of Gracie Allen prompted her to make a similar decision (although she did take part in a subsequent Benny one-hour special some years later).

As with the radio version, the Benny programme was noted for its ability to attract the most famous celebrities as guest stars. Ex-president Harry Truman, movie stars Humphrey Bogart, Marilyn Monroe, Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck appeared, as did musical greats such as Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Liberace, Maurice Chevalier and Johnny Ray. Not to mention old comedy sparring partners like Fred Allen, Bob Hope, George Burns, Groucho Marx and Red Skelton. Ronald Colman and his wife transferred their radio “feud” with Benny to television, and later on Mr. and Mrs. James Stewart continued the routine. Like Laugh-In in the 1960s, and The Muppet Show in the 1970s, it was the show to be on.

By 1965, The Jack Benny Program was no longer in the top ten and its star (then in his seventies) decided to restrict himself to the occasional special, all of which were shown on N.B.C. (as was his final weekly season of 1964/5). In all, there were 258 half-hour editions, plus 15 specials.

When he died (on Boxing Day, 1974) Jack Benny had become an American institution, and his radio and television shows were regarded as classics.

EPISODE GUIDE

Most of the 1950s editions (and some in the 1960s) went out live and survive only on kinescope.
Certain episodes were filmed from late 1953 onwards, with a view to network repeats or overseas sales and it is these programmes (listed in bold type with official titles) that made up a syndication package eventually totalling 149 programmes.
(Also included were three editions of General Electric Theatre with Jack Benny as that week’s star:
The Face Is Familiar (November 21 1964)
The Honest Man (February 19 1956)
The Fenton Touch (March 3 1957)).

In later years a revised syndication package was offered (consisting of only 104 shows).

***  October 28 1950 (45 min)
Ken Murray and Dinah Shore
(Zeke Benny and his Ozark Mountain Daredevils)

1/1  January 28 1951
Frank Sinatra, Fay Emerson and Frank Fontaine
(Jack’s sex appeal)

1/2  April 1 1951
Claudette Colbert, Robert Montgomery and Basil Rathbone
(Jack wants to act on TV Playhouse)

1/3  May 20 1951
Ben Hogan
(Jack goes golfing)

2/1  November 4 1951
Dorothy Shay
( Zeke Benny and his Mad Mountain Boys)

2/2  December 16 1951
Helene Francoise, Linette Bryant and Leon Salvatore

2/3  January 27 1952
Barbara Stanwyck and Ray Noble
(send-up of “Gaslight”) * redone on January 11 1959

2/4  March 9 1952
George Burns and Gracie Allen
(Jack impersonates Gracie) * redone on April 11 1954

2/5  April 20 1952
Isaac Stern
(Jack and Isaac duet The Flight of the Bumblebee)

2/6  June 1 1952
(Jack prepares for his trip to London to play the Palladium)

3/1  October 5 1952
Mrs. Bob Crosby
(Jack is having trouble with Bob’s contract)
 
3/2  November 2 1952
Dinah Shore
(Buck Benny rides again)

3/3  November 30 1952
(Jack is burgled while in bed)

3/4  December 28 1952
Mr. and Mrs. James Stewart
(Jack and the Stewarts go to a nightclub)

3/5  January 25 1953
Ann Sothern
(Jack makes his concert debut with a 60—piece orchestra)

3/6  February 22 1953
details unknown

3/7  March 22 1953
Jeanne Cagney
(send-up of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”)

3/8  April 19 1953
Fred Allen
(Fred tries to get Jack dropped by his sponsor)

3/9  May 17 1953
Gisele MacKenzie
(Jack visits his vault)

4/1  September 13 1953
Marilyn Monroe
(Jack goes on a trip to Honolulu) * redone with Jayne Mansfield on November 26 1963

4/2  October 4 1953
(Jack reminisces about his childhood musicales) * redone February 19 1961

4/3  October 26 1953
Humphrey Bogart
(Jack plays a cop who arrests mobster Bogart)

4/4  November 15 1953
Johnny Ray

4/5  December 6 1953  IRENE DUNNE FILM
Irene Dunne, Vincent Price and Gregory Ratoff
(Jack wants to be Irene’s co-star)

4/6  December 27 1953
(Jack reminisces about last New Year’s Eve)
 
4/7  January 17 1954
Liberace

4/8  February 7 1954  JACK DREAMS HE IS MARRIED TO MARY
Joan Benny

4/9  February 28 1954
Helen Hayes
(Helen gives Jack acting lessons)

4/10  March 21 1954  GOLDIE, FIELDS AND GLIDE
Bing Crosby, George Burns, Bob Hope
(Jack recalls his old vaudeville team)

4/11  April 11 1954  THE BURNS AND ALLEN SHOW
George Burns and Gracie Allen
(Gracie is late so Jack impersonates her)

4/12  May 2 1954
David Niven and Margaret Hayes
(Jack appears in a very British drama) * redone on April 16 1961

4/13  May 23 1954
Bob Hope, Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis
(send-up of the “Road” pictures: “The Road to Nairobi”)

5/1  October 3 1954
(Jack worries about the new season)

5/2  October 17 1954
Dan Dailey, Kirk Douglas, Fred MacMurray, Tony Martin and Dick Powell
(Jack has a “jam” session)

5/3  October 31 1954  HOW JACK FOUND MARY
(Jack recalls how he first met Mary Livingstone working at the May Company)

5/4  November 14 1954
Leo Durocher, Chuck Dressen, Fred Haney, Bob Lemon and Beans Reardon
(send-up called “The Giant Mutiny”)

5/5  November 28 1954
(Jack is writing his life story)

5/6  December 12 1954
(Jack does some cleaning then goes Christmas shopping)

5/7  December 26 1954
Leigh Snowden
(Jack visits the San Diego Naval Training Centre)

5/8  January 9 1955  THE BEDROOM BURGLAR SHOW
(Jack tries to call the Beverly Hills police who have an unlisted number)

5/9  January 23 1955
Gisele MacKenzie
(Mel Blanc helps Jack finish a violin duet)

5/10  February 6 1955  FOUR O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING SHOW
(Jack is phoned by an all-night disc jockey with a contest)

5/11  February 20 1955
George Raft and Lorraine Day
(Jack plays a lunch room owner visited by gangsters) * redone December 4 1960

5/12  March 4 1955  CARNIVAL STORY
(Jack takes the Beavers to an amusement park) * originally transmitted in colour  

5/13  March 20 1955
Gary Crosby (Jack visits the Crosby home)

5/14  April 3 1955
Groucho Marx
(Jack is to appear on “You Bet Your Life”)

5/15  April 17 1955
(Jack prepares to travel to New York)

5/16  May 1 1955
Jackie Gleason

 

6/1  September 25 1955            
(Jack goes to Dennis’ house)

6/2  October 9 1955  MASSAGE AND A DATE WITH GERTRUDE
(Jack takes Gertrude to a restaurant)

6/3  October 23 1955
Art Linkletter and Peggy King
(Art interviews Jack)

6/4  November 6 1955  THE ISAAC STERN SHOW
Isaac Stern
(Jack is depressed with his violin playing)

6/5  November 20 1955
Johnny Carson
(Jack gives advice on comedy)

6/6  December 4 1955  JACK HUNTS FOR URANIUM
(Jack, Don and Mary search for uranium)

6/7  December 18 1955
Mr. and Mrs. Edgar Bergen
(Jack visits the Bergens)

6/8  January 1 1956
Duffy Daugherty and Red Sanders
(Jack meets the Rose Bowl coaches)

6/9  January 15 1956  DON’S HOUSE FOR DINNER
(Don invites the gang over for dinner)

6/10 January 29 1956
Sarah Churchill
(Jack tells how he met Rochester) * redone on January 28 1962

6/11  February 12 1956
William Holden and Frances Bergen
(Jack wants to do a love scene with Frances)

6/12  February 26 1956  ROCHESTER FALLS ASLEEP
(Rochester sleeps through Jack’s television broadcast)

6/13  March 11 1956  JACK DIVES INTO EMPTY SWIMMING POOL IN PALM SPRINGS (Jack has to stay in bed for a week)
 
6/14  March 25 1956
Dore Schary
(Jack opens a Beverly Hills office)

6/15  April 8 1956
Gisele MacKenzie

6/16  April 22 1956
(Jack goes to the passport office) * redone on January 21 1962

 

7/1  September 23 1956
Alfred Wallenstein
(Jack prepares for Carnegie Hall)

7/2  October 7 1956
Spike Jones and George Burns

7/3  October 21 1956
George Gobel and Red Skelton
(Jack and George compete for President of the Beavers)

7/4  November 4 1956  JACK IS INVITED TO THE COLMAN’S
Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Colman

7/5  November 18 1956
(Jack goes to Beverly Hills police station when his Maxwell is stolen) * redone on February 4 1962

7/6  December 2 1956  JACK LOCKED IN THE TOWER OF LONDON
(Jack is on a sightseeing tour of London)

7/7  December 16 1956
(Jack sends-up “The Mikado”) * redone on March 26 1963

7/8  December 30 1956
Jayne Mansfield
(Jack presents an amateur contest)

7/9  January 13 1957  JACK HIRES AN OPERA SINGER IN ROME
(Jack is impressed by an opera singer’s popularity)

7/10  January 27 1957
Harry von Zell
(send-up of mystery stories “The Fiddler”) * redone on April 21 1964

7/11  February 10 1957
George Jessel and Governor Goodwin Knight
(Jack is honoured by the Friar’s Club)

7/12  February 24 1957
Bob Hope
(Jack recalls the days when he partnered Bob in Vaudeville)

7/13  March 10 1957  JACK FALLS INTO A CANAL IN VENICE
(Jack has trouble going for a ride in a gondola)

7/14  March 24 1957  JACK IN PARIS
Maurice Chevalier
(Jack and Mary meet Maurice Chevalier in the French capital)

7/15  April 7 1957  MARY HAS MAY COMPANY REUNION
(Jack is trying to avoid meeting Mary’s old workmates)

7/16  April 21 1957
Dorothy Kirsten
(Jack is visited by the I.R.S.)

8/1  September 22 1957
(The first show of the season)

8/2  October 6 1957
(Jack goes to the airport en route to New York)

8/3  October 20 1957
Hal March
(Jack appears on the $64,000 Question)

8/4  November 3 1957  THE GINGER ROGERS SHOW
Ginger Rogers
(Jack wants Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire for his show)

8/5  November 17 1957
John Forsythe, Mary Costa, John Provost and Lassie
(Jack plays violin with a gypsy trio)

8/6  December 1 1957  JACK’S LIFE STORY
Van Johnson and Buddy Adler
(Jack wants a movie made of his career)

8/7  December 15 1957
(Jack goes Christmas shopping)

8/8  December 29 1957
(Jack goes to the Rose Bowl)

8/9  January 12 1958  JACK TAKES BEAVERS TO DENTIST
(Jack gets a tooth pulled by mistake)

8/10  January 26 1958
Audrey Meadows
(send-up of “The Honeymooners”)

8/11  February 9 1958  JACK GOES TO THE RACES
(Dennis and Jack bet on the horses)

8/12  February 23 1958
Gisele MacKenzie

8/13  March 9 1958
James Stewart, George Seaton and Jerry Wald
(Jack wants to host the Academy Awards)

8/14  March 23 1958  RAILROAD STATION PROGRAM
(Jack has trouble getting a train ticket)

8/15  April 6 1958
Ronnie Burns
(Easter show)

8/16  April 20 1958  HILLBILLY ACT
(Jack relives his youth by acting like a hillbilly)

9/1  September 21 1958
Gary Cooper
(Jack tries to get Gary as a guest) ~ :

9/2  October 5 1958
Phil Harris
(Phil wants to sing “That’s What I Like About The South”)

9/3  October 19 1958
Marvin Miller and Jan and Arnie
(Dennis gets a million dollars)

9/4  November 2 1958
The wives of Bob Hope, Dean Martin, Ray Milland and David Niven, plus Bob Hope and David Niven

9/5  November 16 1958
George Burns
(Jack and George compare “bachelor” TV lives)

9/6  November 30 1958  JACK GOES TO DOCTOR
Oscar Levant
(Oscar recommends Jack visit his doctor)

9/7  December 14 1958
Red Skelton and Gisele MacKenzie

9/8  December 28 1958
Barbara Nichols
(Jack tries to exchange some Christmas gifts)

9/9  January 11 1959  GASLIGHT
Barbara Stanwyck and Bob Crosby
(send-up of the movie, titled “Auto Lite”)

9/10  January 25 1959
Ernie Kovacs
(sketch about a “model” prison of the future) * redone on April 15 1962

9/11  February 8 1959  JACK GOES TO NIGHTCLUB
Danny Thomas
(Jack takes his sponsor and wife to a nightclub)

9/12  February 22 1959
(Jack is involved in a drama on board a plane)

9/13  March 8 1959
Vincent Price, Pamela Mason and Mrs. Oscar Levant
(Jack goes on a panel discussion)  * redone on April 2 1965

***  March 18 1959  JACK BENNY SPECIAL (60 min)
with Bob Hope, Mitzi Gaynor, The Marquis Chimps and Senor Wences

9/14  March 22 1959  THE BERGENS
Mr. and Mrs. Edgar Bergen
(Jack meets Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd)

9/15  April 5 1959
Ed Sullivan, Genevieve and Frank Fontaine
(Jack is in court)

***  May 23 1959  JACK BENNY SPECIAL (60 min)
with Julie Andrews and Phil Silvers

10/1  October 4 1959
(Jack imagines what his show will be like in thirty years time)

10/2  October 18 1959
Harry Truman
(Jack visits the former President at his home)

10/3  November 1 1959
Jack Webb
(sketch “Dragon-net” or “Charlie Chan Strikes Back”)

***  November 7 1959  JACK BENNY SPECIAL (60 min)
with Raymond Burr, Danny Thomas, The McGuire Sisters and The Marquis Chimps

10/4  November 15 1959  THE JIMMY STEWART SHOW
Mr. and Mrs. James Stewart and Barbara Nichols
(the Stewart’s anniversary)

10/5  November 29 1959
Jack Paar
(Jack imagines hosting “The Tonight Show”)

10/6  December 13 1959  PASADENA FAN CLUB
(Jack visits a fan club of little old ladies)

10/7  December 27 1959
George Burns
(Jack and George go hunting)

10/8  January  10 1960  THE BEN BLUE SHOW
Ben Blue
(Jack wants Chandu on his show)

10/9  January 24 1960
Maurice Gosfield and Howard McNear
(Jack tries to get new TV talent)

10/10  February 7 1960
George Gobel and Molly Bee
(Rochester does a telephone survey on Jack’s popularity)

10/11  February 21 1960  JACK ARRESTED FOR DISTURBING THE PEACE
(Jack plays his violin in the middle of the night)

10/12  March 10 1960
Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner
(Jack wants to direct a dramatic show)

***  March 19 1960  JACK BENNY SPECIAL (60 min)
with Polly Bergen and Phil Silvers

10/13  April 3  1960  JACK ENTERS CONTEST – SUES
(Jack thinks up a slogan to win a trip to South America)

10/14  April 17 1960
Barbara Nichols
(Jack takes part in an Easter parade)

10/15  May 1 1960
(Jack profits from a tour of Hawaii and Japan)

11/1  October 16 1960
Mike Wallace, Tony Curtis, Robert Wagner and George Burns

11/2  October 23 1960
Dick Clark and The Sabers
(Jack tries to appeal to teenagers)

11/3  October 30 1960
Milton Berle
(Milton gives Jack advice on doing a weekly series)

11/4  November 6 1960  HONG KONG SUIT
Gisele MacKenzie
(Jack is having trouble getting a haircut because of his suit)

11/5  November 20 1960
John Wayne, Jaye P. Morgan and Frank Fontaine
(John Wayne offers to take over from Jack)

11/6  November 27 1960
Joey Bishop and Diana Trask
(Jack and Joey discuss forming a comedy team)

11/7  December 4 1960  LUNCH COUNTER MURDER
Dan Duryea
(Jack plays the owner of a lunch counter threatened by gangsters)

11/8  December 11 1960  JACK GOES TO CONCERT
Mr. and Mrs. James Stewart and Barbara Nichols
(fog leads Jack to the Stewarts)

11/9  December 18 1960  CHRISTMAS SHOPPING
(Jack buys festive gifts)

11/10  December 25 1960
Nanette Fabray
(Jack presents an amateur contest)

11/11  January 1 1961  JACK CASTING FOR TV SPECIAL
Barry Gordon
(Jack is preparing to do a TV show about his life story)

11/12  January 8 1961  JACK GOES TO VAULT
(Jack demonstrates his security devices to a couple of Treasury men)

11/13  January 15 1961  DON’S ANNIVERSARY
John Daly
(Jack reminisces about how he found Don Wilson)

11/14  January 22 1961  JACK AT SUPERMARKET
(Jack has to do the shopping after Rochester beats him at cards)

11/15  January 29 1961  JACK IS HYPNOTISED
(Jack falls under a hypnotist’s spell)

11/16  February 5 1961  JACK GOES TO GYM
(Jack takes up bodybuilding to impress his girl)

11/17  February 12 1961  DEATH ROW SKETCH
Mamie Van Doren
(Jack is cast as a husband whose wife is dallying with the boarder)

11/18  February 19 1961  MUSICALE
Barry Gordon
(Jack reminisces about Sunday afternoon musicales when he was a child)

11/19  February 26 1961  JACK BECOMES A SURGEON
(Jack plays a demented doctor)

11/20  March 5 1961  DETECTIVE STORY
(Jack is on the trail of a murderer)

11/21  March 12 1961  CHILDREN’S VERSION OF BENNY PROGRAM
(the Beavers present their version of Jack’s show)

11/22  March 19 1961 JACK GOES TO LAS VEGAS
The Mills Brothers
(Jack hires only two of the brothers to save money)

11/23  March 26 1961  DANCE CONTEST
Al Jarvis
(Jack hopes to win first prize for his dancing)

11/24  April 2 1961  VARIETY SHOW
George Burns and Ann-Margret
(George Burns introduces his latest discovery)

11/25  April 9 1961  MAIN STREET SHELTER
(Jack tries to retrieve a jacket in which he has hidden $200)

11/26  April 16 1961  ENGLISH SKETCH
Peter Lawford and Diana Dors
(Jack appears as a playboy in love with Diana)

12/1  October 15 1961
Phil Silvers and Betty Johnson
(Jack meets with his sponsor)

12/2  October 22 1961
Robert Sabonjian
(Jack travels to Waukegan to dedicate the Jack Benny High School)

12/3  November 5 1961  JACK ON TRIAL FOR MURDER
Raymond Burr
(Jack dreams he is on trial for murdering a chicken)

12/4  November 12 1961
Mr and Mrs James Stewart
(Jack invites the Stewarts to a play but they end up at an auction)

12/5  November 19 1951  THE TENNESSEE ERNIE FORD SHOW
Tennessee Ernie Ford
(Jack visits the Ford farm in northern California)

12/6  November 26 1961  GOLF SHOW
Eric Monti
(Jack can’t find anyone who will play golf with him)

12/7  December 3 1961  JACK FOLLOWED HOME
Bobby Rydell
(Dennis is annoyed when Jack has Bobby as his guest)

12/8  December 10 1961  JACK GOES TO CAFETERIA
Jane Morgan
(Jack invites Jane for an inexpensive lunch)

12/9  December 17 1961  JACK WRITES SONG
Dimitri Tiomkin
(Jack wants Dimitri to do an arrangement of his song)

12/10  December 24 1961
(Jack has a Christmas Party)

12/11  December 31 1961  NEW YEAR’S EVE SHOW
(Jack sees out the old year)

12/12  January 7 1962  JACK DOES OPERA
Roberta Peters
(Jack, Don and Roberta sing an excerpt from an opera)

12/13  January 14 1962  DENNIS’S SURPRISE PARTY
(Jack decides to arrange a birthday party for Dennis)

12/14  January 21 1962  JACK GETS A PASSPORT
(Jack needs a passport for his forthcoming visit to Australia)

12/15  January 28 1962  HOW JACK FOUND ROCHESTER
(Jack recalls having Rochester fired from his job as a train porter)

12/16  February 4 1962
Joan Benny
(Jack goes to the Beverly Hills police station when his Maxwell is stolen)

12/17  February 11 1962  GHOST TOWN WESTERN SKETCH
Gisele MacKenzie. Gerald Mohr
(Jack imagines himself a western hero)

12/18  February 18 1962
Rock Hudson and Hugh Downs
(Jack does his version of “The Tonight Show”)

12/19  March 4 1962  THE JULIE LONDON SHOW
(Jack joins Julie in singing some songs)

12/20  March 11 1962  THE ALEXANDER HAMILTON STORY
(Jack dreams he is America’s first Secretary of the Treasury)

12/21  March 18 1962
Shari Lewis
(Shari tries to get into business with Jack)

12/22  March 25 1962  JACK GOES TO AIRPORT
(Jack buys a cheap airline ticket)

12/23  April 1 1962  JACK GOING BACK INTO PICTURES
Billy Wilder
(Jack has been offered a very small role in a movie)

12/24  April 8 1962  JACK IS VIOLIN TEACHER
(Jack imagines what would have happened if he had been a violin teacher)

12/25  April 15 1962 MODERN PRISON SKETCH
Mickey Rooney
(Jack and Mickey demonstrate what future prisons might be like)

12/26  April 22 1962
(Jack takes in a boarder)

13/1  September 25 1962
Sammy Davis Jr.
(Sammy gives Jack some advice on what his show needs)

13/2  October 2 1962
Frank Sinatra Jr.
(Jack fantasizes about having a son)

13/3  October 9 1962  THE PHIL SILVERS SHOW
Phil Silvers
(Phil swipes Jack’s pants to stop him appearing)

13/4  October 16 1962  AIR FORCE SKETCH
Raymond Burr
(Jack is asked to turn a World War 2 battle scene into comedy)

13/5  October 23 1962  THE LAWRENCE WELK SHOW
Lawrence Welk
(Jack wants Lawrence to perform his torch song)

13/6  October 30 1962  THE STORY OF MY GANG COMEDY
Darla Hood
(Jack does a sketch with “Our Gang” members)

13/7  November 13 1962  JACK PLAYS TARZAN
Carol Burnett
(Jack irritates three gorillas with his violin playing)

13/8  November 20 1962  JACK GIVES A DINNER
Mr. and Mrs. James Stewart

13/9  November 27 1962  JACK MEETS JAPANESE AGENT
Jack Soo and Romi Yamada
(Jack has trouble with a singer’s agent)

13/10   December 4 1962  THE BOB HOPE SHOW
Bob Hope
(Jack and Bob reminisce about the Weber Theatrical Agency)

13/11   December 11 1962  JACK REFEREEING WRESTLING MATCH
wives of Milton Berle, Kirk Douglas, Groucho Marx and Phil Silvers

13/12   December 18 1962  JACK AND THE CAB DRIVER
Louis Nye
(Jack is plagued by an emotional cab driver)

13/13   December 25 1962
THE STORY OF THE NEW TALENT SHOW
(Mel Blanc appears as a strange impersonator of animals)

13/14   January 1 1963  JACK GOES TO ROSE BOWL GAME
(Jack takes Zelda to the football game)

13/15   January 8 1963  JACK MEETS MAX BYGRAVES
Max Bygraves
(Jack encounters the famous British performer)

13/16   January 15 1963  THE TWILIGHT ZONE SKETCH
Rod Serling
(Jack wants Rod to join his writing team)

13/17   January 22 1963  THE PETER LORRE – JOANIE SOMMERS SHOW
Peter Loore and Joanie Sommers
(An escaped criminal causes havoc)

13/18   January 29 1963
Dick Van Dyke
(Jack and Dick perform in “The Murder Of Clinton Worthing”)

13/19  February 5 1963
(Jack rents his house)

13/20   February 12 1963  THE SPANISH SKETCH
Rita Moreno
(Jack and Rita act out a movie scene in a Spanish cafe)

13/21   February 19 1963  THE CONNIE FRANCIS SHOW
Connie Francis
(Jack and Connie do a sketch about Stephen Foster)

13/22   February 26 1963  JACK GOES THE U.S.O. SHOW
Martha Tilton
(Two Japanese soldiers can’t stand Jack’s violin playing)

13/23   March 5 1963  THE FRANKIE AVALON SHOW
Frankie Avalon
(Frankie tells how he became a guest on Jack’s show)

13/24  March 12 1963  JACK IS KIDNAPPED

13/25  March 19 1963  JACK FIRES DON
(Jack and Don quarrel over an old saying)

13/26  March 26 1963 JACK DOES MIKADO
(send-up of the famous Gilbert and Sullivan musical)

13/27  April 2 1963  DUMMY REPLACES JACK

13/28  April 9 1963  JACK ANSWERS REQUEST LETTERS
(Don and Dennis imitate Laurel and Hardy)

14/1  September 24 1963
Billy Graham and Sonny Liston

14/2  October 1 1963  THEROBERT GOULET SHOW
Robert Goulet
(Jack and Robert are both chasing the same girl)

14/3  October 8 1963  RIVERBOAT SKETCH
Carol Burnett
(Jack plays a gambler and Carol a Southern belle)

14/4  October 15 1963  THE TALL COWBOY SKETCH
Clint Walker
(Clint makes his singing debut)

14/5  October 22 1963  JOHNNY CARSON GUESTS
Johnny Carson
(Johnny sings, dances and plays the drums)

14/6  October 29 1963  JACK DIRECTS FILM
Mr. and Mrs. James Stewart
(Jack acts as a back-seat director on Jimmy’s film set)

14/7  November 5 1963  THE ED SULLIVAN SHOW
Ed Sullivan
(Ed and Jack play attorneys in a Parisian murder trial)

14/8  November 19 1963  ROBINSON CRUSOE
(Jáck does a send-up of the classic adventure story)

14/9  November 26 1963  JACK TAKES BOAT TO HAWAII
Jayne Mansfield
(Jack meets Jayne and Schlepperman)

14/10  December 3 1963  DENNIS DRIVES JACK TO HOSPITAL

14/11  December 10 1963  THETHREE MUSKETEERS
(Jack does a send-up of the famous French story)

14/12  December 24 1963  AMATEUR SHOW
George Jessel
(Jack’s regular amateur show ends in uproar)

14/13   December 31 1963
(Jack celebrates the New Year)

14/14  January 7 1964  HOW JACK MET GEORGE BURNS
George Burns
(Jack and George demonstrate what killed vaudeville)

14/15  January 14 1964 PETER, PAUL AND MARY
Peter, Paul and Mary
(Jack gets the folk group to record his song)

14/ 16  January 21 1964  NAT KING COLE GUESTS
Nat King Cole
(Jack plays violin to Nat King Cole’s singing)

14/17  January 28 1964  BOBBY DARIN GUESTS
(Jack wants Bobby to play him in a movie biography)

14/18  February 4 1964  DON BREAKS LEG
(Don fakes a broken leg so his son Harlow can replace him)

14/19  February 11 1964  HOW JACK FOUND DENNIS
(Jack recalls how he originally hired Dennis Day)

14/20  February 18 1964  JACK TAKES A VIOLIN LESSON
(Jack continues to infuriate Professor Le Blanc)

14/21  February 25 1964  JACK AND DENNIS DO IMPRESSIONS

14/22  March 3 1964  JACK REDECORATES HIS HOUSE

14/23   March 17 1964
(Jack is a fight manager)

14/24  March 24 1964  JACK RENEWS HIS DRIVER’S LICENSE

14/25  March 31 1964  THE LETTERMEN GUEST
The Lettermen
(Jack plays a college student rooming with the Lettermen)

14/26  April 7 1964  JACKGOES TO ALLERGY DOCTOR
(Jack gets various treatments when his arm itches)

14/27  April 14 1964  HARLOW GETS A DATE
(Don’s son Harlow is to escort the sponsor’s daughter on a sightseeing tour)

14/28  April 21 1964  I AM THE FIDDLER
(Jack performs his classic mystery story)

 

15/1  September 25 1964
The Marquis Chimps

15/2  October 2 1964  THE LUCILLE BALL SHOW
Lucille Ball
(send-up of Paul Revere’s ride)

15/3  October 9 1964  ANDY WILLIAMS GUESTS
Andy Williams
(Jack and Andy perform at a meat market)

15/4  October 16 1964  THE INCOME TAX SHOW
Mr. and Mrs. James Stewart
(The I.R.S. query one of Jack’s deductions)

15/5  October 23 1964  JACK MAKES COMEDY RECORD
Bob Hope
(Jack and Bob record a comedy disc)

15/6  October 30 1964  HILLBILLY SKETCH
Connie Francis
(Jack and Connie play hillbillies worried about their son)

15/7  November 6 1964  JUNGLE SKETCH
Abby Lane

15/8  November 13 1964  JACK LOSES A RAFFLE
wives of Steve McQueen, Andy Williams and David Janssen

15/9  November 20 1964  THE CAT BURGLAR
Joey Bishop

15/10  November 27 1964
(Jack hires a cook)

15/11  December 4 1964  THE WAYNE NEWTON SHOW
Wayne Newton and Louis Nye
(a benefit has been organised for needy children)

15/12  December 11 1964  JACK HAS A SICK ALLIGATOR
Paul Lynde
(An alligator in the vault moat is ill)

15/13  December 18 1964  AMATEUR SHOW 1964
(Jack presents his annual new talent show)

15/14  December 25 1964
Gisele MacKenzie (Jack presents his Christmas show)

15/15  January 8 1965  THE JACK JONES SHOW
Jack Jones
(send-up of the teaching profession)

15/16  January 22 1965  JACK ADOPTS A SON
Milton Berle
(Jack plays a man who tries to adopt a lad named Marvin)

15/17  January 29 1965  THE KINGSTON TRIO GUESTS
The Kingston Trio
(Jack is jailed in Tijuana for double parking)

15/18  February 5 1965  JACK TO THE MONKEY HOUSE
The Marquis Chimps and Lorrae Desmond
(Jack visits the chimps’ home)

15/19  February 12 1965  THE STRADIVARIUS STORY
Stuart Canin

15/20  February 19 1965  JACK JOINS ACROBATS

15/21  February 26 1965
(Rochester tells how Jack fired Dennis)

15/22  March 5 1965  JACK BRINGS UP ED FROM THE VAULT
(Jack decides to let Ed have a look at the outside world)

15/23  March 12 1965  JACK FINDS A DOUBLE
(Jack hires a double to lessen his workload)

15/24  March 19 1965
JACK’S NAVY BUDDY RETURNS
(An old navy buddy wants to reteam with Jack as a double act)

15/25  March 26 1965  DENNIS OPENS A BANK ACCOUNT
(Jack can’t believe Dennis has never had a bank account)

15/26  April 2 1965  JACK APPEARS ON A PANEL SHOW
Dr. Joyce Brothers, Angie Dickinson and Vincent Price

15/27  April 9 1965  JACK HAS DOG TROUBLE
(The sponsor’s dog is creating problems for Jack)

15/28  1965  THE SMOTHERS BROTHERS SHOW
The Smothers Brothers
(Jack recalls performing during a London air raid)

N.B.C. also screened the following one hour specials:

November 3 1965
JACK BENNY SPECIAL
with Bob Hope, Elke Somer, Walt Disney and The Beach Boys

December 1 1966
JACK BENNY SPECIAL
with Phyllis Diller, Trini Lopez and The Smothers Brothers

March 20 1968
CARNIVAL NIGHTS
with Lucille Ball, Johnny Carson, Ben Blue and Bob Hope

November 16 1968
JACK BENNY’S BAG
with Phyllis Diller, Eddie Fisher, Dick Clark and Lou Rawls

February 17 1969
JACK BENNY’S BIRTHDAY SPECIAL
with Lucille Ball, Dan Blocker, Lawrence Welk and Rouvain

December 3 1969
JACK BENNY’S NEW LOOK
with George Burns, Gregory Peck, Nancy Sinatra and Gary Pucket

November 16 1970
JACK BENNY’S TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY (90 min)
with Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope and Dinah Shore

March 10 1971
EVERYTHING YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT JACK BENNY BUT WERE AFRAID TO ASK
with Dr. David Reuben, Lucille Ball, John Wayne, Bob Hope, George Burns and Dionne Warwick

January 18 1973
JACK BENNY S FIRST FAREWELL SPECIAL
with Ronald Reagan, Johnny Carson, Bob Hope and George Burns

January 24 1974
JACK BENNY’S SECOND FAREWELL SPECIAL
with George Burns, Johnny Carson, Redd Foxx and Dinah Shore

N.B.C. also screened the following 2-hour tribute special:

February 5 1981
A LOVE LETTER TO JACK BENNY
hosted by George Burns, Bob Hope and Johnny Carson
featuring extracts from the above ten specials and a montage of “flashes” from the earlier half-hour shows from the 1950s and 1960s.

(this guide was compiled through reference to the collection of Jack Benny scripts donated to the U.C.L.A. Research Library in Los Angeles, and assistance from Ray Faiola and John Behrens at C.B.S. in New York and Laura Lee of the International Jack Benny Fan Club)

In addition to the above, Jack also starred in four specials made for British television …

June 3 1956 (BBCTV)
THE JACK BENNY SHOW (60 min)

August 28 1957 (BBCTV)
THE BIRTHDAY SHOW
Jack hosted this 21st anniversary tribute to BBC television

September 1 1968 (BBC2)
JACK BENNY (50 min)

May 26 1969 (Thames)
AN EVENING WITH JACK BENNY (60 min)
with Ben Lyon

DVDs

THE JACK BENNY COLLECTION
(Passport 5-disc DVD 5621/2/3/4/5)
4/7       January 17 1954           Liberace
4/10     March 21 1954            Goldie, Fields and Glide
8/11     February 9 1958          Jack Goes to the Races
9/15     April 5 1959                 Ed Sullivan and Genevieve
***      November 7 1959        Jack Benny Special: Danny Thomas and McGuire Sisters
11/9     December 18 1960      Christmas Shopping
12/11   December 31 1961      New Year’s Eve Show
(set also includes Jack’s 1930 feature film The Medicine Man)

JACK BENNY
(Television Classics 62369)
4/3       October 25 1953         Humphrey Bogart
4/7       January 17 1954           Liberace
7/8       December 30 1956      Jayne Mansfield

THE JACK BENNY SHOW
(Alpha ALP 4252D)
11/11   January 1 1961 Jack Casting for a TV Special
5/3       October 31 1954         How Jack Found Mary
3/3       November 30 1952      Jack is Burgled While in Bed
3/8       April 19 1953               Fred Allen and Eddie Cantor

THE JACK BENNY SHOW – COLLECTOR’S EDITION
(Diamond 2-disc 93009A&B)
2/1       November 4 1951        The Hillbilly Show
3/3       November 30 1952      Jack is Burgled While in Bed
3/8       April 19 1953               Fred Allen and Eddie Cantor
4/3       October 25 1953         Humphrey Bogart
4/7       January 17 1954           Liberace
4/10     March 21 1954            Goldie, Fields and Glide
5/3       October 31 1954         How Jack Found Mary
7/8       December 30 1956      Jayne Mansfield
11/4     November 6 1960        Jack’s Hong Kong Suit
11/7     December 4 1960        The Lunch Counter Murderers
11/9     December 18 1960      Christmas Shopping
11/11   January 1 1961             Jack Casting for a TV Special
11/13   January 15 1961           Don Wilson’s 27th Anniversary
5/10     February 6 1955          4 O’clock in the Morning
13/19   February 5 1963          Jack Rents His House

THE JACK BENNY SHOW
(Platinum 16289)
4/10     March 21 1954            Goldie, Fields and Glide
5/3       October 31 1954         How Jack Found Mary
11/4     November 6 1960        Jack’s Hong Kong Suit
11/9     December 18 1960      Christmas Shopping
12/11   December 31 1961      New Year’s Eve Show

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