The Jack Benny Program

Trivia, Quotes, Notes and Allusions

Quotes (235)

  • (Mel Blanc has interrupted Jack's monologue to adjust lighting and say hi to his aunt) Jack: What are you doing? Mel: I'm saying "hello" to my aunt in California. Jack: But this is a live show. It only goes as far as St. Louis or Kansas City. This probably won't reach California for two weeks. Mel: Well, I was talking to a critic during rehearsal and he said if the wind is right, they may get it tonight.

  • Don: (closing show voice-over) Remember, next Sunday night on television Lucky Strike presents This Is Show Business in most of these cities at this same time.

  • (Jack's pitching Robert Montgomery on starring him on his dramatic series) Jack: Well, Bob. Maybe you're worried about my acting ability. Did you see my second show? Montgomery: No, I didn't. Jack: Why not? Montgomery: I saw the first one!

  • (Jack makes up excuses for missing the ball) Jack: Darn those birds! Always singing around here. No wonder you can't play!. This is a fine golf club anyway, with birds all around! Crosby: Yeah, the trees and green grass...It's awful!

  • (Jack's been practicing the violin) Jack: No wonder I can't play today. Look how sticky my violin strings are. Rochester: Oh, Oh. That's my fault, boss. I forgot to wipe them off. Jack: Forgot to wipe them off? Rochester: Yeah, I used it to slice eggs this morning.

  • (after Don has tipped the cabbie five dollars) Jack: Don! Don! Five dollars? I mean, I can appreciate your being grateful and everything, but five dollars? Don: Jack, there's nothing so strange about that. I once saw you give a man five dollars. Jack: Well, I know, but he was a lifeguard; he saved me from drowning. I'll never forget how we dickered the third time I was going down.

  • (after chatting with 10-year-old Lynette Bryant) Jack: I love to have children on my show. They work for practically nothing.

  • (regarding Don's performance as a "continental" gentleman) Jack: Thant kind of performance from Don Wilson will get him his own Social Security check!

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Notes (168)

  • Benny relates in a 3/24/1951 article he wrote for Collier's magazine that the closing gag didn't go as planned. He was supposed to play the straight music piece "Hora Staccato", then follow it with "Love in Bloom" as a joke. The audience was supposed to leave during the second gag number, but there was a fouled-up cue and everyone stood up and left the studio as he began "Hora Staccato".

  • This was a 45 minute special, airing from 8-8:45pm(et), pre-empting "The Ken Murray Show". To fill the remaining 15 minutes, CBS presented comedian Sam Levenson in an extended monologue, which later earned him his own variety series on the network in January 1951.

  • The sketch with Jack trying to sweet-talk a kiss out of a pretty woman was restaged on the episode William Holden/Frances Bergen Show airing 2/12/1956.

  • This story, with Jack seeking a dramatic role, was restaged on the episode Irene Dunne Show airing 12/6/1953.

  • This is Mary Livingstone's debut appearance on Jack's show.

  • Editor's Note: Most sources list Jack's guest on this episode as Helene Francioise. Newspapers and trade publications of the early 1950s, including Billboard (10/6/1951, 12/6/1952), discuss performances by Helene Francios who does numbers in French. According to the actual script for the episode and Time magazine (12/17/1951), her name is Helene Francois.

  • Benny's spoof of Gaslight aired uneventfully on this live episode of his program. Jack had also done a satire of the film years earlier on his radio program. However, when Benny attempted to do the spoof again, in an episode filmed 6/11/1953, MGM sued and prevented it from airing. Though legally the issue was over copyright infringement, the real issue for MGM was that it was on film. In 1953, the movie studios were so panicked over TV's popularity and its effect on their business, they weren't going to let television make a film of one of their films; the studio took the matter to court. As MGM won lower court rulings, CBS kept filing appeals. The case eventually went to the Supreme Court in 1958 with the justices deciding nothing (a split 4-4 vote). By this time, MGM was making millions from television and the once-critical matter was now pointless. The sketch finally aired, some five years later, in the episode Autolight shown on The Jack Benny Program 1/11/1959.

  • The sketch with Jack as Gracie was restaged on the episode Burns And Allen Show airing 4/11/1954.

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Trivia (105)

  • Jack and Rochester again stay at the fleabag Acme Plaza Hotel. Benny steals light bulbs from his dressing room to use at the hotel.

  • Sinatra mentions that pay phones have recently gone up to a dine from a nickle and the new U. N. Building has been finished.

  • This episode features the first TV appearance of Jack's infamous Maxwell auto.

  • Jack plugs his appearance this Thursday (4/24/1952) on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show. He says its in return for them having appeared on his last program.

  • The talent agent booking the Landrews Sisters is named Herman Brown.

  • The Landrews Sisters would again perform "Did You Ever See a Dream Walking?" on the Benny program Talent Show on 12/30/1956.

  • In his closing voice-over, Don Wilson reminds viewers to vote, and to tune in next week for This is Show Business Clifton Fadiman, Sam Levenson and George S. Kaufman.

  • Jack's bedroom windows are coin operated, so each burglar has to insert a quarter to escape.

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Allusions (6)

  • When Fred Allen uses the words "loose ends", a duck comes down from Mr. Lewis' ceiling with $100 in it's mouth. Allen had said the secret words, just like on the series You Bet Your Life. In fact, Lewis says Groucho Marx had installed the duck.

  • Rochester answers a call from TV Guide wanting to do a story on "Beany", not Benny. The reference was to the lead character on the kid's puppet show Time for Beany. It aired live five days a week from from 1949 to 1955.

  • At the end of the show Jack Benny wishes the President a speedy recovery. Only one day before this episode aired, President Dwight D. Eisenhower suffered a heart attack. Despite Jack's best wishes, the President spent six weeks in hospital.

  • The note attached to the second rock thrown through the window says Jack has 30 seconds to think over leaving town. The lights go down except for a spotlight on Jack as suspenseful music plays for a half minute. This is a take-off on the quiz show The $64,000 Question.

  • Jack makes reference to the first satellite, Sputnik, being launched by the Soviet Union on 10/4/1957. Following Dan and Harlow's performance, he says, "Gosh, what an era we live in. The Russian satellite and that dance, all in the same month!"

  • In his monologue, Jack jokes that he played violin at Marlon Brando's recent wedding. Brando had married actress Anna Kashfi on 10/11/1957.