The Jack Benny Program

Season 2 Episode 3

Gaslight

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Aired Sunday 7:30 PM Jan 27, 1952 on CBS
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Gaslight
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In the monologue, Jack discusses his film career. Don doesn't want to do the commercial Jack has written for him because it's silly and embarrassing. As Don pitches Luckies, Jack makes his pant legs roll up and down. Pianist Ray Noble performs "Good Night Sweetheart." The sketch is a parody of the film Gaslight. Bella's husband, a jewel thief, is trying to make her think she's crazy by turning the pictures upside down and putting a horse in the closet. A Scotland Yard inspector comes to her rescue.moreless

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      • 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.

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