And so began the radio career which lasted over 23 years and created one of the all time favorite and timeless radio comedies. All based on the somehow loveable character who was a vain, argumentative, cheapskate who loved his money more than anything else and was a self-proclaimed, but often incorrect, expert.
Jack Benny once noted, "I played a character who embodied all the faults and frailties of mankind." Yet, America fell in love with him in part because it was clear that Benny was playing a part that was the complete opposite of his true self.
Although Jack Benny was the star of the show, just about every joke was at his expense. This combined with Benny's character flaws provided his writers and supporting cast, which included his wife Sadye Marks as Mary Livingstone and Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, an unlimited supply of hilarious material which propelled them to the top of the ratings. Jack Benny also paved the way in leading radio away from the Vaudeville style of stand up, slapstick comedy towards character based relationship comedy. In the process, they created the first situational comedy.
Over the years, Jack Benny and his team created a number of gags and trademark lines including a parody of The Whistler called The Fiddler, the hidden basement bank vault surrounded by a moat with a guard who hasn't seen daylight since the Revolutionary War, a 12 year long on the air "feud" with the Fred Allen Show. But his most notable gag was where a crook would corner Benny and demand "Your Money or Your Life?" After a long pause, the impatient crook would demand an answer. An annoyed Benny would respond, "I'm thinking about it!"
It wasn't long before the answer to the original question of "Who cares?" became, "His millions of friends and fans care!"
Jack Benny Maestro 10 CDs by Jack Benny
As a comic instrumentalist, sawing away week after week at his violin, Jack Benny stood as radio's reigning off-key virtuoso, producing more laughs per measure than any other comic before or since.
This seven hour set of 14 digitally remastered radio episodes fin ... read more
Jack Benny Neighbors 8 CDs by Jack Benny
Ronald and Benita Colman made 20 guest appearances on The Jack Benny Program, including some of the most hilarious entries in the series. The Colmans' refined personaes played an excellent "grand opera" to the "ragtime" of Jack's mercenary enterprises.
In this ... read more
Jack Benny The Fabulous 50's (10 CDs) by Jack Benny
It's mid-century madness as Jack Benny slides smoothly into the 1950s with great guests, hilarious running gags, and even a song or two!
This classic collection features episodes from Jack's final years on radio, accompanied by his constant cohorts Mary Livingsto ... read more
The Feud: Jack Benny vs. Fred Allen (10 CDs) by Jack Benny
Among radio comedy's most enduring features were its running gags - and few gags ran longer, or more hilariously, than the legendary feud between two of its great masters: Jack Benny and Fred Allen. For nearly twenty years the mere mention of Benny on an Allen program was gu ... read more