39 Forever Script Contest Entries

Here are the five entries for the 39 Forever script contest.  The winner of the contest was performed during the Saturday, February 15 Jack Benny Marathon.

And the winner is...The Jack Benny Program by Mary Cooper

The Entries (in order alphabetically by author):

MUS 01:      (OPENING MUSIC UP AND DOWN – 8 secs)

DON:      THE JACK BENNY SHOW, STARRING JACK BENNY.... WITH MARY LIVINGSTONE, PHIL HARRIS, ROCHESTER, DENNIS DAY AND YOURS TRULY, DON WILSON.

MUS 02:      (OPENING MUSIC UP AND DOWN – 8 secs)

(APPLAUSE)

DON:      LADIES AND GENTLEMEN... FROM THE SHERATON GATEWAY HOTEL IN LOS ANGELES WE BRING YOU A SPECIAL BROADCAST SPONSORED BY THE INTERNATIONAL JACK BENNY FAN CLUB.

JACK:      Yes, sir!

DON:      THEREFORE, I THINK IT IS APPROPRIATE THAT I TAKE A MOMENT TO PAY TRIBUTE TO ONE OF AMERICA'S FINEST ENTERTAINERS....A MAN LOVED BY MILLIONS OF FANS THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.....

JACK:      Well!

DON:         A MAN WHO HAS ENDEARED HIMSELF FOREVER IN THEIR HEARTS WITH HIS WIT, CHARM AND SPARKLING PERSONALITY...

JACK:        Not to mention my sparkling blue eyes!

DON:         A MAN WHO HAS DEVOTED HIMSELF TO HIS PUBLIC, APPEARING TIME AFTER TIME AS STAR OF STAGE, SCREEN AND RADIO.

JACK:      Huh?

DON:      AND HERE HE IS AGAIN...... JACK BENNY!

(APPLAUSE)

JACK:      Thank you, thank you. Hello again, this is Jack Benny talking. And Don, that was a very lovely introduction but I can't help thinking you left something out.

DON:      What was that, Jack?

JACK:      Don, you forgot Television...Star of Stage, Screen, Radio and Television!

DON:      Gosh, Jack. I'm sorry about that.

JACK:        I just can't understand how you could forget how I sign your paycheck each week…

DON:      Jack, I said I was sorry.

JACK:      You're being paid to announce and just once I'd like you to do it properly. Tonight of all nights! What will our new sponsor think?

DON:         But Jack, I worked so hard writing that introduction. I told it to my wife the other day and she said I'd finally come up with the perfect tribute for that old cheapskate.

JACK:      What? Your wife called me what?

DON:      Well….

JACK:      And while we're on the subject, you could have also mentioned the Collier's poll where I was ranked as one of America's most handsome leading men!

DON:         But, Jack, that was years ago!

JACK:      That doesn't matter, Don. It's an accomplishment and my eyes are still as blue as ever!

MARY:      Oh, brother. Hello Jack. Hello Don. What's old faithful spouting out now?

DON:      Hello Mary.

JACK:      Mary, you stay out of this. This is between Don and myself.

MARY:      Don't listen to him, Don. (laughs) Ha, ha, ha, ha!

JACK:      What's so funny, Mary?

MARY:      That last time you were chased through the streets by dozens of women, the redcoats were coming!

JACK:      That's not true, Mary. It just so happens that I enjoyed the company of a very attractive lady last night at the reception.

DON:         Oh yes, Jack. How was your reception last night?

JACK:      Don, it was simply wonderful. The hotel staff here did a fantastic job and absolutely everyone who was anyone was there.

DON:         I'm sorry I wasn't able to attend. So were there many celebrities in attendance last night?

JACK:      Don, you know how it is at these things with all the people coming and going throughout the night. I just couldn't begin to name them all!

MARY:      I'm sorry I couldn't make it either, Jack. So ... tell us more about this lady you met last night.

JACK:      Well, Mary, she's been following my career for years and she knows just about everything about me.

MARY:      Oh, she's a gossip reporter then.

JACK:      She's not Louella, if that's what you mean. She loves my movies.

MARY:      Well then, just who was this mystery woman, Jack?

JACK:      Mary, a gentleman doesn't kiss and tell. All I can say is that she is my biggest fan and her initials are L.L.!

MARY:      I see..... Does she wear glasses, Jack?

JACK:        Uh yes, Mary. Why do you ask?

MARY:      I thought so. She'd have to be extremely nearsighted.

JACK:      Now cut that out! ......We'd better get on with the program. Ladies and Gentlemen....tonight we're here to do a special show.....

PHIL:      Hiya Jackson, Mary and Don. Ain't this place the sweetest Sheraton!

JACK:        Oh hello, Phil. You really had to reach for that one, didn't you?

PHIL:         I suppose so but I'm still recovering from last night's collaboration.

JACK:      Don't you mean celebration, Phil?

PHIL:      You say it your way, I'll say it mine. By the way, Jackson, that was a pretty swell party you had going on last night.

JACK:      Thanks, Phil. Coming from you, that's a real compliment.

MARY:      Phil, you were there?

PHIL:         Not exactly, Mary. Me and Remley were on our way to meet Alice when we accidentally ended up at Jack's party.

MARY:      What do you mean?

PHIL:         It was like this. When me and Remley pulled up at the hotel last night, we left Dennis with the car and walked into the hotel.

MARY:      Dennis came with you?

PHIL:         No, he was out front parking cars.

MARY:      Jack, you didn't make Dennis park cars last night, did you?

JACK:        So what, Mary. The kid needed the extra money and besides, he still got to meet all those fabulous celebrities.

MARY:      That's no excuse. Go on, Phil.

PHIL:      Okay. So like I was saying, me and Remley were looking for the NBC party that Alice was attending in the hotel. We followed the signs in the lobby and ended up at Jack's party instead.

MARY:      So there were two parties at the hotel last night?

PHIL:      Yeah I guess so. Anyway, later, when we doubled back, we figured someone must have mixed up the signs in the hotel's lobby.

MARY:      Jack Benny, how dare you! You tricked all those people into coming to your reception!

JACK:        I did not, Mary, and shut up! Can I help it if the hotel staff made a mistake with the signs?

MARY:      Well it sure seems like too much of a coincidence to me.

JACK:        Just drop it already. Now look gang, we really ought to be getting on with the show. Oh, Dennis…Hey where’s Dennis? He’s supposed to sing right now.

PHIL:         I ain't seen him since I tipped him to get my car last night.

JACK:      What about you, Don? Have you seen Dennis?

DON:         No, I haven't, Jack.

JACK:      Darn that kid. Well, we can't wait forever. Ladies and gentlemen..... for tonight's musical number, I will perform a violin solo……

DON:         A violin solo!

SFX 01:      (Multiple footsteps & chairs being knocked around – 3 Secs)

PHIL:         Get back in your seats men!

JACK:      That’s what I say. Hand me a violin, Phil.

PHIL:      Now wait a minute, Jack. Can’t we talk this over?

JACK:        I know what I’m doing, Phil. Now let go of me! …..Hey boys, do you know “My Buttercup, My Sunshine”?

ALL:          No.

JACK:      How about “Dreaming Of You, My Love”?

ALL:          No.

JACK:      Fine orchestra! ….Well, I guess we’ll have to skip the musical number tonight and move on.

ALL:      Whew!

MARY:      That was a close one.

JACK:      That’s enough from you, Mary.  What until I find Dennis! And Don, don’t just stand there like an oversized phone booth. Don’t you have a job to do?

DON:      Why yes, Jack. …Ladies and gentlemen, if you’ve been looking for the perfect gift for that special someone in your life, why not consider giving them a subscription to the Jack Benny Times? It’s the gift that keeps on giving all year long. Membership in the International Jack Benny Fan Club is and always will be free and subscriptions are reasonably priced. Pick up your copy today!

JACK:      Thank you, Don. And now, Ladies and Gentlemen, for our feature attraction tonight, we are pleased to present ….

DENNIS:      Hello Mr. Benny. Hello everybody. Gosh, I'm sorry I'm late.

JACK:      Huh?

DENNIS:      Hello Mr. Benny.  I'm awfully sorry I was late.

JACK:        Oh hello Dennis. How are ya kid?

DENNIS:    I'm fine Mr. Benny. I'm sorry I’m late.

JACK:      Well you oughta be. You've missed half the show already.

DENNIS:      Gee, I feel terrible about that. Do you want to know what happened to me?

JACK:        I'm not sure I should even ask.

MARY:      Go ahead, Jack. All of us would like to hear what he has to say.

JACK:      Well.....Okay.... So, Dennis, why did you get here so late?

DENNIS:    I had to walk from my house.

JACK:      What do mean, you had to walk? You had your car with you last night, didn't you?

DENNIS:    Uh huh.

JACK:      You picked me up at the studio and brought me here, right?

DENNIS:    Uh huh.

JACK:      And when we got to the hotel, what did you do with your car?

DENNIS:    I parked it like you told me to.

JACK:      Okay, so at the end of the night, why didn't you take your car home with you?

DENNIS:    I didn't have enough money to tip the valet.

JACK:        But Dennis, you were the valet parking cars last night!

DENNIS:    I know! And all those famous people gave me such nice tips too.

JACK:        So why didn't you tip yourself a buck and get your own car?

DENNIS:      What! Do you think I'm cheap? Everyone else tipped at least ten dollars.

JACK:      Ten? Ten whole dollars, huh? Hmmmm.....

DENNIS:      Yeah, and some folks even gave me twenty!

JACK:      Twenty dollars! For parking cars?

DENNIS:    It sure beats what you pay me here.

JACK:        Oh for heaven's sake! Look, Dennis, you made all that money last night parking cars. Why didn't you just pay yourself even twenty dollars and get your car? It's your money after all.

DENNIS:      Yeah, but you were the one who told me to park here. It's too expensive for me.

JACK:      Huh?

DENNIS:    Ma thinks you should be the one to cover the tip.

JACK:      Me? Twenty dollars?

MARY:      Stand back everyone. Old faithful is getting ready to go off again.

JACK:      Now cut that out! I knew I shouldn't have asked him anything. That kid always gets me so worked up

MARY:      Come now Jack, you’ll get over it.

JACK:      Mary, you’re not the one who has to pay twenty dollars! Dennis, I’ll talk with you later. And now, Ladies and Gentlemen, for our feature attraction tonight, we are pleased to present a mystery melodrama entitled….

SFX 02:      (Fanfare – 2 Secs)

JACK:      “Murder At The Gateway” or “She made him love her, he didn’t want to do it, he didn’t want to do it”. In this production you will hear a new story starring that internationally famous crime fighter, that fearless protector of the public, that master of the detective arts, Captain O’Benny. Set the scene, Don.

DON:      Okay. Our scene opens at the Beverley Hills Police Station. Captain O’Benny is leaning against his desk and scratching his head. Somebody stole his chair. Curtain! Music!

MUS 03:      (Captain O’Benny theme – 9 Secs)

JACK:      (Singing) “Can it be the trees, that fills the breeze, with rare and magic perfume? Oh, no, it isn’t the trees, it’s Love in Bloom.”

SFX 03:      (Phone rings…..Pick Up Handset)

DENNIS:      Here’s the phone, chief.

JACK:      Thanks, O’Day. That kid’s a great detective. He noticed the phone right away. I’ll take it. Hello, Beverley Hills Police Station and orange shop. Have we got Oranges! ….What’s that madam? …..You lost your Labrador retriever? Don’t worry. We’ll find him for ya.…What? Be sure to return the leash? ….Oh your husband’s on the other end. Have you a description? …….The one with the cold nose is your husband. All right, Good-bye.

SFX 04:      (Hang Up)

JACK:        We get the silliest requests here of any police station.

SFX 05:      (Knocking)

DENNIS:      There’s the phone, chief.

JACK:        I knew it couldn’t last. Come in.

SFX 06:      (Door open)

DON:      Good morning, chief.

JACK:      Good morning O’Wilson. How are things on your beat?

DON:      Marvelous. I sold forty pounds of oranges.

JACK:      Good. Keep going like that and you’ll soon be a Lieutenant.

DON:      Thank you, sir. It that better than a big, fat Sergeant?

JACK:      Yes. Now look, a woman lost her dog and I want you and O’Day …..

SFX 07:      (Phone rings)

JACK:        Is that the phone?

DENNIS:    I think so. There’s nobody at the door.

JACK:        Oh. I’ll take it. Hello, Beverley Hills Police Station and orange shop. Captain O’Benny speaking. What’s that? What? Murder at the Gateway?

DENNIS:    Gee that’s the title of our play.

JACK:      Quiet O’Day. Yes? Yeah, okay. We’ll be right over.

SFX 08:      (Hang up)

DON:      What’s up, chief?

JACK:        The well-known musician Billy Ballou has been murdered. O’Wilson, get the police car.

DON:      Yes, sir.

JACK:      We’d better take along strong arm squad. O’Shaunessey, O’Mallory, O’Flannery, and O’klahoma. Are you ready boys?

QUART:    (All male cast members) Hmmmm

JACK:      Now come on fellas. I’m gonna find the murderer of Billy Ballou or my name ain’t….

QUART:      Shooby Dooby Doo. Shooby Dooby Doo.

                  Let us follow Captain Benny.

                  Shooby Dooby Doo. Shooby Dooby Do.

                  He’s got dough but don’t spend any.

                  Shooby Dooby Doo. Shooby Dooby Do.

                  Let us follow Captain Benny.

                  For he is essential to our eating every day. Hey!

SFX 09:      (Police Siren – 3 secs)

MEL:      Calling all cars. Calling all cars. Attention, police officers. Oranges now on sale for fifty cents a pound. Let’s see if Florida can beat that!

JACK:      Fifty cents a pound? How can we manage that?

MEL:      Bumper crop in Anaheim, Azuza and Cuca…..monga.

JACK:      Now cut that out! Come on, Sarge. Step on the gas!

QUART:      Shooby Dooby Doo. Shooby Dooby Doo.

                  Let us follow Captain Benny.

                  Shooby Dooby Doo. Shooby Dooby Doo.

                  Oranges now for fifty pennies….

JACK:      Okay, men. Here we are.

SFX 10:      (Car Screech to a halt)

DON:         Are you sure this is the place, chief?

JACK:      Certainly. See that sign there? Sheraton Gateway. Valet parking, twenty dollars. Let’s go in, men.

SFX 11:      (Knocking)

JACK:      Open up. Open up, it’s the police.

SFX 12:      (Door open)

JACK:        I’m Captain O’Benny of the Beverley Hills Police Department.

ROCH:      Boss, it’s me.

JACK:      Rochester? What are you doing at the Sheraton Gateway?

ROCH:      Don’t you remember? Your temp agency placed me here last night as a doorman.

JACK:        Oh yes, yes. Well why didn’t you go home after work?

ROCH:      They gave me a double shift. I’m on days now too.

JACK:      Well don’t forget I need you home after the broadcast. We’ll find someone else to fill in here.

ROCH:      Ooooh…kay

JACK:      Now let’s get back to our mystery. What do you know about the murder of Billy Ballou?

ROCH:       He was shot in the Malibu room.

JACK:        The Malibu room?

ROCH:       So I presume. That’s where he fell next to some perfume.

JACK:      Perfume, eh? What kind of perfume?

ROCH:       I believe the fragrance was “Love In Bloom”.

DENNIS:      That stuff’s not cheap, either.

JACK:      Shut up O’Day. That sounds like a clue… Come on, men. To the Malibu room!

QUART:      Shooby Dooby Doo. Shooby Dooby Doo.

                  Captain Benny’s got a clue.

                  Shooby Dooby Doo. Shooby Dooby Doo.

                  Let’s find out who shot Ballou.

JACK:      Okay men, we’re here at the Malibu room. Search the place.

DON:         Oh, chief. Chief, I found this bottle of perfume on the floor.

DENNIS:      And I found some blood over here by this door.

DON:         The bottle is empty, but the label’s not worn.

DENNIS:    The blood trail leads here, and then there’s no more.

JACK:        A perfume bottle and a trail of blood, eh? What happened to the body?

ROCH:       We moved it out by the swimming pool.

JACK:        By the swimming pool?

ROCH:       Just because he’s dead is no reason why he shouldn’t get a tan.

JACK:      Well come on, men. We’re going out to the swimming pool to see the body. Follow me.

QUART:      Shooby Dooby Doo. Shooby Dooby Doo.

                  Fan Club membership is free.

                  Shooby Dooby Doo. Shooby Dooby Doo.

                  The Times are fun for you to read.

JACK:      Here we are at the pool, men. Now let’s find Billy Ballou’s body.

MARY:      Hello, chiefy.

JACK:      Hold it, men. I found a better one. What’s your name, miss?

MARY:      Well, last week I was Melody Magoo but yesterday I married Billy Ballou and became Melody Magoo-Ballou.

JACK:      How do you do, miss Magoo-Ballou.

MARY:      Not anymore. A half hour ago, someone slew Ballou and I’m back to Magoo.

JACK:      Good for you. Now wait a minute. I think you’re the one that did it. The perfume you’re wearing is the same as the bottle we found where he was shot.

MARY:      That doesn’t mean anything, chiefy.

JACK:        Oh it doesn’t, eh?

MARY:      No, I dropped it when I ran to Billy’s side.

JACK:        A likely story! You mean to say you just happened to be putting on perfume when your husband was shot and you dropped the bottle?

PHIL:         I never would have dropped the bottle.

JACK:      Shut up and lie down! You’re the body. You’re supposed to be dead.

PHIL:         Can I help it if you didn’t give me any lines in this play?

JACK:        Just lie down and be quiet. Now miss Magoo, I want to get all the details regarding the murder of your husband. Tell me exactly what happened.

MARY:      Well Billy and I were alone in the Malibu room. He just gave me some perfume and as I was putting it on, a shot rang out and he fell to the floor.

JACK:      Could you tell where the shot came from?

PHIL:         It sure didn’t come from that perfume bottle.

JACK:        Lie down and shut up! What a ham!

MARY:      I can’t be sure but I think it came from the hallway.

JACK:      From the hallway, eh? Did you happen to see anyone else?

MARY:      What do you take me for? I’m a married woman.

JACK:        Of course, miss Magoo. Can you think of anyone that might want to hurt your husband?

MARY:      No. We just met last week and he swept me off my feet. I didn’t have a chance to meet any of his associates.

JACK:        So you say you’re unsteady on your feet, miss Butterfingers? Well, perhaps you’re not the type to murder your husband. But then who done it?

DENNIS:      That’s did it.

JACK:        All right, that one slipped through. As I was saying, if you’re not the murderer, then who killed your husband, and why was he killed here?

PHIL:      Because people won’t be found dead in any other place! Ha Ha Ha. Oh, Harris. You may not be the star of the show but you sure know how to plug this joint!

JACK:      Stop with the wise cracks, already! Well men, let’s go over and examine the body….

SFX 13:      (Man’s scream)

JACK:      What’s that? Another murder?

ROCH:       No. One of the guests just got his bill.

JACK:        Of course.

DENNIS:      Hey, chief! Chief!

JACK:      What is it, O’Day?

DENNIS:    I was out searching the grounds and I saw a man walking along with a dog so I questioned him.

JACK:        Did he have an alibi?

DENNIS:    No, a Labrador retriever.

JACK:      Hmmm.

DON:         I had that line but I wouldn’t touch it.

JACK:      You keep out of this, O’Wilson. Now O’Day, tell me about this man you saw. Can you describe him?

DENNIS:      Yeah, he was dressed in a bath robe and kept saying “I just can’t take it anymore”.

JACK:      That certainly sounds suspicious. Where is he now?

DENNIS:    The dog was walking him towards the California room.

JACK:      Come on, men. Let’s head for the lobby and locate that suspect. Follow me!

QUART:      Shooby Dooby Doo. Shooby Dooby Doo.

                  The Benny fan club is for me.

                  Shooby Dooby Doo. Shooby Dooby Doo.

                  Monthly chats are hard to beat.

JACK:      We’re in the lobby. Where’s that man, O’Day?

DENNIS:      He’s over there by the elevator.

JACK:      Hey you. Now don’t move, I wanna question you. What’s your name?

MEL:          Oh, no. Oh, no! Not you again!

JACK:      You’re….I know you. You’re that clerk from the department store.

MEL:      And you’re the guy who can never make up his mind. First I wrap the gift, then I unwrap the gift, then I engrave the gift, then I change the engraving, this perfume, that perfume, with this card, with that card, wrap this up, bring this back. I just can’t take it anymore!

JACK:      What are doing in this hotel?

MEL:          I came here for a vacation. Why won’t you leave me alone?

JACK:      What do you know about the murder of Billy Ballou?

MEL:      Billy Ba-who?

JACK:      Billy Ballou.

MEL:      Bibbity Bobbity Boo.

JACK:      Come clean, mister. We know you did it.

MEL:          All right, all right. I did it, I tell you. I did it!

JACK:        But why did you done it?

DENNIS:      That’s twice.

JACK:      Why, man? Why?

MEL:          I walking by and I saw that man giving the lady “Love In Bloom” perfume. I thought it was you, I tell you. I just couldn’t take it anymore! I just …couldn’t…. baahaaahaaahaarrrghh!

JACK:        A full confession. Alright men, you know your duty. Get going.

DON:      Oranges, here. Fresh California oranges. Get your oranges at the Beverley Hills police station.

DENNIS:      Juicy fresh oranges. Taste the California sunshine!

JACK:      Good night, folks.

MUS 04:      (Closing Theme – 35 Secs)

DON:   Ladies and Gentlemen.  Today is Jack Benny’s birthday.  To celebrate, Jack took the gang to a nightclub where we find them seated at a table.

PHIL:   Hey, Jackson.  I thought we were going to the Macambo.

JACK:  No, Phil.  I said Moe Combo’s.  (pause)  Moe’s an ex-fighter.

DENNIS:  I never heard of him.

JACK:  Oh, well, Moe was a local fighter who fought here in Los Angeles.  (pause)  He had a perfect record.

PHIL:  You mean he won every fight?

JACK:  No, Phil, he lost every fight.  That’s why he quit the ring and opened this nightclub.  Isn’t it nice here?

MARY:  Yeah, nice and cheap.

PHIL:  (laughing)  Leave it to Jackson to find a cheap nightclub.

JACK:  Moe’s not cheap, just economical.  (pause)  At least we have a ringside table.

DON:  What kind of entertainment does Mr. Combo present, Jack?

JACK:  Just call him Moe, Don.  I don’t know for sure but I hear he puts on a good show.

PHIL:  (amused)  What does he do?  Spar with the customers?

JACK:  No, no, Phil.  Moe doesn’t fight anymore.  (pause)  His parole officer wouldn’t like it.

PHIL:  I know what you mean.  The boys in my band gotta be careful with their parole officers, too.

JACK:  Phil, your musicians’ parole officers have parole officers.  (pause)  So don’t tell me about being careful.

DON:  Actually, Jack, I’m more interested in the food here.

DENNIS:  I’m hungry, too.

JACK:  Well, then, let’s see what’s on the menu.

MARY:  Jack, be sure to look at the food, too.

JACK:  I have a right to be concerned about the prices.  I invited all of you to dinner.

PHIL: (dismally)  Oh, swell.  It’s gonna be tomato soup made of hot water mixed with ketchup again.

JACK:  Not this time, Phil.  It’s my birthday so choose anything you like.

DON:  Does that include me, Jack?

JACK:  Of course, Don.  I made a withdrawal from my vault today so order anything you want.

DENNIS:  Me, too, Mr. Benny?

JACK:  You, too, Dennis.

DENNIS:  Oh, good.  Then I won’t find my meal deducted from my paycheck again.

JACK:  Everything’s on me tonight, fellas.

PHIL:  Are you sure you’re feeling alright, Jackson?

JACK:  Why shouldn’t I be?  It’s my birthday and I’m surrounded by my friends.

MARY:  Are you sure we’re not going to end up washing dishes again?

JACK:  Trust me, Mary.  (pause)  Nothing could ruin this evening for me.  Now, why don’t we order?  I’ll ask this gentleman here.  Oh, mister, mister!

WAITER:  Yeeees?

JACK:  Are you our waiter?

WAITER:  What do you think I’m doing with this notepad and pencil?  Writing a story on this dump for the Los Angeles Tribune?

JACK:  Look.  We just want to order.

WAITER:  Oh, alright.  (pause)  What would you like, miss?

MARY:  I’ll have the Rocky Graziano pork chops.

WAITER:  Yes, ma’am.  What size pork chop?  Heavyweight, middleweight, or lightweight?

MARY:  I’ll have the lightweight, please.

WAITER:  And what will you have, sir?

JACK:  I’ll have the…

WAITER:  I wasn’t talking to you.  (pause)  What will you have, sir?

PHIL:  Gimme the Joe Louis chicken and your most expensive bottle of champagne.

JACK:  Phil, don’t press your luck.

PHIL:  I was only kidding, Jackson.  Make it your most expensive bottle of beer.

WAITER:  Yes, sir.  And you, young man?

JACK:  I’ll have the…

WAITER:  I was talking to the gentleman next to you.

JACK:  Well, you did say young man.  (bragging)  You know, I’m 39 today.

WAITER:  Really!  If it’s your birthday, then that entitles you to a free dessert.

JACK:  Oh!  Well, then I’ll have the…

WAITER:  It’s not your turn.  (pause)  Now young man, what will you have?

DENNIS:  I’ll have the Slapsie Maxie hamburger with everything on it, French fried potatoes, and a milkshake with chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ice cream.

WAITER:  (perplexed)  You want chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ice cream in one milkshake?

DENNIS:  Yeah, I wanna be wild tonight.

JACK:  Oh, fine.

PHIL:  You know, that sounds good, kid.  Waiter, gimme one of them milkshakes.  I wanna be wild tonight, too.

JACK:  Phil, you came in wild tonight.  Now, waiter, I’ll have the…

WAITER:  Wait ’til it’s your turn.  (pause)  May I take your order, sir?

DON:  I’ll have the Jack Dempsey steak, well-done, smothered in onions, with a baked potato and sour cream, mixed vegetables with melted butter, a Caesar salad with garlic dressing and a cup of coffee, all heavyweight size.

JACK:  Don, what about your diet?

DON:  Oh, perhaps you’re right, Jack.  (pause)  Waiter, never mind the melted butter.

WAITER:  Yes, sir.  (pause)  Now, what will you have, birthday boy?

JACK:  It’s about time.  I’ll have the Max Schmeling wiener schnitzel and a piece of German chocolate cake for my free dessert, heavyweight size.

WAITER:  The dessert only comes in one size.

JACK:  Oh.  Well, as long as it’s free.

WAITER:  Thank you.  I’ll be back with your orders.

JACK:  Boy.  W hat you have to go through around here for a free dessert.

MARY:  Jack, we have more surprises for you.  While you and Don were ordering, Phil and Dennis went to the car to bring in your birthday presents.

JACK:  (thrilled)  Birthday presents!  For little me?

DON:  That’s right, Jack.  Happy birthday and many happy returns of the day.

JACK:  Why, thank you, Don.  Oh.  Here’s a card.  (reading) “Dear Jack.  On the occasion of the anniversary of your birth, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you a joyous and felicitous birthday.  May your travels on life’s roads be cleaner, fresher, smoother.  In a cigarette, it’s the tobacco that counts.  Don.”  (pause)  What a nice sentiment.  (pause)  And now, for the present.

DON:  It’s a carton of Lucky Strike Cigarettes.

JACK:  (disappointed)  I know.  But I receive free cartons from the sponsor, too.

DON:  Yes, but I receive more from my other show, “Your Lucky Strike Hit Parade.”

JACK:  Well, thank you for thinking of me.  (pause)  And the sponsor.

DON:  You’re most welcome, Jack.  Smoke them in good health.

JACK:  Mmm.  (pause)  Maybe I can trade these Lucky Strike Cigarettes to George Burns for some Maxwell House Coffee.

PHIL:  Here ya go, Jackson.  Happy birthday.

JACK:  Thank you, Phil.  (pause)  Here’s another card.  (reading)  “Dear Jackson.  Happy birthday and don’t do nothin’ I wouldn’t do.  Good health to all from Rexall.  Phil.”  Mmm.   (pause)  What’s in the box?  Gum.  Toothpicks. Dental floss.

PHIL:  I got ’em from a Rexall drugstore during their one cent sale.

JACK:  Well, I’m glad you think I’m worth so much.

PHIL:  Aw, it was nothin.’

JACK:  Well, almost nothing.

DENNIS:  Happy birthday, Mr. Benny.

JACK:  Thank you, Dennis.  Let’s see what this card says.  (reading)  “Dear Mr. Benny.  Happy birthday.  My mother would like to wish you a happy birthday too if you would give me a raise.  Otherwise, forget it.  Dennis.”  (pause)  You’re not getting a raise, Dennis, and this is not the appropriate time to ask for one.

DENNIS:  It was my mother’s idea.

JACK:  Your mother.  Why does she want you to get a raise?  You’ve got two shows.

DENNIS:  She’s tired of giving me an allowance.

JACK:  Let’s forget about your mother.  (pause)  What’s in the box?

DENNIS:  It’s Colgate Toothpaste and Palmolive Soap.

JACK:  Who just happen to be your sponsors.  (pause)  Why couldn’t one of you be sponsored by Ford Motor Company, like Fred Allen?

DENNIS:  You want a free motor, Mr. Benny?

JACK:  Well, it would sure beat what you’ve given me tonight.

MARY:  Jack, here’s something you’re going to want to keep.  Happy birthday.

JACK:  I hope so.  (pause)  No card, Mary?

MARY:  I’ve written a poem.

JACK:  Oh.  Well, let’s hear it.

MARY:  (reading)  “Today is your birthday.  You say you’re thirty-nine.  If I had a drink that was your real age, it would be mighty fine wine.”

JACK:  Just give me the present, Mary.  (pause)  Oh, it’s cologne.  Chanel  Number 39.  And what’s this on the side?  (reading)  “Test bottle from the May Company.”

MARY:  I worked briefly in the perfume department.

JACK:  (upset)  What kind of presents are these?  Free gifts from your sponsors, one cent sale items from Rexall, a test bottle of cologne from the May Company!

MARY:  Jack, calm down.

JACK:  Whattya mean, calm down?  These are the cheapest gifts I’ve ever received!  And just for that, I’m not paying for dinner!

DENNIS:  Then let’s go to Mr. Benny’s house and watch his new television set.

JACK:  You’re not going anywhere!  You’re going to…  (pause)  What new television set?

MARY:  The television set we bought you for your birthday!

JACK:  You mean these aren’t all of my presents?

DON:  We gave you gag gifts, Jack, so we could surprise you with the television set.

PHIL:  You can watch television inside now.

JACK:  Well, the department store windows weren’t bad but those shoppers can be so pushy when they’re leaving the store.  (pause)  Someone bumped into my chair and knocked my bowl of popcorn over once.

DON:  (laughing)  Well, Jack, Rochester picked up your new television set today and is waiting for us.

JACK:   I don’t know what to say.

MARY:  I hope you weren’t too upset with the gag gifts, Jack.

JACK:  Nah.  I knew you were just kidding.

PHIL:  You could have fooled me.

JACK:  Phil, that’s not hard.  (pause)  I can hardly wait to see my new television set.

MARY:  We’ll go to your house right after dinner.

JACK:  In fact, I feel so good, I’m still paying for dinner.

PHIL:  Jackson, you’re a real sport.

JACK:   Now, hurry up and eat everybody so we can go to my house and watch my new television set.  (pause)  Gee, this is the best birthday I’ve ever had.  Goodnight, folks.

[Sound effects: undressing and dressing a robe with sash; putting on and removing slippers; entering, leaving a  bathtub; sound of  water slogged around, from movement in the tub; doors opening and closing; door bell; telephone receiver set and ring]

Scene: JB is settling down into his bath, the water is just right, the house is quiet. He is at his most self-centered. He looks forward to luxuriate in the warm water for the mere pleasure of it.

Don Wilson:  … and now let's go out to Jack Benny's house in Beverly Hills. Rochester is off. And Jack is all alone. He is about to begin a most pleasurable activity, his weekly hot bath. 

JB-(to himself) [sound taking off his robe and slippers]- Ah…Ah….Ah…Ah , its nice to be alone in the house, nothing scheduled, chores are done. Rochester off for the day  -[sound of entering a bathtub, laying down in a bathtub]

JB-There….that feels good…Ah…Ah…Ah…water is just perfect….I'll think take a nap…(starts to snore)

(Suddenly, the door bell rings) [sound-door bell]

JB-Oh, no, who can that be? And I just got into the tub (pauses two beats)  Well, I cant just leave it alone  (annoyed)   Of all days for Rochester to take off.   [Sound- one getting up from supine position in tub, water heard naturally falling as one is stepping out of the tub, someone putting on a robe, tying it with a sash, placing  slippers on his feet, then is heard  walking across a linoleum floor]

[sound Door bell rings again…]

JB (loudly)  -I'm coming, I'm coming, Hold your horses

[sound: Bathroom door opens; Footsteps heard-walking across a carpeted floor]

[sound: Front door opens]

JB-Yes

First peculiar man at door bit, in a Mel Blancesque demeanor- (speaks rapidly)—Good morning,sir, I represent the Acme Institute of Public Opinion, Pismo Beach. We do surveys of the American population at various times of the years, on vital questions of the day. Would you care to participate, it will take only moment of your time.

JB (flabbergasted, thinking it was worth something to answer the door)-Listen, mister, I was just soaking in the tub…I’m dripping from head to toe. Can you come back in an hour and I'd be happy to answer your questions.

First man: Just one question, mac, only one question and then I'll leave..

JB (thinks it over for a moment) OK, OK what is it?

First man: Our Acme Institute of Public Opinion wants to ask you the questions, regarding a vital issue of the day.. Your answer will be held  strictly confidential…(pauses two beats)..  Why do girls who live in the Rocky Mountains refuse to take sunbaths?

JB (angrily) what kind of question is that?

First man: Mister, I don’t write the questions, I just ask 'em

JB-(exasperated) Get out of here.

[sound: Slams the door.  Steps across the carpeted floor. Back to the bathroom. Steps across a linoleum floor]

JB (mutters to himself) Of all the stupid questions this guy ask, Imagine interrupting my bath just for that…Why do the girls who live in the Rocky mountains refuse to sunbathe? What kind of vital issue of the day, is that? Everybody knows, because the mountains “peek”.

[sound of door closing behind him,  taking  off his robe and his slippers,  re-enters the tub]

JB-(to himself) I should have just stayed in the tub and not answered the door bell. I am going to call the Acme Institure of Public Opinion in Pismo Beach and complain about him

(He settles into the tub)…[Sound of water lightly being moved around as he shifts ever slowly]

JB Ah…Ah…Ah….that feels good, nothing is going to get me out of this tub…nothing

[Suddenly door bell rings. This time repeatedly, each ring separated by one beat pause]

JB (fuming)  OH NO!  Its that guy again, just trying to annoy me again. This time I am going to let him have it.

[sound: JB steps out of tub, puts on robe, wraps sash, places slippers again, walks to bathroom door, opens it, walks across the carpeted room; front door opens]…

(this time, another peculiar man is standing there…just as oafish, but not as loud. Meeker.)

JB (thinking it’s the same guy-speaks angrily)-Now listen, buster…(he realizes it’s a different person)….. (two beat pause)

(softens) Oh excuse me. I thought you were another person, who just came to my door and asked me the silliest question…(pause)    What can I do for you?

Second peculiar man: Mister, do you know how to get to the public library?

JB-Well…yes…

Second Man (interrupts him)-You go up three blocks and take a left, you cant miss it.

JB-What? I don’t want to go to the public library [exasperated] Get out of here! [Slams the door on him]

[same set of sounds as before JB walks off in a huff…but steps are harder to reflect his mood…heard  steps across the carpeted floor, back to the linoleum floor of the bathroom

JB-These guys are crazy…I bet they were in on it together, to see if they can make me mad? Well, I'll fool them, I wont go back in the tub, I'll just wait for them to ring the bell again.

(A few minutes go by, reflected by some kind of musical bridge)

JB-Its been a few minutes…I guess they're gone..Probabaly a couple of practical jokers…After my bath, I am going to call up the local precinct and report them…

[sound: Taking off sash, rope and slippers, steps back in to the tub, lies down-water moving as he settles]

JB-Oh. The water got cooler, darn those fellows…well, its still comfortable…(leans back)…Ah…ah…ah…(pauses)…Gee what a morning

[Suddenly the telephone rings..normal pause between rings]

JB-Oh no, the phone. Who can that be?… Maybe I shouldnt answer it… it couldn’t be those two guys again… How could they get my phone number….What if its someone else?… Maybe its Mary or Don or Phil calling to tell me something important.  I guess I''ll have to answer it….

[sound JB steps out of the tub for the third time, redresses as before, opens the bathroom door, walks onto the carpet, goes about 10 feet to where the telephone is situated.

[Sound of receiver taken off its pedestal]

JB-Hello.

Voice (polite and gentle) Good day, sir My name is Horace Edwards representing your local telephone company….may I have a moment of your time?

(Before JB can answer….the door bell rings)

JB (to himself)-I wonder who that can be…. no, it couldn’t be those two guys again,, well if it is, I am going to let them have it (into receiver) Mister, please hold the wire a moment., I have to answer the door bell.

(steps over to the front door… opening the door)

JB- yes,

Third peculiar guy at door (much different than the last two-perhaps a more dignified, refined voice)….Mr Benny.

JB-yes

Third guy (excitedly-in a almost hysterical gleeful voice-as though he just won the lottery)   I won, I won, I won!

JB-What did you win?

Third guy  The others didn’t think you’d answer the door, but I bet them $50.00 you would. (cupping his hand, as though talking to some one to the side of him--off to a slight distance)   Hey Barne… you wuz  right, in that robe, he does look like a wrinkled, balding blue-eyed  duck, with yellow feathers!

JB-NOW CUT THAT OUT!

[Slams door.]

Music is heard

JACK: Call me Ishmael.

DENNIS: Okay. You're a schlemiel.

JACK: Dennis! You don't come on until page 12! As I was saying, call me Ishmael. Some years ago..never mind how long precisely - having little or no money in my purse, - never mind how much precisely...and nothing particular
to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. And so it was that I found myself on a pier in Nantucket.

(Musical bridge.)

JACK: Hmmm. That sign says, "Purchase Your Cruise Tickets Here"  Oh mister!  Mister!

FRANK: Yeeeessss!

JACK: Oh, him again!

FRANK: Who are you and what do you want?

JACK: Call me Ishmael!

FRANK: Okay, you're a schlemiel!

JACK: That's Ishmael!

FRANK: That's your opinion.

JACK: Look it, I want to go out to sea.

FRANK: Ooooh! I hope you're leaving soon!

JACK: The sooner the better! Are you going to help me go out to sea, or not?

FRANK: Oh, all right. You see this pier? Go straight to the end. And then keep going. You'll be out to sea in no time!

JACK: I want to go on a boat!

FRANK: What about what I want!

JACK: I want to book a cruise.

FRANK: Very well. We have a lovely ten day Caribbean cruise leaving tonight.  Tropical beaches, live entertainment every night, and five course dinners included.

JACK: That sounds wonderful.

FRANK: And only a thousand dollars.

JACK: Hmmm. You know, if the meals are included, I might be tempted to overeat. What else have you got that's not so fattening?

FRANK: There's a five day cruise along the New England states. Sail in first class luxury for only four hundred dollars. Meals are extra.

JACK: I don't know. I don't really like luxury. You see, I'm more of a rough, adventurous, hard living kind of guy. What do you suggest for someone like me?

FRANK: A good psychiatrist.

JACK: I want a cruise!

FRANK: I have an idea. Why don't you join a whaling crew? Then you can go out to sea, and they'll pay you.

JACK: Say, that's not a bad idea. What do you think they'd ask me to do?

FRANK: If they sharpened your head, you'd make a wonderful harpoon!

JACK: Now cut that out! Do you know of any whaling ships looking for sailors?

FRANK: Just one, the Pequod. They start hiring tomorrow morning. Why don't you stay at the Sperm Oil-Inn tonight, and go to the Pequod in the morning? It's the last ship at the end of the dock. Ask for the first mate, Starbuck
Harris.

JACK: Thanks I'll do that.

(Musical Bridge.)

JACK: Why do I always run into that guy? Oh, here's a sign for that inn he was telling me about. "The Sperm Oil Inn: We'll wake you up oily in the morning." I'll go in and get a room for the night. Oh mister! Mister!

FRANK: Yeeeeessss!

JACK: You again! Can't I go anywhere without meeting you?

FRANK: You could have, if you'd followed my first suggestion!

JACK: I'm not going to walk off a pier! Can you give me a room for the night?

FRANK: We're all booked up, unless you'd like to share a room with a cannibal.

JACK: A cannibal? Why would I do that?

FRANK: It's another place you won't run into me! He's a cannibal headhunter from the South Seas.

JACK: Just give me whatever room you've got! I don't believe there are cannibals here!

FRANK: Here's the key to Room C.

JACK: How much is it?

FRANK: A dollar a night.

JACK: That's not too bad. Does it come with breakfast?

FRANK: It does for the cannibal!

JACK: Now cut that out! Just give me the key! Thank you. Now let's see.  Here's Room C. Just as I thought! It's not even occupied. I'll just put down my bags and climb into this bed. Hey, someone's opening the door...coming
into the room?.. Yikes! It's the cannibal!

ROCHESTER: Cannibal!!! Where???

JACK: You! The innkeeper said you were a cannibal!

ROCHESTER: Oh, him! He must have misunderstood. I told him that on my last job, I worked with anything that was can-able. Fruits, vegetables, stew -- if it was can-able, I canned it!

JACK: He also said you were a headhunter.

ROCHESTER: That?s true. I know all the hot shots in town, so if a company wants to hire an executive, they ask me for recommendations.

JACK: Oh, that kind of headhunter. Is it true you're from the South Seas?

ROCHESTER: South C.

JACK: South C?

ROCHESTER: South Carolina! That?s where I was born and raised. But then I moved to Southern California.

JACK: What did you do there?

ROCHESTER: In addition to canning things and recommending executives, I was a valet, a cook, a chauffer, a clothes washer, and I gave sightseeing tours.

JACK: You had a lot of different jobs!

ROCHESTER: No, that was all one job. When you work for Mr. Benny, you keep busy.

JACK: Never mind that. What are you doing here?

ROCHESTER: I'm going to work on a whaling ship. I'm a harpooner.

JACK: I'm shipping out too! Call me Ishmael.

ROCHESTER: Okay.

JACK: I like your style. What's your name?

ROCHESTER: Queequig.

JACK: Queequig! What king of a name is Queequig?

ROCHESTER: It's better than "A Schlemiel."

JACK! That's Ishmael!

(Musical bridge)

JACK: The next morning Queequig and I went to the Pequod, where we spoke to the first mate, Starbuck Harris.

PHIL: You'll like the Pequod. We've got a great crew. Rumley makes rum, Ginkins makes gin, Scotty makes the Scotch?

ROCHESTER: Who steers the ship?

PHIL: Who cares?

JACK: With a name like Starbuck, you must make the coffee!

PHIL: I'll make it, but I won't drink it!

JACK: Who's the captain?

PHIL: Ahab Wilson. On our last voyage, a whale bit off his leg.

JACK: My goodness! He must have been upset.

PHIL: He will be when he finds out!

JACK: How could he not know?

PHIL: His stomach's so big, he hasn't seen his legs for 25 years. What can you men do?

ROCHESTER: I'm a harpooner.

PHIL: Are you any good?

ROCHESTER: Look out at the ocean. You see that piece of driftwood out there?  You see that tiny spot of tar floating on the surface of the ocean, near the driftwood? Watch me throw this harpoon!

PHIL: Wow, you hit the tar! You'll get extra pay for that!

JACK: Extra pay! I want to be a harpooner too!

PHIL: Are you any good?

JACK: Am I? Look out at the ocean. You see that buoy out there? You see that other spot of tar floating on the surface of the ocean, near the buoy? Watch me throw this harpoon!

PHIL: Wow, you hit the ocean! I'll sign you up too. What's your name?

JACK: Call me Ishmael.

PHIL: Okay, you're a she-male.

JACK: That's schlemiel! Oh, never mind. Let's get on the ship!

(Musical bridge.)

JACK: Soon we were out at sea. Weeks passed. One day another ship, the Rachel, came by and asked for our help.

DENNIS: Ahoy! This is the captain of the Rachel. We're searching for my little boy. Have you seen him?

JACK: Why would take a child on a whaling ship?

DENNIS: I didn't. I left him on the dock.

JACK: Then why are you looking out here?

DENNIS: My boat's out here.

JACK: So?

DENNIS: I'm on the boat.

JACK: If you're the captain, why don't you have your navigator chart a course back to the dock?

DENNIS: Okay. Have you seen our navigator?

JACK: Don't tell me you left him on the dock too!

DENNIS: No. He couldn't find the dock, so we had to leave without him.

JACK: Look it, I'll try to help you. Do you have any idea what your present position is?

DENNIS: I'm standing up.

JACK: You're in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean! If you head due east, you'll be back in North America.

DENNIS: I've been trying to do that for a year.

JACK: What's taking you so long? Just steer east!

DENNIS: Ohhh! Steer!!!!

(Musical bridge)

JACK: Finally, Captain Ahab Wilson made his appearance. He told us our mission...to kill the great white whale, Moby Dick!

DON: I'll hunt down that whale to the ends of the earth! It haunts me. I can't rest, I can't sleep, I won't have a moment's peace because nothing...nothing can ever make up for what that fiend took from me.

JACK: You mean you?.

DON: Yes, Moby Dick swallowed my carton of Lucky Strike!

JACK: Lucky Strike!

DON: Yes, Lucky Strike, that fine, that rich, that naturally mild tobacco. So round, so firm, so fully packed, so free and easy on the draw!

JACK: That's why you're hunting Moby Dick???

DON: Of course. Everyone knows that Lucky Strike means fine tobacco.

JACK: I thought Moby Dick bit off your leg.

DON: He did, but what's a leg compared to the pure deep down smoking enjoyment of a Lucky Strike?

JACK: But you can buy another carton wherever cigarettes are sold?

DON: You can???

JACK: Certainly!

DON: Well, let's all go back to New England! Forget about the whales. Let's go buy cartons of Lucky Strike!

JACK: That's right. Let's go back to New England.

(Music.)

DON:  DON:   The Lucky Strike Program starring Jack Benny!  With Mary Livingstone, Phil Harris, Rochester, Dennis Day, and yours truly, Don Wilson!

            (MUSIC UP AND OUT)

DON:            Yesterday Jack invited us all out to his house in Beverly Hills to tell us about a very special show we’d be doing this week.  So let’s go back to yesterday at Jack’s house.  Rochester is cleaning the den…   

            (MUSIC TRANSITION)

ROCH: Umm-mm.  There.  That’s the last of the dusting.  Mr. Benny wants  everything just right – he’s having his whole gang over this afternoon.  I wonder what the occasion is.  Hmm… let’s see.  It ain’t New Year’s Day, ‘cause that was in January.  It ain’t the boss’s birthday, ‘cause that was in February.  It ain’t St. Patrick’s Day, ‘cause that was in March.  Well, it must be pay day, so April Fool!

JACK: Rochester!  Rochester! Have you finished cleaning the den?

ROCH:    Yes sir.

JACK: Good, good.

ROCH: And, oh, boy – what a job.

JACK: Oh, stop exaggerating.  It wasn’t that bad.

ROCH: It wasn’t?  Boss, I haven’t seen that much dust since the time you pulled that five dollar bill out of your wallet.

JACK: Don’t be ridiculous, Rochester – since when have I ever… I mean, don’t be ridiculous. By the way, Rochester, I just remembered!  I want to wear my new blue suit for the show we’re doing tomorrow.  Is it cleaned and ready?

ROCH: Which suit?

JACK: The dark blue suit.  The newer one.

ROCH: You mean the one you bought for Valentino’s funeral?

JACK: Stop joking around!  This is serious!

ROCH:            OK, OK.  Say, what’s so important about tomorrow?

JACK: You’ll find out.  Just wait until everyone gets here.  Did you call my cast and tell them to be here at noon?

ROCH: Yes, sir.  All except for Mr. Harris – I had to leave him a message.

JACK: A message?

ROCH: Yeah, they said he couldn’t come to the phone.

JACK: Gee.  I hope Phil isn’t under the weather.

ROCH: No, just under the table.

JACK: How do you like that.  Well, he’d better get here just the same.  This is a very important meeting.

          (DOORBELL)

JACK: Here they are now.  Get the door.  (TO HIMSELF) Valentino’s funeral.  Everybody’s a comedian around here but me.  I’ve got to have a talk with my writers…

ROCH: Oh, hello, Miss Livingstone.

MARY: Hello, Rochester.  Am I the first one here?

ROCH: Yes, ma’am.  Mr. Benny’s waiting in the den.

JACK: Come on in, Mary, and have a seat.  Say, you’re a few minutes early.

MARY: I know, but I got a letter from Mama this morning, and I wanted to read it to you before the meeting got started.

JACK: Oh, a letter from your mother, eh?  Well, what does Plainfield’s answer to “Nightmare Alley”  have to say?

MARY: Here, I’ll read it to you (clears throat):  “My darling daughter Mary – please excuse the short note, but we’ve all been busy packing for our trip to California next week.  Your sister Babe is so excited, she can’t sleep.  Every night she lies awake thinking about her screen test.”

JACK: Mary – you mean Babe’s going to make a screen test while she’s here?

MARY: Quiet, Jack.  “Babe says she hopes to get some rest on the train, as she’ll have to be at the studio early the next morning.  They say it will take at least three hours to attach the bolts to her neck.”

JACK: Gee, I didn’t know they were remaking that.

MARY: “Must finish packing, so will sign off for now.  Looking forward to seeing you in Los Angeles – your loving mother, Theda Bara Livingstone.”

JACK: “Theda Bara Livingstone”… Mary, is that all?

MARY: Oh, wait – “p.s. – Tell Jack thanks for inviting us to stay with him, but Papa’s decided to save money and stay at a hotel.”

JACK: Hmm.  I’ll have to get Rochester to set the “vacancy” sign back out… gosh, look at the time.  Where is everybody?

ROCH: Mr. Wilson’s coming up the sidewalk now.

JACK: How can you tell?  The curtains are closed.

ROCH: I’m looking at the Richter scale.

JACK: Oh, yes.  Last time he broke one of my best vases by stepping off the Sunset bus.

DON:  Hello, everyone.

JACK: Hello, Don.  Don, before I forget, did you get the introduction I sent over for you?  For tomorrow’s show?

DON:   Well, yes I did, Jack.  But…

JACK: What? 

DON:  Jack, I'll be honest with you.  I looked over your introduction                  and some of the things you want me to say just stick in my throat.

JACK: Stick in your throat?

DON:   That’s right, Jack.  They stick in my throat.

JACK: What a guy!  He can eat a whole chicken in two bites, but my introduction sticks in his throat!  What things?  What's the matter with it?

DON:  Well, (PAPER RATTLES) you want me to say…let’s see… “And now ladies and gentlemen, here’s a man admired by his peers… a man beloved by everyone who knows him.” 

JACK: Yes.  That’s right.  What’s wrong with that?  You think it’s immodest?

DON:   Oh, boss – come, now!

JACK: Listen, Don.  You’re the announcer.  You get paid to announce, not to editorialize.

DON:   Well then let’s talk about my pay.

JACK: What about it?

DON:   I’ve worked in radio for many years, Jack, and I can tell you with complete certainty that it is very unusual for a cast member on a major radio program to be paid by the hour.

JACK: I think your salary is very generous, Don.  Is it my fault you only work two hours a month?  …Anyway, I don’t want to talk about that now.  You just read the introduction I gave you!

DON:   Oh, all right.  Say, Jack, what’s this meeting all about?

JACK: Well, Don, I don’t want to tell you before everyone gets here, but believe me – I have a big announcement to make.

DENNIS: Gee.  Isn’t that the announcer’s job?

JACK: Don, stop being so silly.  You’re starting to sound just like Dennis. 

DENNIS: But I am Dennis.

JACK:  What?  Dennis – Dennis, I can hear your voice, but I can’t see you. Where are you?

DENNIS: I came in behind Don.

JACK: Oh, well, that explains it, kid.

DON:  Say, Dennis, did you hurt yourself?

JACK: Yeah!  Your arm is in a sling!  What happened?

DENNIS:  I was practicing my song for this week and I fell off the piano.

JACK: Oh for heaven's sake.

MARY:            What were you doing on--

JACK: Mary!  Don't ask him.  This silly kid drives me crazy.

MARY: Jack, when you called you said you had big news.  What's going on?

JACK: Well, it just so happens that...  Oh, darn it!  I wanted to tell everybody at once.  Where's Phil?

PHIL:   Don’t be afraid if the script is slowing!  Harris is here to get the show a-rollin’!

            (APPLAUSE)

PHIL:   That’s it!  Yeah!  They love me!

JACK: Phil!  What are you doing?  We’re in my den!  There’s no audience here!

PHIL:   Sorry, Jackson.  Force of habit.

MARY:            Yeah.  At lunch yesterday he ordered a corned beef sandwich and then did two encores.

PHIL:   Well, hello, Livvy, you beautiful dream.  Hiya, Donsy.

DON:   Hi, Phil.

PHIL:   Hello… Say, kid!  What happened to your arm?

DENNIS:  I was practicing my song and I fell off the piano.

PHIL:   What were you doing on the—

JACK: Never mind that!  Now that everybody’s finally here I can give you the news.

DON:   Excuse me, Jack.  I rushed over here without having lunch.  You think we could have some sandwiches?

MARY:            Yeah, Jack.  I’m hungry, too.

DENNIS:  Me, too!

JACK: Oh, all right.  Rochester!  Fix up some sandwiches, will you? 

ROCH:            You want a sandwich too, boss?

JACK: No, I had a big bowl of oatmeal this morning.

MARY:            Oatmeal!  You mean the Grapenuts finally ran out?

JACK: Well, they were my sponsor for only 2 years.

ROCH:            But if my calculations are correct, we’ll be having Jello until 1969.

JACK: That stuff never goes bad, you know.  Anyway, here’s the news.  We’re going to be doing a special show at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel.

MARY:            Why there, Jack?

JACK:            Because… (GIGGLES)  That is where the Jack Benny Fan Club is holding its annual convention.

PHIL:   The Jack Benny Fan Club?

JACK: That’s right.

MARY:            And we’re going to do our show for them?

JACK: That’s right.

PHIL:   The Jack Benny Fan Club?

JACK: Yes.

DENNIS:  Gee, that’ll be swell.

PHIL:   The Jack Benny Fan Club?

JACK: Yes, Phil!  The Jack Benny Fan Club!  What’s the matter?  I can’t have a fan club?

MARY:            Wait a minute, Jack.  Is this just some new way to get the kids in the Beverly Hills Beavers to pay you more dues every month?

JACK:  No!  No!  It’s a real, honest to goodness fan club!

PHIL:  The Jack Benny Fan--?

JACK: STOP SAYING THAT!  What’s wrong with you people?  I have a fan club!  We’re going to do our show tomorrow at their annual convention.  Why is that so hard to believe?

DENNIS: I believe it, Mr. Benny.

JACK: You do, kid?

DENNIS: Yeah.

JACK:  Well, thank you, Dennis.

DENNIS: I believe in Santy Claus, too, and look at the new sweater I got for Christmas.

JACK:   Well, here’s a mothball, and go sit down.

PHIL:   Gosh Jackson!  So you’ve really  got a fan club, huh?

JACK: That’s right.  And they tell me the convention is QUITE a gathering.  So I want everything to be first rate, and no fooling around.  Phil!  I want your orchestra to do something classy.  None of that “doo-wah-diddy” stuff.  And what happened last week, anyway?  They sounded terrible!

PHIL: That was just a little mix-up.  It’s all taken care of now.

JACK: What happened?

PHIL: Some of the boys got a little confused.  But I got Mahlon Merrick to draw arrows on the sheet music, so everybody should have it right side up from now on.

JACK: Isn’t that awful?

MARY:            Yeah, and Mahlon put tape on Phil’s baton so he won’t accidentally grab it by the pointy end.

PHIL: (HURT) Et tu, Livvy?  You know, a fella can get hurt with one of them things.  Anyway… Where do you get off telling me how to run my band, Dad?  I’m the band leader! And I am a musical conn-oh-sewer.

JACK: For once he pronounced something right!  Phil! It happens to be my show!  And perhaps it has slipped your mind...your mind IS awfully slippery...but I am an internationally known musician.

MARY:            (LAUGHS)

DON:   What is it, Mary?

MARY: Internationally known!  Once a month he goes down and plays on the sidewalk in Tijuana.

JACK: Don't laugh.  A lot of those tourists don’t care how they get rid of their pesos before they come back across the border.  Now, Dennis, I want to talk about your song. 

DENNIS: Okay.  I thought I would do—

JACK:  Now I want you to do something really nice.

DENNIS: Sure.  I figured I’d sing—

JACK: Something classic.  You know.

DENNIS: OK.  How about if I—

JACK: I want you to sing, “Danny Boy.”

DENNIS: Danny Boy?

JACK: Yeah.

DENNIS: That song stinks!

JACK: What?

DENNIS: I hate “Danny Boy!”

JACK:  Wait a minute! An Irish tenor who hates “Danny Boy?”

DENNIS: Danny Boy!  Danny Boy! (BECOMING MORE AGITATED) Just because I’m a tenor, everybody thinks I should love “Danny Boy!”  All my life it’s, “Hey Dennis, do Danny Boy!”  Come on, kid!  Sing Danny Boy!  Danny Boy!  Danny Boy!  (SCREAMING) It’s driving me mad!  Mad, I tell you!  (MANIACAL LAUGH)

JACK:  Dennis!  All Right!  All right!  You don’t have to sing Danny Boy! Now put down that letter opener!  And get down off the coffee table before you break your other arm!

DENNIS: (CALM) O.K.

JACK: Gee, kid.  I didn’t know you felt so strongly about it.

DENNIS: I just think I shouldn’t be confined to such a stereotypical repertoire merely because I am a tenor of Irish extraction.

JACK:  Well!  What song do you want to do?

DENNIS: “How Are Things in Gloccamora.”

JACK:  What did I just say?  This kid drives me crazy.

DENNIS: Don’t you wanna know why I was rehearsing on top of the piano?

JACK:  ALL RIGHT!  Why were you rehearsing on top of the piano?

DENNIS: So I could REACH THE HIGH NOTES!  (IMITATES PHIL) Oh, Day, you may be corny, but… 

JACK: But what?

DENNIS:  I can’t think of anything.

JACK: You know, it’s times like this that make me appreciate my real writers.

            (TELEPHONE RINGS)

JACK: Rochester, get the phone, will you?  Really, Dennis!  Sometimes—

ROCH:            Hello, Jack Benny residence, star of stage, screen, radio—

DENNIS: (MEXICAN ACCENT) And the corner in front of the cantina!

JACK: Dennis!

ROCH: OK!  It’s for you, Mr. Benny.  It’s the President of your fan club.

JACK: What!  The president?  Give me the phone!  Give me the phone!  (TO TELEPHONE, SING SONG) He-lloooo!  Ms. Leff?

MARY: You don’t have to curtsy, Jack!  She can’t see you!

JACK: (TO MARY) Quiet! (TO TELEPHONE) No no!  Not you, Ms. Leff!  It’s so nice to hear from you!  Is everything ready for tomorrow?  What’s that?  They are? (OFF PHONE) The members of the club are just thrilled!

PHIL: Oh, brother.

JACK: (TO TELEPHONE) What?  Yes, they’ll all be there.  My whole cast.  And Ms. Leff!  I have a special treat for you!  Yes!  I knew you would request it anyway, so…

MARY: Uh oh!  Here it comes!

JACK: …So I’ve worked up a special number on my violin.  As a treat for my fans.  Yes, that’s right!  On my violin.  What?  Well, I can’t imagine that my fans would…  But Ms. Leff, I think that a violin number would… But Ms. Leff, I think that…  But Ms. Leff, I…  But Ms. Leff…  But… But…  But…  But…

MARY: This could take a while.  Come on, gang.  Let’s go check on those sandwiches.

DENNIS: Gee, I hope it’s lime jello today.

JACK: But…  But…  But…

(MUSIC UP AND OUT WITH JACK CONTINUING TO SAY “BUT.”)