IJBFC Chat - April 15, 2018
(Name of message originator appears at the start of the line)
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 4:52 PM - I’m here early, to park the cars, perhaps…
Roger - 4:53 PM - Hello. Logging in for now. I have to leave at 7 Pm but will be back by 7:30 Pm to catch the tail-end of the chat.
Laura Leibowitz - 4:59 PM - Hi folks!
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 4:59 PM - Hello Laura!
So sorry to hear about Gerry Nachman, but of course that creates opportunity
Laura Leibowitz - 5:00 PM - What happened to Gerry?
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 5:00 PM - he passed away yesterday
Laura Leibowitz - 5:01 PM - Ohhhh! Noooooo.
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 5:03 PM - Gerry wrote some amazing books that will be useful for generations, I wish him a safe journey.
Steve Haynie - 5:03 PM - Hello.
Laura Leibowitz - 5:03 PM - Absolutely. One of the occupational hazards of the OTR community.
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 5:03 PM - Its been great to see some early Benny Kubelsky career research on facebook this week
Tom Vorce - 5:04 PM - Good afternoon or Good evening, folks!
Laura Leibowitz - 5:04 PM - Hi there Tom
Garth Johnson - 5:04 PM - I did manage to get to sleep after finding that database
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 5:04 PM - Hello Tom and Steve, I hope the weather where you are is as nice as Austin tonight
Laura Leibowitz - 5:04 PM - Rats…still kind of reeling from the news about Gerry.
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 5:04 PM - Garth!!! Well, at least its not going anywhere, soon
R.Hookie - 5:04 PM - Hello folks!
Steve Haynie - 5:04 PM - Thunderstorms.
Laura Leibowitz - 5:04 PM - I was wondering that I hadn’t heard from him in a while.
Tom Vorce - 5:05 PM - Very nice. 70 degrees today.
Laura Leibowitz - 5:05 PM - It just started raining here.
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 5:05 PM - My favorite find there, Garth, was complete runs of the Grace Cunard/Francis Ford movie serial-novelizations I was searching for, from places like Bisbee, Arizona and tinytown, Oklahoma. Yay for the last of federal support for history research!
Laura Leibowitz - 5:05 PM - So how’s everyone doing tonight?
Garth Johnson - 5:06 PM - Finally could see some sun for a bit today after TWO WEEKS of BC’s finest rain
R.Hookie - 5:06 PM - Ahhh... we're talking weather.... let's not.
Laura Leibowitz - 5:06 PM - Yes, the early Kubelsky research has been fantastic. And it’s been a kick on the tuchus for me to get moving on the Jack Benny research database.
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 5:06 PM - (Austin smugness, not in any way supported by how grey, rainy and chilly its actually been here)
yes, Laura! Let’s make it happen, and to carry the writing/publication torch that just got dropped…
R.Hookie - 5:07 PM - Penny was nearly completely buried when I let her out.
Laura Leibowitz - 5:08 PM - Absolutely. Well, let’s make that a formal announcement. A gentleman who was intending to write the “ultimate” Jack Benny biography just passed away yester.
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 5:09 PM - and Gerry was a great writer and knew so much, its such a loss. But we can create material in his honor, and for our learning pleasure!
Tom Vorce - 5:09 PM - Wow. That’s unfortunate.
Steve Haynie - 5:09 PM - Would anyone be able to access his research notes and continue his work?
Laura Leibowitz - 5:09 PM - It’s a good question…I don’t know how far he got. Kathy - Do you have more visibility than I did?
I have him copies of all my books and newsletters.
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 5:10 PM - Laura, I don’t think he got very far. So we can honor him and keep going!
Laura Leibowitz - 5:10 PM - Honestly, our combined research efforts may have well more than he already had!
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 5:11 PM - yep
Laura Leibowitz - 5:11 PM - OK, it’s ten minutes after. For any newbies here, we’ll go to Watch2Gether to share the show experience (I think I’ve fixed the thing that jumps the show around…we’ll see), and then we’ll come back to this page to discuss.
Steve Haynie - 5:11 PM - how do we get there?
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 5:11 PM - yay, I will get the popcorn!
Laura Leibowitz - 5:11 PM - For anyone coming into the chat afterwards, please go to this link:
Steve Haynie - 5:12 PM - This is fun!
Garth Johnson - 5:32 PM - Please Stand By
Garth Johnson - 5:35 PM - Thanks Pamelyn Ferdin for posting pictures of her in the Texaco costume with Jack and 3 other girls. You can see her again January 21, 1969 in Jack Benny’s Birthday Special.
Garth Johnson - 6:11 PM - We now return to our regularly scheduled programming
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 6:11 PM - what a great show!
R.Hookie - 6:11 PM - I loved it
Steve Haynie - 6:11 PM - That was groovy!
Laura Leibowitz - 6:12 PM - Yeah, very fun. One of the best color specials.
Roger - 6:12 PM - Great show!
Laura Leibowitz - 6:12 PM - I feel so hip.
Tom Vorce - 6:12 PM - Jack Benny visits “Laugh-In”!
R.Hookie - 6:12 PM - I liked The New Look too
Laura Leibowitz - 6:12 PM - Well, he actually did that!
Maybe we should watch that one of these days…
Garth Johnson - 6:12 PM - Wow a Benny program that is younger than I
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 6:12 PM - a really wicked parody of the Graduate. I am a little surprised that it got through the censors with so much married lady infidelity. I suppose because in the skit she does not succeed
Laura Leibowitz - 6:13 PM - Hookie - Yes, I confess I have a tremendous weakness for New Look. Especially the opening.
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 6:13 PM - Eddie Anderson’s toupe was better than Jack’s haha
Laura Leibowitz - 6:13 PM - Kathy - Ha!
And it didn’t make him look like Mia Farrow.
R.Hookie - 6:14 PM - The Mia Farrow wig was alright
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 6:14 PM - Jack was channeling Gracie with his Mia imitation
Laura Leibowitz - 6:14 PM - What did you think about the “generation gap” skit?
Kathy - Yes, that little simper. Great catch!
R.Hookie - 6:14 PM - Dick Clark getting soaked
Tom Vorce - 6:15 PM - Good stuff!
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 6:15 PM - and I LOVE Cleopatra showing up in the closet in the Graduate skit, touche Eddie Fisher
Steve Haynie - 6:15 PM - The generation gap skit was set up like a lot of radio skits.
Laura Leibowitz - 6:15 PM - Interesting to see that Hickey is credited as “Marx” rather than Marks
Kathy - Yes, very much taking a page from the “rerun” jokes of the radio era.
R.Hookie - 6:15 PM - Probably typo
Garth Johnson - 6:16 PM - Jack was a bit tight on the editing budget
Laura Leibowitz - 6:16 PM - Steve - That’s a good point. I don’t think it quite works for me, but that may be because I find Jack trying to play someone else strange.
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 6:16 PM - this special is so much kinder to the younger generation than a Bob Hope special of the same year would be
Laura Leibowitz - 6:16 PM - Yeah, good catch on the set lights blinking on and off.
Kathy - Say more…not sure I’ve seen the Hope special.
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 6:17 PM - the Laugh In connections are fascinating, because wasn’t this its first year on the air, and quite controversial? You go, Jack
Laura Leibowitz - 6:17 PM - Yes, I believe you’re right.
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 6:18 PM - oh, I mean ANY Hope special of the late 60s haha still traumatized by being an “advisor” on the Hope PBS special
Laura Leibowitz - 6:18 PM - And he wouldn’t appear on Laugh-In until February of 1970.
Kathy - Ah, gotcha.
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 6:19 PM - at least a Jack Benny PBS special won’t have to count on Kermit the Frog as a major admirer, haha
Laura Leibowitz - 6:19 PM - Yikes. So much for beloved Bob…
So what else about the show? Or any other Benny-related questions on your mind?
Michael Golek - 6:19 PM - On the radio show, Mary Livingston’s character seems undefined. Is she Jack’s secretary? What is the reason for her presence on the show?
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 6:20 PM - well, our Fan Club member Ben Schwartz takes a more complex view, and his work, when its published, will be fabulous!
Laura Leibowitz - 6:20 PM - Kathy - I’m sure.
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 6:20 PM - Michael, that is one of the great questions!
Laura Leibowitz - 6:20 PM - Michael - I’m going to hold back and have others say their thoughts on it…
Tom Vorce - 6:20 PM - Oh my. Let’s hear so more dirt on Bob Hope! Ha!
R.Hookie - 6:21 PM - She really don't fit in, does she?
Laura Leibowitz - 6:21 PM - Well, Bob Hope supposedly had his vasectomy certificate framed in his office to show “prospects” that they didn’t need to worry about getting pregnant…not sure if it’s true…
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 6:21 PM - Oh, just in the 1960s, Hope was all about berating hippies and young people. Thank goodness for Benny’s Bag!
Tom Vorce - 6:21 PM - Wow.
Laura Leibowitz - 6:21 PM - Thoughts on Michael’s question about Mary’s place on the radio show, fokls?
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 6:22 PM - I think the fact that Mary is not a paid member of the radio crew is what makes her brilliant : )
Laura Leibowitz - 6:22 PM - Ha.
She was paid in different ways…
Michael Golek - 6:22 PM - If the crew had a heckler position, that would be her.
Laura Leibowitz - 6:23 PM - Yeah, she originally started off as Jack’s fan, then secretary, then girlfriend…all in 1932…
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 6:23 PM - Bob Hope (to beat a dead horse) would have wisecracking women on the show, but he would call them out as ugly man-hungry viragos. Mary the character got to have it all, fun with the boys, insulting the guy everyone off air knew was her husband. A maid, a house of her own, pretty darn good for the 1940s and 1950s!
Laura Leibowitz - 6:24 PM - Mary was billed as “Jack’s pest-girl” in stage appearances of the 1930s, so that was kind of a genre
A little more on the Gracie Allen/Portland Hoffa side of the equation when she’s reading poems she’s written…
(What was Portland’s role on Fred Allen’s program? To annoy the living crap out of you…)
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 6:25 PM - and in the 30s, she was considered the second best female comic, after Gracie. Its just her own desire to have less to do with the show, and stardom, that kept her from being a bigger star in the 40s and 50s (IMHO)
Laura Leibowitz - 6:25 PM - And then she finally becomes the one who could really puncture Jack when his character needed it.
Michael Golek - 6:25 PM - It worked. Mary gave the show had a female voice. Jack’s life didn’t have to be domestic focused on the show.
Laura Leibowitz - 6:25 PM - Your darn one last near made it…
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 6:26 PM - and the TV show suffers a bit from not having that character
Michael Golek - 6:26 PM - I remember the day Jack met Mary on TV.
Laura Leibowitz - 6:26 PM - True. The characters carrying the old gang are Rochester, Dennis, and Don Wilson.
Michael - The dotted shirt and throwing his hat?
Michael Golek - 6:27 PM - It was unclear what meeting Mary meant to Jack’s life. Then Jack threw his hat around the room.
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 6:27 PM - Rochester takes over more of the role. But, for cultural and Jim-Crow reasons, he could never say “SHUT UP!” to Jack
Laura Leibowitz - 6:27 PM - His version was more “Oh boss…COME now!”
Michael Golek - 6:27 PM - I heard Rochester punching Jack caused a controversy.
Garth Johnson - 6:27 PM - The writers always had a problem with the Mary character as she didn’t fit into any one niche
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 6:27 PM - which for the 1940s and 50s WAS something
Laura Leibowitz - 6:27 PM - Michael - Yes, on radio when Jack was training for a fight with Fred Allen.
Garth - It’s true, but you could feel what lines fit in her mouth and which didn’t.
Michael Golek - 6:28 PM - Mary’s laugh was also a great part of her character.
Laura Leibowitz - 6:28 PM - She’d never be given the line, “Ohhhhhh…BATHING SUIT!”
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 6:28 PM - I like to say that, Mary was like a screwball heroine of a 1930s movie, BUT she did not have to marry the hero at the end of 75 minutes, she could keep on being weird, ditzy, grouchy or whatever
Laura Leibowitz - 6:29 PM - That’s a good point.
Heck, in her one movie she is partnered romantically with, of all people, Ned Sparks.
Michael Golek - 6:29 PM - I agree. Screwball comedy indeed.
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 6:29 PM - from 1932 onwards, the LAUGH was one of her greatest weapons, yes Michael!!!!
Garth Johnson - 6:29 PM - Ref: Portland - here’s a snipe from 1936 that could have just as well been written for Mary …. 1936 - LI'L SMOOTHIE -- The face that Fred Allen sees over the breakfast table each morning. The face belongs to Portland Hoffa who is Fred Allen's wife in private life and his chief heckler on the air. In addition to beauty, Portland possesses a keen sense of humor which inspires Allen's Wednesday night programs over the NBC Red network. (Job #4173 Neg #29)
Michael Golek - 6:30 PM - Nice pull Garth!
Laura Leibowitz - 6:30 PM - Good stuff, Garth.
Has anyone done any academic work on the progression of Mary’s character and the progression of women’s role in society?
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 6:31 PM - that is a lovely find! On Broadway Portland had been a beautiful chorus girl. It IS a little weird that her radio character was more like 1 13 year old. Fred made reference to that in some small jokes about them checking into hotels together, haha
Laura Leibowitz - 6:31 PM - Oh…oops…have I not seen that part of your book yet? blush
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 6:32 PM - haha that is OK there is an interesting book about female-male partners in vaudeville that is really useful!
Laura Leibowitz - 6:32 PM - Which one?
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 6:32 PM - new book on Sophie Tucker by a colleague of mine, there is great new stuff out there!
Laura Leibowitz - 6:33 PM - Excellent! Sophie deserves some recognition.
I have a feather fan that belonged to her.
Oh…any requests for next month?
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 6:34 PM - Its called “Male Female Comedy Teams in American Vaudeville 1865-1932” by Shirley Staples (1984) and its one of the best things on Gracie and George
Laura Leibowitz - 6:34 PM - Kathy - Yee hah! I’ll have to look for it.
Garth Johnson - 6:34 PM - I have a request - Sea Bass, but don’t tell Groucho
Laura Leibowitz - 6:34 PM - Wah wahhhhh
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 6:34 PM - yay! the new sophie tucker book is by Lauren Sklaroff
Laura Leibowitz - 6:34 PM - If you don’t Sea Bass every night, you can’t Sea Bass at all…
Ah, I know what to do for next month.
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 6:35 PM - do you have any other kinescopes of live TV episodes?
Laura Leibowitz - 6:35 PM - So any other Benny-related topics, or should we call it good for this month?
Steve Haynie - 6:36 PM - I was happy to get in this month.
Laura Leibowitz - 6:36 PM - Kathy - I do, although have limited capability on sharing them. Stay tuned.
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 6:36 PM - I appreciate everyone being here tonight, and hope that we can keep the vaudeville research going on facebook, yay
Laura Leibowitz - 6:36 PM - Steve - I’ll second that!
R.Hookie - 6:36 PM - It's been fun
Tom Vorce - 6:36 PM - Jack Benny’s Bag was a great treat!
Laura Leibowitz - 6:36 PM - I’m glad you all liked it so much!
Michael Golek - 6:36 PM - Nice to see the TV special. Like the “toll call” joke.
Garth Johnson - 6:36 PM - I had fun - its nice when everyone knows the punch lines to my puns
Laura Leibowitz - 6:37 PM - Garth - You should see Benny fans get together in person.
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 6:37 PM - it sure was!!! I swear there were bits I’d not seen before, on top of the amazing commercials!
Laura Leibowitz - 6:37 PM - Kathy - Even I forgot the upshot of the scene in the bedroom!
OK, thanks so much for joining everyone. Hope to see you next month!
R.Hookie - 6:37 PM - Commercials were much better in the past
Laura Leibowitz - 6:37 PM - Amen
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 6:38 PM - all my film historian colleagues in my department WORSHIP the Graduate, and I so want to show them this, they will roll on the floor
Laura Leibowitz - 6:38 PM - Let us know how it goes!
R.Hookie - 6:38 PM - Yes, please do
Laura Leibowitz - 6:38 PM - Have a good night, folks!
Tom Vorce - 6:38 PM - Good night, everyone!
Kathy Fuller Seeley - 6:38 PM - good night and thanks!
R.Hookie - 6:38 PM - Good night folks!
Michael Golek - 6:38 PM - Thanks and good night.
Steve Haynie - 6:39 PM - Bye
Garth Johnson - 6:39 PM - Say Good Night Laura