DISCOVERING JACK, revisited


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Posted ByDavid M. Lynch on November 15, 2002 at 05:46:21:

One of my favorite exchanges on this forum was "How Did You Discover Jack Benny?" which is wayyyyy down toward the end. To quote from Laura, "The IJBFC contains fans of all ages, people who grew up with Jack Benny on the radio and people who were born after he died. I've had some members say that they're only interested in his movies, and there's always been a debate on the merits of his work on radio vs. television. So the question is: how did you discover and learn to enjoy the humor of Jack Benny?"

As for myself, having grown up (primarily) in the 1960s, Jack Benny was one of those comedians who'd "always" been around, like Berle, Skelton, Burns, Hope, Gleason, etc. I was not yet the Benny fanatic I am today, but I always liked him when I saw him on TV. Shortly after receiving my first tape recorder for my birthday in 1968, I made an audio recording of "Jack Benny's Bag." (Wish I'd kept it!) I also enjoyed Jack's appearances with Johnny Carson on "The Tonight Show." I even had a stingy uncle who was constantly compared to Jack.

I'd always been a marginal fan of OTR, as well, and had even heard a couple of Jack's old shows, but it wasn't until the mid-1980s that a local comic shop's display of Jack Benny radio shows -- at a vastly reduced price, fittingly enough -- allowed me to OD on what immediately became my favorite radio program, and form an appreciation of Jack's true mastery of his art.

So, I guess I'm primarily (and I stress "primarily") a RADIO Jack Benny fan, as much as I enjoy him in all other media. In fact, I sometimes feel a bit awkward watching him in movies, because there, he's playing a character, and I can't escape knowing the "real" Jack, meaning the time-honored Jack persona of the radio and TV shows.

I'd love to hear how everybody else -- especially the younger fans -- found Jack!




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