Posted ByGerry O. on February 29, 2004 at 01:11:26:
I've always been amazed at how Jack Benny handled the scathing review of his radio program by critic Gilbert Seldes in an issue of "Esquire" (in 1946).
Instead of publically getting angry and rebutting the article, or criticizing Mr. Seldes, Jack actually invited Mr. Seldes to appear on his show as a guest!
Surprisingly, Mr. Seldes agreed to appear on Jack's show, and when he DID, Jack addressed the critical "Esquire" review.
In the review, Mr. Seldes wrote that Jack's program was "mean-spirited", with much of the humor relying on cheap insults and other nasty exchanges among the cast.
On the program, Jack showed Mr. Seldes what the "new and nice" Benny program would sound like....and then Jack and the cast proceeded to present the most sickenly sweet version of the Benny program you ever heard, with the cast members being nauseatingly sweet and polite to each other. It was SO unlike the usual Benny program, and sounded SO ridiculous that in addition to being very funny, it also took the wind out of Mr. Seldes "Esquire" review.
In a way, Jack and the gang really made a fool out of Gilbert Seldes and his review....but in a NICE way, without personally embarrassing or chastising the critic.
Jack really handled that situation in a tactful, but effective way!