Posted ByGerry O. on January 18, 2002 at 18:28:22:
In Reply to: Ronald Colman posted byTanya Shaw on January 18, 2002 at 16:05:04:
: Most people know how Fred Allen became such a hot topic
: and hit on the JB Show (for those of you who don't know,
: it began in Jan. 1937 when Fred mentioned on his own
: show that Jack couldn't play the song "The Bee" on his
: violin as well as Fred's 10 year old guess star who
: played the violin quite well). But how ever did Jack
: get Ronald and Benita Colman on his show? When did they
: first appear on the show? Were Jack and Ronnie great
: friends? I found out a while back that they were NOT
: neighbors as the show indicates. So what's the story?
Ronald and Benita Colman first guested on Jack's show in 1946. It was the show where Jack opened up his swimming pool for the season, and the latter half of the program had Jack practicing his violin with Professor LeBlanc, and the sound drove next door neighbor Colman NUTS!
That program was such a hit that the Colmans were brought back more and more...eventually they were almost thought of as semi-regulars.
Jack liked to have a famous star as a neighbor because he could get a lot of script mileage out of borrowing things from the neighbor, the neighbor trying to avoid Jack, etc.
Colman was probably cast as Jack's neighbor because he was so proper, so refined that it would be very funny to have him lose his cool
when it came to pesty Jack.
Actually, I have heard some Benny shows from the early 40's where Basil Rathbone is cast as Jack's neighbor, and that's a funny match too.
During Jack's TV series, he tried to have a "Ronald and Benita Colman"-type next-door neighbor relationship with Mr. & Mrs. Jimmy Stewart, but for some reason I never found that combo to work as well.
I am a big fan of Jimmy Stewart and respect his work, but he was just too much of a nice "regular guy" to be really funny when being bothered by Jack...It worked much better with such "proper gentlemen" as the aforementioned Rathbone and Colman, as well as Claude Rains and Herbert Marshall (who also guested on the Benny program).
Ooops...Here I am being long-winded again...Sorry...As Jack used to say, "We're a little late, so Good-night folks!"