Jack Benny was the ultimate American entertainer, film actor, vaudevillian, comedian, and television and radio artist. He drew universal respect for his talent and was considered among the best 20th century entertainers of America.
He was acknowledged for his comic timing, as well as for his gift for eliciting laughter by just a single expression or even a pregnant pause. His programs, either on radio or television, were immensely popular. Acclaimed, particularly during their run between the 1930s and the 1960s, they were a recognized influence on situational comedy as we know it now.
He started as a minor actor on vaudeville. His talent in song and dance and burlesque comedy, however, came to be recognized when he joined the world of radio with his The Jack Benny Program. The weekly radio show ran on NBC between the periods of 1932 and 1948, and on CBS between 1949 and 1955. During its run, the radio program, the most popular of Old Time Radio Shows, got consistent high ratings, a clear indication of its amazing long-lasting popularity.
The program was a variety show combining sketch comedy and interims of music. It evolved into what we now refer to as sitcom or the situational comedy genre. It crafted funny scenarios from common everyday situations, paying income tax, nights out in town, parties, traveling by plane or train, and other universal situations. There would be musical interludes from Dennis Day and Phil Harris.
The program enjoyed the patronage of celebrated companies as sponsors. The name of the program invariably reflected this sponsorship. Thus, Benny did the Canada Dry Program, The Chevrolet Program, and the General Tire Program from 1932 to 1934. He enjoyed having General Foods, manufacturer of Jell-O and Grape-Nuts, as his sponsor for a decade. The Jell-O Program (1934 to 1942), helped to sell so much Jell-O that the company was hard-pressed to supply the demand for the product, particularly during the sugar shortage of World War II. General Foods stopped advertising Jell-O and the radio program became The Grape-Buts Program (1942 to 1944).
Lucky Strike cigarettes of the American Tobacco Company is most identified with the show, having been its longest-running sponsor (1944 to1955) in the Lucky Strike Program. It was during this time that the program finally became The Jack Benny Program.
You can now enjoy the complete MP3 disc set of this incredible radio series (1932 to 1955), the best of all OTR shows of its era. Just log on to OTR World / OTRWorld.com.