I’ve touched upon it before and now I’ll say it again — I LOVE old time radio. Though I’ve been a fan for 17 years or so now, for awhile I was not an active listener. In the last year and a half or so, I’ve refocused my attentions on OTR and it has become a great passion in my life yet again. I thought it would be fun to post this ad celebrating Jack Benny’s 15th anniversary on radio, which I found while looking up pictures of him online.
Jack Benny is by far my favorite comedian (I think Bob Hope would probably come second) and his radio show easily trumps anything else that was ever on the air. The writing was incredibly brilliant while also being silly, the characters were developed over decades and there’s a great sense of continuity and huge payoffs to jokes throughout the series. The radio show itself would go on to have a fantastic 23 year run (1932-1955), while Benny’s TV show would last 15 years (1950-1965) and Benny himself would stay active in show business up until his death in 1974 by performing in theaters & night clubs across the world while also performing charity shows with every major orchestra in the United States (and some in Canada) where he would play the violin.
Anyway, this ad is from 1946 (during which I think the show was at a very strong point in its run). The call sign of WEAF is from what at the time was NBC’s flagship station and was based in New York.
While I’m on the subject of Jack Benny, here’s a picture of the biography I just finished reading (the second Benny bio I’ve read!):
It was written by Irving Fein, who was Benny’s longtime producer/business manager/friend. It’s a very good book written by someone who obviously had a great deal of affection towards Jack. This is not a “tell all” and there is no dirty laundry being aired here but I did find it refreshing that Fein painted a honest portrait of Jack — someone who was very kind, considerate and funny but also someone who was human and was prone to becoming angry, sad, worrisome or insecure just like we all are. An excellent read for Benny fans and I got it for only a few bucks off Amazon.