Violin-playing comedian from Waukegan, Illinois, who achieved national fame on radio in the 1930s. His program, the Jack Benny Show, ran for 33 years- on the radio from 1932 to 1955 and on television from 1950-1965.

Born Benjamin Kubelsky in 1894, and at the age of 16 began playing the violin in vaudeville. Touring the circuit and a stint in the navy convinced him that his comedy was better than his musical ability. The stage name he eventually settled on was Jack Benny

Although appearing in film in the late 1920s, it was an appearance on the radio with Ed Sullivan that led to his own show. After sponsors like Canada Dry, Chevrolet, and General Tire left the show, Jell-O had a hit with The Jell-O Program Starring Jack Benny. Every Sunday night at 7:00 for thirty minutes, Benny and his gang of regulars would serve up skits and music. His regulars included Mary Livingstone, played by his wife Sadie Marks, who became so well known in the role she legally changed her name to Mary Livingstone. Rochester, Jack's valet, joined the cast in 1937. He was played by Eddie Anderson. Bandleader Phil Harris replaced Don Bestor to became a regular when the show moved in 1936 from New York to Los Angeles. Dennis Day sang tenor and Don Wilson was the voice of the Jell-O ads. In the 1940s, when Lucky Strike became the sponsor, the cast added Mel Blanc, whose vocal talents made him invaluable as numerous characters. Noted for his exquisite timing and rotten violin playing, Benny knew comedy up and down. He said:

Comedy itself is based upon very old principals of which I can readily name seven. They are, in short: the joke, exaggeration, ridicule, ignorance, surprise, the pun, and finally, the comic situation.
Jack Benny died in 1974.
American comedian (1894-1974). Born Benjamin Kubelsky, he got his start performing as a comic violinist on the vaudeville circuit. He was funny and popular, and he got his own radio show in 1932.

The cast of his show included the acidic and snappy Mary Livingstone (actually Sadie Marks, Jack's wife, who became so associated with the character that she eventually changed her name to Mary Livingstone); Eddie Anderson, who played Rochester, Jack's long-suffering valet; Phil Harris, Jack's alcohol-swilling orchestra leader; Dennis Day, a tenor with a beautiful voice and a naive outlook; and Mel Blanc, the voice of Bugs Bunny, who performed a number of different roles, including Jack's violin teacher and the deadpan, sombrero-wearing Cy...

Jack: "What's your name?"
Cy: "Cy."
Jack: "Cy?"
Cy: "Si."
Jack: "Who you waiting for?"
Cy: "My seester."
Jack: "Your sister?"
Cy: "Si."
Jack (biting lip to keep from laughing): "What--What's her name?"
Cy: "Sue."
Jack (more lip biting): "Sue?"
Cy: "Si."


Jack and the cast got a lot of mileage out of the show's running gags: Jack's awful violin-playing; Jack's pet polar bear, Carmichael; the huge bank vault in Jack's basement; the ongoing feud with fellow radio comedian Fred Allen; Jack's stingy love of money (Robber: "Your money or your life!...Well?" Jack: "I'm thinking!"); Jack's eternal age of 39 years old; and lines like "Now cut that out!", "YYYEEEESSS???", and "Anaheim, Azusa, and Cuc........amonga!"

"The Jack Benny Show" moved to television in 1950, and for a few years, the radio and TV shows were broadcast back-to-back. Finally, after 33 years on the air, the show was cancelled in 1965. Despite a weekly audience of 18 million viewers, the network felt that the show was too expensive and wasn't attracting enough young viewers.

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