, who achieved national fame on radio
in the 1930s
. His program, the Jack Benny Show, ran for 33 years- on the radio from 1932
and on television
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