Wednesday, September 9, 2009
A KING OF TELEVISION COMEDY AND THE CROWN PRINCE - RARE JACK BENNY SHOW WITH GUEST JOHNNY CARSON - CBS-TV - CIRCA NOVEMBER 20, 1955
Jack Benny was a Sunday night institution on American Radio and Television for almost five decades, much of it with CBS. The gentle comedian and veteran vaudevillian, born Benny Kubelsky, may actually have invented the modern form of situation comedy, where the laughter is ignited by placing unique characters in believable, but exaggerated circumstances.
THE JACK BENNY PROGRAM was a model for so many shows to follow.
He created an enduring, comic persona of a vain cheapskate who fancies himself a violin virtuoso and a verile ladies man.Off-camera,he was a considerate, family man, a protean performer and a generous colleague. Jack Benny remains, to this day, years after his passing, a beloved figure in show business history and in this country's popular culture
Johnny Carson, the acknowledged patriarch of late night television , hosted The TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JOHNNY CARSON for 30 years on NBC-TV.Born to a middle-class family in the Midwest,where he never missed THE JACK BENNY PROGRAM on NBC radio,the laconic Carson was a college grad and a naval veteran of WWII. He began his career in entertainment as a teenager, doing a magic act. Later in life, he worked as a performer and disc jockey in local radio.
By his own admission ,Jack Benny and kinetic comedian Red Skelton were Carson's professional role models.
When the reserved, thoughful performer elected to move to California in search of a career in network radio and television, he was hired to write for Skelton's show.Carson was soon given the opportunity to host his own variety show, CARSON'S CELLAR, on the local CBS Owned and Operated television station, KNX-TV ( now KCBS-TV ).
In Los Angeles, Carson met Jack Benny, who , the legend goes, became a gracious mentor and a powerful proponent of the young, inventive comedian.Soon Carson was given the rare chance to host a Summer variety show on CBS-TV.
The rest is television history.
Carson spent years hosting WHO DO YOU TRUST on ABC-TV, a game show during which he met announcer/sidekick/friend Ed McMahon.Then three decades hosting THE TONIGHT SHOW STARRING JOHNNY CARSON on NBC late night.
They are both gone, now. But, both have given us a legacy of laughter and joy. Thanks to advanced media technology, new generations can enjoy their creative , comedic contributions to television and radio.
Below is a rare collection of clips from a November 20, 1955 episode of THE JACK BENNY PROGRAM ON CBS-TV, in which a young Carson is the guest star and the beneficiary , in fiction as in fact,of Jack Benny's advice. The three clips below constitute the full episode. Enjoy!!!!!