Friday, March 21, 2014
Jack Benny was a master of comic timing.
He knew how to seed and sustain a laugh.
He could turn a pause into a punchline.
He knew when to exit...and as he proved in 1966 , he knew when to return.
America's favorite cheapskate, the comic genius who had starred in Vaudeville, Films, and who helped to define comedy on Radio, had not done television for over a year, when
he stepped before the LIVNG COLOR cameras at NBC's sprawling Burbank,CA facility to tape THE JACK BENNY HOUR in the Fall of 1966.
The full episode posted below, from the JILL LACHENMAYER YOU TUBE site, is a prime example of the gentle, but absurd ( and sometimes, ad-libbed ) comedy that made Benny a comic Icon and a television pioneer.
His guests included comedian Phyllis Diller, singer Trini Lopez and The Smothers Brothers ( before they were controversial ).
American Motors was his sponsor and this Special pre-empted a first-run episode of STAR TREK, trading a Starship Captain for a King of Comedy.
You'll also note that on this occasion Benny's venerable theme song, LOVE IN BLOOM, was replaced with an upbeat instrumental theme that had a swinging sixties beat.
Sunday, March 2, 2014
DINAH SHORE GIVES CHEVROLET A LIFT ACROSS THE U.S.A - THE CHEVY SHOW STARRING DINAH SHORE - NBC-TV - CIRCA 1/13/57
At NBC-TV in the late 1950's and early 1960's, nothing could have been finer than Sunday night with Dinah ...The vibrant,vivacious Dinah Shore.
If Lucille Ball was CBS's First Lady of Comedy, Dinah Shore was NBC's Queen of Musical Variety.
The Chevrolet Motorcar Division of General Motors put the honey-voiced hostess in the driver's seat ,when it placed THE CHEVY SHOW on the NBC Prime time Schedule in 1956.
It proved to be a video showcase for Ms. Shore's manifold talents and a video showroom for Chevy's, Eisenhower-era, chrome carriages that came from Detroit, complete with Body by Fisher.
She was not the first woman to carry a weekly comedy/music series on network television.
Kate Smith and Martha Raye were there first.
Chevrolet provided her custom built theme song...SEE THE U.S.A IN YOUR CHEVROLET...but it was her inspired choice to seal every show with a big, smooch of a kiss that became a trademark for her myriad viewers and a target for a multitude of satirists.
Director Bob Banner used THE CHEVY SHOW to experiment with some high octane video effects that were ahead of their time. The show was one of the network's first, weekly series to be produced in RCA COMPATIBLE COLOR and ,subsequently, in LIVING COLOR ON NBC. Banner employed , early, COLOR CHROMA-KEY techniques and , often, he involved the crew and the studio technology in an attempt to enliven and enrich the staging of musical numbers and comedy sketches.
Here , from the SPIFFYKITCHEN YOU TUBE SITE, is the first block of the January 13, 1957 episode of THE DINAH SHORE CHEVY SHOW on NBC-TV. Check out the opening number and what may be the the most unusual use of a fork-lift as a prop in early television!!!
The show was produced LIVE FROM NEW YORK and yes, the announcer is the incomparable Don Pardo.