Trivia: The Jack Benny Program

  • Channel Hop: The radio show moved from NBC to CBS in 1949, one of a number of shows and personalities that the latter network "raided" from the former.
    • The show had jumped around quite a bit in its radio days: starting on NBC Blue (later ABC) in May 1932, it moved to CBS that October, then to NBC Red (now NBC) in March 1933. It went to NBC Blue in October 1934 and back to Red in October 1936, where it stayed until the great talent raid of 1949.
    • Also, the TV show moved from CBS to NBC for its final season in 1964.
  • The Danza
  • Executive Meddling: Jack's TV show ended because one network executive decided that he was too old for television and told the network to cancel his show immediately.
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: The Skipper runs the gym that Jack joins to impress a young lady he met at the studio.
    • In a flashback episode, Floyd the Barber is Jack's first radio sponser, Miss Jane is a speech teacher, and John Daly appears As Himself.
    • Rhoda's Dad and Dr Melnix are IRS agents wanting to know how Jack managed to make $327,000 and claim only $18 in entertaining deductions.
    • Capt. "Leadbottom" Binghamton is the Studio barber.
    • IMF agent Willy Armitage is Tarzan (before Jack replaces him) in the Carol Burnett episode.
    • Retroactively- Frank Nelson made regular appearances on the show in bit parts like a radio announcer if Jack had on the radio- even introducing the show if the cast was supposed to be somewhere outside the studio at the beginning of the show for years before his well known "Yes Guy" became a recurring character. Since late 1940s radio episodes and the TV show have been in wider circulation than earlier shows, this reaction is common when somebody listens to an episode from the late 30s and finally recognizes Frank Nelson's voice (His real, non-Big Ham voice, that is- it's much more subdued, but still recognizable if you listen for it).
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: Mel Blanc. Also Frank Nelson (the "yyyyeees?" guy) and Phil Harris, well known today for his voice work in Disney movies. And Sheldon Leonard.
    • A very young Harry Shearer, best known today for all his roles on The Simpsons, played Jack as a child in one episode.
      • Barry Gordon (best known as Donatello) played Jack as a child in a different episode, as well as an actor cast as young Jack in another.
  • Irony as She Is Cast: In real life, Jack Benny was actually a very good violinist. It takes a lot of musical talent to be able to play a musical instrument badly for comic effect and having it come out amusing rather than painful.
    • Also a generous person.
  • Marathon Running: On Dec 31 2011/Jan 1st 2012 Digital channel Antenna TV ran "Night of 2012 Laughs" a 20 hour marathon of The Jack Benny Program alternating with The Burns And Allen Show.
    • Since then, it's become a New Year's tradition.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: Jack Benny WAS this trope. His radio persona was a vainglorious petty miser, who wasn't above taking advantage of his close friends and cast if he could get away with it. Jack Benny, in Real Life, Jack was universally known as a kind and very generous man.
  • Referenced By: In Knights of Buena Vista, Mary's Player Character hears a robbery, with the Game Master saying "Your money or your life". Mary calls the victim Jack Benny as she runs to help.
  • The Pete Best: Several people from the early history of the show. Don Bestor, Johnny Green, Frank Parker. The best example is his writer Harry Conn. Harry Conn was Jack's writer until mid-1936, when he claimed that Jack had no talent of his own and all of his laughs came from his head. Coupled with his wife making a similar remark to Jack's wife Mary Livingstone (i.e., that Mary could only afford her fur stole through Conn's talent), he was fired and left Jack without a script. Jack hired two writers named Bill Morrow and Ed Beloin, who greatly refined the show's humor and the characters into what we recognize until the end of the show. Harry Conn barely wrote anything after leaving the show and wound up as a doorman.
  • Talking to Himself: One episode featured Jack and Rochester taking a road trip to Palm Springs. A scene in a gas station featured Mel Blanc playing the gas station attendent, as well as providing voice overs for the Maxwell's motor and Polly, Jack's parrot.
  • Throw It In: That's what Mel Blanc did when the sound effect recording for Benny's Maxwell failed to play on cue. Thinking fast, Blanc took the mike and improvised the sounds himself. The audience loved it so much that Benny decided to dispense with the recording and keep Blanc doing the sounds himself.