Last Updated Friday, September 27, 2002
September 27, 2002
"39 Forever Celebration" Announced
Laura Leff, webmaster of the wonderful web site www.jackbenny.org, has announced the "39 Forever Celebration" to be held in Los Angeles the weekend of February 14 - 16, 2003, which of course coincides with Jack's February 14 birthdate. Plans include an appearance by Jack Benny impersonator Eddie Carroll, as well as appearances by Jack's daughter Joan as well as the Ink Spots. Be sure to check out Laura's site for detailed information.
June 10, 2002
Dedication of Jack Benny Statue in Waukegan
The weekend of June 7 - 9 was a very special time in Waukegan, Illinois for us Jack fans. Specifically, the town that Jack called home commemorated him in bronze with a statue in his very own plaza!! Next time you go to Waukegan, be sure to visit "Jack" and have your picture taken with him.
January 21, 2002
Jack Pocket PC Radio Log
Al Baggetta, a teacher fan of Jack, has created "The Jack Benny Show Radio Logs" for Pocket PCs, a popular handheld device. These run a Microsoft operating system. Pocket PC users can carry these logs with them, scroll through the file contents, and even search by keywords or date. This is available free of charge from Al's web site, http://www.baggetta.com. From this site, click on the Jack Benny icon at the top of the page to go to the download page.
To run this program, you must have a Windows PC with their device attached using ActiveSyn to install the program on your handheld device. Please check this out and let me know what you think.
December 27, 2001
Isaac Stern Dies
Master violinist Isaac Stern, a close friend of Jack's, died on September 23 at the age of 81 in Manhattan.
July 3, 2001
Hal Goldman Dies
It makes me very sad to announce on these pages the passing of one of Jack's longtime writers, Hal Goldman. He was 81 and died in Los Angeles. Very sad. He died on June 27, 2001. Here's part of his obituary:
"Hal Goldman, the Emmy-winning writer who penned gags for all those stellar comedians and a dozen or so others in between, has died at the age of 81.
"Goldman, who followed Benny from radio into the Golden Age of that new gadget called television, died Wednesday of cancer at his home in Bel-Air. Born Harold Goldman in St. Paul, Minn.broke into show business the same way as many in his generation--in the Army during World War II.
"Soon partnered with Al Gordon, Goldman was the urbane and well-read half of the team who typed and polished while Gordon paced and shouted out one-liners. "Al couldn't type. I don't think he could even spell!" Goldman told The Times in 1996. "Al came up with very good jokes, but I had better judgment."
"Through friends, they learned that Benny needed new material for Rochester, the black valet on his radio show, portrayed by Eddie Anderson. With lightning speed, Goldman and Gordon handed Benny a written sketch. They were soon hired, along with George Balzer and Sam Perrin, as the purportedly penurious comedian's four writers, and they remained with him until Benny's TV show was canceled in 1965.Goldman continued writing for Benny's specials until the star died in 1974."
April 8, 2000
The Death of Larry Stevens
It saddens me to report on the death of the last major star associated with the Jack Benny Show on radio, Larry Stevens. Larry subbed for Dennis Day while Dennis was in the navy during the Second World War. He passed away from liver cancer early in the morning of April 5th. He was 77. A few years back, I attended the FOTR convention in Newark where Larry was appearing, though I never met him. I bet Larry and Dennis are making sweet harmonies up in Heaven.
March 26, 2000
I found this article in a recent edition of the "Waukegan Sun" newspaper:
"Wait a minute. Wait a minute! WAIT A MINUTE!"
That was a hallmark phrase of comedian Jack Benny during his television show, but if he was still around he might use it today upon hearing that his hometown wants to permanently bronze the radio and television star.
A panel was expected to pick a Jack Benny statue today from four artists' renderings, all of which pay tribute to the entertainment giant who grew up as Benny Kubelsky in a home at 518 Clayton St. in Waukegan. His father ran a saloon and then a dry goods store.
The Waukegan Downtown Association's Events and Attractions Committee is in charge of raising about $50,000 for the bronze life-sized statue that will be located in a small square somewhere near the Historic Genesee Theatre at Genesee and Clayton streets downtown.
The theater's most historic day was Jack Benny's return to his hometown to premiere his movie Man About Town in 1939. The event packed the streets in front of the theater with thousands of people.
"We just received $2,000 from White House attorney Robert Bennett," said Laina Zinn, noting that Bennett also once called Waukegan home. That brings the fund drive's total to $7,700.
There also is a Pennies For Benny campaign with city schools -- Jack Benny Middle School included -- and students have a goal of collecting 500,000 pennies, or $5,000 in real cash. The pennies was a natural idea considering Benny portrayed himself on radio and television as a penny pincher.
Benny came back to Waukegan many times to raise money for the schools and the Jack Benny Center for the Arts in Bowen Park. He got his start in vaudeville from 1912 to 1918 before joining the Navy where he was assigned to entertainment duties. His radio show started in 1932 and lasted for 23 years. From there he went to television, which he called home until 1965.
While the violin was a comic prop, in private he played the instrument well and performed for Waukegan audiences several times at school fund-raisers. The Jack Benny statute fund has several levels of contributions, including "39ers," a reference to Benny always claiming he was 39 years old. There are seven different donation levels available. More information is available from Zinn at 336-9503.
November 14, 1999
Charles "Bud" Dant, bandleader of "The Dennis Day Show," dies at 92
The Associated Press reported the recent death of Charles "Bud" Dant, age 92 in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Although he began his career in 1925 with Hoagy Carmichael, he is notable to Dennis Day fans as the bandleader and musical director of "The Dennis Day Show" aka "A Day in the Life of Dennis Day."
Jack's Letters to Remley Sold for $39,000?
The Boston Globe reported in October that Boston Public Library purchased more than 100 letters that Jack wrote to Frankie Remley for $39,000. The article characterizes them as raunchy in content. Although this story was reported in a reputable newspaper, something about me really doubts it.
May 22, 1999
New Jack Benny Phorum Open:
I was just informed about a new "Phorum" (Web-based bulletin board) devoted to the Jack Benny Program. Anything about Jack is up for discussion. The address is:
Be sure to check it out!!
Keep checking back for more Jack news!!
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