The Jack Benny Program (1950–1965)

TV Series   |  Not Rated   |    |  Comedy


Episode Guide
The Jack Benny Program (1950) Poster

The comic misadventures of the "skinflint" comedian and his friends.


8.4/10
1,121

Videos


Photos

  • Jack Benny in The Jack Benny Program (1950)
  • The Jack Benny Program (1950)
  • Phil Harris in The Jack Benny Program (1950)
  • Helen Hayes and Charles MacArthur in The Jack Benny Program (1950)
  • Julie Andrews and Jack Benny in The Jack Benny Program (1950)
  • Ingrid Bergman and Jack Benny in The Jack Benny Program (1950)

See all photos

Get More From IMDb

For an enhanced browsing experience, get the IMDb app on your smartphone or tablet.

Get the IMDb app

Cast & Crew

Top Series Cast



Reviews & Commentary

Add a Review


User Reviews


2 November 2010 | dougdoepke
An Appreciation
I think one reason Benny is so beloved by fans is that he comes across as a genuinely likable guy beneath all the funnyman routines. Unlike many comedians, there's nothing of the "smart Alec" or "wise guy" about him. Not that these are disqualifying traits—Bob Hope, for one, made an immensely successful career as a wise guy. But the thing with Benny is that no matter how vain or cheap he appeared in his stage act, there was always an air of underlying likability. So when he tipped the sweating waiter a nickel or preened as the world's best comedian, fans laughed and forgave him.

Consider that his show lasted an amazing 15 years on a medium with a reputation for devouring funnymen. Much of that success is due to a cast of well-honed regulars that the writers skillfully blended into the program whether live or on film. Basically, we knew what to expect from each—a wise-cracking Rochester, a jovial Don Wilson, a sensible Mary Livingstone, a dazed Dennis Day, and, of course, Jack's two perennial nemeses Mel Blanc and Frank Nelson. The latter two furnished many of the petty annoyances that were the basis of much of Jack's comedic schtick. Speaking of style, it also looks like Jack was mainly a "reactive" comedian— that is, his humor grew out of exasperated, low-key reactions to life's many petty annoyances, which were also ones the audience could relate to.

My favorite routines were the spoofs of popular movies, like Gaslight or Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It was the latter, I believe, where dressed up as the fearsome Hyde, Benny attacks this feeble old lady who, nevertheless, proceeds to flip him in six different directions before he slinks away, a totally defeated Hyde. I don't know how they did it, but the contrasting appearances and unexpected outcome were hilarious.

I doubt the show would succeed with today's hyper-energized audiences, where much of the humor is more obvious and more over-the-top. Jack's era was, of course, a period of tight restrictions on what could be said or shown. But his show under-played that tight framework like a virtuoso, week-in and week-out. I guess these few words amount to my little appreciation of a program that gave me so many pleasurable moments. So, the time spent trying to think this out is time well spent. Thanks, Mr. Benny. In my book, you are an enduring classic.

Critic Reviews


What to Watch: "Mrs. Maisel," "Vikings," and More

Save yourself from endless browsing with our list of top TV picks for the week, including a 16-time Emmy winner, the final season of "Vikings," and Scarlett Johansson's latest film.

Watch our video

Featured on IMDb

Check out the action from New York Comic Con check out what IMDb editors are watching this month, and more.

Around The Web

 | 

Powered by ZergNet

More To Explore

Search on Amazon.com