Tag Archives: NBC

26 December: Jumpin’ Jack’s flash

 

Jack Benny and Mary Livingstone reherse, March 1948. The year would prove to be a turning point in Benny's long radio career. (Photo: NBC.)

Jack Benny and Mary Livingstone reherse, March 1948. The year would prove to be a turning point in Benny’s long radio career. (Photo: NBC.)

Saying farewell to the network that’s been his radio home since 1932 isn’t exactly easy for Jack Benny, no matter how gracious he is about it publicly. But considering how frequently shows changed networks previously, and often as not at their sponsors’ behest, Benny’s pending jump is a very big deal, indeed.

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9 November: The extended lives of Fibber and Molly

 

Jim & Marian Jordan, the irrepressible McGees . . . (Photo: NBC.)

Jim & Marian Jordan, the irrepressible McGees . . . (Photo: NBC.)

They were as homey in person as they sounded.

Harold Peary, their former cast member, about Jim and Marian Jordan, a.k.a. Fibber McGee & Molly.

Fibber McGee & Molly‘s “lasting charm, however,” Gerald Nachman has written of them (in Raised on Radio), “was in the unspoken but enduring affection Fibber and Molly seemed to feel toward each other despite his stubborn fulminations and her skeptical Irish nature . . . Molly forgave McGee his every illusion and self-delusion, waiting for ‘Himself’ to calm down and admit what a jerk he’d been. Surpassing all the other husband-and-wife comedy teams, perhaps including even George Burns and Gracie Allen, Fibber McGee and Molly were radio’s most identifiably loving couple.”

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2 January: Betting big on Benny . . .

Benny proved worth Paley's big gamble. (Photo: CBS.)

Jack Benny proved better than merely being worth Bill Paley’s big gamble. (Photo: CBS.)

So Jack Benny has made the jump—and caused quite a stir in the bargain—from NBC to CBS, after contract negotiations with the senior network turned grotesque, in Benny’s view, when a former prosecutor who’d humiliated him needlessly in an unlikely court case turned up on the NBC negotiating team.

The question before the house is whether the jump will prove a bonanza or a bust.

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A mismatch made short of heaven: Old-time radio listening, 28 June

The Martin & Lewis Show: Guest—John Carradine (NBC, 1949)

Martin & Lewis, who really didn't belong on radio. (Photo: NBC.)

Martin & Lewis, who really didn’t belong on radio. (Photo: NBC.)

The CBS talent raids of 1948-49 have lured NBC bellwethers Amos ‘n’ Andy and Jack Benny (with a small host of performers following Benny) over the bridge. NBC’s retaliation has been, thus far, to launch its own talent hunt. Barely was NBC in Benny’s rear view mirror when the network announced to one and all that it sought fresh, younger comers to bring to its radio and television networks.

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The end of an era for Jack Benny: Old-time radio listening, 26 December

The Jack Benny Program: The Last Show for NBC (NBC, 1949)

An NBC fixture since 1932, Jack Benny says goodbye to his longtime radio home following the network’s hubris—and personal humiliation—negotiating a new deal with its most popular comedian . . . (Photo: NBC)

Jack Benny says farewell to the network that’s been his radio home since 1932, preparing to move in a week to CBS. What’s the big deal, considering how frequently shows changed networks—usually, when they changed sponsors—prior to tonight? Easy: NBC has been Benny’s radio home since 1932, and his loyalty inside the industry is the proverbial stuff of legend.

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