The Jack Benny Program Radio Scripts, 1932–1936, Volume 2 (hardback)
In Volume Two of Jack Benny’s Lost Broadcasts, (25 episodes from August 1 to October 26, 1932), Benny and scriptwriter Harry Conn continue to craft a personality-based radio variety program. They draw on Benny’s vaudeville style and explore new constructions of comedy characters and situations. Benny and Conn develop quirky-yet-likeable identities for the major performers — “Broadway Romeo” Jack, tightwad band leader George Olsen, sultry vocalist Ethel Shutta and flighty young fan Mary Livingstone from Plainfield, New Jersey. The cast bounces jokes, reactions and bad puns off each other. This series features experimentations — several political skits, a serious romance for Jack and Mary, and the program’s first film parody — then ends with a sudden twist.
Highlights of Volume Two include:
“Nickel Back on the Bottle” becomes a nationally popular catch phrase
Mary’s first Labor Day poem
Jack provides running commentary of a prize fight between “Battling Herbert Hoover” and “Fighting Franklin Roosevelt”
The cast performs their first parody of a popular movie, in “Grind Hotel”
These 25 hilarious radio scripts offer Jack Benny at his early creative best.
Kathryn Fuller-Seeley is the author of Jack Benny and the Golden Age of Radio Comedy (2017) and books on early motion pictures and nickelodeon audiences. She teaches media history of the University of Texas at Austin.