Among radio comedy's most enduring features were its running gags - and few gags ran longer, or more hilariously, than the legendary feud between two of its great masters: Jack Benny and Fred Allen. For nearly 20 years the mere mention of Benny on an Allen program was guaranteed to produce an escalating laugh - just as bringing Allen up with Benny had listener in stitches at the mere anticipation of a response. This digitally remastered collection brings together the classic episodes that started it all - from first time the pair shared a microphone (in a skit ripe with references to Benny's musical skill), to Stuart Canin's performance of "The Bee," to the showdown that was supposed to end it once and for all.
Join Jack, Fred, and their comical cohorts Portland Hoffa, Harry Von Zell, John Brown, Minerva Pious, Mary Livingstone, Kenny Baker, Don Wilson, Andy Devine, Phil Harris, and all the regulars from both Town Hall Tonight and The Jell-O Program. Includes rare episodes.
Episodes Include: Town Hall Tonight 02-26-36 (Excerpt); Town Hall Tonight 12-30-36; The Jell-O Program 01-03-37; The Jell-O Program 01-10-37; Town Hall Tonight 01-06-37; Town Hall Tonight 01-13-37 (Excerpt); Town Hall Tonight 01-20-37; The Jell-O Program 01-31-37; Town Hall Tonight 01-27-37 ( Excerpt); The Jell-O Program 02-07-37; Town Hall Tonight 02-03-37 (Excerpt); Town Hall Tonight 02-10-37; The Jell-O Program 02-14-37; The Jell-O Program 02-28-37; Town Hall Tonight 02-24-37; Town Hall Tonight 03-03-37 (Excerpt); The Jell-O Program 03-07-37; The Jell-O Program 03-14-37; Town Hall Tonight 12-22-37; The Fred Allen Show 12-18-40 (Excerpt)
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A Full Day Of Laughs With Two American Legends
Would and have, repeatedly. Despite having listened to most of these shows (with the exception of the previously uncirculating Fred Allen programs excerpted here) many, many times over the years, the give-and-take between the two shows has never been assembled so efficiently or effectively before.
Two writing teams working on total isolation from each other crafting an enormous tale between themselves that would continue to be referenced in mass media long after both stars had passed from the scene.
The greatest "scene" in the feud comes from 1946 and, thus, isn't in this collection. Jack's first response to Fred's needling (and the utter lack of sympathy given him by his cast) is, by far, the best sequence included here.
I wanted to and did. Once listened to, though, it can literally be listened to again from any point and enjoyed immensely.
The only complaint I could possibly launch against this collection is the same as others have: the general lack of understanding that nostalgia radio collections don't have chapters, they have airdates. Without going back to the information page for the collection, I wouldn't have a clue what the next show is. "Chapter 3" and the like is simply not applicable in this genre.
- Brian L. Bedsworth
Benny and Allen? How Can you Go Wrong
Yes. Since a print version of this wouldn't work at all.
It is amazing that the young kid who was the violinist ended up with a major international career including a win at one of the world's most important violin contests.
Can a mother choose a favorite child? This is allen and benny. Its all good. Benny's a little less "topical" and requires less "work" (although he is brilliant), Allen's humor is more topical and requires more work to understand it. But both are at the top of their game. We don't have comedians of this skill at this time in our media.
Yes. The speech near the end by the young violinist thanking Allen for the money and saying that he hoped to use it to study hard. And to look back and realize that he did.
- D. Craven