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The Jack Benny Program

Left to Right- Rochester, Dennis Day, Phil Harris, Mary Livingstone, Jack Benny, Don Wilson, Mel Blanc

While it is difficult to summarize almost 25 years of broadcasting into one measly web page, I shall try just the same. Here is a basic description of the main characters:

 

Character

Actor

Character Traits

Jack Benny Jack Benny Stingy, self-absorbed, balding, constant age of 39
Mary Livingstone Sadye Marks (Jack's wife) Jack's alter ego, funny, quirky, beautiful woman
Dennis Day Dennis Day Childish Irish tenor, naive, almost annoyingly immature
Rochester Van Jones Eddie Anderson Jack's black, often lazy, butler, witty, coarse voice
Phil Harris Phil Harris Girl crazy booze hound, leader of a drunken band, self-absorbed
Don Wilson Don Wilson Pudgy announcer, not concerned with appearance
Maxwell (Jack's Car)/Jack's French violin teacher/Mexican Mel Blanc old, makes a lot of noise/fed up with Jack/"Si/Say" routine, etc.
 
Jack and Mel-
The basic plot line revolved around the mishaps and adventures of the basic cast, along the way revolutionizing the art of "character degradation," much to the dismay of the shrewd, balding Jack Benny. Jack was like the Jerry Seinfeld of radio, in the fact that the characters around him got most of the laughs, mainly at his expense.

In my opinion, I think that bandleader Phil Harris was the funniest of the group. The way he was portrayed as an alcoholic, self-centered, and vain man really contrasts to the others and makes him stand out in a special way. "Hellllooo Libby," to me, will always be his trademark, as well as the way he called Jack "Jackson" when no one else did.

If you have any specific questions about the show or about any of the characters or plots in general, don't hesitate to e-mail me. Comments and criticism are welcome as well. Click here to return to JTEC International's Entertainment Page.

Jack and Rochester-