Posts Tagged ‘nostalgia’

Jack Benny Christmas Shows

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Before television, Christmas generally included a well-loved or much anticipated radio show with a Christmas theme.  Not a year went by when a special presentation of “A Christmas Carol”, “It’s a Wonderful Life”, “Miracle on 34th Street”, or a Disney movie converted into a radio play was not heard!  And Christmas just wasn’t Christmas without a special Jack Benny Christmas episode—the best of which, consisted of Jack and Mary shopping for Christmas presents for the gang.  This most hilarious of all of Jack Benny’s Christmas shopping shows, consisted of Jack shopping for a particular item to give to Don Wilson, his announcer.

It all started in 1946 when the ever-thrifty Jack Benny decided to buy shoelaces for Don.  Shoelaces for Christmas?  Well, that’s just the Jack was!  Cheap!  Hilarity ensued when Jack couldn’t decide on plastic-tipped or metal-tipped shoelaces.  As soon as Jack would step away from the counter, he would change his mind.  Metal-tipped shoelaces tend to rust, but plastic-tipped shoelaces tend to crack.  The show would always end with the clerk (played by Mel Blanc) going insane.

The next such Christmas show was in 1951 when Jack bought cuff links for the hefty Don Wilson, but made several trips back to the counter to change the engraving.  In 1952, Jack bought a gopher trap; in 1953 he bought a box of dates and in 1954 he bought a paint set.  Included below are also the 1947 and 1950 episodes, both of which make reference to the 1946 shoelace episode, but don’t include the back-and-forth shopping routines.

I just quickly threw these episodes together, so if I’m missing any of the classic “shopping for Don” episodes, let me know!

Enjoy and Merry Christmas!

12-08-1946 – Jack Benny buys shoelaces for Don – MP3

12-21-1947 – The Jack Benny Show – Last minute Christmas shopping – MP3
(Reference to the “shoelaces episode”)

12-17-1950 – Jack Benny buys golf tees for Don – MP3
(Reference to the “shoelaces episode”)

12-02-1951 – Jack buys cuff links for Don – MP3

12-14-1952 – Jack buys a gopher trap for Don – MP3

12-27-1953 – Jack buys a box of dates for Don – MP3

12-05-1954 – Jack buys a paint set for Don


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A Note from Vicki:  This is part one of a 4-part story.  Unfortunately, I have only been able to find the first three parts.  My choice was to post the first three parts or forget it.  I chose to post, as I think that there are probably many who will enjoy reading this 55-year-old piece.

September 12, 1954
The Milwaukee Sentinel

The True Story of Jack Webb

The Names Have Not Been Changed

By Maurice Zolotow

Jack Webb 5My name’s Zolotow.  I’m a magazine writer.  A while ago I flew to Hollywood.  My assignment:  to get the story of Jack Webb.  Webb plays

Friday, Sergeant Joe Friday, on the Dragnet program on television.  He’s an actor, one of the best, not only on television but anywhere you want an actor.  He can make life real and vivid.

He’s good.  In fact, he’s great.  Maybe he’s the most important talent developed in the new medium of television.  This is his story.  Just the facts.  What you are about to read is true.  The names have not been changed.

The time:  11:54 Saturday morning.  A hot, heavy morning and the layer of smog made my eyes sting.  I folded five sheets of white paper into quarters.  I put the packet in my breast pocket, with a couple of newly-sharpened number 2 pencils and a fountain pen.  I got into my rented coupe and drove maybe two miles up Coldwater Canyon in Beverly Hills.  Then I turned right and wound for another mile along a twisted road until I went through a gate.

I was on the Webb estate—six acres of sloping terrain.  I parked at the house, a one-story low-slung modernistic house.  It’s some house.  It cost $150,000.  An architect’s dream.  Twelve rooms.

Jack Webb 1Nobody lived there mostly but Webb and a colored girl who did for him and a lazy basset hound.  The hound’s name is Dudley.  Webb has an ex-wife and two daughters.  They don’t live in the house.  The Webbs are divorced.  Mrs. Webb and the daughters live in the San Fernando Valley.  (Jack doesn’t live there any more, either.  He sold the place.  Too fancy and too big for a man with no time for anything but work.)

Webb was in the study when I arrived.  The study is an enormous room big enough to be a house in itself.  One wall is all glass.  By the swimming pool.  Dick Breen, the writer who wrote the screenplay of the new Warner Brothers movie, Dragnet, was going over the script with Jack’s friend and adviser, Captain Jack Donohoe of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Jack Webb 2They sat at a long, modern oak table.  There was a projection room for showing movies at one end of the study.  A bar at the other.  Breen and Donohoe were arguing whether two detectives grilling a suspect would give him a sandwich before or after grilling him.

Webb is a short man with big dark eyes, a sallow complexion, and jughandle ears.  He has a good smile.  He smiled and looked me over.  He was wearing a polo shirt, cotton pants and a pair of deerskin slippers.  He opened two bottles of German beer.  I drank mine from a glass.  He drank his right out of the bottle.  Webb looked like a man who was too exhausted to rest or to sleep.

I found out that it is hard for Webb to sleep.  Late at night he lies down on a leather couch in his den.  He stacks a dozen records on the turntable of his high-fidelity phonograph.  Turns up the treble control.  He listens to the syncopated sadness of Louie Armstrong playing What Did I Do to Be So Black and Blue, Bix Beiderbecke’s recording of Crying All Day, and Duke Ellington’s Black and Tan Fantasy.  He tries to figure it out listening to the music, drinking a bottle of beer.

Jack Webb 3Webb’s day starts at half-past seven in the morning.  It ends at eleven, twelve.  This time of night the people who work on the program can forget about Dragnet.  Not Webb.  Dragnet’s his baby.  He can’t put a brake on his mind.  He’s already worrying about next week’s show and the week after that.

He has given up his life to an imaginary character named Friday.  That’s the way it is.  He used to walk around the walled-in terrace back of the house.  The moon was reflected in the swimming pool.  It’s a big pool.  The water looked inviting.  All the months he lived in this house he didn’t have one swim in the pool.  He was too busy.  That’s the way it is with him.

He can’t stop.  Once, when he was a kid of 12 or 13, he went on a roller-coaster ride at Venice Beach.  He lost his nerve when the cars took that first breath-taking dive.  But those machines keep going until the end of the ride.  Jack Webb is in his job till the end of the ride.

It’s got to be that way.  Because Jack Webb feels a loyalty to the 40,000,000 men and women who watch Dragnet.  Who believe in him.  John Randolph Webb, 34 years old, actor.  Does he save his marriage?  Does he make a personal life for himself with his two children, with the girl he married?  Does he throw Dragnet into a swimming pool and let it drown?  Many times he’s had the urge to chuck it all.

But you don’t stop the roller-coaster.  With him, it’s the way it is with some people—failure is unendurable and success is bitter.  Jack Webb doesn’t know how to find peace.  Money he’s got.  More than he ever dreamed possible.  But money doesn’t buy peace.  It doesn’t buy sleep.

He can’t sleep and he listens to the old records, Louie’s cracked voice singing “even the mouse ran from my house” and he searches for an answer.  Searching.  One way or another, that’s what he’s always been doing.

His mother, Maggie Smith Webb, once recalled:  “Almost any time I looked out the window, my boy was looking in trash cans.  Always searching for something.  He didn’t know what.”

Maybe he’ll find what he’s been looking for all his life if he looks long enough, hard enough, and in the right places.  He started searching when he was an infant.  Searching for the meaning of his unknown father.

He was born in Santa Monica, California, on April 2, 1920.  His mother is Roman Catholic, his father Jewish.  All he knows about his father is that he was a hero in the first World War.  His mother married him when he was still in uniform.  It was a wartime romance.  The child came along a year later.  And when he was a year old, his mother and father split up.  Divorced.  From that day until this, nobody’s heard from the father.

Maggie didn’t mention him.  And his son asked no questions.  But a child can’t help being scarred.

Jack knew he was different from other kids.  He was always asking himself, “Why did it have to happen to me?”  He never had a father to lean on, to go fishing with, to throw a ball to.

Mrs. Webb and the boy went to live with his grandmother in San Francisco.  Grandfather had been a surveyor for the Santa Fe Railroad.  He left Gram a lot of money and a 700-acre estate.  But it all went.  Fast.  When Jack was three years old, they were up against it.  They moved from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

They lived on the third floor of an apartment house on Third and Flower Streets, southwest of Main, on a steep hill.  Apartment 339.  Two rooms, one kitchen, no bath.  The bathroom, shared by 12 tenants on the floor, was on the back porch.  His mother helped run the building.  Took an extra job as night cashier in a cafeteria.

The boy’s heart would tighten watching Maggie.  She was—and is—a fine, sensitive, educated woman, with deep emotions and an appreciation of art and literature.  Life had dealt her a bad hand.  Her son wanted to know why.

One Sunday, maybe he was four or five, they took a walk.  She stopped in front of a department store.  In a window there was a blank-faced manikin with a beautiful long dress on.  Blue with pink ribbons, silky.  her face filled with tears.

Her son remembers squeezing her hand.  “Someday, Maggie,” he said, “I’ll buy you that dress.  I swear I will.”

Jack Webb kept that promise.

He was a thin child.  All skin and bones.  His jughandle ears stuck out worse than now.  He had no friends to play games with.  Stood on the sidelines, watching.  A spectator, storing up impressions of humanity he’s never forgotten.  He dreaded going to school.  He was always getting beat up.

Once, for his birthday, Maggie gave him a new white shirt and a pencil box.  She was clerking in a store.  She got the stuff at cost.  He was proud of that shirt.  He was coming home from school.  A few blocks from his path was blocked by Cap, an overgrown slob of a kid, twice Jack’s size and weight.  he always wore a cap with the visor torn off and old campaign buttons stuck all over it.

“Where ya think you’re going, shrimp?” he asked.

“Home,” Webb said.

“Let’s see the box,” Cap said.  He grabbed for Jack’s shirt.  Yanked it.  Buttons flew off.  Some of Cap’s confederates rounded the corner just as Jack managed to free himself.  They surrounded him.  He was about seven years old.  They grabbed his beautiful shiny fake-leather pencil case.

 They scattered the pencils and pens on the sidewalk.  Punched his face and body.  He thought, I am going to get killed.  That’s the way a kid’s mind runs.

Then a strong arm in a blue sleeve reached into the fight.  Pushed Cap and the other bullies away.  He asked Webb who he was and where he lived.  He picked up the pencils, pens, erasers and put them back in the case.  He couldn’t do much about the shirt.  Jack doesn’t remember his name, but that was the first cop he had any personal knowledge of.

A lot of kids think of a cop as a mortal enemy.  To Jack this cop represented decency and justice.  Maybe he also represented a symbol for the father he was always unconsciously seeking.  Maybe what Webb has done in Dragnet, in paying tribute to the hard-working men of the police force, is his way of saying “thanks” to the cop who befriended a small boy 27 years ago.

Jack wasn’t a healthy kid.  Always coming down with one disease or another.  Seemed to have a cold the year round.  He got caught in a rainstorm once.  Nobody was home and he sat around in his wet clothes until grandma came.  He had a bad chill.

They had a small tin tub in their kitchen.  She boiled water on the stove.  Filled the tub so the steam rose.  She dunked him in the steaming water but the shivering wouldn’t go away.  She took his temperature.  103.

By morning it was 105.  They called the doctor.  He said Jack had pneumonia.  He wanted to send for the ambulance.  Maggie and Gram said they would nurse him at home.  He was pretty close to death.  They pulled him through.

But something remained.  A sickness in his chest.  They called it chronic bronchitis.  Then it changed to asthma.  It meant he might choke to death any time he got an attack.  It meant he had to avoid any exertion.  It was another barrier between him and other kids in his neighborhood. 

He suffered from asthma from about the age of eight until he was 17.  Often he woke up in the middle of the night frantic because he was unable to suck in a single gulp of life-giving air.  He always carried a box with green powder in it.  He had to inhale the fumes when he felt himself choking.  He didn’t know the name of the chemical.  Just the color—green.  he lived on a special diet.  No milk, cheese, eggs or bread.

Just walking up three flights of stairs to the family’s flat nearly killed him.  Sometimes Maggie or Gram had to carry him upstairs in their arms.

It was about this time that Jack discovered books.  Those in the public library were free.  He bagan to live in an imaginary world.  The world of Jim Hawkins and Aqure Trelawney and Long John Silver on Treasure Island.  He helped Robinson Crusoe through his lonely years as a castaway.  He captured big game in Africa with Carl Akeley, Martin Johnson and Frank Buck.  He lived the aerial battles of World War I with Eddie Rickenbacker and his “hat in the ring” squadron.  Reading was his substitute for life.

Jack had other substitutes for living, too.  One was exploring in the trash cans in the rear of the apartment houses in his neighborhood.  Like his mother remembers, he was always searching for something.  Carrying home bits and pieces.  A conch shell you heard the ocean in if you put your ear to it.  A red pennant, “Souvenir of Lake Tahoe.”  A broken billiard cue.  A tennis racket without strings.  Italian Chianti bottles in straw holders.

Once he found the stub of a crayon.  He started drawing on brown paper bags.  Faces of people.  Railroad tracks.  Houses.  Animals.  Anything he could see or imagine.

Maggie bought him a set of crayons and some tracing paper.  He traced pictures out of magazines and colored them.  Now when he looked out the window he didn’t have to feel sorry for himself.  He bagan to draw the teeming life outside.

A lot goes into the making of an actor.  One thing is to be able to observe other people with sympathy.  Maybe Webb should be grateful to the asthma.  It forced him to be a spectator.  Sympathy for others in trouble came naturally because of his own troubles.

His last substitute for living was music.  Jazz music.  He found it through a broken-down horn man who lived in a little furnished room on the second floor front.  He had been a solid sender once.  Played in the brass sections of good bands.  Now he was a drunk.  He had a wind-up phonograph and a beat-up cornet.  He played cornet for Jack.  Let him hold it sometimes.  Also played his records.  That’s the first time Webb heard Bix Beiderbecke’s cornet poignant, plaintive, speaking of the yearning and lonliness that filled him.

The horn-man was thrown out of his place.  He couldn’t pay the rent.  He left the boy one record, a record Bix made in 1930—At the Jazz Band Ball.  Today, Webb has a complete collection of every record Bix made.  And just as he has brought the actuality of a policeman’s work to the

American public, he has a burning desire to do the same for the hot jazz musician.  Someday he’ll do it.

When Jack Webb entered high school, he thought he was going to be a musician or an artist someday.  But a lot of things happened in high school, a lot of things that changed his life.

In next week’s instalment Mr. Zolotow tells how Jack Webb passed up a chance to inherit a prosperous plumbing business, and a scholarship that might have led to a career as an artist, to hang around radio studios and pick up many of the tricks at which he later became a master.

The following two episodes of Dragnet, the radio show, originally aired 60 and 55 years ago, respectively, on September 17, 1949 and September 20, 1954.  Both episodes are made available by Old Radio World.  They have 296 more Dragnet episodes that you can listen to, as well as a variety of other show titles.  Make sure to check them out!

Following the two Dragnet episodes, I have included a link to the Bix Beiderbecke song referred to in this article, “At the Jazz Band Ball.”

Dragnet Radio Show:  September 17, 1949
“James Vickers”

Dragnet Radio Show:  September 20, 1954 
“The Big Cut”

 Bix Beiderbecke’s “At the Jazz Band Ball”
Compliments of Internet Archive

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A Note From Vicki:  At the end of this article, I have posted a couple of very interesting links to OTR shows that compliment this story. 

February, 1935
Popular Mechanics

“PROPS” of the RADIO


Children’s hour on the radio brings a fairy tale in which a horse climbs a glass mountain.  Distinctly the listener-in hears the scrape of the horse’s hoofs and the tinkle of breaking glass.

Of course, there is no horse and no glass mountain in the radio studio.  The effect is produced by pouring a thin layer of sand into a cigar box, then pressing a drinking glass into the sand and twisting it a little, sending forth a glassy clatter that gives the impression of a horse’s hoofs on a slippery, shattery surface.

This art of producing sound effects is growing more and more important in the radio drama.  It is almost getting to be a science.  The large studios have laboratories in which experts test out devices and methods of getting different sound effects.  Some of the studios have complete libraries of records.  In one studio over 150 records are kept on file ready for immediate use, besides one hundred or more extra records.  About twenty of these records are of various noises made by airplanes, and others give different sounds of automobiles.  There are also such noises as snores, typewriters, football crowds, the chopping of trees, monks chanting vespers and the croaking of bullfrogs.

Experts are always busy constructing sound-producing machines, many of them operated by turning a crank.  One of these is a big wheel, which, as it is turned at whatever speed necessary, grinds over two small wooden cylinders, giving the effect of wagon wheels on a road.  Sometimes the sound of a light patter of rain is obtained by the use of tissue paper.  There is also a large rain machine by which a steady downpour of rain may be simulated.  The effect is produced by dropping sand from a box at the top of the machine onto a sheet of metal below.


A paddle swished back and forth in a tub of water can produce the effect of a water wheel, water lapping against a dock, a rippling stream, or other sounds of water.  Sometimes a tub is filled with soft mud, which, when beaten back and forth with a paddle, produces a sound as of horses walking on a muddy road.  The effect of a marching army is obtained by means of a frame onto which loose blocks are fastened by a cord.  This is teetered back and forth on a fulcrum of plaster board or cardboard, and the clatter of the blocks produces a very realistic effect of marching.

The sound of escaping steam, or of bubbles, is produced by a spray tank with compressed air, which can be adjusted to various pressures.  One recent development is a metal cylinder, inside of which are motors, controlled by a rheostat.  This is used to simulate the sound of tug boats, or of machinery.

All the sounds must fit in exactly with the section of the radio drama, so that a man’s footsteps are heard at the proper time, or a door opens or closes with the correct emotional effect.  In opening or closing a door, care must be exercised to produce the sound compatible with the mood of the actor.  An angry man slams a door; consequently, if the actor is supposed to go out in high dudgeon, the person who manipulates the sound effects must have the door slam.  Or a door may open stealthily in a detective yarn, or be closed softly in case of illness.  To produce these different sounds, long oblong boxes have been constructed, with an inside padding, and in some of them a hollow place back of the box to produce resonance.  To these boxes are hinged small doors, complete with knobs and latches.  To some of these boxes, screen doors also are attached, as the sound of the slamming of a screen door is different from that of a solid door.  For the heavy clanging sound of a prison door, a barred iron door is used.

One piece of “property” is a flight of steps so constructed that anyone going up them can produce the illusion of actually mounting stairs.

Sometimes the sound is produced by the article, itself, for the laboratories have telephone instruments, cash registers, telegraph instruments, auto horns and train bells.  One can hardly think of a sound for which the sound effects laboratories have not either the instrument or something to simulate the sound.

Big effects are obtained simply.  The crackling of a forest fire can be produced by means of Cellophane and strawberry boxes.  These boxes are used to produce a crackling sound, or when held close to the microphone and twisted they give a splendid simulation of a crash.

In the jungle stories, the screeching of the monkeys may be produced by rubbing a cork across an ordinary milk bottle.

How to make sound effects sometimes is discovered by accident.  One expert idly playing with a dollar bill found that if she pulled it taut and then relaxed it quickly it made a put-put-put sound.  When produced before a microphone and amplified, this sound resembles that of a small boat’s outboard motor.


The radio show, Behind the Mike, was an early-40’s series that educated listeners as to what goes on behind the microphone, or, in other words, the workings of a radio studio.  There are quite a few episodes available on Internet Archive.  Check them out!

Behind the Mike:  Sound Effects (November 10, 1940)

Behind the Mike:  Impersonations of Famous People
(November 30, 1941)

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70 Years Ago Today

Radio Notes

University research has shown how children can be brought up without fear.  A step-by-step report of scientific experiments with actual children and the methods it disclosed for eliminating child phobias is one of the subjects dramatised on “The Human Adventure,” CBS-WJAS tonight at 8 o’clock.  Race prejudice, the lie-detector and the X-ray are other subjects for investigation.

Christopher Morley, author of many celebrated plays and books, joins the experts on “Information, Please,” NBC-KDKA at 8:30.

Alice Frost, usually heard in the title role of “Big Sister,” is added to the cast of Mr. District Attorney for NBC-WCAE listeners at 10.

Bob Crosby gives out with “Moon Love” and Helen Ward offers her version of “My Ideal on the Bobcats’ program, CBS-WJAS at 9:30.  The band plays Nick Kenny’s “White Sails.”

Alec Templeton’s impressions of “La Petite Cabaret Singer” and “The Last Chord” are 9:30 p.m. highlights on NBC-WCAE.

The Inside Story on NBC-KDKA at eight reveals how some tenants beat the landlord out of the rent and still stay within the law.

Imagine Phil Baker’s embarrassment recently when he picked up his accordion at a broadcast and found that the black keys on his accordion had hielded to the hot weather and parted from the keyboard.  The keys were put back in place with rubber cement.

“I Love a Mystery” is the title of a new script show to be networked by Rudy Vallee’s former yeast sponsor.  The starting date is October 9.  The network, NBC-Red

Beth Wilson, “Grouch Club” songstress, has the inside track for Artie Shaw’s fall cigaret show.

Pittsburgh Post Gazette

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65 years ago today

August 13, 1944

Radio Reporter

Jim and Marian Jordon, whom you know better as “Fibber McGee and Molly,” have just inked a long term deal with RKO, following completeion of their latest film, “Heavenly Days.”

St. Petersburg Times

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70 Years Ago Today

August 13, 1939

Fidler in Hollywood

Crosby Wins Favor From Travelers Because of His Family and Home

by Jimmie Fidler

ABOARD THE S.S. MATSONIA EN ROUTE HONOLULU—Dear Staff:  The further behind I leave Hollywood, the fresher viewpoint I’m getting on other people’s slant on movies and stars.  It’s like coming out of a stuffy room and catching a breath of pure air.

Today I talked with a group of travelers from Alabama.  They were typical small town people, away on their first long trip.  They were movie fans too, and listed as their favorite stars Bing Crosby, Irene Dunne, Gary Cooper, Norma Shearer, Paul Muni and Pat O’Brien.

They liked these stars because they apparently live normal lives.  Because they have wives and home life, and some have children.

One woman of the group said:  “What does Hollywood think is in the minds of the rest of the world, when movie people divorce so freely and show so little respect for marriage.  Whether Hollywood thinks so or not, respectable citizens of other communities regard matrimony as a sacred trust, and parentage of children as a privilege and duty.”

This woman said she admired Crosby as much for his normal home life as for his talents as an entertainer.  The fact that Bing is proud enough of his wife and four children to exhibit them on every occasion only added to his respectability in her eyes.

And as she said:  “Mr. Crosby’s talents would probably attract most of us to his pictures anyway.  But when he adds respectability to his reputation—well, we normal people accept him as one of us.”

Well, anyway, as I told the lady, Hollywood is one place where it’s proper to say “Who’s your wife today?” instead of “How’s.”

Jimmie Fidler

ESTEEMED SIR:  Your secretary is getting out of hand again and trying to write Fidlings.  When the cat is away—you know the old saw.  Well, we thought it might be a good idea to send one of her efforts along this morning.  It may help you down your Mother Sill’s seasick remedy and it may help allay her poetical frenzy.  She reports that:

Modern cowboys, in silks and bandanas,
Don’t ride horses; they sit on pianos.
Where Mix shot ’em ten deep,
Autry sings them to sleep—
Out west . . . where men are sopranos!

(Maybe you’d better hurry back home.)

St. Petersburg Times


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65 years ago today

August 13, 1944

Major Networks and Top Artists to Vie for Radio Popularity on Fall Programs

The two major radio networks are arming to the teeth with outstanding programs in preparation for an all-out battle for listeners during the coming fall season.

For example, you will have your choice on Sunday nights of listening to either “Jack Benny” and the “Fitch Bandwagon” over NBC or “Kate Smith” over CBS.  On other Sabbath night shows, the “Great Gildersleeve” will be pitted against “Fannie Brice,” who starts next month with a show of her own, and “Blondie” against “Edgar Bergen.”

Several other changes are being contemplated by the networks and will be announced later this month.  On the Benny versus Smith battle we look for a great fight with no punches pulled.  Greatest asset to Kate’s new show will be the fact that it will feature comedy more than ever before.

When we take into consideration that past Kate Smith shows were responsible for the fame of Abbott and Costello, the Aldrich Family, Harry Savoy and the “It Pays to be Ignorant,” cast, to name a few.  Benny’s writers will have to look to their laurels.

The general line-up of fall shows will be different in a number of cases, but the same sponsors will be paying the bills and the bills will be in the same round numbers—maybe up a little here and there.

On the junior networks, Mutual and Blue, there’s still choice time available, and since few commercials left the air, the fall changes are more in the form of a changing approach to programming rather than a changing personnel line-up.

Plowing through the hundreds of releases and publicity notes received from the networks, we have picked out all the latest news flashes regarding Fall programs.  We find that Bing Crosby, poised for an overseas trip, will return to the air Nov. 2 . . . Jackie Gleason replaces Bob Crosby on NBC, starting next week . . . “Hop Harrigan,” juvenile dramatic series heard on the Blue, will move into the 4:45 to 5 p.m. slot tomorrow . . . “Blue Correspondent Abroad,” heard at that time, will shift to the 1:15-1:30 spot . . . Ed Wynn, Jr.*, Mark Warnow and Jerry Wayne are slated for a new show over the Blue on Sept. 8 . . . Starting Aug. 24, Sammy Kaye will make his debut over Mutual.  Sammy will have the 8:30 to 9 p.m. spot.

St. Petersburg Times

*Ed Wynn’s Show was “Happy Island.”

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