Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Happy _________ Day!

Valentine's Day is a capitalist, consumerist holiday (to quote Edson) so we never worry about the chocolates, roses, gifts, wrappings, cards, reservations, and preparations involved in its celebration.

Don't go thinking we don't celebrate anything!

It is a great holiday day, after all. You can share in it as well and not have to worry you are single or not. You can enjoy it with a friend or family member. You can do it at work or while you drive or jog.

What is it?, you ask?

Well, this year is the 114th anniversary of Jack Benny's birthday. Although we're sure he's still 39. We celebrate that instead.

To help you share in the fun I've gathered together a few choice clips from YouTube from Jack's television shows and his Dean Martin Celebrity Roast episode.

Being roasted by Dean and Co.:

Jack takes on Groucho:

With Marilyn Monroe in her first television appearance:

And here is the creme de la creme! A full-length radio broadcast (including those infamous Lucky Strike commercials!) from 1950, where Jack's Maxwell is stolen!

Here's the whole cast: Eddie "Rochester" Anderson, Dennis Day, Phil Harris, Mary Livingstone, Jack, Don Wilson, and Mel Blanc.

And why do we?

We need to laugh, and few do better at making us laugh than Jack. Jack's radio show invented the ensemble situation comedy format that led to shows like the Mary Tyler Moore Show, Cheers, and Friends. He took a lot of risks, allowing himself to be upstaged both by his guests and his regular cast, and hiring one of the first black entertainers in radio when all other major black characters in the medium were played by white actors.

So, while others are busy fretting over which kind of chocolates to buy, reading through an endless variety of greeting cards dripping with syrupy sentiment, realizing nobody carries enough cash in their wallet to buy a dozen roses (thus increasing the purchaser's credit card debt), and desperately seeking reservations to swanky restaurants (note: bring Visa or Mastercard...more debt), we'll be laughing!

No, not at them!!! At Jack & Co.

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