Day 5 of 32 Days of Halloween has turned into a haven for old-time radio shows. So this year we’re going to grab a couple of Halloween specials from The Jack Benny Program, specifically from 1938 and 1939.
If you’re unfamiliar with the program, two things might strike you as a bit unnerving, so I shall warn you upfront. First, Eddie Anderson plays Rochester Van Jones, Jack Benny’s valet. This was the late thirties and…things have come a long way since then, shall we say. However, I would like to point you to the same things I said about Mantan Moreland’s genius performance in King of the Zombies. Anderson is a comic genius, his line delivery is perfection and more often than not he’s getting one over on Benny. “If he didn’t get so many laughs,” Benny jokes at one point in character, “I’d fire him.” He’s one of the, if not the, smartest characters in the show–and the show backed him up. Ordinarily, we joke here about Wikipedia (since they’re always right) but their article on Anderson is actually quite good and is recommended reading regarding how he was accepted as a member of the company.
Second unnerving thing: the Jell-O ads. Yes, that’s how advertising worked back in the day. Enjoy.
P.S. Audio quality is not great. But these things are seventy-plus years old. So.