Saturday, April 9, 2011

Going On 40

Going on 40: There isn't really a picture that would signify 'going on 40' unless like me you're a fan of one of the all time great comedians Jack Benny who was permanently 39. Ian Dury's first taste of great success was in his late 30's so when writing Reasons he was cheerfully going on 40. Jack Benny was born in 1894. His radio shows ran from 1932 until 1955 and on tv from 1950 to 1965. The Jack Benny program featured the wondrous Eddie Anderson as Rochester and the many voices of Mel Blanc. The radio and later tv character of Jack Benny was a skinflint wo liked to play the violin badly. Benny was known for his long pauses, a contrast to many of his fast talking contemporaries, especially on radio. His most famous (if not infamous) routines was when a mugger accosted him "Don't make a move, this is a stickup. Your money or your life." Benny paused, the robber went on: "Look, bud! I said your money or your life!" another pause and Benny replied, "I'm thinking it over!". Jack Benny died in 1974 (aged 39) shortly after being cast in The Sunshine Boys, one of his dying wishes was for his close lifetime friend George Burns to take the part. Burns went on to win an Oscar as best supporting actor.

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