Since 1932, Jack Benny long amused radio audiences with his continuing gags, including his ah-hem thrifty spending habits, his perpetual age of 39, that dreadful violin playing. Fred Allen also began his career in radio comedy since 1932, when he began the show "The Lint Bath Club Revue" with wife Portland Hoffa. Allen was famous for ad-libbing and cracking up the audience with running comments on the jokes.
After child violinist Stewart Canin's performance on Allen's show, Fred Allen commented that "a certain alleged violinist" (Jack Benny) should hide in shame. Although the initial quip from Fred Allen was ad lib, the two met with their writers to expand the gag to their respective old time radio shows. Jack Benny continued the gag and promised (or threatened according to Allen) to play "The Bee" on his violin on the February 7th, 1937 show, eventually playing it on the February 28th.
Some memorable lines from the Jack Benny and Fred Allen Feud include:
Fred Allen: Jack, you couldn't ad lib a belch after a plate of Hungarian goulash.
Jack Benny: You wouldn't say that if my writers were here.
Allen: Why you fugitive from a Ripley cartoon!
Allen: How long have you been in the cake business?
Benny: Long enough to know a crumb when I see one.
Benny: You ought to do well in pictures, Mr. Allen, now that Boris Karloff is back in England.
Allen: Tomorrow night, in your ermine robe, you will be whisked by bicycle to Orange, New Jersey, where you will be the judge in a chicken-cleaning contest.
Benny: I'm KING for a Day!
The Benny-Allen feud reached its climax in the famous "King For A Day" sketch on Fred Allen's program, when Fred Allen stole Jack Benny's pants.
The decade long feud between Jack Benny and Fred Allen featured barbs between the two comedy greats on multiple old time radio shows including Allen's Alley, The Jack Benny Program, Command Performance, and The Big Show.
The collection is organized chronologically to follow the comedic feud as it unfolded to the radio listener. See also: Down Allen's Alley (with Fred Allen).