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Jack Benny Fights the Second World War

Although he never admitted to being more than 39-years-old, Jack Benny was too old to be drafted during WWII, but he still did his part to win the War.

32 old time radio show recordings
(total playtime 18 hours, 55 min)
available in the following formats:

1 MP3 CD
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16 Audio CDs


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Play a sample episode from August 25, 1944:

"Command Performance: Fred Allen Jack Benny Ginny Simms"



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Jack Benny USO Tour 1945
The last of America's isolationist attitude evaporated when the bombs fell on Pearl Harbor. Even though we were, and are, a nation of individuals, everyone pulled together to defeat the enemies on both sides of the globe. Although they were never going to be on the front lines, the folks in Hollywood did their best to do their part as well, and
Jack Benny and his gang were no exception.

Jack was establishing his vaudeville career when America joined the First World War, and he joined the Navy. Assigned to the Great Lakes Naval Training Center, he was called upon to entertain his shipmates with his violin and discovered that he was better at getting laughs than he was at gaining musical appreciation. After mustering out, he became more of a funnyman in his act.

By the end of the Thirties, The Jack Benny Program had become the high point of the Sunday night lineup, and, of course, December 7, 1941, was a Sunday. Although the cast and the studio audience were rattled with the news coming from Hawaii, the program went off without a hitch, although in some markets there was a break ten and a half minutes into the show for a public service announcement. By that time of the evening on the West coast, the most important message was for everyone to remain calm.

Jack Benny Carole LandisJack and the gang were old hands at doing remote broadcasts away from their Hollywood studio, often performing back East when Jack traveled on business. They did a program from the Naval Training Center in San Diego in the summer of 1941, but after War was declared it seemed like there was no base too remote for Jack to bring the show. The first camp show after Pearl Harbor was from March Field on January 11, 1942.

An early casualty of the War was Jack's sponsor. The gang had been singing "Jay, Eee, El-el, Ohhh!" since the fall of 1934. Unfortunately, the tasty and economical dessert required a lot of sugar to manufacture and more of the sweet stuff was mixed in at home, and sugar was one of the first commodities to be rationed during the War. On May 10, 1942, broadcasting from the recently reopened Air Corp training facility at Mather Field in Sacramento, Jack does a sketch where he visits the office of the president of General Foods and is informed that The Jell-O Program is coming to an end. Three weeks later, the gang does a "Jell-O retrospective", but in the fall they are all back on The Jack Benny Program for Grape-Nuts and Grape-Nuts Flakes. The breakfast cereal is a General Foods product as well, but it never seems to be as much fun as the colorful dessert.

The spirit of sacrifice is further demonstrated when Jack gives up his beloved Maxwell automobile in a scrap metal drive in October 1942. The car, played by coughing and wheezing sounds from Mel Blanc, had become more of a character than a prop, and it will be back on the program. Skinflint Jack is unhappy with the small amount of money it brings (although he is happy to take it in War Bond Stamps). However, he dreams that the metal in the car is used to build a bomber and he is flying it on a mission to Tokyo. A few days after the broadcast, Jack and Mary appeared on The March of Time to make a pitch for the scrap drive.

An even bigger sacrifice was made in personnel. At the age of 38 and with his first daughter recently born, Phil Harris (along with most of the band) joined the Merchant Marine in December 1942. Tenor Dennis Day joined the Navy in the spring of 1944, serving as a Lieutenant. The services used both performer's musical talents rather than putting them into front-line combat units (Harris actually missed only a few episodes of the program). When they mustered out at the end of the War, they went back to work for Benny and soon got shows of their own.

While the Jack Benny Program was on its summer break in 1943, Jack toured Europe and Africa on a USO Tour. Back home, the Armed Forces Radio Service was headquartered in Hollywood, and like so many of his fellow performers, Jack was more than happy to appear when asked. He M.C.'d several editions of Command Performance and Mail Call as well as appearing with his whole gang. The famous Jack Benny/Fred Allen Feud "officially" ended several years earlier but it was played out to great effect on Command Performance.

After VE Day, Jack was in Europe again on a USO tour. The Lucky Strike Program was still on summer break on VJ Day, and with the coming of peace, Jack Benny and the gang quietly went back to entertaining America.

Text on OTRCAT.com ©2001-2020 OTRCAT INC All Rights Reserved. Reproduction is prohibited.

These classic recordings are available in the following formats:

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  • MP3 CDs are delivered by mail. These archival quality MP3 CDs are playable in your computer and many MP3 player devices.



    32 recordings on 1 MP3 CD for just $5.00
    total playtime 18 hours, 55 min
    Add MP3 CD Collection to Cart

    Click here to see disc contents


      32 shows - total playtime 18 hours 55 minutes
      1. Burns And Allen 421201 09 Messy Mechanics.mp3
      2. CP 420507 012 Betty Grable Jack Benny Judy Canova.mp3
      3. CP 420714 022 Edward Arnold Jack Benny Ethel Waters.mp3
      4. CP 421110 041 Jack Benny Alice Faye Cass Daley.mp3
      5. CP 421224 1942 Christmas Special.mp3
      6. CP 431225 Christmas 1943 Bob Hope.mp3
      7. CP 440617 125 Jack Benny Harpo Marx Bing Crosby.mp3
      8. CP 440826 135 Fred Allen Jack Benny Ginny Simms.mp3
      9. CP 440930 140 Deanna Durbin Jack Benny Ginger Rogers.mp3
      10. CP 441014 142 Highlights Of 1944 Assembled Show.mp3
      11. CP 450510 174 Jack Benny Paulette Goddard Hoagy Carmichael.mp3
      12. CP 450531 177 Rita Hayworth Charles Boyer Nat King Cole.mp3
      13. Jack Benny 411207 424 Dr Jekyl And Mr Hyde Part Two.mp3
      14. Jack Benny 421011 451 Jack Takes Two Cadets Stanwycks House.mp3
      15. Jack Benny 421018 452 Jack Gives Maxwell For Scrap.mp3
      16. Jack Benny 421115 456 Twink Family Part Two.mp3
      17. Jack Benny 421129 458 Going After Rommel.mp3
      18. Jack Benny 421206 459 Liberty Ship.mp3
      19. Jack Benny 431010 485 Jack Recalls His African Trip.mp3
      20. Jack Benny 440123 500 From Camp Muroc California.mp3
      21. Jack Benny 440206 502 From Terminal Island.mp3
      22. Jack Benny 440416 512 Bob Hope Parody.mp3
      23. Jack Benny 440423 513 Dennis Leaves For Navy.mp3
      24. Jack Benny 440604 519 Final Grape Nuts Flakes Sponsored Show.mp3
      25. Jack Benny 441119 527 From Corona Naval Hospital.mp3
      26. Jubilee 450331 109 Jack Benny.mp3
      27. Mail Call 440105 072 Benny Garland Mercer Delta Rhythm Boys.mp3
      28. Mail Call 450201 Dinah Shore Nat King Cole Dorothy Lamour.mp3
      29. Mail Call 450307 135 Benny Goddard C.Colbert Jeannie Crain.mp3
      30. Mail Call 450328 138 Bing Crosby Betty Davis Jack Benny.mp3
      31. Soldiers In Greasepaint 431125 Soldiers In Greasepaint.mp3
      32. Tribute To Fdr 450415.mp3
  • MP3 downloads are available instantly after purchase!



    32 recordings on 1 MP3 Collection Download for just $5.00
    total playtime 18 hours, 55 min
    Add MP3 CD Collection to Cart

    Click here to see disc contents


      32 shows - total playtime 18 hours 55 minutes
      1. Burns And Allen 421201 09 Messy Mechanics.mp3
      2. CP 420507 012 Betty Grable Jack Benny Judy Canova.mp3
      3. CP 420714 022 Edward Arnold Jack Benny Ethel Waters.mp3
      4. CP 421110 041 Jack Benny Alice Faye Cass Daley.mp3
      5. CP 421224 1942 Christmas Special.mp3
      6. CP 431225 Christmas 1943 Bob Hope.mp3
      7. CP 440617 125 Jack Benny Harpo Marx Bing Crosby.mp3
      8. CP 440826 135 Fred Allen Jack Benny Ginny Simms.mp3
      9. CP 440930 140 Deanna Durbin Jack Benny Ginger Rogers.mp3
      10. CP 441014 142 Highlights Of 1944 Assembled Show.mp3
      11. CP 450510 174 Jack Benny Paulette Goddard Hoagy Carmichael.mp3
      12. CP 450531 177 Rita Hayworth Charles Boyer Nat King Cole.mp3
      13. Jack Benny 411207 424 Dr Jekyl And Mr Hyde Part Two.mp3
      14. Jack Benny 421011 451 Jack Takes Two Cadets Stanwycks House.mp3
      15. Jack Benny 421018 452 Jack Gives Maxwell For Scrap.mp3
      16. Jack Benny 421115 456 Twink Family Part Two.mp3
      17. Jack Benny 421129 458 Going After Rommel.mp3
      18. Jack Benny 421206 459 Liberty Ship.mp3
      19. Jack Benny 431010 485 Jack Recalls His African Trip.mp3
      20. Jack Benny 440123 500 From Camp Muroc California.mp3
      21. Jack Benny 440206 502 From Terminal Island.mp3
      22. Jack Benny 440416 512 Bob Hope Parody.mp3
      23. Jack Benny 440423 513 Dennis Leaves For Navy.mp3
      24. Jack Benny 440604 519 Final Grape Nuts Flakes Sponsored Show.mp3
      25. Jack Benny 441119 527 From Corona Naval Hospital.mp3
      26. Jubilee 450331 109 Jack Benny.mp3
      27. Mail Call 440105 072 Benny Garland Mercer Delta Rhythm Boys.mp3
      28. Mail Call 450201 Dinah Shore Nat King Cole Dorothy Lamour.mp3
      29. Mail Call 450307 135 Benny Goddard C.Colbert Jeannie Crain.mp3
      30. Mail Call 450328 138 Bing Crosby Betty Davis Jack Benny.mp3
      31. Soldiers In Greasepaint 431125 Soldiers In Greasepaint.mp3
      32. Tribute To Fdr 450415.mp3
  • Standard Audio CDs are delivered by mail on archival quality media with up to 60 minutes on each CD and play in all CD players



    32 recordings on 16 Audio CDs
    total playtime 15 hours, 17 min

    Jack Benny WWII Disc A001

    1. Jack Benny 411207 424 Dr Jekyl And Mr Hyde Part Two
    2. CP 420507 012 Betty Grable Jack Benny Judy Canova

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Jack Benny WWII Disc A002

    1. CP 420714 022 Edward Arnold Jack Benny Ethel Waters
    2. Jack Benny 421011 451 Jack Takes Two Cadets Stanwycks House

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Jack Benny WWII Disc A003

    1. Jack Benny 421018 452 Jack Gives Maxwell For Scrap
    2. CP 421110 041 Jack Benny Alice Faye Cass Daley

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Jack Benny WWII Disc A004

    1. Jack Benny 421115 456 Twink Family Part Two
    2. Jack Benny 421129 458 Going After Rommel

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Jack Benny WWII Disc A005

    1. Burns And Allen 421201 09 Messy Mechanics
    2. Jack Benny 421206 459 Liberty Ship

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Jack Benny WWII Disc A006

    1. CP 421224 1942 Christmas Special

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Jack Benny WWII Disc A007

    1. Jack Benny 431010 485 Jack Recalls His African Trip
    2. Soldiers In Greasepaint 431125 Soldiers In Greasepaint

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Jack Benny WWII Disc A008

    1. Mail Call 440105 072 Benny Garland Mercer Delta Rhythm Boys
    2. Jack Benny 440123 500 From Camp Muroc California

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Jack Benny WWII Disc A009

    1. Jack Benny 440206 502 From Terminal Island
    2. Jack Benny 440416 512 Bob Hope Parody

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Jack Benny WWII Disc A010

    1. Jack Benny 440423 513 Dennis Leaves For Navy
    2. Jack Benny 440604 519 Final Grape Nuts Flakes Sponsored Show

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Jack Benny WWII Disc A011

    1. CP 440617 125 Jack Benny Harpo Marx Bing Crosby
    2. CP 440826 135 Fred Allen Jack Benny Ginny Simms

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Jack Benny WWII Disc A012

    1. CP 440930 140 Deanna Durbin Jack Benny Ginger Rogers
    2. CP 441014 142 Highlights Of 1944 Assembled Show

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Jack Benny WWII Disc A013

    1. Jack Benny 441119 527 From Corona Naval Hospital
    2. Mail Call 450201 Dinah Shore Nat King Cole Dorothy Lamour

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Jack Benny WWII Disc A014

    1. Mail Call 450307 135 Benny Goddard C.Colbert Jeannie Crain
    2. Mail Call 450328 138 Bing Crosby Betty Davis Jack Benny

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Jack Benny WWII Disc A015

    1. Jubilee 450331 109 Jack Benny
    2. CP 450510 174 Jack Benny Paulette Goddard Hoagy Carmichael

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
    Jack Benny WWII Disc A016

    1. CP 450531 177 Rita Hayworth Charles Boyer Nat King Cole

    Add Audio CD to Cart - $5.00
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