Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Jack Benny and the Golden Age of American Radio Comedy$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Kathryn H. Fuller-Seeley

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780520295049

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520295049.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 06 December 2021

Eddie Anderson, Rochester, and Race in 1930s Radio and Film

Eddie Anderson, Rochester, and Race in 1930s Radio and Film

Chapter:
(p.120) Four Eddie Anderson, Rochester, and Race in 1930s Radio and Film
Source:
Jack Benny and the Golden Age of American Radio Comedy
Author(s):

Kathryn H. Fuller-Seeley

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520295049.003.0005

African-American dancer, singer, comedian Eddie Anderson pursued an entertainment career in California, his opportunities limited by Jim Crow-era racism in Hollywood but also shaped opportunities in night clubs and cabarets that catered to both black and white patrons. Winning an audition for a one-time role on Benny’s radio show, Anderson’s inimitable gravelly voice spurred Benny to create a full time part, the character of Rochester Van Jones, Jack’s butler and valet, in late 1937. Although initially hampered by stereotyped minstrel-show dialogue and character habits, Rochester soon became renowned by both white and black listeners for his ability to criticize the “Boss” in impertinent manner. Virtually co-starred in three films with Benny that were highly successful at the box office, commenters in the black press in 1940 hoped that Rochester offered “a new day” in improved race relations.

Keywords:   race, vaudeville, night clubs, film, radio, stereotypes, minstrel show, Jim Crow, skin color, celebrity

California Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.