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Jack Benny and the Golden Age of American Radio Comedy$
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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

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Jack Benny’s Intermedia Juggling of Radio and Film

Jack Benny’s Intermedia Juggling of Radio and Film

(p.223) Seven Jack Benny’s Intermedia Juggling of Radio and Film
Jack Benny and the Golden Age of American Radio Comedy

Kathryn H. Fuller-Seeley

University of California Press

Jack Benny was not only radio’s biggest star after the mid-1930s, but he was the most visible celebrity in Hollywood. This chapter examines the many ways that Benny’s radio program, and Benny’s performance career, intertwined radio and film, two powerful media industries that were often said to be at war with one another. While media conglomeration today means that performers and story ideas are moved freely across media, there were many impediments to do so in the past. Benny’s radio show was the first to parody popular movies, but he could not mention the radio stars who sold rival products. Benny’s radio-themed films made at Paramount between 1939 and 1941, met with significant box office success and even greater critical disparagement.

Keywords:   intermedia, Hollywood, Southern California, tourism, audiences, fans, radio sponsors, Paramount, film critics

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