“Jack Tries to Buy an Electric Car!” A new episode of the Jack Benny Program

Have you ever had a day when you just wanted to write an episode of the Jack Benny Program, as if the radio show was still on the air? (Or is that just me?) What would they be talking about today? Enjoy!

“Jack Tries to Buy an Electric Car”

OPENING CREDITS

MUSIC: Fast-paced “Yankee Doodle Dandy”

DON WILSON: (Quickly) It’s the Jack Benny Program! Starring Mary Livingston, Phil Harris, Dennis Day, and yours truly, Don Wilson.

SOUND: Audience applauds.

MUSIC: Fades out.

ACT ONE

SOUND: Nature, quiet Sunday. Birds chirping. Cars quiet in the distance.

DON: Quiet Sunday afternoons can make any man contemplative, even Jack Benny. Today we find our esteemed host walking through his neighborhood deep in thought.

JACK BENNY: (Thoughtful) Well, this neighborhood certainly has changed over the years… Neighbors have come and gone. Some have died, some have moved. I only sued a few of them…

SOUND: Laughter

JACK: Fifties… Sixties… I was here for the Beatles. Now two of them are deceased and the other two are in their 70s. (Pause) I’m still 39.

SOUND: Laughter

JACK: Don’t know how I do it. Yet, even at this age, I still see the tripping of time… Maturity that is what you get with the days. You can’t be young and foolish forever.

DENNIS DAY: Excuse me, Mr. Benny have you seen my little red wagon?

SOUND: Audience cheers and laughs

JACK: Dennis!

SOUND: Laughter

JACK: (Holding back his own laughter) What did you say, Dennis?

DENNIS: My little red wagon. Yes, my little red wagon. (sing-song style) Oh where, oh where can it be?

SOUND: Laugh

JACK: Dennis, I have known you for so many years, how are you still so incredibly ridiculous?

DENNIS: A daily regimen of pushups, vitamins, hijinks and tomfoolery.

SOUND: Laughter

JACK: Dennis, have you noticed how much the world has changed? How the world has begun to embrace multiculturalism, and different voices and talents seem to rise every day. Oh, some fight against the changes, but they can’t stop the tide of change. They will lose in the end, you can’t stop positive change. It is definitely not the privileged world we knew back when our radio show first aired.

DENNIS: (Frustrated) Have you seen my red wagon or not?

SOUND: Laughter Continue reading

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Jack Benny as My Comfort Food

I first discovered Jack Benny by chance. I was about 11 and while playing with a cheap little radio in my bedroom, I discovered an AM station that was playing old-time radio shows. With my young imagination, I first imagined that I had somehow tuned into the past.

I was hearing the 1940’s!

Right there, on my radio!

I began to wonder if there was a way I could transport more back to then. (On a side note, if I could go back now I would write the screenplay for Casablanca; bad of me, I know) Could I communicate back? Could this mean something more? Was this the start of a wacky adventure starring me…

Naturally, I then remember the disappointment when the first local radio ad played between some episodes. Yet, reality was not enough to deter me from listening more.  I was first fascinated, and then slowly hooked.

I started buying blank tapes, filling them up day after day with anything they were playing. Before I stopped I had almost a hundred tapes with everything from The Lone Ranger to The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes to The Jack Benny Show. Continue reading

Writer’s Corner: Four Projects I Would Love to Adapt for the Silver Screen…

A few days ago I went through some of my old writing files on my computer seeing what jumps out at me and what inspires me today; and, for some unexplained reason, my mind began to think about film adaptations.

There is a great public misnomer about film adaptations. When you hear people talk about films adapted from books or plays, the audience seems to think that the screenplay writer had a choice in making changes for the big screen. “Why couldn’t he have just filmed the book?” You would hear that complaint a lot around the Harry Potter films in podcasts and forums, for example.

The fact is film is a different medium than books, and with it comes its own limitations and strengths. While the borders on a book are only limited by the imagination of the reader (and writer), a film has to be focused on one point at a time, understanding that there is only so much space on the screen at any given moment. Length, pacing, and audience need to be considered (You can’t have things happen “off screen” in a movie, for example; the audience will think it didn’t happen if they didn’t see it).

The greatest difference between film and books, is that a film has got to “earn” your attention for every minute. It is harder for a film to “suspend disbelief.” Which means a story, while in a book can be stretched out, in a film there has to be action. In other words, there must always be movement; it’s how they keep our eyes on the screen and our hands out of the popcorn bowl. Continue reading

Episode 2 of The Dante Experience

I’ve decided to move forward with sharing the rest of The Dante Experience, on a week-by-week basis. There is also a page now above (The Dante 3) that links to the episodes that have already been shared so you can catch up on Episode 1.

Episode 2 is called “Our Time in Limbo” and can be heard here:

-Radio and Me-

There are two moments I remember clearly that started me down the path of wanting to write comedy for radio. The first was when I was in fourth grade. I was in the car with my dad going to visit my grandparents and I first heard The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Continue reading

One of My Favorite Finds of Last Year: Graphic Audio’s DC Titles

I have a new review up on GreenSpotBlue today.  This one is a find I am really excited about, as you will see from my review. In many ways, Graphic Audio are bringing life to an artform I thought was dead and that is, in my humble opinion, awesome.  Here is the beginning of my review:

This may sound like the beginning of a bad country song, but when I found Graphic Audio, I was not looking for love just a way to pass the time.

See, in 2011, my daughter was born and after the experience of her older brother I knew I needed something to help keep me awake and focused during late night feedings… or even afternoon feedings (something about holding a sleeping baby that knocks me out every time). Continue reading