Monday, August 18, 2008

Living in the Past can be Funny

Yesterday afternoon the local PBS station aired two episodes of the Jack Benny program from the 1960’s. They conflicted with the Chicago Cubs vs. the Florida Marlins, so I recorded them – thank God for Tivo.

I never was a big Jack Benny fan, but when I was a kid we watched what our Dad watched. This was back in the Stone Age when the parents actually controlled what was viewed by the family on television. If you didn’t like your parent’s programming selections you could listen to the radio or read a book.


With the exception of Lawrence Welk on Saturday Night my parents viewing selections were, in my opinion, very good.

I watched the recorded Jack Benny shows this afternoon. These were not Jack Benny as his best.

However, the first program featured the Kingston Trio, one of my favorite musical groups from the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. This show was originally televised in January 1965 and I hadn’t seen it. By this time “The Trio’s” career was waning as the “British Invasion” had begun 2 years before and was flourishing on the pop music scene. The original group leader Dave Guard had left the Trio and was replaced by John Stewart.

The Trio preformed one of my favorites “Tijuana Jail” and Benny built a skit around the lyrics of the song. Mel Blanc (Bugs Bunny/Daffy Duck/Speedy Gonzalez) was in the skit and played a “politically incorrect” prisoner in the Tijuana Jail. This was one of the highlights of the show.

This reminded me of why I really enjoy old television programs from the 50’s, 60’s and early 70’s. Most of them were “Politically Incorrect” and stereotyped Nationalities, Races and Religious groups. But it was all done for the sake of humor. If you can’t laugh at people that are different from you then you have to laugh at yourself. And that’s not funny!


The Beach Bum

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