Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Recipes and Radio: Dreaming of Turkey with Jack Benny (Thanksgiving Old Time Radio)

My fifth entry of Recipes and Radio in honor of Thanksgiving.  First, the recipe for the center piece of almost any Thanksgiving meal - the turkey!

164/365/1625 (November 22, 2012) - Roasted Turkey

We have been following this receipe for turkey for a number of years and I love how it turned out.  This was adapted from a recipe from Food Network and one from the Longaberger Cookbook (yep...the basket people).  The trick is to baste it all the time (maybe ever 20 minutes) to make sure that it is nice and tender.  Follow this link for the recipe.

The Jack Benny Program was a national treasure and it is great that we have so many recordings.  Staring in the show was Jack Benny, a vaudeville performer who seemed to hit it big over the airways.  Mary Livingstone played second fiddle (no pun intended) to her real life husband.  She apparently had horrible stage fright, but hardly shows it as the straight person to many of Jack Benny's jokes.  Eddie Anderson played Rochester, Jack's valet and chauffeur.  He was one of the earliest African-Americans on mainstream radio and was one of the most loved characters on the show.  Don Wilson was the show announcer and did the commercials.  He was the constant butt of jokes, primarily about his weight.  Irish Tenor Dennis Day (who was on the 1948 show) also had a show of his own.  Besides being a 'dim bulb' in all the skits, he also sang a song on every episode.  Phil Harris (who also had a show of his own) was the bandleader and the joker on the show.  His real wife, Alice Faye would join him on the show as well.  The last big name was Mel Blanc (of Bugs Bunny fame).  Blanc (who ALSO had his own show) was one of the most famous character actors to play on the Jack Benny Show.  He is very commonly the floorwalkers for the Christmas episodes.

The shows are chock full of laughs, funny stories, corny jokes and great music. There are many, many Thanksgiving episodes to draw from, but I like the episode from November 21, 1943. The episode starts with Jack and Mary shopping for Thanksgiving dinner a few days before the holidays. After haggling over the cost of the dressed turkeys, he decided to buy a live one. But as you might imagine, Jack grew attached to the centerpiece of his planned Thanksgiving meal.  Jack's attachment to the turkey clearly had an impact on his subconscious as he dreamed he was a turkey!  The episode features Dennis Day (who sings "Say a Prayer for the Boys Over There"), Don Wilson, John Brown, Minerva Pious, and Frank Nelson.

Here are some links to programs relating to Jack Benny:
      Recipes and Radio Episodes and Other Links

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