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PEOPLE IN AMERICA - Jack Benny

时间:2005-09-29 16:00来源:互联网 提供网友:wbnewbie   字体: [ ]
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PEOPLE IN AMERICA -March 31, 2002: Jack1 Benny

By George Grow
VOICE ONE:
I’m Sarah Long.
VOICE TWO:
And I’m Steve Ember with the VOA Special English program PEOPLE IN AMERICA. Today, we tell the story


of Jack Benny. He was one of America ’s best-loved funnymen during the twentieth century.
(THEME)
VOICE ONE:


Jack Benny was one of the most famous names in show business for more than fifty years. He started as a serious


musician, before he discovered he could make people laugh.
Jack Benny became famous nationwide in the Nineteen-Thirties as a result of his weekly radio program. His
programs were among the most popular on American radio, and later on television.

 

Jack Benny won the hearts of Americans by making fun of himself. He was known not as
someone who said funny things, but as someone who said things in a funny way.

VOICE TWO:

Jack Benny was born in Chicago, Illinois, on February fourteenth, Eighteen-Ninety-Four. His
parents, Meyer and Emma Kubelsky, were religious Jews. They had moved to the United
States from eastern Europe. They named their first child, Benjamin.

Benjamin Kubelsky and his family lived in Waukeegan (pronounce waw-KEE-guhn), Illinois.
Benjamin was a quiet boy. For much of the time, his parents were busy working in his father’
s store. As a child, Benjamin, or Benny as his friends called him, learned to play the violin.

Benny was such a good violin player that, for a time, he wanted to become a musician.

VOICE ONE:

While in school, Benny got a job as a violin player with the Barrison Theater, the local vaudeville2 house.
Vaudeville was the most popular form of show business in the United States in the early Nineteen-Hundreds.
Vaudeville shows presented short plays, singers, comedians4 who made people laugh and other acts.

Benny worked at the Barrison Theater --sometimes during school hours. He left high school before completing
his studies. The piano player for the theater was a former vaudeville performer named Cora Salisbury. For a short
time, she and Benny formed their own performing act. Later, he and another piano player had their own act.

At first, Benny changed his name to Ben K. Benny. However, that name was similar to another actor who played
a violin. So, he chose the name Jack Benny.

((MUSIC BRIDGE))

VOICE TWO:

The United States entered World War One in Nineteen-Seventeen. Benny joined the Navy and reported to the
Great Lakes Naval5 Station. He continued using his violin to perform for sailors at the naval station.


In one show, he was chosen more for his funny jokes than for his skill with the violin. That experience made him
believe that his future job was as a comedian3, not in music.

VOICE ONE:
After leaving the Navy, Benny returned to vaudeville. His performances won him considerable popularity6 during
the Nineteen-Twenties. He traveled across the country with other well-known performers, including the Marx
Brothers.


In Nineteen-Twenty-Seven, Benny married Sadie Marks, a sales girl from the May Company store in Los
Angeles. Missus Benny soon became part of the traveling show. She used the name Mary Livingstone (pron:
living-stun).

Jack Benny appeared in a few Hollywood films, but then left California and moved to New York. He had a
leading part in the Broadway show, Vanities7.

VOICE TWO:
Benny made his first appearance on radio in Nineteen-Thirty-Two. He was invited to appear on a radio show
presented by newspaper reporter Ed Sullivan. Benny opened with this announcement:


“Ladies and gentlemen, this is Jack Benny talking. There will be a short break while you say, who cares?


However, many listeners did care. Within a short period, Benny had his own radio show. It continued for twenty-
three years.
ANNCR:“The Jack Benny Program.

((MUSIC)
)
“ … starring Jack Benny, with Mary Livingstone, Phil Harris, Rochester, Dennis Day, and yours truly, Don


Wilson .

((MUSIC)
)
VOICE ONE:
Jack Benny developed a show business personality that had all the qualities people dislike. He was known for


being so stingy he refused to spend any of his money, unless forced to do so. He always was concerned about
money. For example, he would put on a jeweler’s glass to examine the diamond on a wealthy woman he had
just met.
In another example, a robber points a gun at Benny.
ROBBER: “This is a stick-up.

BENNY: “Mister, put down that gun.

ROBBER: “Shut up. I said this is a stick-up. Now, come on. Your money or your life.

((laughter)
)
ROBBER: “Look, bud8. I said, your money or your life!

BENNY: “I’m thinking it over.

((laughter/music)
)



VOICE TWO:

On his shows, Jack Benny often spoke9 of his appearance, especially his baby blue eyes. As he grew older, he
always claimed to be thirty-nine years old.
Benny was known as a comedian with great timing10. He seemed to know the perfect time to tell a joke and when

to remain silent. The way he looked at other actors and his use of body movements were world famous. He also

was skilled at using his violin to make people laugh.

VOICE ONE:
Jack Benny was one of the first comedians who was willing to let other people share some of the laughs. He
rarely made jokes that hurt other people. Instead, he would let the other actors on the show tell jokes about him.


Many of the actors in Benny’s show became almost as famous as he was. They would criticize Benny’ s
refusal to replace his ancient automobile11. They made fun of the pay telephone that he added to his house.
This is a telephone discussion between Benny and his trusted employee, Rochester.
BENNY: “Hello .

ROCHESTER: “Hello, Mister Benny. This is Rochester.

((applause)
)


BENNY: “Rochester, I ’m in the middle of the program.

ROCHESTER: “I know, boss, but this is very important. The man from the life insurance company was here
about that policy you’re taking out and he asked me a lot of questions.


BENNY: “Well, I hope you answered them right.


ROCHESTER: “Oh, I did. When he asked me your height, I said five-foot, ten.


BENNY: “Uh, huh.


ROCHESTER: “Your weight, one-hundred-sixty-four.


BENNY: “Uh, huh.


ROCHESTER: “Your age, thirty-nine.


BENNY: “Uh, huh.


ROCHESTER: “We had quite a roundtable discussion on that one.


((laughter)
)


BENNY: “Wait a minute, Rochester. Why should there be any question about my age?


ROCHESTER: “Oh, it wasn’t a question. It was the answer we had trouble with.


((laughter)
)


VOICE TWO:


Jack Benny said, “The show itself is the important thing. As long as people think the show is funny, it does not



matter who tells the jokes.

He also made fun of the paid announcements broadcast during his radio show that
were designed to sell products. They often provided some of the funniest moments in the show. Most performers
never would make fun of the businesses that helped pay for the show.

VOICE ONE:

Over the years, Jack Benny did well financially. In Nineteen-Forty-Eight, he moved his show from the National
Broadcasting Company to the Columbia Broadcasting System. As part of the agreement, C-B-S paid more than
two-million dollars to a company in which Benny had a controlling interest.

Much later, the Music Corporation of America bought Benny’s production company. Benny received almost
three-million dollars in M-C-A stock shares.

In real life, he was the opposite of the person he played in his show. He was known to be very giving and
someone people liked having as their employer. He also could play the violin very well.

VOICE TWO:

Jack Benny entered the new medium of television in Nineteen-Fifty. Five years later, he dropped his radio
program to spend more time developing his television show. At first, his appearances on television were rare. By
Nineteen-Sixty, the Benny show was a weekly television program. It continued until Nineteen-Sixty-Five.

Benny appeared in about twenty films during his life. A few became popular. But most were not. In Nineteen-
Sixty-Three, Benny returned to Broadway for the first time since Nineteen-Thirty-One. He performed to large
crowds.

VOICE ONE:

Jack Benny received many awards during his lifetime. The publication Motion Picture Daily voted him the
country’s best radio comedian four times. In Nineteen-Fifty-Seven, he won a special award from the Academy
of Television Arts and Sciences for the best continuing performance. He also won the Academy’s television
award for the best comedy series in Nineteen-Fifty-Nine.

Perhaps the one honor that pleased him most was that his hometown of Waukeegan named a school for him. This
is was special honor for a man who had never finished high school.

VOICE TWO:

Jack Benny continued to perform and to do a few television specials after his weekly series ended. He died of
cancer on December twenty-sixth, Nineteen-Seventy-Four. His friend, comedian Bob Hope, spoke at the funeral
about the loss felt by Benny’s friends and fans. He said “Jack Benny was stingy to the end. He gave us only
eighty years.

MUSIC: “Love in Bloom”/David Rose and His Orchestra12

VOICE ONE:

This Special English program was written by and produced by George Grow. I’m Sarah Long.

VOICE TWO:

And I’m Steve Ember. Join us again next week for another PEOPLE IN AMERICA program on the Voice of
America.


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点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 jack 53Hxp     
n.插座,千斤顶,男人;v.抬起,提醒,扛举;n.(Jake)杰克
参考例句:
  • I am looking for the headphone jack.我正在找寻头戴式耳机插孔。
  • He lifted the car with a jack to change the flat tyre.他用千斤顶把车顶起来换下瘪轮胎。
2 vaudeville Oizw4     
n.歌舞杂耍表演
参考例句:
  • The standard length of a vaudeville act was 12 minutes.一个杂耍节目的标准长度是12分钟。
  • The mayor talk like a vaudeville comedian in his public address.在公共演讲中,这位市长讲起话来像个歌舞杂耍演员。
3 comedian jWfyW     
n.喜剧演员;滑稽演员
参考例句:
  • The comedian tickled the crowd with his jokes.喜剧演员的笑话把人们逗乐了。
  • The comedian enjoyed great popularity during the 30's.那位喜剧演员在三十年代非常走红。
4 comedians efcac24154f4452751c4385767145187     
n.喜剧演员,丑角( comedian的名词复数 )
参考例句:
  • The voice was rich, lordly, Harvardish, like all the boring radio comedians'imitations. 声音浑厚、威严,俨然是哈佛出身的气派,就跟无线电里所有的滑稽演员叫人已经听腻的模仿完全一样。 来自辞典例句
  • He distracted them by joking and imitating movie and radio comedians. 他用开玩笑的方法或者模仿电影及广播中的滑稽演员来对付他们。 来自辞典例句
5 naval h1lyU     
adj.海军的,军舰的,船的
参考例句:
  • He took part in a great naval battle.他参加了一次大海战。
  • The harbour is an important naval base.该港是一个重要的海军基地。
6 popularity bO4xU     
n.普及,流行,名望,受欢迎
参考例句:
  • The story had an extensive popularity among American readers.这本小说在美国读者中赢得广泛的声望。
  • Our product enjoys popularity throughout the world.我们的产品饮誉全球。
7 vanities 2e94699d4b828c800ea1f6fb01c1d6d3     
空虚( vanity的名词复数 ); 自负; 自负的行为; (尤指与其他重大事物相比)渺小
参考例句:
  • Her small vanities and selfishness were growing nicely. 她小心眼里的虚荣和自私愈演愈浓烈。
  • I had forsaken the vanities of the world. 我已将人世的无聊琐事置之不理。
8 bud mc6yu     
vi.发芽,萌芽;n.芽,花蕾
参考例句:
  • Some flowers bud their leaves very early in spring.有些花在春季里很早发出叶来。
  • A bad habit in a child should be nipped in the bud.应该尽早把孩子的坏习惯改过来。
9 spoke XryyC     
n.(车轮的)辐条;轮辐;破坏某人的计划;阻挠某人的行动 v.讲,谈(speak的过去式);说;演说;从某种观点来说
参考例句:
  • They sourced the spoke nuts from our company.他们的轮辐螺帽是从我们公司获得的。
  • The spokes of a wheel are the bars that connect the outer ring to the centre.辐条是轮子上连接外圈与中心的条棒。
10 timing rgUzGC     
n.时间安排,时间选择
参考例句:
  • The timing of the meeting is not convenient.会议的时间安排不合适。
  • The timing of our statement is very opportune.我们发表声明选择的时机很恰当。
11 automobile rP1yv     
n.汽车,机动车
参考例句:
  • He is repairing the brake lever of an automobile.他正在修理汽车的刹车杆。
  • The automobile slowed down to go around the curves in the road.汽车在路上转弯时放慢了速度。
12 orchestra 90OyN     
n.管弦乐队;vt.命令,定购
参考例句:
  • He plays the violin in an orchestra.他在管弦乐队中演奏小提琴。
  • I was tempted to stay and hear this superb orchestra rehearse.我真想留下来听这支高超的管弦乐队排练。
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