Sunday, Oct. 11, 1942
My parents had now been married one month.* There are no letters telling how they celebrated but I am sure I know. Sundays in my family revolved around three rituals. One was Sunday dinner, like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting — no soccer games, electronic devices, car pools to interrupt the gathering. Listening to the radio together was another ritual with family-friendly comedies, dramas, music, and news. The third was the Sunday paper. With almost 200 pages on average and with numerous sections – Sports, Society, Comics, Local News, National News, International News, and such, everyone could have a piece to curl up with and pass to another member of the family when done.
This Sunday saw a perfect confluence for my parents’ celebration: A Sunday dinner, the Sunday paper, and – at long last – Jack Benny. Benny’s 1942 season resumed at 6 PM on WMAQ.
Jack Benny was not a passing fancy. My father listened to his radio program faithfully until it finally went off the air. But that’s not all. He actually made not one, but two pilgrimages to Waukegan, Benny’s hometown, and described it in letters to his sister. The first visit was in February:
“Went up to Waukegan to see where Jack Benny was born — but they didn’t have a statue there for him. – surprised? I’d do a lot more travelling but I don’t want to wear out my tires.”
Despite his concern about tires, he went to Waukegan again on April 19:
Went up to Waukegan yesterday — Sent Benny a postcard saying I didn’t blame him for getting out of this place.. I sent love to Mary [Livingston].”
Discover the joys of old-time radio with this Jack Benny program, April 1942, filmed at Camp Haan near Riverside, California. I haven’t yet found a recording of the Oct 11 program, in which Benny took two cadets to visit Barbara Stanwyck but here’s a transcript of that program.
*This is my anniversary, too, in a way. I started this blog on Sept. 10, 2014 and haven now posted 32 entries.