Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Fiddling Around

It's just short of two and a half minutes and it was filmed when Eisenhower was president, for crying out loud, but it still cracks me up to this day!

It's a video of Jack Benny and Gisele MacKenzie doing a violin duet on "Getting to Know You."  Jack Benny was the American man for whom the clarification was made: a comic is a man who says funny things, a comedian is a man who says things funny.  Or says nothing, funny.   I'm sorry for those of you who missed seeing Jack in his weekly TV show or hearing him on the radio.  He developed a character over the years of a stingy, vain, foolish miser, who claimed to be 39 perpetually.  The classic joke was when a stickup man stuck him up and said,"Your money or your life!" and Jack, pausing with perfect timing, finally gasped, "I'm thinking it over!"

Of course, he was nothing like that character in real life, but we loved that guy - probably because deep within us all there is a hidden desire to be a little bit vain and tight-waddish.  We keep that hidden but like to see it acted out.

Gisele MacKenzie, born Gisèle Marie Louise Marguerite LaFlèche (1927 - 2003) was from Canada and was quite a fine singer, violinist and even an actress (in 1986, when Jeanne Cooper took sick for a stretch, she filled in on "The Young and the Restless" as Katherine Chancellor!) So she was a versatile entertainer, and Jack had her on his show in the 50's, helping her become known in America.

Jack and Gisele
It was a naturally funny idea for Jack and Gisele to team up on this duet.  "Getting to Know You" was a popular song from the Broadway and movie musical "The King and I," and has a pretty melody that lends itself to a duet.  But watch what happens when Gisele breaks off and adds a little flourish of her own!  Jack can't help but put himself out there, and the result is something that people have been laughing at even longer than they've been laughing at The Twist, 3-D movies, and making out at drive-in movies, three other amusing aspects of the 1950s.

1 comment:

DoodleDudeDan said...

Loved Jack Benny's wry humor! Tried to watch this on my iPad today and it went all Gandalf on me - "You Shall Not Pass!"