Author: R Crow

I'm a skydiver, scuba diver, and sports fan. My experiences give me an interesting outlook on issues that I enjoy sharing.

The Tomb Of Jim Morrison

“People fear death even more than pain. It’s strange that they fear death. Life hurts a lot more than death. At the point of death, the pain is over. Yeah, I guess it is a friend“—Jim Morrison

Perhaps no lead singer has caught the imagination of music fans across the globe as The Door’s Jim Morrison. The handsome, stylish and mercurial frontman was the driving force that launched the band to stardom.

No one came close to Morrison’s poetic writing style. His enigmatic and beautifully constructed lyrics quickly set him apart from his peers. It didn’t take long for The Doors to get noticed. The band’s meteoric rise was a double edged sword. Their success triggered a chain reaction in Jim Morrison that would put him on a path towards destruction. His hard living and partying lifestyle was legendary.

It all caught up with him in 1971. Morrison died at age 27, which only fed into his mystique. His untimely death broke up the band and cemented his legacy as a young man forever in his prime; it also helped propel the 27 Club myth.

                            Jim Morrison in his prime

AXS contributor Sam McPherson once wrote, “The Doors may be history…but they always live on in our hearts, minds and souls.” That’s true for Jim Morrison. In life, Morrison connected with people on a massive scale. Now, decades after his death, he still appeals to people across the generations. His grave site is a top tourist destination that draws crowds of all ages.

Jim Morrison is buried in Paris, France at the Cimetière du Père Lachaise, the Cemetery of Paris. It’s a gothic cemetery that holds some of the greatest poets, composers and philosophers to have ever lived, such as Frederic Chopin and Oscar Wilde.

Morrison’s plot is tightly placed between several graves and slightly obscured from the walkway. A good indication you’re in the right location is the metal barricades that can be seen running between several moseleums and ornate monuments. Long before you see Morrison’s headstone, a sliver of ground colorfully decorated with flowers, candles and photos gives away the Lizard King’s grave.

The headstone is pretty basic. It’s a bronze plaque encased in concrete. It reads “James Douglas Morrison” and gives his year of birth and death, “1943-1971.” At the bottom of the plaque underneath the life dates, the Latin phrase “Kata Ton Daimona Eaytoy” is written. Its meaning has become a source of controversy. Much of the confusion is due to translation issues.

George Morrison, Jim’s father, wrote the epitaph. It was put on the headstone to honor his son. A direct translation of the Latin phrase (using Google Translate) returns: Against the Demon within thyself. Loosely referring to “fighting his own demon.” Its translation has caused some wild theories. Some people believe George Morrison was subtly revealing his disapproval of Jim’s life, while others think Mr. Morrison was blatantly disrespecting his son’s memory. An even more sinister theory alleges that Jim Morrison was possessed by demons (as some people argue).

Research reveals that the senior Morrison’s intent was something along the lines of “faithful to his own spirit.” After much consideration, A Crow’s View believes the epithet’s inscription is innocuous without any hidden message.  Basically, the epithet means “true to himself,” once the nuances of translation are boiled away. However like all things Morrison, the Latin phrase has an element of mystery to it.

The “Tombe de Jim Morrison” is vastly different than any monument or memorial anywhere in the world. Most monuments invoke solemn contemplation. This site does more than that. It gives visitors a sense of loss as to what could have been. If Jim Morrison hadn’t died so young, what would’ve happened? The world will never know what genius he would have created, or whether the troubled rock star would’ve simple faded into obscurity. Contemplating those outcomes are part of the powerful experience of Morrison’s Tomb.

The darker flip side of visiting the grave is its affect on people. The site sparks a desire to imbibe alcohol or take part in other vices in its presence. It’s common to see people spend a lot of time around Morrison’s headstone. Many will be drinking, smoking and listening to music. In fact, some visitors will even pour Jim a drink. Others visitors will respectfully pose for a selfie or take a snap shot and move on. Either way, Morrison’s grave is a powerful site that elicits a broad range of emotional responses, more so than any other monument or grave you will visit.

A Crow’s View recommends visiting this site. If you’re a fan of The Doors or Rock and Roll in general, then this is a must see attraction when in Paris.

Sadly vandalism and graffiti are part of “Tombe de Jim Morrison’s” history. Please remember to be respectful of the graves in the immediate vicinity of Morrison’s burial site and the cemetery as a whole. It is a solemn place that should be respected.

Advertisements

Legacy Of 41

President Bush always found a way to set the bar higher.  As a young man, he captained the Yale baseball team and served as the youngest aviator in the United States Navy….Later in life, he rose to the pinnacle of American politicsPresident of the United States”—President Donald Trump & First Lady Melania Trump

On November 30, 2018 former President George Herbert Walker Bush died at age 94. Shortly after his death was announced, a National Day of Mourning was declared for December 5. This date also coincided with his scheduled state funeral. Three days prior to the funeral, his body laid in State at the Capitol Rotunda in Washington DC.

The passing of a president is always a solemn moment for the United States. It’s a time for the nation to look back and honor the life, accomplishments and legacy of a former Commander-in-Chief.

Bush spent decades in public service and amassed an impressive resume. At 18 years old he became one of the nation’s youngest fighter pilots during WWII. After the war, he moved to Texas and became a member of Congress. Following two terms in Congress, Bush was tapped to serve as US Ambassador to the UN. He would go on to serve as Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office to the People’s Republic Of China and CIA Director. His resume concludes with eight years as Vice President under Ronald Reagan and as President of the United States from 1989 to 1993.

As in most cases, when former presidents die they are looked upon fondly and eulogized by media and politicians alike. George Herbert Walker Bush is no exception. Several public and private memorials were held for Bush, and to honor his memory all flags under federal jurisdiction were flown at half staff for the rest of 2018.

A Presidential legacy is a large concern for any incumbent, and after leaving the presidency, an effort is made to craft and preserve that legacy. Once a former president passes away there is ubiquitous conversations centering on his presidency and its consequences.

Bush’s single term in office is filled with stellar accomplishments. His Iraq victory is probably the most prevalent; however, during his tenure the Berlin Wall crumbled, the Cold War ended and the Soviet Union collapsed giving President Bush huge foreign policy successes.

Bush’s domestic policy wasn’t as robust as his foreign policy victories, but included appointing two Supreme Court justices, signing into law the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and launching the “Thousand Points Of Light” campaign to promote public service and volunteerism.

Despite his many accomplishments, Bush’s presidency will be remembered for his missteps and and broken promises. His supports are left with a sense of “what could have been” with a second term. Bush had a chance at being an extremely consequential president that could have shape the United States for decades. His election loss to Bill Clinton ended that opportunity, and his semi-eponymously named son George W Bush’s election eight years later forever changed his name and the course of his legacy.

George Herbert Walker Bush was known as George Bush his entire career. And for eight years following his presidency, he was referred to as President Bush, like all former presidents. When his son George W Bush started campaigning for president, pundits started referencing the senior Bush by using his full name, which features two middle names, George Herbert Walker Bush, or they’d shortened it to George HW Bush to easily delineate the two men in conversation.

Unlike his predecessors and successors Bush’s legacy will forever be linked to his son’s presidency. Once George W Bush became president, people continued using Bush’s two middle names and started referring to the him as Bush One, then over time Bush 41. Eventually it was shortened to simply “41” when speaking of the elder Bush. The designation “41” refers to the order in which Bush served as president. It’s a “presidential number” of sorts.

Bill Clinton is now known as 42, George W Bush is 43 and Barrack Obama 44. Current President Donald Trump is 45.

It’s easy to say, in terms of pop culture, 41’s biggest and most lasting legacy is the use of “presidential numbering” to easily identify a president. That legacy is firmly set in people’s minds and will be used for decades. It will most likely eclipse the real-world accomplishments of 41’s term in office.

The Presidency Of George H.W. Bush

The Resilience Of AC/DC

“…AC/DC plays hard rock or just straight up, no bullshit rock ‘n’ roll. It doesn’t need to be complicated, it doesn’t need Dylanesque lyrics. The only thing it has to do is rock….” — Jesse Fink

Perhaps there is no other rock band that had to overcame as much adversity as AC/DC. At the height of their fame, fate threw them a seemingly insurmountable career threatening blow. The band would not only bounced back, but gain even greater international success.

The music industry is a finicky business. If a band makes a slight change in personnel, it can lose the chemistry and creativity that is responsible for the group’s success.

Now imagine what would happen if a rock band lost a flamboyant musically astute lead singer who was a great song writer and a talented performer. They’d most likely fade into obscurity or breakup, right? Not necessarily so, AC/DC faced that exact situation and went on to even greater achievements.

On Feb. 19, 1980, after a hugely successful album and a world-wide tour, AC/DC’s lead singer Bon Scott unexpectedly died while out parting with friends in London. Scott’s sudden death obviously threw the band’s future into jeopardy.

Scott was more than just the lead singer. He was a brilliant song writer who had an incredible flair for writing great lyrics; his live performances were legendary. Scott was also—being the oldest— an influence on the younger band members musical direction. The future of the band was in doubt.

It’s not unusual for bands to break up after loosing a key member. Led Zeppelin and The Doors are examples of successful bands that chose not to forge ahead after an unexpected death; however, AC/DC decided to replace Bon Scott.

After several tryouts, a replacement was found. An obscure singer named Brian Johnson was chosen to fill the huge shoes left by Bon Scott. The choice of Johnson proved to be incredible prescient. Although his voice and style was vastly different, he fit AC/DC to a “T.”

Looking back there really wasn’t another singer anywhere that could have fit the band’s style or overcame the shadow of Bon Scott better than Brian Johnson. His raspy voice was tailor made for AC/DC’s music style, and Johnson’s appearance and attire—the black cap and T-shirt with denim blue jeans— seamlessly fit the band’s hard rock image.

Bon Scott’s last album, “Highway To Hell,” was a breakout hit for AC/DC. Its immense world-wide popularity overshadowed all previous work and raised the band’s profile around the globe. Success of this magnitude is hard to recapture. Pressure to repeat that kind of success can destroy a band. Several bands have quickly faded after one hugely successful album. Quiet Riot and Twisted Sister are later examples of this type of failure. Add Scott’s death to the mix and a crash and burn recipe is ensured. Fortunately that didn’t happen.

Later in 1980 “Back In Black” was released. The album featured the debut of Brian Johnson. The new album was a mega hit. “Back In Black” went on to not only eclipse “Highway To Hell,” but to launch AC/DC into the stratosphere. The next several albums saw AC/DC continue unprecedented success.

Thirty plus years after the bleak start of 1980, AC/DC continued to beat the odds and remain one of the most relevant and consistent rock bands in the world.

Fans and music aficionados debate the Scott era verses the Johnson era. This argument gives a lot of fodder to experts and laymen, but the truth is without Bon Scott AC/DC may have never left the confines of Australia, and without Brian Johnson, the band would have burnt out in the 80s.

Scott built AC/DC into an early success. Johnson guided the band to superstardom, and the Malcolm brothers had the foresight to make Bon Scott their lead singer, not break-up the band following Scott’s death, and later hire Brian Johnson.

Now that Johnson has left the band and founding member Malcom Young has died, AC/DC may finally succumb to the forces of time. One thing is certain; AC/DC’s resilience is owed to four men: Bon Scott, Brian Johnson, Angus and Malcolm Young. Without those four personalities AC/DC would not be where they are at today in the annuals of Rock History.

TSA Checkpoint Success

“I’m a little disappointed I didn’t get fiddled with by a TSA agent at the airport. I feel unwanted. Maybe next time.” — William Regal

Traveling commercially by airplane in the United States requires each passenger to undergo screening through a TSA checkpoint. Passengers that don’t know how to navigate a checkpoint will get delayed. However there are techniques to speed up the process and increase your likelihood of clearing an airport checkpoint with minimal disruption.

It’s important to know that all airports follow the same federal guidelines for passenger screening, whether TSA operated or privately contracted by a third party. Every passenger at any federally ran airport will undergo the same process. However checkpoints will randomly “upgrade” passengers to expedited screening, which means they will not be required to remove shoes, take personal items from bags, or go through the body scanner. This expedited screening process involves utilizing TSA K-9 units (public will see this) and behavioral detection assets (unseen by public) to screen passengers. Basically it upgrades everyone to TSA PreCheck. If you don’t walk past dogs on your way to the checkpoint, then you will need to remove your shoes and so on.

In most cases passengers will go through standard screen. Knowing how a checkpoint works and the rules will speed up the process. Checkpoints usually bottleneck at two locations: the x-ray and body scanner. These stations can be quickly completed without being stopped by TSA once a person learns how to avoid being unnecessarily flagged.

FIRST:

Everything starts at the TSA ticket counter. That is where a TSA officer will examine your photo ID and boarding pass. Acceptable forms of identification are state issued ID cards or a driver’s license, federal government ID, like passports or PIV cards, and foreign passports. Here is what you need to know:

  • Everyone must have a valid ID. Children less than 18 are exempt.
  • Each person needs either a boarding pass or gate pass to enter the checkpoint. There is an exception for infants and small children under two years old.
  • Have these required documents ready and in hand before getting to the officer. Each person should have his/her own ticket and ID. It will speed things up for everyone.

SECOND:

The x-ray line is next. It’s your first hurdle at the checkpoint where either banned or prohibited items will be flagged and removed. The best way to avoid having your bag pulled for inspection is to know the rules and plan your packing wisely at home.

The TSA has a 3-1-1 rule. This stands for 3.4 ounces of liquid, gels, & aerosol (LGA), in one quart size bag, per person. LGA includes creams, pastes, gels and spreads. Soup, yogurt and peanut butter are examples of what will not be allowed; however, non-liquid based food is not prohibited. Fresh fruit, chips, sandwiches and dry snacks are acceptable, but I recommend pulling these items out of your bags for easy identification by the x-ray operator.

Here are a few tips. Frozen LGA that’s oversized (water, breast milk, sun screen) can be taken through the checkpoint as carry on, provided they are solidly frozen. Medically necessary LGAs (eye contact solution, diabetic supplies, etc.) are also exempt from the 3-1-1 rule. These items can be oversized, but will be screened. I highly recommend having your frozen and medically exempt items removed and sent through separately for easier and quicker screening by TSA. The rules can be changed or updated at anytime. TSA’s website should be consulted prior to going to the airport.

To quickly get through the x-ray have your removable items packed in a spot that allows quick access. Here is where smart packing will facilitate quickly getting your items out of your bags. It is much better and more efficient to pull your items than have a TSA officer do it. The following are my tips to rapidly pass the x-ray:

  • Send your LGA bag and medically exempt LGA items trough x-ray separately.
  • Reduce as much clutter as possible before sending bags into x-ray.
  • Don’t stack and overlap items in bins, use more bins, if needed.
  • Remove electronic devices larger than a cell phone (Kindle, tablets, lap tops, GPS units).
  • Non-formed food items (peanuts/trail mix, gummy snacks & crackers) should be sent through in a separate bin.
  • Metal clusters and opaque items need removed or flattened for easy identification
  • Unusual items will be flagged, send them through separately.

THIRD:

After your bags go through the x-ray, you will line up for the body scanner. Everyone must pass through this machine center with the exception of adults aged 75 and older, children under 13-years old, and people who are unable to stand or hold the scanning pose. A person can opt out of this machine, but a full body pat down will be required.

The key to successfully getting trough this screening hurdle is to empty your pockets and reduce layers of clothing. To achieve best results, do the following:

  • Empty absolutely everything from your pockets, not just metal items.
  • Reduce as much layers as possible.
  • Zippered clothing should be removed, if possible.
  • Avoid having bling on clothing.
  • Cargo pant pockets need to be flattened.
  • Pockets should be closed or zipped shut.
  • Don’t wear wet clothing.
  • Don’t move inside machine.

TSA machines are sensitive. Doing things right can still result in a delay; however, by following the steps outlined above, you will greatly enhance your chances of getting through a TSA checkpoint with minimal delay.

Happy Travels

Noorderzon: The Cabin

“I always wish the hotels were like they are in movies and TV shows, where if you’re in Paris, right outside your window is the Eiffel Tower. In Egypt, the pyramids are right there. In the movies, every hotel has a monument right outside your window. My hotel rooms overlook the garbage dumpster in the back alley.” Gilbert Gottfried

This blog post is based on my review for an inn known as Nooderzon or simply The Cabin. It is actually a large ship docked in the heart of Amsterdam. My wife and I stayed at this floating auberge for three days while visiting The Netherlands in January, 2018.

In the name of fairness, this post focuses on the negative aspects of our stay, for a more detailed and objective analysis (including positive points), please see my original review on Yelp and TripAdviser here: Yelp Site & TripAdviser “Sadly Disappointed.”

The idea of staying on the water while visiting Amsterdam is enticing, especially if one is aware of Amsterdam’s canals and waterways. And since The Cabin is centrally located and is right on the water, it has an instant appeal to tourists.

TripAdviser photo by PeterkP2412BR

I started my original review by asking the question “do the positives aspects of my stay mitigate the negative experiences I had while on board?” That question set the tone for the review and guided my rating, despite my desire to “give this place a glowing review….”

I had three issues with our stay. The first was poor customer service from some of the crew members. Second, a lack of proper upkeep around the facility. Third and finally, poor judgement and management style by the hosts.

During our stay, we met the couple who appeared to be in charge. They seemed friendly enough. Both were well-spoken young people who exhibited good “people skills.” They interacted well with guests, projected friendliness, competency and knowledge beyond their years. Those traits didn’t transfer to the crew.

Some of the crew—who I believe are just friends living/working on board—came off as arrogant and aloof. One guy in particular simple didn’t deign to speak with guests unless absolutely necessary. For the most part, several employees seemed to not really want to be bothered by customers.

Anytime we had a concern, or notice others needing something, we got the impression that some of the crew members were irritated at the interruption and didn’t want to be taken away from their task. The task usually involved looking at a computer screen or another personal electronic device.

TripAdviser photo by PeterkP2412BR

The facility wasn’t filthy, but housekeeping needs improved. The hallways and a few private quarters below deck had a strong musty smell. I understand there are unique challenges keeping a water based facility clean and tidy; however, it’s not impossible. If management instituted a revamped maintenance schedule or better cleaning techniques, it would help overcome those challenges and possibly eliminate any nagging odors aboard ship.

My biggest disappointment was the poor decisions and unforced errors by management. One example that stands out is during breakfast when a fellow guest asked if there was any more bacon. A friendlier female crew member went to check. You could hear her asking the hosts in the back room about the bacon, and one of the hosts replying, “no, we’re out.”

That’s understandable. Those sort of things happen, except what took place next is inexcusable. A very short time later, the rest of the crew came to the dining area to eat. The hosts brought out a large plate filled with bacon and placed it at the crew’s table. Surprisingly enough, this happened in plain view while other guests were still dining.

I thought that wasn’t only unprofessional, but extremely rude. It alienated guests and made several of us feel like we were not important. This incident could have played out much better had the hosts exercised a little common sense.

I get that the The Cabin is their home, and they may keep personal food aboard for themselves. I just don’t understand the hosts’ thinking to brazenly bring out food that they recently claimed they no longer have, especially when the paying patron who made the request is still around. If you’re gonna do that, it’d be better to dine much earlier or later than the guests, or in a separate location. Most managers would have taken care of the guest’s request, then sent an employee out to quickly replace the item they used.

The final straw was on our last day. My wife and I told the male host that we are leaving at 4:00 am the next morning. He exchanged some pleasantries and said he’d set some food out for us since we couldn’t make breakfast.

That was a nice gesture on his part and on the part of management. It’s too bad that didn’t happen. The next morning nothing was left out for us. We weren’t expecting anything when we told him we’d be leaving early. We just wanted to give management a heads up, for cleaning purposes and so on. To be told something and not have it followed through is extremely aggravating. That failure capped a series of mistakes and shortcomings I can’t overlook.

Since my stay, I’ve thought a lot about my experience and review. Knowing that reviews can be unfair, I endeavor not to harm a business by giving a poor review based on personal bias or a single isolated incident. However based on newer reviews, it sounds like I was fair to a fault. Their ratings have suffered greatly due to poor management.

I do believe that people who frequent hostels or low-end motor inns will not be too bothered by my concerns, but if you’re into Airbnbs or 3 star and higher hotels, this place will most likely disappoint you. My review concluded by saying, I’m hopeful that the hosts and “crew matures and develops into great managers that will allow this business to reach its full potential.” Until then, I can’t recommend this place, and I remain “Sadly Disappointed” with this lodging choice.

Sunsets: Unique & Stunning Views

If you are in a beautiful place where you can enjoy sunrise and sunset, then you are living like a lordNathan Phillips

The simple act of the Sun slipping below the horizon is an amazing phenomenon. As the late-afternoon sky gives way to the caliginous of night, vibrant colors paint the horizon; those few fleeting moments before the Sun completely sets captures our attention and imagination. Regardless of where you view a sunset, they are a thing of beauty to watch.

Over the years, I’ve gotten a chance to witness some spectacular sunsets. Here are a few of my favorites. Although pictures don’t do them justice, I’m pleased to share these photos here on A Crow’s View.

Minnesota:

St. Paul cathedral


Near Mall of America and MSP


Halloween Night from balcony

Florida

Fred Howard Park, Tarpon Springs


Fred Howard Park


Fred Howard Park

Cypress Park, Tampa

Clearwater Beach


View of downtown Tampa from Ballast Point Park


Sailing boats at Clearwater Beach

Connecticut:

Hammondasset Beach State Park


Hammondasset Beach State Park


Hammonasset Beach State Park

California:

Santa Monica

Oregon:

Columbia River, near city of Hood River


Valley River Center, Eugene


Overlooking Medford


Fort Stevens State Park, near Astoria


img_1681

Wreckage of the Peter Iredale at Fort Stevens State Park

Panama:

Rooftop view, Old Town Panama City

img_0558-1

Isla Franklin, San Blas, Panama

Netherlands:

img_0550-2

Zaans Schans, photo By Polly Crow


img_0551

Zaans Schans, photo By Polly Crow


img_0549

Zaans Schans, photo By Polly Crow

Mexico:

Isla Mujeres


Isla Mujeres, private beach near Punta Norte


Isla Holbox, located in Gulf Of Mexico


Baja California

Sunsets offer unique and stunning views; from tropical settings to metropolitan cityscapes, each sunset invokes a surreal appreciation for the viewer. I hope you appreciated these photos; furthermore, may they encourage my readers to take a moment to enjoy a sunset. No matter where you are, I’m sure a spectacular sunset is just at the end of the horizon.

As the late Star Hustler Jack Horkheimer use to say, “keep looking up.”

Jack Horkheimer Wikipedia

Jack Benny: The First King Of All Media

“Jack Benny had style from the beginning. He stood straight and walked kind of sideways as if he was being shoved by a touch of genius”—William Saroyan

Howard Stern once claimed to be the King of All Media. A huge boast by a talented individual, but completely wrong. That title is still owned by the late Jack Benny.

I got exposed to the Jack Benny Program by watching reruns on Nick-at-Nite and other retro programming channels with my mom and grandmother as a youth. Fortunately, they both filled in the missing reference points about Jack Benny’s background, so I was able to get the humor explained to me. It took several episodes before the jocularity and situational sketches started making sense without watching them with an adult. Since then I’ve been a fan.

Benny’s schtick was portraying a man obsessed with money. He was cheap, petty, vain and totally self-absorbed. He insisted he was 39 years old; his character couldn’t play the violin very well, but thought himself a virtuoso.

As for Jack Benny the man, very few entertainers can match his broad body of work. Mary Miley stated on her blog, “Jack was one of the twentieth century’s most important entertainers.” An examination of Benny’s impressive resume reveals a career of unparalleled success and achievement. He was one of only a hand full of entertainers to of had success in vaudeville, on stage, radio, film and television. He was also an accomplished violinist—not that you’d know that from his skits.

Benny was born Benjamin Kubelsky on Valentines Day, 1894, in Chicago, Illinois. He launched his “show biz” career at the age of 16 by working as a fiddler in a silent movie theater orchestra. It’s been reported that he was asked to tour with the Marx Brothers as their violinist, but his parents objected. A short time later Kubelsky would join the navy.

During his time in the service, Kubelsky developed an appreciation for telling jokes and getting laughs. After his stint in the Navy, he embarked on a career in entertainment.

In keeping with the standard of the day, Kubelsky would adopt a stage name. It took several iterations for a name to finally take because of confusion with other entertainers. Kubelsky eventually settled on the name Jack Benny.

With his new name and raw talent, Benny’s career steadily gained steam working the vaudeville circuit. He honed his skills in storytelling, comedic timing and delivery.

Benny’s time in vaudeville allowed him to develop lifelong friendships with future comedy greats, George Burns and Bob Hope to name a few. It also laid a strong foundation in live performance that would serve him well his entire life. Benny’s early work in vaudeville—along with others—arguably helped pioneer an art form that’d eventually become known as stand-up comedy.

The Great Depression hit vaudeville performers pretty hard and made work difficult to find. While looking for a steady paycheck, Benny decided to give radio a try. He experienced a mild crisis after exhausting his repertoire of jokes a few weeks into his new gig. Hiring an experienced comedian and vaudevillian Harry Conn as a joke writer, and using his extemporaneous performance skills to engage live audiences, Benny quickly overcame that crisis and launched his career into the stratosphere. He never looked back.

Jack Benny was a talented and brilliant performer. “He didn’t just stand on the stage. He owned it,” once quipped Bob Hope about his long time friend’s stage presence. His pregnant pause (a comedy technique used to build anticipation and laughter without saying a word) was executed better than any other performer, either before or since his heyday.

Benny’s success earned him the respect of his peers and the Hollywood community. He was awarded three stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He received one star for Motion Pictures, located at 6650 Hollywood Boulevard; another for Radio, placed at 1505 Vine Street; and a final star for Television, installed at 6370 Hollywood Boulevard.

What made Benny such a force of nature in the entertainment industry was his unique comedic timing and delivery. He did more with a facial expression and his body language than most comedians could do with a full length monologue. Also what separated Benny from other comedians is how he didn’t deliver the punch lines. He used his impeccable timing and well placed gestures to get laughs, not the actual joke. In fact, most of Benny’s lines were common phrases, such as, “yes,” “you don’t say,” and his signature statement, the exasperated “well!” That he delivered with a simultaneous hand to his cheek, as he turns his head towards the camera, and gives a deadpan look straight at the audience. It may not sound funny in print, but it’s an absolute knee-slapper on film.

The passage of time has pushed Jack Benny’s career out of the public’s eye. His TV program’s black and white format doesn’t appeal to many Gen X and Millennial aged adults. They see it as an old outdated anachronism, and it’s humor is not understood due to a lack of context. That’s a shame because his immense talent may be lost to generations of people.

On the bright side, there are more retro programming than ever before; the internet’s presence makes it even easier for people to learn about Jack Benny and appreciate his comedy. I’m hopeful that he will be rediscovered and appreciated by generations yet to come.

JackBenny Website

Jack Benny Wikipedia

IMDb