Jack Benny Shows Off His Strad

Following up on my post, Jack Benny and the Violinhere are two more funny violin-centered comedy clips. First, Jack Benny demonstrates the subtle differences between a Stradivarius and an average violin:

Comedy aside, Strads really don’t play themselves. It takes time to learn exactly how to make these violins sing. Many violinists comment on the endless colors and expression they discover as they play these great instruments. I’m reminded of a story about Jascha Heifetz:

[quote]After one concert, a fan entered the dressing room to compliment the artist on his performance. She told Heifetz “what a beautiful tone” his violin had had that night. He turned around, bent over and put his ear close to the violin laying in the still open case and said, “I don’t hear anything”.[/quote]

[typography font=”Cantarell” size=”28″ size_format=”px”]With Dylana Jenson[/typography]

This clip features Jack Benny with a young Dylana Jenson. Jenson went on to win the Silver Medal in the Tchaikovsky Competition. Her 1981 recording of the Sibelius Violin Concerto with the Philadelphia Orchestra is hailed as one of the finest interpretations of the piece.

Here is a great recording of a 13-year-old Jenson playing Beethoven’s “Kreutzer” Sonata. Listen to the second movement here.

Jack Benny and the Violin

Here are a few of Jack Benny’s classic comedy routines featuring the violin. In his performances, Benny was know for his “bad” violin playing. In reality, he was a competent violinist and the owner of a Stradivarius. Through the years, Jack Benny’s guests included Isaac Stern and Jascha Heifetz. His show broke racial barriers in the United States with its human portrayal of the African-American butler, Rochester, as well as with guests such as Louis Armstrong and the Ink Spots.

This clip with Gisele MacKenzie offers a glimpse into the genius of Benny’s violin-centered comedy.

Here is a full episode, guest starring Isaac Stern:

Here is a clip with Toni Marcus:

[typography font=”Cantarell” size=”28″ size_format=”px”]More Jack Benny Clips[/typography]

For more funny Jack Benny clips visit Jack Benny Shows Off His Strad.