Jack Benny has been called both the father of modern comedy and the father of post-modern comedy, and either title would be apt, though perhaps the latter is a better fit because without Benny there would be no Garry Shandling, Jerry Seinfeld, or Larry David, all comedians who exploit a self-referential, unflattering version of themselves for their popular TV series. But Benny had done all that decades before, both on his popular long-running radio show and the TV series that evolved from it and ran for 15 years from 1950-65. While Shandling's late 1980s series It's Garry Shandling's Show is considered innovative for "breaking the fourth wall," reveling in its artificiality, including the audience and show staff as participants and characters, and using crude sight gags chosen specifically for their phoniness, Benny had done all that, too. The show was all about the comedian Jack Benny and his show, serving up a riff on Shakespeare's "play within the play" for comic effect. Shandling joked about his hair and sexual prowess, or more often lack thereof, while Benny portrayed himself as vain, self-important, and excessively miserly, not unlike a certain George Costanza of Seinfeld whom Larry David has admitted was modeled after himself. The only difference is that Constanza is an unremitting failure, whereas Benny is and was a successful performer, though not irreplaceable, as demonstrated in the episode "Final Show of the Season" (May 1, 1960) in which Benny's sponsors haul out an animatronic dummy that mimics his mannerisms of folding his arms and turning his head for comic effect.
Speaking of sponsors, it's well known that they wielded considerable influence over television content during the 1950s and early 60s. As mentioned in other posts on this blog, they were the reason John Cassavetes quickly grew tired of the TV world and abandoned his series Johnny Staccato before completing even a single season. And they brought down Blake Edwards' promising and popular crime drama Mr. Lucky after one season because a few watchers complained about the title character's casino business. But Benny was fearless in poking fun at his sponsors and mucking up his in-show commercials. Shandling, in his talk show parody The Larry Sanders Show, may have mildly covered the same ground in having his character object to and then sabotage an in-show promotion for the Garden Weasel, but that was only a made-up product lampooned years after commercial sponsors had lost much of their clout. Benny would often avoid approving commercial jingles run by him by his long-time announcer Don Wilson, who frequently had to revert to subterfuge to squeeze the required commercials into the program. In "Easter Show" (April 17, 1960) Wilson dresses in drag, but without gloves, and gives an interview to a TV fashion reporter during the annual Hollywood Easter Parade to show off how Lux Pink Liquid Dishwashing Soap is mild on the hands. It would be interesting to know how Lux responded at the time to having a 300-pound man in women's clothing promoting their product.
The Jack Benny Program was also ahead of its time in dealing with racial stereotypes. Though the character of Benny's valet Eddie "Rochester" Anderson was originally drawn in the racial stereotypes of the era early in the radio show's tenure, after World War II those stereotypes were eliminated, at least for African-Americans, when the production re-ran a pre-War episode in 1948 and received many complaints from listeners about the racist depiction of Rochester. Thereafter Benny and his writers made every effort to show Rochester as his own character, not a type indicative of the race as a whole. As noted in the biographical section below, Anderson was the first African-American star in a nationwide program and by the 1950s was making the considerable salary of $100,000 per year. But during the TV era, the Program could lapse into stereotypical portrayals of other races, such as in the episode "Hong Kong Suit" (November 6, 1960) when Jack is quite proud of a suit he bought cheaply in Hong Kong but had to go to the section of town known only to locals and change his appearance by pulling at the edges of his eyes to make them slanted in order to fit in. And yet Benny skewered Asian stereotypes in the aforementioned "Final Show of the Season" when Wilson brings out the most famous announcer in Japan, Mr. Kyoto, to deliver the Lux in-show commercial. At first Kyoto reads the ad copy mispronouncing all the L's as R's, finishing with the tag line "Buy rots of Rux." Benny says that his sponsor would be very unhappy about this, so he and Wilson each recite the ad copy pronouncing the L's correctly, then invite Kyoto to give it another try. When he reads the copy flawlessly without a touch of accent, Benny asks why he did so poorly the first time. Kyoto replies that Benny's stupid writers wrote it that way, apparently unaware that some Japanese people can pronounce L's correctly.
Benny was also keenly aware of how his brand of comedy was different from the cornball jokes of Bob Hope or the over-the-top slapstick gags of Milton Berle. This is made evident in the "Milton Berle Show" episode (October 30, 1960) in which Berle offers his advice for how Benny can keep up with the rigors of doing a daily show by "socking it to" the audience with the physical brand of humor he had used a decade earlier. He persuades Benny to let him help Benny with that night's show and has Benny come out in a ridiculous clown outfit and tell painful jokes accompanied by gags like the top of his hat popping open and exploding. Benny complains repeatedly to Berle that this is not right for him, but Berle continues pushing him to do more of the same until Berle is the recipient of a pail of water over the head.
Benny was also very aware that people at that time saw him, like Berle, as members of the old guard of comedy, and when he decided to move the show from bi-weekly to weekly for the 11th season in the fall of 1960, he dedicated his first show, "Nightbeat Takeoff" (October 16, 1960), to having friends like George Burns advise him against going to a weekly format, particularly at his advanced age. He continues to insist that people love him, even after a terrifying nightmare in which he is grilled by Mike Douglas about why he thinks he can do a weekly show and having his adoring fans throw rocks through his windows.
But the rigors of a weekly show may have been one reason why the production recycled skits from previous broadcasts, as mentioned in the Rochester racist affair above. One favorite plot that got repeated airplay was the annual "Christmas Shopping" skit in which Jack goes Christmas shopping for various employees and causes all sorts of problems in the process. The "Christmas Shopping" episode for Season 11 (December 18, 1960) was one first aired on radio in 1948. In this version Benny is shopping for a wallet for Don Wilson and decides to repeatedly change the inscription on the accompanying greeting card, driving the beleaguered sales clerk, played by Mel Blanc, to suicide. Though suicide hardly seems like a comic subject, doing the skit even 12 years after its original performance cracks Benny up when he interacts with the increasingly frenzied Blanc.
But CBS eventually grew tired of Benny's brand of humor, canceling the series after its 14th season in 1964 as the TV comic landscape had shifted to zany-premised sitcoms like Bewitched, Mr. Ed, and My Favorite Martian. Benny was able to move the series to NBC for one final season but says that he, not the network, chose to end the show in 1965 because he had grown tired of the chase for ratings. He remained a fixture on television with various specials and appearances on shows like The Tonight Show and Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In, but one can't help but feel that he hasn't continued to be held in the high esteem he deserves, considering the blueprint he set for so many of today's most critically acclaimed comics. Likewise his recorded legacy has been not well preserved. Whereas consumers today can buy every single episode of I Love Lucy and The Honeymooners on DVD and soon on Blu-ray, there are scant few offerings of Benny's work available. What's currently available is a hodge podge of low-budget collections, a random assortment of episodes from the 256 he produced over the life of the series and a recently released 3-disc collection "The Lost Episodes" taken from his personal collection of kinescopes donated to UCLA after his death. The video quality for all of these is hardly top notch. It's a sad state of affairs that the work of such a comic icon and innovator has been so poorly preserved.
The music for the series was composed and conducted by Mahlon Merrick, who had joined Benny's radio program in 1937. He was born in 1900 in Farmington, Iowa and attended what later became Washington State University, graduating in 1923 (in the 1940s he would write the school's fight song). After teaching music for 3 years, he became a professional saxophone player, eventually moving to Los Angeles and working in radio orchestras. Besides working on a number of radio shows, sometimes under the pseudonym of Gene LaGrande, Merrick also provided music for The Abbott and Costello Show, The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, The Bob Cummings Show, and Blondie. He also composed the "Look Sharp March" for the Gillette Cavalcade of Sports. When Benny's program ended in 1965, Merrick retired to Palm Springs and died of cancer on August 7, 1969 at the age of 69.
As mentioned above, there is a disorganized collection of various episodes from the show's 15 years issued by low-budget outfits like Alpha Video, Passport Video, and Echo Bridge, many containing the same episodes. Some of these episodes are also available on youtube.com. The aforementioned "Lost Episodes" released by Shout! Factory contains selected episodes from 1956-64 and includes bonus material such as a couple of Benny's later TV specials and newsreel footage from the 1940s. From calendar year 1960, there are a total of 11 episodes available--6 on youtube and 6 in the "Lost Episodes" set, with 1 episode (the "Milton Berle Show") appearing in both.
Benjamin Kubelsky was born in Chicago and grew up in Waukegan, Illinois. He began studying the violin from the age of 6, taking lessons at one time from Otto Graham, Sr., father of Hall of Fame quarterback Otto Graham, Jr. By age 14 he began playing with dance bands and by 17 was playing in local vaudeville theaters. Here he was seen by Minnie Marx, mother of the Marx Brothers, and asked to join their outfit, but his father refused to let him go on the road at age 17. He then formed a musical duo with pianist Cora Salisbury, during which time he was forced to change his name due to legal proceedings from another performer named Jan Kubelik and took the stage name of Ben K. Benny. When Salisbury left, Benny replaced her with Lyman Woods and the two began adding comedy bits into their routine. He joined the Navy during World War I and was forced to develop his comedic skills further when he was booed while trying to entertain the troops with his violin playing. After the war he began to get more work combining his newly developed comedic talents with music. In 1922 he met his future wife Sadye Marks while attending a Passover seder with Zeppo Marx, though at the time he was 27 while she was 14 and disliked him enough to go to his next performance and heckle him from the front row, according to one version of the story. After a couple more chance encounters over the next five years, they married, and she became a collaborator and performer from that point forward, taking the stage name Mary Livingstone, until her increasing stage fright caused her to give up performing. Jack first made his mark in radio after a brief unsuccessful stint in movies with MGM; he appeared on Ed Sullivan's radio show in 1932 and later that year began to host his own program on NBC. The popular show ran for 16 years and made Benny a national figure before moving over to CBS in 1949. That same year he made his first television appearance on the initial broadcast of Los Angeles station KTTV. The following fall The Jack Benny Program made its television debut, initially as a series of five specials. The next season it aired once every six weeks, going to once every four weeks in 1952-53, and once every three weeks in 1953-54. It then aired every other week starting in the fall of 1954 until the fall of 1960 when it became a weekly broadcast. For five years he was appearing both on radio and television, finally ending his radio show in May of 1955, though CBS ran reruns until 1958.
His television show was finally canceled by CBS in 1964 and he moved over to NBC for one last season, then decided to cancel the series himself, having grown weary of the chase for ratings. He continued to host occasional specials and appeared on shows hosted by his friends Bob Hope, Ed Sullivan, Johnny Carson, Joey Bishop, Dinah Shore, and many others. He also made multiple appearances as himself on shows such as Here's Lucy and Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. His last appearances were as roaster and roastee on The Dean Martin Celebrity Roast, In December 1974 he was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer, and he died at his home on December 26 of that year. His wife Mary Livingstone outlived him by 9 years, passing away June 30, 1983.
Edmund Lincoln Anderson was born in Oakland, California, the son of a minstrel performer and a tightrope walker. His signature hoarse vocal tone was due to straining his vocal cords while hawking newspapers on the streets of Oakland as a boy. By age 14, he was part of a vaudeville act called The Three Black Aces with his brother Cornelius, eventually working his way to New York to perform at the Roxy and Apollo theaters. His success in the theater led to appearances at the Los Angeles Cotton Club and thereafter he began a film career, once established out west, beginning with various uncredited servant roles in 1932. His first credited roles came in Transient Lady in 1935, followed the next year by his most notable early role as Noah in The Green Pastures. His first appearance on Jack Benny's radio program came in 1937 when he played a railroad redcap. Anderson had a couple more appearances in other roles over the next few months and because of the positive audience response, Benny brought him on the show in the permanent role of his valet Rochester Van Jones, a name Anderson said that Benny invented. In his role as Rochester, Anderson became the first African-American to have a regular role on a national radio show. Though Rochester's early appearances were marked by the same stereotypical racial humor of the era, Benny made a concerted effort after World War II to remove black racist jokes about the character, particularly after the show reprised a 1941 script on a 1948 show and drew many complaints from listeners about the racial jokes recycled from the earlier program. While working on Benny's radio program and ensuing television show, Anderson continued taking film roles, appearing in such notable features as You Can't Take It With You, Gone With the Wind, Cabin in the Sky, and Brewster's Millions, though he stopped doing feature films after 1946.
Despite playing a servant for most of his career, Anderson became quite wealthy, making over $100,000 per year, such that he could afford to hire his own valet, and he owned a company that made parachutes during World War II and owned race horses, one of which ran in the Kentucky Derby. He returned to films in a small role in It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World in 1963 (Benny had a cameo in the same film), and occasionally appeared on other TV programs, usually as Rochester, such as The Red Skelton Hour and Bachelor Father. After The Jack Benny Program went off the air, he appeared in single episodes of It Takes a Thief and Love American Style, the movie Watermelon Man, and provided the voice for Bobby Joe Mason on the animated Harlem Globe Trotters and The New Scooby Doo Movies. He died of heart failure on February 28, 1977 at the age of 71. After his death his son established the Eddie Rochester Anderson Foundation for assisting homeless substance abusers.
Don Wilson was born in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1900 and played football for the University of Colorado in the 1920's. He was a radio singer at Denver radio station KFEL in 1923 and by 1929 had a similar role at KFI in Los Angeles. He then went on to work as a sportscaster, covering the opening of the 1932 Summer Olympics. He was working as a radio announcer two years later for George Gershwin's program Music by Gershwin when Jack Benny heard him and insisted that he be hired for his program. At 6 feet and 300 pounds, Wilson quickly became a constant target of Benny's jokes about his girth, though he also occasionally had acting roles on the show in addition to reading the commercials and forever trying to get Benny to approve commercial jingles sung by the vocal quartet The Sportsmen. Though Wilson continued working for Benny through the remainder of his radio career and his entire television career, he also took occasional outside work. He had actually made his first film appearance, though uncredited, before joining Benny in the 1932 feature Million Dollar Legs. He was the narrator for the 1938 Disney animated short Ferdinand the Bull and appeared in Du Barry Was a Lady, Sailor Beware, and Marilyn Monroe's Niagara, not to mention Benny's own Buck Benny Rides Again. He also made rare TV appearances, such as on The Red Skelton Hour, Death Valley Days, and as the TV announcer Walter Klondike on two episodes of Batman. He was a regular performer on the 1946 daytime comedy Glamour Manor. In the late 1960s and early 70s he was the spokesman and commercial voice of Western Union's Candygrams. He and his fourth wife Lois Corbet retired to the Palm Springs area in the late 1960s and together hosted a local TV talk show called Town Talk into the mid 1970s. He died of a stroke at his Cathedral City home on April 25, 1982 at the age of 81.
Owen Patrick Eugene McNulty was born in the Bronx to an Irish Catholic family. Singing was his vocation from an early age, being a member of his high school glee club and while attending Manhattan College. Though he originally planned to study law and used his singing ability to earn money for tuition, his self-recorded "I Never Knew Heaven Could Speak," which he distributed to local New York radio producers, found its way to Mary Livingstone, wife of Jack Benny, who insisted that her husband hire Day for his show. When incumbent Irish tenor Kenny Baker objected to his role as dingbat singer and left the show, Day was brought in as his replacement and for nearly three decades both on radio and television played the naive comic foil to the constantly befuddled and exasperated Benny. After a stint in the Navy during World War II, Day's popularity was such that he was given his own radio show, A Day in the Life of Dennis Day, in which he played a naive soda jerk, which ran concurrently with Benny's own radio program for 5 years from 1946-51. After Benny made the move to television, Day also scored his own musical variety program The Dennis Day Show which ran for two seasons from 1952-54. Day made his first film appearance in Benny's Buck Benny Rides Again in 1940 but then began securing work on his own, usually including a vocal number or two, in films such as The Powers Girl, Sleepy Lagoon, and The Girl Next Door, though this last 1953 feature was his last. However, he did find occasional TV work during his long stint on Benny's various programs, including appearances on Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Burke's Law, The Lucy Show, and Love American Style. At the end of his career he found voice work on animated TV fare such as Frosty's Winter Wonderland and The Stingiest Man in Town. He and his wife had 10 children and at one point ran an antique shop in Santa Monica. He died from ALS on June 22, 1988 at the age of 72.
Frank Brandon Nelson was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado and by age 15 was working as a radio announcer in the Denver area. At age 18 he moved to Hollywood and found work as a radio actor in dramas and comedies such as Flywheel, Shyster, and Flywheel, which also starred Groucho and Chico Marx. He began playing announcers in movies, often uncredited, in 1937 and first appeared on television on The Hank McCune Show in 1950. Nelson developed a comedic character with a distinctive catchphrase, a high-pitched, unctious, drawn-out "Yes?" that made him instantly recognizable, though he often was first shown with his back to the camera. On The Jack Benny Program he played a variety of department store floorwalkers, ticket agents, and other customer service roles, delivering sarcastic answers to Benny's questions. He performed a similar role playing Ralph Ramsey on I Love Lucy and had multiple appearances on a variety of shows through the decades from Our Miss Brooks to Sanford and Son. He also continued doing voicework on animated shows such as The Mister Magoo Show and The Flintstones with the last performance of his career coming on the 1994 series Garfield and Friends. He died from cancer on September 12, 1986 at the age of 75, but his legacy lives on in occasional parodies on shows such as The Simpsons and Jon Stewart's mannerisms on The Daily Show.
Notable Guest Stars
Season 10, Episode 11, "Jack Is Arrested for Disturbing the Peace": Mel Blanc (the voice of countless cartoon characters, including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd, Foghorn Leghorn, Sylvester the cat, and Barney Rubble on The Flintstones) plays a drunk in lockup. Frank Gerstle (Dick Gird on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp and voice of Raseem on The Banana Splits Adventure Hour) plays the lockup policeman. Herb Vigran (Judge Brooker on Gunsmoke) plays an investigating policeman. Olan Soule (Aristotle "Tut" Jones on Captain Midnight, Ray Pinker on Dragnet (1952-59), and Fred Springer on Arnie) plays the court clerk. Lewis Charles (Lou on The Feather and Father Gang) plays a criminal in lockup.
Season 10, Episode 12, "Natalie Wood/Robert Wagner": Natalie Wood (shown on the left, starred in Miracle on 34th Street, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir, Rebel Without a Cause, The Searchers, West Side Story, Splendor in the Grass, Gypsy, This Property Is Condemned, Inside Daisy Clover, and Love With the Proper Stranger and played Ann Morrison on The Pride of the Family) plays herself. Robert Wagner (shown on the right, starred in Titanic (1953), Prince Valiant, All the Fine Young Cannibals, The Pink Panther, and Curse of the Pink Panther and played Alexander Mundy on It Takes a Thief, Maj. Phil Carrington on Colditz, Peter T. Ryan on Switch, Jonathan Hart on Hart to Hart, James Greyson Culver on Lime Street, Jack Fairfield on Hope & Faith, Teddy Leopold on Two and a Half Men, and Anthony DiNozzo, Sr. on NCIS) plays himself.
Season 10, Episode 14, "Easter Show": Barbara Nichols (played Ginger on Love That Jill) plays Jack's girlfriend Mildred Meyerhouser. Madge Blake (see her biography in the post for The Real McCoys) plays Jack super-fan Clara. Mel Blanc (see "Jack Is Arrested for Disturbing the Peace" above) plays Jack's violin teacher Prof. Pierre LeBlanc.
Season 10, Episode 15, "Final Show of the Season": Joyce Davidson (co-host with Mike Wallace of PM East/PM West and later wife of talk-show host David Susskind) is the commercial announcer. William Schallert (Justinian Tebbs on The Adventures of Jim Bowie, Mr. Leander Pomfritt on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, Martin Lane on The Patty Duke Show, Admiral Hargrade on Get Smart, Teddy Futterman on The Nancy Walker Show, Carson Drew on The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, Russ Lawrence on The New Gidget, and Wesley Hodges on The Torkelsons) plays sponsor executive Mr. Lewis. John Hoyt (shown on the left, starred in My Favorite Brunette, The Lady Gambles, and Blackboard Jungle and who played Grandpa Stanley Kanisky on Gimme a Break!) plays sponsor executive Mr. Hall.
Season 11, Episode 1, "Nightbeat Takeoff": Mike Wallace (co-host of PM East/PM West and host of Nightbeat, The Mike Wallace Interview, and 60 Minutes) plays himself. George Burns (starred in The Big Broadcast, Here Comes Cookie, A Damsel in Distress, The Sunshine Boys and the Oh God! trilogy and played himself on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, The George Burns Show, and Wendy and Me) plays himself. Tony Curtis (starred in Houdini, Sweet Smell of Success, Some Like It Hot, The Defiant Ones, The Great Race, and The Boston Strangler and played Danny Wilde on The Persuaders!, McCoy on McCoy, and Roth on Vega$) plays himself. Robert Wagner (see "Natalie Wood/Robert Wagner " above) plays himself. Johnny Green (composer, arranger and pianist) plays himself.
Season 11, Episode 3, "Milton Berle Show": Milton Berle (shown on the right, starred in Sun Valley Serenade, Always Leave Them Laughing, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, The Loved One, and The Muppet Movie and played the host on The Milton Berle Show and Louie the Lilac on Batman) plays himself.
Season 11, Episode 4, "Hong Kong Suit": Rolfe Sedan (Mr. Beasley the Postman on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show and Mr. Briggs the Postman on The Addams Family) plays barbershop owner Andre. Richard Deacon (Sherman Hall on The Charles Farrell Show, Roger Finley on Date With the Angels, Uncle Archie on Walt Disney Presents: Annette, Fred Rutherford on Leave It to Beaver, Mel Cooley on The Dick Van Dyke Show, and Roger Buell on The Mothers in Law) plays Harry the barber. Shirley Mitchell (Yvonne Sharp on Sixpenny Corner, Kitty Devereaux on Bachelor Father, Janet Colton on Pete and Gladys, and Clara Appleby on The Red Skelton Hour) plays Goldie the manicurist. Iris Adrian (Dottie on The Ted Knight Show) plays Mildred the manicurist. Gisele MacKenzie (singer and musician who played herself on The Gisele MacKenzie Show and Katherine Chancellor on The Young and the Restless) plays herself.
Season 11, Episode 5, "John Wayne Show": John Wayne (shown on the left, starred in Red River, Stagecoach, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, The Searchers, Rio Bravo, The Alamo, True Grit, and The Green Berets) plays himself. Jaye P. Morgan (popular singer) plays herself. Frank Fontaine (played Crazy Guggenheim on Jackie Gleason: American Scene Magazine and The Jackie Gleason Show) plays audience member John L.T. Savonie. Betty Furness (one-time spokesperson for Westinghouse and consumer affairs reporter for the Today Show for 16 years) plays herself.
Season 11, Episode 7, "Lunch Counter Murder": Dan Duryea (starred in The Little Foxes, The Pride of the Yankees, Scarlet Street, and Winchester '73 and who played China Smith in China Smith and The New Adventures of China Smith and Eddie Jacks on Peyton Place) plays a murder gang leader. Verna Felton (the voice of the fairy godmother in Disney's Cinderella and played Hilda Crocker on December Bride and Pete and Gladys) plays Dennis Day's mother.
Season 11, Episode 8, "Jack Goes to a Concert": Jimmy Stewart (shown on the right, starred in You Can't Take It With You, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Shop Around the Corner, It's a Wonderful Life, Harvey, The Philadelphia Story, Destry Rides Again, Rope, Rear Window, Vertigo, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Anatomy of a Murder, and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and played Prof. James K. Howard on The Jimmy Stewart Show and Billy Jim Hawkins on Hawkins) plays himself. Gloria Stewart (shown on the left, Jimmy Stewart's wife) plays herself. Barbara Nichols (see "Easter Show" above) returns as Mildred Meyerhouser. Damian O'Flynn (Dr. Goodfellow on The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp) plays a member of the concert audience.
Season 11, Episode 9, "Christmas Shopping": Mel Blanc (see "Jack Is Arrested for Disturbing the Peace" above) plays a sales clerk. Richard Deacon (shown on the left, see "Hong Kong Suit" above) plays a sales clerk. Maxine Semon (Honeybee Gillis on The Life of Riley and the voice of Mrs. Jillson on The Joey Bishop Show) plays a jewelry saleslady. Rolfe Sedan (see "Hong Kong Suit" above) plays a lingerie salesman.