The Jack Benny Program (1950–1965)
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The Road to Nairobi 

Not Rated | | Comedy | Episode aired 23 May 1954
In this live episode, before the monologue, Bob steals Jack's pants, so Jack wears Don Wilson's. The skit features Bob and Jack as big game hunters in Africa, who get captured by cannibals. Martin & Lewis do a cameo at the end.

Director:

Ralph Levy (uncredited)
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Cast

Episode credited cast:
Jack Benny ... Jack Benny / Buck
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson ... Rochester Van Jones
Bob Hope ... Himself / Clyde
Jerry Lewis ... Himself
Dean Martin ... Himself
The Sportsmen Quartet The Sportsmen Quartet ... Themselves
Don Wilson ... Don Wilson
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Storyline

In this live episode, before the monologue, Bob steals Jack's pants, so Jack wears Don Wilson's. The skit features Bob and Jack as big game hunters in Africa, who get captured by cannibals. Martin & Lewis do a cameo at the end.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy

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Details

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 May 1954 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

CBS See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The title is based on one of the many Road films made by Bing Crosby, Dorothy Lamour and Bob Hope (who also guest stars on this show). See more »

Connections

Remade as The Jack Benny Program: The Phil Silvers Show (1962) See more »

Soundtracks

Oh My Pa-Pa (O Mein Papa)
(uncredited)
Written by Paul Burkhardt, Erik Charell, Jürg Amstein and Robert Gilbert
Performed by Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson
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User Reviews

 
Kenya watch with a straight face?
26 November 2009 | by hte-trasmeSee all my reviews

This live episode is actually one of the funnier, I think from Jack Benny's TV series. The opening scenes -- making backstage of the live show a part of the live show in the way that Jack had done for years on the radio -- with always-entertaining Rochester shaving his boss ("I think I cut you... it would help if you would bleed a little!") and Jack's monologue are very tightly-written and characteristic if Benny getting good material. There;s an amusing little cameo by the voice of Mary Livingston; Jack was eager to keep her character involved even though her stage fright was making many television appearances impossible (at this point The Jack Benny Program was still running separate original episodes on the radio). Guest Bob Hope's (on loan, as he is eager to point out, from NBC) monologue is though it doesn't hold up as well since it is so topical. I have never been much of a fan of Hope, as he tends to come of as smarmy and obnoxious to my ears.

Hope, however, really comes of well in the sketch portion of this episode -- a spoof of his "Road" movies with Bing Crosby -- plays right into his strengths. He may be smug and unlikable, but he is also witty and a great ad-libber. Here, as he and Benny play a pair of African explorers (with some good gags around the prop animal they are carrying over their shoulders), he throws away the script and starts a constant stream of ad libs -- throwing in additional jokes (including one about Jack's former bandleader Phil Harris, asides to the audience, and complaints about the jokes he's been given. This cracks up Jack "You Wouldn't Say That If My Writers Were Here" Benny up, and eventually even he gets into the act by denigrating the jokes he got when a guest on Hope's program. They're both playing masterfully to the audience and having a wonderful time a way that would be impossible in any form of non-live television.

Sadly the sketch itself seems to depend on the stereotype that Kenyans are horrible savage cannibals, which I can't approve of -- I doubt many people would today. However, it's not so jarring when the sketch is considered as a shorthand nod to a genre rather than any kind of attempt as a reference to the real Africa.

This kinescope of this broadcast preserves a freewheeling, half-improvised thirty minutes of comedy that has alternate great writing and great deviations to the writing -- it's huge fun to watch.


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