A Creative Life…Uncle Frank and Jack Benny

Many of Jonathan Murphy’s friends and family LIVE a creative life! Here’s a look at…

Frank Remley, a guitarist, performer for, and best buds with the legendary Jack Benny.

Frank was Jonathan’s great, great uncle who played in the famous Phil Harris (a.k.a Disney’s Baloo!) Band and was a part of the orchestra for the Jack Benny Television Show. He and Benny, and their wives, traveled the world together. Jonathan’s family recently discovered that the Boston Library had several letters in their archives between Jack and Frank, who corresponded regularly. Frank was one of the few people who could make Jack laugh!

A fun bit of Wiki-trivia: “A popular running gag on Benny’s show concerned the social habits of Benny’s on-air orchestra, who were consistently portrayed as a bunch of drunken ne’er-do-wells. Led first by Phil Harris and later by Bob Crosby, the orchestra, and in particular band member Frank Remley, were jokingly portrayed as often being too drunk to play properly, using an overturned bass drum to play cards on just minutes before a show, and so enamored by liquor that the sight of a glass of milk would make them sick. Remley was portrayed in various unflattering situations, such as being thrown into a garbage can by a road sweeper who had found him passed out in the street at 4 am, and on a wanted poster at the Beverly Hills police station.”

The insider’s truth: Frank Remley rarely drank alcohol. He preferred buttermilk.

Here’s one of the few clips from the Jack Benny Show with “Frankie:”

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwYMWPoTnto&w=480&h=360]