Jack Benny On Christmas Shopping & Lingerie

The Jack Benny Program aired live, so the shows which are generally circulated are those that were taped for purposes of network repeats and overseas sales. The script of the famed 1960 Christmas episode, which features lingerie in a shopping skit, was actually a repeat of a live episode from December 15, 1957. According to The Archive Of American Television, where you can see the 1960 version, there’s an interesting footnote regarding Jack Benny’s pronunciation of “lingerie” in both versions.

In the ’57 version he pronounces it as would be expected; in the ’60 version he pronounces it “langeree.” Although not used on-air, the original script of the ’57 show features the following closing:

JACK BENNY: “… I remember once… on radio I said ‘lingerie’ and I got hundreds of letters from people saying it’s not pronounced lingerie it’s pronounced ‘lingeree.’ So the next show I pronounced it ‘langeree.’ Then I got thousands of letters telling me it’s not lingeree it’s lingerie… Well, I’d like to know… would someone tell me how to pronounce it…”

MAN’S VOICE: “Underwear.”

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