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Library Buys 60 Scripts From Jack Benny's Radio Shows

November 22, 1991|PSYCHE PASCUAL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Sixty scripts written for comedian Jack Benny's radio shows have been acquired by the Thousand Oaks Library as part of its collection on radio and television history, officials said Thursday.

Librarian Brad Miller said the scripts were purchased from Benny's longtime producer and director, Hilliard Marks, for $1,200.

"It's a significant acquisition," Miller said. "It's not a large collection, but it fleshes out what we have from the 1950s."

The Jack Benny Program debuted on NBC radio in 1932 and lasted until 1958. The new scripts will be added to the 60 scripts the library purchased in 1987 from Bob Crosby, Benny's orchestra conductor.

The Benny scripts will not be available for public reading until they are inventoried and catalogued, Miller said.

Researchers of the golden age of radio are likely to be the most curious about the scripts, he added. The library already houses an extensive radio archive used by researchers from across the country.

In addition to material on Benny, the library houses about 1,500 books, 15,000 radio and television scripts, photographs, letters and original recordings by famous and obscure radio personalities.

Martin Smith, the director of library services, said the city wants to make its collection more complete. One of the library's most significant windfalls was a large Rudy Vallee collection that was purchased for $275,000 by the Thousand Oaks Library Foundation four years ago.

"We're always on the lookout for bits and pieces that come along, because many of the big pieces were broken up," Smith said.

The library is hosting a special display on broadcaster Stu Wilson, who emceed the first daytime telecast, called "On the Town," and hosted early morning programs on Los Angeles AM radio stations KHJ, KFWB and KFAC.

Wilson, a resident of the Westlake area of Thousand Oaks, died in August, and the display is on loan from Wilson's widow, Lorraine. Wilson's photographs and posters can be seen at the library through Dec. 15.

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