Miskatonic University Press



Jack Benny’s radio show changed names over the year but was called “The Jell-O Program Starring Jack Benny” from 1934–1942 (says Wikipedia). I’ve been listening to episodes of it I downloaded from the Internet Archive. It’s brilliant—a masterpiece of radio comedy.

One of the smaller things that strikes me about the show is the way the ads for Jell-O are done by Don Wilson at the start and middle of the show. Here’s his introduction from the 26 October 1941 episode:

The Jell-O Program, brought to you by Jell-O and Jell-O Pudding, starring Jack Benny, with Mary Livingstone, Phil Harris, Dennis Day and yours truly, Don Wilson. The orchestra opens the program with, “Are You Ready?”

[Brief instrumental break, then band plays under the advertisement.]

Ladies and gentlemen, have you a treat in store for you. What a grand surprise the moment you discover Jell-O’s new locked-in flavour! Never until now has any gelatin dessert been able to bring you so much delightful goodness. Because up until now, gelatin desserts constantly faded in flavour while waiting to be used, and brought you only a shadow of their original richness. But that’s all been changed! Today, Jell-O’s tempting, tantalizing flavour is locked right into the tiny Jell-O particles, where time can’t get at it to steal it away. No matter how long Jell-O remains in the package, it retains its luscious flavour to the very last. Now, you be the judge: open a package of Jell-O, notice the absence of any heavy, fruity aroma—the usual sign of escaping flavour—then dissolve Jell-O, and presto! there’s your flavour, all of it. The full strength flavour of Jell-O, as rich and vivid as the day it was locked into Jell-O’s delicate crystal-like particles. So try Jell-O! Now made better than ever by Jell-O’s new locked-in process. The flavour never goes away—we put it in and it’s there to stay!

I’ve had Jell-O. It’s just gelatin, sugar and flavour. But cripes, an ad like that makes me want to get some and try it again. What am I missing, not eating those delicate crystal-like particles of tantalizing flavour?