Monday, September 17, 2012

Who Are Those Guys? - Fritz Benscher

Friedrich Benscher was born in Hamburg, Germany on October 13, 1906. He came in contact with the radio medium radio very early in his career. In 1926 he worked at the NORAG , which was founded in 1924 in Hamburg. The intermediate station Bremen, from the later station Radio Bremen where he worked as an announcer.

Around the same time he also began his career as an actor. Initially he worked as an extra with the Hamburg Volksoper, then he has been engaged at the opera Schiller in Altona and the metropolitan Theater in Berlin. At this  time he was now know by the stage name of Fritz Bernd. His stage credits include, among others as Moritz Spiegelberg in “Die Räuber” and Armand Brissard in “Die keusche Susanne”. At times, he was also known as a comedian.

After the takeover of the Nazis Benscher was banned from performing. His petition to emigrate to the United States failed. Around 1935, he joined the Association of German Jewish culture in Hamburg. The Cultural Alliance was in Nazi Germany, and Fritz was one of Jewish initiators who helped launched the self-help organization for the prohibition which affected Jewish artists. In June 1943, he was sent by the Nazis to the concentration camp at Theresienstadt and in September 1944 was sent to the Auschwitz concentration camp. In January 1945, he was in the Dachau concentration camp , where he witnessed the end of the Nazi tyranny.

After his release Fritz Benscher went to the nearby Munich, where he found a new home. By May, he found, thanks Klaus Brill, whom he knew from his Hamburg times year before, a job with the Bavarian Radio, the radio was still called Munich. Brill, where he became the program director of the station and its first announcer and later the station manager. An important radio activity was the radio play. Here Fritz worked as a drama director and spokesman in well over 100 productions. He appeared in the comedy “Die schöne Lügnerin”, “Just Scheu” by Ernst Nebhut  where he directed and appeared in the role of Prince Talleyrand. To this day, thanks to some DVD releases, the radio drama series about Dickie Dick Dickens (1958-1961) survives, in which he and other radio actors appeared. Benscher also developed new entertainment programs.

Benscher in 1955 conceived the show “Nimm’s Gas weg bzw.” from 1959 on it was retitled “Gute Fahrt”, the first motorist broadcast on Bavarian Radio, where he was the moderator.

The ARD broadcasts “Tick-Tock Quiz” (1958 to 1967), “Der Schlüssel zum Glück” (1959) and the afternoon show “Wie kamen Sie darauf?” (1961) made ​​him among the best known television game show hosts.

He was an entertainer in the best sense of the word during those days, loose, always prone to spontaneous gags and kind which made him a real crowd pleaser.

From 1949, he was seen in several feature and television films, “Der Ruf” with Fritz Kortner 1953 alongside Hans Albers in “Käpt'n Bay-Bay” and again with Albers in his only Euro-western “Johnny Saves Nebrador” (1953). In 1968 he appeared in an episode of the TV series “Hafenkrankenhaus” where Anneli Granget played the lead role.

Fritz Benscher died on March 10, 1970 in Munich, Germany

BENSCHER, Fritz (Friedrich Benscher) [10/13/1906, Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany - 3/10/1970, Munich, Bavaria, Germany] – director, stage, radio, TV actor, co-founded Munich Radio.
Johnny Saves Nebrador - 1953 (Rubino)

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