Benny Bell

Benjamin Samberg (aka Benny Bell) was born in 1906 on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Like his idol, Al Jolson, Ben’s Russian-born, Jewish immigrant father was a cantor who dreamed of having his son following his footsteps.

Despite being deeply drawn to his faith, it was the lure of show business which beckoned to him. He began his show-business career as a song-writer of ballads, but it was his humorous new lyrics to the old standard, “Sweet Violets.” that brought him success. It wasn’t long before he was performing on the Vaudeville stage as Benny Bimbo.

Considering himself as much an entertainer as a songwriter, Ben managed to book himself on radio programs and in Vaudeville talent contests. As a young man in his early twenties he was writing songs for Herman Rose, Ted Collins and other popular entertainers of the day. After being disappointed when several of the recordings of his songs were not released he took a new direction.

Starting his own record company in the 1930’s, he became a pioneer in the field of Yiddish comedy phonograph recordings. By the 1940s he had created more than 50 phonograph recordings. A true impresario, he was involved in every aspect of production, artistic creation, and performance. His created the very popular “Pincus the Peddler” in 1946. This act which featured American songs with a Yiddish flavor was a big hit among Jewish immigrants and their English-speaking children. 

As the first half of the 20th century passed, so did interest in Yiddish comedy.  The 1950s brought difficult times for the comedian. He was forced to accept menial jobs like busboy and bank messenger. But the world of entertainment had not heard the last of Benny Bell.

In the 1970s, a syndicated LA disc jockey began using Benny Bell’s song “Shaving Cream” as the theme song for his radio show. This sparked immediate interest in Bell’s earlier recordings. “Shaving Cream” was eventually reissued, becoming a national Top 40 hit on the Billboard chart and selling almost a million copies. The renewed popularity breathed life into his live act which he performed into his 90’s.

Thanks to Chuck Samberg (son) and Joel Samberg (grandson and biographer) for information contained in this biography.

View 4 minute biographical video, Benny Bell, by Joel Samberg.

Music courtesy of Chuck Samberg and Joel Samberg.

Total: 57

A Bis'l Taam (A Little Flavor)
A Disgusted Millionaire; Elope With Me
A Mozzle Tuff Far'n M'chitten; Oyf dem Pripitchik
Bar Mitzvah Speech; Celebration Freylech
Be a Comedian
Benny Bell - Volume 10
Benny Bell - Volume 2
Benny Bell - Volume 3
Benny Bell - Volume 4
Benny Bell - Volume 5
Benny Bell - Volume 7
Benny Bell - Volume 8
Benny Bell - Volume 9
Benny Bell Blesses a Bride; A Disgusted Millionai...
Benny Bell Blesses a Bride; Misfortune, What Do Yo...
Calypso Mandelbaum - Jewish Rumba; Song of Peace
Car Come On; My Mother-in-Law
Chella Loona in Yiddish; El Toreador
Crazy Songs
Disco Dancer; My Condominium
Down By the Old Mill Stream
Dr. Yookle Kupvaytig
Eye-yi Yah-da-dye
Hebrew Lessons - English Instruction
Hebrew Lessons - English Instruction; Hatikvah - E...
Hetzaleh Getzaleh Goo
Home Again in Israel
Hoyda Hoyda
I'm the Guy Who Took a Ship for Myself; Gone but n...
It's Time to Laugh Again - Benny Bell is Back
Jewish Comedy, 1st Issue
Jewish Comedy, 2nd Issue
Jolly Jingles; Kosher Disco
Kosher Comedy
Laugh Along with Pincus
Living and Laughing
Living in America
Misfortune, What Do You Want?
Misfortune, What Do You Want?; Benny Bell Blesses ...
Moishe Pipick
Oy Hut Air G' Dah-vind
Pincus the Peddler
Pincus the Peddler II
Pincus the Peddler; The Son of Pincus; Pincus in t...
Pincus Went To the Mountains
Romania, Romania
Shaving Cream
SMILE: Where's the Fire; Novelty Time
The Automobile Song (Will You Love Me When - ?)
The Face On The Bar-Room Floor
The Hilarious Musical Comedy of Benny Bell - Volum...
The Opera Star - Comic Opera
The Son of Pincus the Peddler
To The Bride
Yiddish Radio Broadcast