For those of us who “squeeze a nickel till the buffalo groans,” here are three cute anecdotes about Jack Benny, who cultivated a reputation for being miserly.
He once needed a potty stop, and this was back in the era of pay toilets. So he grumblingly spent a dime, did his business, and then left. Just then he realized his wallet must have fallen out of his trousers. He honestly didn’t even have a second dime on him in order to reenter the stall. Sighing, he got down on hands and knees and peered under the door. Sure enough, the wallet was sitting right there just beyond his reach. Perhaps if he got down real close to the ground, he could ease himself underneath the door and snag it. At that exact moment, two newspaper reporters walked in and saw Jack Benny trying to slide under the door of a pay toilet costing a dime. “No! Wait! Come on, fellas, let me explain! Oh, what’s the use?”
Bob Hope once compiled a list of his favorite vaudeville jokes and released them in book form. Later he boasted, “Even Jack Benny loves my book. I know because he called me from the library and told me so.”
The classic of all time is where, on a radio skit, a holdup man brandishes a gun in Jack’s face and growls. “Your money or your life!” Audience laughter begins to build during the pregnant pause. No answer. Finally the crook prompts him. “I’m sayin’, Mac, your money or your life.” And Jack retort: “I’m thinking it over!”