Brushes with Greatness - Jack Benny

Halloweening With Jack Benny

Jack_Benny_HouseGrowing up in Beverly Hills had its advantages. Good schools, local shops, and great pickings at rich people’s houses at Halloween. My most vivid memory of Halloween was when I was about five. We had just moved to Beverly Hills and were encouraged to trick-or-treat north of Sunset Blvd. Back in the 50’s Jack Benny lived next door to Lucy and Desi who lived across the street from Jimmy Stewart. October 1957 and Roxbury Drive was dotted with tiny goblins and cowboys going door to door, we rang the Stewart’s bell. His housekeeper came out with a big bowl of candy, we took a piece each and thanked her. Next door at Lucy’s there was a bowl of hard candy on the porch with a sign that said, “Don’t you dare ring this Bell”.phil_in_santa_costume

Next came the Bennys. My mom rang the bell and suddenly there was Jack Benny standing there. “Trick or Treat” I said. He looked down at me, “What’s your trick?” Since I was dressed as Santa (left over from last xmas), I sang a few verses of “Jingle Bells” for him and the rest of the stars at his party.

He then reached in his pocket and handed me a silver dollar! On TV, he was famous as the cheapest man in the world – in real life he gave out money. This was an early lesson in the difference between the image and the reality. All Rights Reserved 2012