CRIME: Waukegan Wisecracker

Born to a Waukegan, Ill. clothing merchant on St. Valentine's Day 45 years ago, Benjamin Kubelsky was thrown out of his school orchestra, where he played the violin, for making a wisecrack about the conductor. At 16, he was expelled from Waukegan High School for making one wisecrack too many about the principal. In vaudeville and on the radio wisecracking Benjamin Kubelsky, renamed Jack Benny, fared better. In 1937 Waukegan planted beside its city hall a Jack Benny Elm. This year Jack Benny's radio program, outranked in popularity only by that of...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!