David Bruce: The Funniest People in Families, Volume 2 — Money

Money

• When Kathryn Forbes was growing up, sometimes her parents found money difficult to come by. However, she always felt safe and secure because her parents had a savings account in a bank—in times of great need, they could withdraw money from the bank. However, the money was to be used only for emergencies, and so her family would sometimes meet to figure out ways to cut down on costs so they wouldn’t have to withdraw money from the bank account. Fortunately, these meetings were always successful, and never did the family have to go to the bank to withdraw money. Years later, after she had become an adult, Ms. Forbes discovered that her parents had no bank account and that her mother had never even been in a bank. The “bank account” was an invention. Ms. Forbes’ mother explained, “Is not good for little ones to be afraid—to not feel secure.”

• When Forrest Evashevski began coaching football at Iowa University after it had endured a number of losing seasons, he let other people know, “I’m running this team, not you.” He also let it be known that if he were interfered with, he would immediately move on, saying, “My father-in-law has got plenty of dough. I don’t need to coach football to live.” Mr. Evashevski coached well, and he turned the Iowa players into winners. In fact, he was so successful that the university offered him a 10-year contract at a very high salary. Newspapers printed articles about the salary offer, and Mr. Evashevski’s father-in-law sent him this telegram: “Accept now, son. Not as rich as you think I am.”

• Anna Russell and her Aunt Al Schuyler once traveled to Canada. Ms. Russell had very little money, but she did have lots of valuable jewelry that had been willed to her. To avoid paying the customs tax, which she could ill afford, she decided to stuff the jewelry into her underwear and smuggle it into the country. Her Aunt Al helped her out by also smuggling in a few items. Being a world traveler and bon vivant, Aunt Al was well known to the customs officials, who gave her luggage a good going over. Elated at finding a few items of contraband, the customs officials confiscated them and gave Aunt Al a small fine—and let Ms. Russell through customs without checking her.

• Oscar Levant, Billy Rose, and Mort Dixon collaborated on a song they titled “If You Want the Rainbow, You Must Have the Rain.” They decided to take the song to music publisher Joe Keit and ask for a $3,000 advance. Mr. Keit listened to the song and their request for an advance of $1,000 each, then put his hand on Mr. Levant’s shoulder and said, “This boy is like a son to me. I published his first song. He wouldn’t ask me to pay that much advance.” “Okay,” Mr. Rose replied. “Just pay Dixon and me $1,000 each and we’ll let your son worry about himself.”

• Bob Denver played beatnik Maynard G. Krebs for four years on the TV series The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. After the series had ended, his wife gave birth to Megan, their daughter, and Mr. Denver worried about finding work. One day, a residual check for Dobie Gillis arrived in the mail. Mr. Denver was happy, thinking he could pay the hospital bill, then he opened the envelope and discovered that the check was for 30 cents. (Fortunately, Mr. Denver did find work again—he starred in Gilligan’s Island.)

• When she was a child, Marian Wright Edelman used to occasionally ask her father, a Baptist minister, for money, but he always replied that he couldn’t give her the money because he didn’t have change for a $20 bill. Only after she was grown up did she realize that her family was poor in money and that her father didn’t have a $20 bill in his pocket. In 1973, Ms. Edelman founded the Children’s Defense Fund.

• Actress Judi Dench dislikes appearing as herself, but when she was starring in the British sitcom A Fine Romance she used to go in front of the stage and answer questions from the audience. Backstage, she groaned one day about facing the audience and asked, “Why are we doing this?” Her husband and co-star, Michael Williams, answered, “The money, Jude, the money.”

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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