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Oh, Harvard, Where Dat Smokah? Is Rochester's Cry After MIT Abduction

Benny's Stooge Explains Deke's Hoax, Cracks Wise About 30-Buck Salary


"They were pretty good follows, offered us some beer and a little corn," was Rochester's hurried description of his abduction Tuesday night by a group of "drunken Dekes" from M.I.T.

"I'll tell you jes' what happened," continued the famous radio comedian, colored stooge for "Buck Benny," explaining why he almost failed to show up for the Yardling Smoker in Memorial Hall. "We landed at Providence and three gentlemen came aboard looking for us. They said they were from Harvard and that they would drive us up to Cambridge so that we would avoid the 'big crowd' at the Boston airport. So we strung along."

"Cops Trailing"

"When we got to Boston, a raft of cops were trailing us, and finally they stopped the car. Somebody said to me, 'You better get the hell out of heah,' so I jumped out into the next car. They took me on up to Harvard, that is, I thought it was Harvard, so I went ahead and put on my act for 'em."

Then he went on to explain how the Tech boys gradually became alarmed and finally decided to bring him on up to the Smoker, arriving there just in time to get in on the end of the festivities.

Clad in a wide-checked overcoat and Tyrolean headgear, the boy that made "Harlem polo" famous over the air made a big hit with the remainder of the Smoker crowd that had lingered on.

"Twenty Grand"

"I suppose you boys would like to know just what Mr. Benny pays me for the broadcasts," he continued. "Well, I'll tell you, it's roughly twenty grand, but when he smooths it out it comes to about 30 bucks. But don't get me wrong; I like working with Jack. Been with him for three years now and I've got two more to go before my contract runs out."

Rochester, it seems, had been in Boston before. "Where's Scollay Square? You know why they put the Old Howard there, don't you?" he queried. "They tell me 'cause its jes' half-way between Harvard Square and the Navy Yard."

As it turned out, he explained, he had played here in Boston back in 1927 at the old Keith Theatre, doing a song and dance act with his brother. He was still working at this act when Jack Benny auditioned him for radio work and awarded him his present contract.

Rochester was very patient with autograph hunters, but when somebody suggested he sign a blank check for them, he replied. "She will, buddy, but I tell you, if you can get it cashed, boy, we'se partners."

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