A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from May 27, 2013
“I don’t deserve this award, but I have arthritis and I don’t deserve that either”

"I don’t deserve this award, but I have arthritis and I don’t deserve that either” is said by some winners at awards presentations (especially entertainment awards), recalling a remark by comedian Jack Benny (1894-1974). Benny was appointed Chief Justice of the “Ancient and Independent Province of Beverly Hills” in June 1959 and said:

“I don’t deserve all these kind words, but as a friend of mine said, I’ve got arthritis and I don’t deserve that either.”


Wikipedia: Jack Benny
Jack Benny (born Benjamin Kubelsky; February 14, 1894 – December 26, 1974) was an American comedian, vaudevillian, radio, television, and film actor, and a notable violinist. Recognized as a leading American entertainer of the 20th century, Benny portrayed character roles as a miser, and playing the violin badly. In character, he would be 39 years of age, regardless of his actual age at the time.

Benny was known for comic timing, and ability to create laughter with a pregnant pauses or single expression, such as his signature exasperated “Well!” His radio and television programs, popular from the 1930s to the 1960s, were a major influence on the sitcom genre.

Google News Archive
18 June 1959, Pittsburgh (PA) Post-Gazette, “Television & Radio News: Fred Astaire Already Tapping New Show” by Marie Torre, pg. 39, col. 2:
Jack benny was “appointed” Chief Justice of the “Ancient and Independent Province of Beverly Hills.” At the presentation ceremonies, Benny said: “I don’t deserve all these kind words, but as a friend of mine said, I’ve got arthritis and I don’t deserve that either.”

Google News Archive
18 June 1959, Miami (FL) News, “What’s Up,” pg. 8B, col. 6:
Jack Benny was “Appointed” Chief Justice of the “Ancient and Independent Province of Beverly Hills” recently. The honor was conferred on the CBS Television comedian at a meeting of the Beverly Hills Bar Association at the Bevery Hilton Hotel, Beverly Hills, Calif. Bar President Lester W. Roth told the distinguished legal group, which included all of California’s Supreme Court justices, that the occasion marked “a great moment in American jurisprudence” and “a triumph of youth over history.” Benny, in reply, assured his audience that “I don’t deserve all these kind words, but, as a friend of mine said, I’ve got arthritis and I don’t deserve that wither.”

Google News Archive
16 October 1969, The Dispatch (Lexington, NC), “Try and Stop Me” by Bennett Cerf, pg. 2, col. 1:
Upon receiving another of countless awards at a recent banquet, Jack acknowledged the gift with a humble, “I don’t really deserve this, but I have arthritis and I don’t deserve that either.”

CBS News
CBS/AP/ February 11, 2009, 7:52 PM
Woody Allen Honored At Film Fest
(...)
Much of Spain is crazy about Allen. In 2002, as he received an arts award from a cultural foundation associated with Crown Prince Felipe, Allen quoted a line from the late Jack Benny when he, too, was about to receive a prestigious prize.

“I don’t deserve this award, but I have diabetes and I don’t deserve that either,” Allen recalled Benny as saying. Allen added: “This is how I feel this evening. I don’t deserve this, but I am very deeply honored.”

Winnipeg (Manitoba) Free Press
Valedictorian divides audience
U of W presents Toews with degree amid protests

By: Mary Agnes Welch
Posted: 10/18/2010 1:00 AM
(...)
In his speech, Toews paid tribute to the vigour of youth and said he is humbled by the honorary doctorate. He avoided politics, except to note wryly that some disagreed with the award. “I don’t deserve this honour, but I am losing my hair and I don’t deserve that either,” he quipped.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMusic/Dance/Theatre/Film • Monday, May 27, 2013 • Permalink