May 12, 2021

Frank Jacobs, Mad Magazine Writer With a Lyrical Touch, Dies at 91

In his opinion, Judge Irving R. Kaufman (most famous for presiding over Julius and Ethel Rosenberg’s espionage trial) wrote, “The fact that defendants’ parodies were written in the same meter as plaintiffs’ compositions would seem inevitable if the original was to be recognized, but such a justification is not even necessary; we doubt that even so eminent a composer as plaintiff Irving Berlin should be permitted to claim a property interest in iambic pentameter.”

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the decision.

Franklin Jacobs was born on May 30, 1929, in Lincoln, Neb. His father, David, was a traveling salesman and owned a costume jewelry business with Frank’s mother, Miriam (Frosch) Jacobs, who also helped start a Jewish temple in Lincoln.

“Some say that as a baby I gurgled in 4/4 time,” Mr. Jacobs said in an interview for “Frank Jacobs: Five Decades of His Greatest Works” (2015), the first book in a projected series called “Mad’s Greatest Writers.” “In truth, I recall coming up with rhymes when I was in grade school.”

He graduated from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, where he edited the campus humor magazine (and slipped in some verse). After serving in the Army, as an editor and reporter for the military newspaper Stars and Stripes, he worked in a public relations firm, was the secretary to a press agent and wrote for Fishing Gazette magazine.

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