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Archives On The Air 151: Con Man "Yellow Kid" Weil & Chicken Nuggets—William T. Brannon Papers

Public domain, from Wikimedia Commons.
The Yellow Kid, a comic strip from which Joseph "Yellow Kid" Weil got his nickname, circa 1897.

Joseph "Yellow Kid" Weil was one of the most notorious con men of the 20 th Century. He reportedly swindled 8 million dollars from his victims. 

Early in his career Weil blackmailed his fellow loan sharks. He later sold elixir with Doc Meriwether in Chicago. It was mostly rainwater. 

At the height of his career, Weil swindled Italian dictator Benito Mussolini out of two million dollars.

Weil is rumored to have sold a chicken to a man for a gold nugget. This is allegedly the origin of the term "chicken nuggets."

Weil's biographer W.T. Brannon had a hard time interviewing Weil. Weil later claimed Brannon tried to swindle him.

Weil claimed he was born in 1874. If true, he would have been 105 when he died.

William T. Brannon's account of working with Weil is in his papers at UW's American Heritage Center.