Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

In response to this inquiry:
I recently read a book on Benchley's short film subjects and have just watched the DVD film "Robert Benchley & the Knights of the Algonquin," most of which I had seen before on VHS. I was struck by the fact that absolutely no one else in these short films gets any credit. The woman playing his wife in most if not all of the "domestic" subjects, Ruth Lee, is nowhere credited and I had to discover her name on the internet. The author of the study of his short subjects, oddly enough, makes no mention of this oversight, or if he does, I overlooked it myself. And yet there are comic touches provided here and there by some of the supporting actors, for instance by the grim-faced Indian guide in "How to Take a Vacation." Was Benchley that jealous of fame to insist on exclusive billing, or was this some policy at Paramount (which produced most of the subjects)?

An officer of The Robert Benchley Society wrote:
I believe it was standard practice at the time, especially in short subjects, to give onscreen credits to just a few principle players. I doubt if Benchley had much if any say in who got credit.

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Robert Benchley Society

For more information about the Robert Benchley Society, local chapters near you, our annual Award for Humor, and our Annual Gathering, visit The RBS Website