Sunday, November 30, 2008

Nat Benchley Releases Volume 2 of 'Benchley on Benchley'

We got the new CD of Robert Benchley stories from his grandson, Nat Benchley, who recorded it. "Benchley on Benchley Volume 2" has ten stories, all classics. Among them are "Kiddie Kar Travel," "How to Understand Music," "Penguin Psychology," and "The Social Life of the Newt."

Nat was good enough to answer 5 questions for us about the CD, which you can purchase on his web site.

Nat, how did you choose the pieces on Volume 2?

Mostly, they were among my favorites which fit into the recording time frame and were not universally printed in too many collections.

What is your favorite piece on Volume 2, and why?

Well, I don't want to prejudice listeners, but there is one particular piece which -after all the readings and recording and listening again- still absolutely cracks me up (because of the writing, of course, not the reading). It is one I reference in my one-man show for a particular line, but there are many other sections of the piece which make me giggle. I think anyone who might ever have been "overserved" will relate to it.

What is the best part about recording your grandfather's work, and presenting it to the public?

To be perfectly, Frank, [sic] the best part is finally getting it right. There have been recordings before -some by some very talented people- which just missed some of the whimsy and the off-beat nature of his character. I will immodestly say that after all these years of living with the legend, studying his films and recordings and performing my one-man show, I think I have him down pretty well.

Volume 1 has "The Treasurer's Report"; does Volume 2 have anything like it that stands out?

Well, "The Treasurer's Report" is his "signature" piece but not necessarily his best (just listen to what he has to say about it in the intro). One of the pieces on Volume 2 is one that has long been underrated. If you listen to (or read) "How To Understand Music" carefully, I think you will realize what a clever piece of satire it is. Close to music criticism, but way askew.

Will we see a Volume 3?

Only if Volume 2 sells really well.

Thanks so much, Nat. We look forward to hearing it.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Inquiry about Benchley Essay

Dear G.W.:

Thank you for contacting the Robert Benchley Society. You inquired about a short piece by Robert Benchley which you say you heard read by the late Alistair Cooke many years in Edinburgh, a piece possibly titled "I Killed Rasputin."

Mr. Benchley often choose titles for comic effect rather than relevancy to the subject matter, so it would be helpful if you could describe something of the essay.

Going just on the name alone, it could be "Who Killed Alfred Robin?" which is a parody of detective fiction. That essay may be found in the books

  • "From Bed to Worse, or Comforting Thoughts about the Bison" (1934), beginning on
    page 151 and

  • "Benchley--Or Else!" (1947), beginning on page 222.

    "Benchley -- Or Else!" is available for purchase via Amazon on our website

    Both books may be found in libraries.

    Sincerely yours,
    David Trumbull
  • Saturday, November 1, 2008

    Enjoy 25% off at the Algonquin

    This just in from our friends at the Algonquin!

    Click here to view this in a web browser.

    In the midst of turbulent economic times, Algonquin Hotel invites you to enjoy a wallet-friendly getaway. Stay with us for three nights or more, and we’ll treat you to 25% off our nightly rate, plus free high-speed Internet access. But you’ll have to act fast: reservations must be booked by November 17 in order to receive this special discount. Break free from routine without breaking the bank, and make your escape to the Big Apple!

    Forward to a Friend
    Terms & ConditionsOffer is valid for stays booked between October 28, 2008 and November 17, 2008 and completed between October 28, 2008 and March 31, 2009. All package amenities associated with this promotion are per room, per eligible stay and include: complimentary high speed internet access. An eligible stay is defined as three or more consecutive nights paying a qualifying rate in the same hotel regardless of the number of check-in or check- outs that occur. Rates are per room, per night, based on single/double occupancy and availability at time of reservation and do not include additional per room, per night charges that may be imposed or state/local taxes. Blackout dates and other restrictions may apply.Offer not applicable to groups.
    The Algonquin Hotel 59 West 44th Street Between Fifth and Sixth Avenues New York, NY 10036 212-840-6800

    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