Monday, January 26, 2009

The Ties That Bind at "21"

It is official: No ties required for New York's "21" Club. This was probably the only restaurant to require a tie for gentlemen; now "coat and tie" are optional.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Mark your calendars!

April 1st -- Deadline for entries to the 2009 Robert Benchley Society Award for Humor competition. Watch this blog for details in a few days.

October 9-12, 2009 Seventh Robert Benchley Society Annual Gathering. This year in Boston.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Benchley Inauguration Day Special

Just in time for Inauguration Day, Robert Benchley announces that the recession is over. You heard it here first. Watch Benchley explain how the economy works. Hopefully the White House is watching too.

Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop Newsletter

From Matt Dewald, director, Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop January/February 2009 Newsletter

Sunday, January 18, 2009

2008 RBS Humor Prize Winner Madeleine Begun Kane Judges 4th Annual HumorFeed Competition

"Robillard's story was a delightful parody," said Kane. "And the title made me laugh out loud!" ...Read the story at

Thurber House is now accepting submissions for the 2009 Columbus Literary Awards!

The Columbus Literary Awards is a biennial award sponsored by the Greater Columbus Arts Council, and administered by Thurber House, that recognizes the most outstanding literary works produced by Franklin County writers in the genres of fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Each winner receives an award of $5000 to encourage his or her writing career.

Three judges in each genre will determine the winner. Winners will be notified in September and celebrated at a reception and reading in October.

Guidelines and application form can be downloaded online at: All applications must be received at Thurber House, 77 Jefferson Avenue, Columbus, OH 43215 by 4:00
p.m. Monday, May 4, 2009. Postmark dates will not be accepted.

Mr Benchley in the Balcony

Good morning! I am two things in this life (at least two)... a big fan of Mr. Robert Benchley and the webmaster of a motley website devoted to classic movies. Well, some of them aren't too classic. In any case, this week we shine a spotlight on a film starring Mr. Benchley, so I thought I'd bring it to your attention just in case you're interested.

You'll find us at and be able to navigate your way to the Benchley lecture fairly easily, I hope.

Clifford Weimer.

RBS Director Gordon Ernst

Indiana Boy Licks Light Pole, Gets Stuck

HAMMOND, Ind. — In a scene straight out of the movie "A Christmas Story," a 10-year-old Indiana boy got his tongue stuck to a metal light pole. "A Christmas Story," you may know, was based on the writing of Jean Shepherd (1921-1999), a fan of Robert

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Benchley Liberty magazine articles now online at Google Books

Great news for Benchley addicts! Google has begun to scan and display the contents of vintage magazines, including Liberty, where a lot of Mr. Benchley’s articles appeared. They're available at the Google books web site ( a wonderful, but still relatively little-known, online resource. (In fact, the Liberty articles are taken not from the original 1930s issues, but rather from 1970s reprints, so called "Nostalgia" Liberty magazines featuring the best of past issues. Not all of the original Benchley Liberty articles are available yet.)

For example, Benchley’s article, Defying the Conventions, from the June 4th, 1932 issue of Liberty, appears with its original illustration and interesting period ads.

To see the magazine hits, just do a simple search at, and you’ll get relevant magazine hits listed among the book hits. But better yet, you can isolate just the magazine hits by first going to “advanced search” and clicking on “magazines.” (I got 77 magazine hits for “Robert Benchley”).

I also did an advanced search for “Dorothy Parker” and discovered, among the 146 hits, her August 16th, 1924 Liberty article, Every Woman an Interior Decorator. Again, this scan is from a 1970s reprint.

The Google magazine scanning program is brand new (it began in December, 2008), so many more magazine issues will undoubtedly be added to the list over the coming months. Currently you can search back issues of such titles as Liberty, ("nostalgia" reprints only, so far),Popular Mechanics, New York, Jet, and The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists. (Now there’s an interesting combination of titles!)

The magazine article scanning program is part of a major copyright agreement that Google recently reached with publishers to make information from out-of-print books and old magazines available online. The Google blog site has an article about the agreement: Search and find magazines on Google Book Search. By the way, Google notes on their site that they have received copyright permission to display these scanned articles.

Speaking of Google, Gordon Ernst informs me that there is a great set of Life magazine photographs of Robert Benchley performing in a radio show. You can see them here. Thanks, Gordon!

- Chris Morgan

Friday, January 9, 2009

Sometimes it is better to just give a man a fish…

The Fishing Trip That Got Away
A new comic novella
By Ed Tasca

“Riveting—I could not put it down. Each intrigue spins you to the next, and it's all laced together with Tasca's insights and his characters who leap off the page. Tempered with Tasca's patented sudden turns to craziness.” Horace J. Digby, Award-winning Humorist and Director, Robert Benchley Society.

A fishing adventure goes spectacularly awry when two anglers unwittingly make campsite in the middle of a great black bear's den.

To order a copy, please go to or any other online bookstore, or to the publisher’s website:

Thurber House Presents a Doggie Photo Contest

Thurber House Presents a Doggie Photo Contest in Conjunction with Evenings with Authors Event featuring Merrill Markoe!

ImageEnter the first ever Thurber House Doggie Photo Contest, as part of the Evenings with Authors featuring consummate dog lover, Merrill Markoe, on Friday, January 23 at the Columbus Museum of Art at 7:30pm.

The Guidelines
  • Entries may only be sent via email
  • Photos may be either color or black & white
  • Photo should be sent to Meg Brown at Please include your name, telephone number, and the name of your dog in the email
  • Must be present at the event to win. Tickets are $18 in advance ($15 for students and seniors) and $20 at the door ($18 for students and seniors). Tickets can be purchased online at: or by calling 614-464-1032. NO real dogs allowed at event
  • The deadline for submission is Thursday, January 22, 2009 at noon.

    The Judge
    Merrill Markoe, a former finalist for the Thurber Prize for Humor, is an Emmy Award-winning writer who will read from her latest hilarious novel, Nose Down, Eyes Up, about four talking dogs, a man who won't grow up, and his confused relationships with women. She will award two lucky dogs with the honor of either being "Most Likely to Talk" or "Most Likely to Be Portrayed" in Markoe's next book.

    The Prizes
  • Gift certificates, one for a pet bakery and one for a pet boutique
  • A signed copy of Markoe's latest novel as well as a copy of her Thurber Prize finalist, Walking in Circles before Lying Down (also about dogs, of course!)
  • A $10 gift certificate to the Thurber Country Bookstore at Thurber House
  • A picture of your winning doggie signed by Merrill Markoe!

    Click here to purchase your ticket!

  • 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