Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Roaring Twenties in the United States

It was an era of wealth and poverty, Prohibition and speakeasies, flappers and revivalists, when America was a world power that didn't want to get involved with the world, when the business of America was business, and silent films were in their heyday. For the first time in its history, the United States had more people living in urban communities than in the country, and this social transformation reverberated through its politics and culture. We'll look at politicians and criminals (sometimes the same people), writers living abroad, laborers barely getting by at home. Chronological and bibliographical handouts provided.

Starting April 5, 2018, the Cambridge (Massachusetts) Center for Adult Education will be offering a six-week course on this fascinating period. The instructor has confirmed that cultural icons such as Robert Benchley and Dorothy Parker will be part of the mix. Learn more or sign up at

Benchley Beside Himself

Get your own REPLICA OF THE BUST OF BENCHLEY seen in this movie clip.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Winners Named in the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition

Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist Dave Barry and award-winning novelist and short story writer Bonnie Jo Campbell, finalist judges in the 2018 Erma Bombeck Writing Competition, have selected four winners and awarded 14 honorable mentions. Betsy Bombeck, a social worker, community volunteer and daughter of the legendary humorist Erma Bombeck, will deliver the keynote address at the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition Awards Ceremony at 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 4, at the Centerville Library, 111 W. Spring Valley Rd. It’s free and open to the public, but advance registration is required. Read more HERE.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

For the Year of the Dog, Nine Dog-Themed Benchley Essays

Lookup Keyword Dogs
Essay Title Appears in On Page
Animal Stories: Georgie Dog Love Conquers All 174
Dog Libel My Ten Years in a Quandary and How They Grew 16
Dogs and Public Service Benchley--Or Else! 248
Dogs and Public Service From Bed to Worse, or Comforting Thoughts about the Bison 251
The French, They Are – My Ten Years in a Quandary and How They Grew 88
How Doggie Goes No Poems, Or Around the World Backwards and Sideways 14
How Doggie Goes Benchley Lost and Found 94
A Protest After 1903--What 252
Talking Dogs My Ten Years in a Quandary and How They Grew 120
The Vigil My Ten Years in a Quandary and How They Grew 285
Your Boy and His Dog Chips off the Old Benchley 94

Celebrating the Year of the Dog - The Lunar New Year Begins Tomorrow, February 16, 2018

How Georgie Dog Gets the Rubbers on the Guest Room Bed, by Robert Benchley (as it appears in "Love Conquers All", the full text of which is available of the RBS website.

How Georgie Dog Gets the Rubbers on the Guest Room Bed

Old Mother Nature gathered all her little pupils about her for the daily lesson in "How the Animals Do the Things They Do." Every day Waldo Lizard, Edna Elephant and Lawrence Walrus came to Mother Nature's school, and there learned all about the useless feats performed by their brother and sister animals.

"Today," said Mother Nature, "we shall find out how it is that Georgie Dog manages to get the muddy rubbers from the hall closet, up the stairs, and onto the nice white bedspread in the guest room. You must be sure to listen carefully and pay strict attention to what Georgie Dog says. Only, don't take too much of it seriously, for Georgie is an awful liar."

And, sure enough, in came Georgie Dog, wagging his entire torso in a paroxysm of camaradarie, although everyone knew that he had no use for Waldo Lizard.

"Tell us, Georgie," said Mother Nature, "how do you do your clever work of rubber-dragging? We would like so much to know. Wouldn't we, children?"

"No, Mother Nature!" came the instant response from the children.

So Georgie Dog began.

"Well, I'll tell you; it's this way," he said, snapping at a fly. "You have to be very niftig about it. First of all, I lie by the door of the hall closet until I see a nice pair of muddy rubbers kicked into it."

"How muddy ought they to be?" asked Edna Elephant, although little enough use she would have for the information.

"I am glad that you asked that question," replied Georgie. "Personally; I like to have mud on them about the consistency of gurry -- that is, not too wet -- because then it will all drip off on the way upstairs, and not so dry that it scrapes off on the carpet. For we must save it all for the bedspread, you know.

"As soon as the rubbers are safely in the hall closet, I make a great deal of todo about going into the other room, in order to give the impression that there is nothing interesting enough in the hall to keep me there. A good, loud yawn helps to disarm any suspicion of undue excitement. I sometimes even chew a bit of fringe on the sofa and take a scolding for it—anything to draw attention from the rubbers. Then, when everyone is at dinner, I sneak out and drag them forth."

"And how do you manage to take them both at once?" piped up Lawrence Walrus.

"I am glad that you asked that question," said Georgie, "because I was trying to avoid it. You can never guess what the answer is. It is very difficult to take two at a time, and so we usually have to take one and then go back and get the other. I had a cousin once who knew a grip which could be worked on the backs of overshoes, by means of which he could drag two at a time, but he was an exceptionally fine dragger. He once took a pair of rubber boots from the barn into the front room, where a wedding was taking place, and put them on the bride's train. Of course, not one dog in a million could hope to do that.

"Once upstairs, it is quite easy getting them into the guest room, unless the door happens to be shut. Then what do you think I do? I go around through the bath-room window onto the roof, and walk around to the sleeping porch, and climb down into the guest room that way. It is a lot of trouble, but I think that you will agree with me that the results are worth it.

"Climbing up on the bed with the rubbers in my mouth is difficult, but it doesn't make any difference if some of the mud comes off on the side of the bedspread. In fact, it all helps in the final effect. I usually try to smear them around when I get them at last on the spread, and if I can leave one of them on the pillow, I feel that it's a pretty fine little old world, after all. This done, and I am off."

And Georgie Dog suddenly disappeared in official pursuit of an automobile going eighty-five miles an hour.

"So now," said Mother Nature to her little pupils, "we have heard all about Georgie Dog's work. To-morrow we may listen to Lillian Mosquito tell how she makes her voice carry across a room."

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Valentine's Day Greeting

Sand is also a good place on which to write, "I love you," as it would be difficult to get into court after several years have passed. -- Robert Benchley, from the essay "All Sandy," and published in No Poems, or Around the World Backwards and Sideways, 1932.

For more Benchley authenticated quotations see,

Sunday, January 28, 2018

2018 Thurber Prize for American Humor CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS


Kevin Fitzpatrick January 2018 Newsletter

1. The New York Public Library launched citywide “Community Conversations.” On January 31 I am speaking at the flagship library on Fifth Avenue and Forty-second Street. The topic is literary New York and the Algonquin Round Table.

2. My weekly walking tours resume January 29 with literary Manhattan tours and Dorothy Parker’s hangouts (I started leading this tour 19 years ago!)

3. My book World War I New York: A Guide to the City’s Enduring Ties to the Great War is nominated for an Apple Award by the Guides Association of New York City for Outstanding Achievement in Non-Fiction NYC Book Writing.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

From the Mail Bag

Dear Mr. Trumbull,

I have recently published my essay, Robert Benchley's "Cooper Folk Songs," "Typical New Yorkers," and "Real Americans," which just appeared in Western Folklore, Volume 77, Number 1 (Winter 2018). I thought that perhaps this essay might be of interest to you and that you might also wish to inform the members of the Benchley Society of its publication.

It is academic; but I hope not pedantic.

Thank you.

To see tear sheets contact me at

Michael J. Bell
Special Counsel to the President
Transylvania University, Retired

Inter-Office Memo


From: Kathleen LAST NAME
Sent: Sunday, January 07, 2018 6:20 PM
To: David Trumbull
Subject: RE: Posts from Robert Benchley Society for 01/06/2018

You make that way too complicated. I get the I'm not a Robot stuff, but how many vehicles do I have to find?! Give up...



We regret that you had a less than satisfactory experience posting comments on the RBS blog. We appreciate your interest in the work of the Society and value your comments. In the future you should be aware that the Google procedure to prove you are not a robot can be by-passed if you apply and are accepted into the Robert Benchley Society Humor Easy Pass ™.

Per regulation 26(b) of 1974 and Executive Order 42865-5, applications for the Robert Benchley Society Humor Easy Pass must be filed in triplicate with the DEPARTMENT OF STATE, Bureau of Internal/External Affairs, Office of Literary-historical persons (fictional/nonfictional), Room 314-b, Washington, D.C. 20205-6978 using form SF-105-b(1) available electronically from the OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET. All request must include original card/certificate, proof of identity as required by (a) or (b) below:

(a) Primary proof of Identity

A valid U.S. passport issued no earlier than December 19, 2017 if accompanied by SF-256-b

(b) Secondary proof of Identity

A valid U.S. passport issued earlier than December 19, 2017 accompanied by long form statement of live birth, affidavit from a relative within two degrees of consanguinity who has known you your entire life, affidavit from local Chief of Police in the city/town of our primary residence stating that there are no outstanding warrants for your arrest.

Due to the high number of requests processed by this office the expected processing time is 7.5 years. Should you need the Robert Benchley Society Humor Easy Pass sooner you may apply for hardship expedited service by submitting form EF-9566-a(4) accompanied by the processing fee of $125. The current waiting time for expedited hardship service is 15.2 years.

David Trumbull

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop

2018 Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop

Thursday, April 5 2 p.m. - Saturday, April 7 11 p.m. (Eastern Time)

CONTACT Teri Rizvi • Director, Erma Bombeck Writers' Workshop, University of Dayton, phone: 937-229-2961 (Stacy Baker, Events Specialist), e-mail:

Matthew Hahn Presents "The Animated Marx Brothers"

RBS member Matthew Hahn has released his latest book, "The Animated Marx Brothers" through BearManor Media! <>This intertwined history of The Marx Brothers and animation, includes not only theatrical, television, and made-for-video cartoons, but also fan films, commercials, credit sequences, flip books, avatars, emoji, a slot machine, and two long-lost pilots once so rare their very existence was in doubt! More info or to buy the book visit

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