Sunday, March 28, 2021

From the Mail Bag

Dan C. asked, "Is there a DVD somewhere I can buy to see all of Robert's comedy shorts please? I'd really like to buy it.

Answer: You can find them easily on Amazon (other vendors as well). There is no single collection of all in one place because he worked for competing studios, so the copyrights are held by various companies.

Anyone care to add to this response to Dan?

The Robert Benchley Society is Now Old Enough to Have a Legal Drink (Not that Stopped Us in the Past)

On March 29, 2003, the Robert Benchley Society was organized in an Irish pub on Beacon Hill, Boston. Mr. David Trumbull of Boston was elected chairman, Miss Pamela Siska of Cambridge was elected vice-chairman, Mrs. David (Sharon) Lyon of Boston was elected secretary, Mr. Dave Lyon of Boston was elected treasurer, Mr. Kevin Fitzpatrick of New York, N.Y. was elected a director.

minutes of the meeting.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Fool Me Twice, Shame on Me

Robert Benchley was a prankster. Among his practice jokes, he left a note for the milkman at Grant's Tomb, and left two Beacon Hill Boston families in confusion as to the origin and ownership of a sofa (which is why "We've Come for the Davenport" is the name of the Boston Chapter of the Robert Benchley Society.

With April Fools' Day just ten days away, I invite Society members, friends, and followers, to submit suggested short essays or excerpts from longer works, that contain a practical joke. Your submissions will be collected into a list to be posted on the Robert Benchley Society blog and Facebook page.

Each submission must include:

  • The name of the author,
  • the name of the work (is okay to submit your own work),
  • the date of the work, and
  • a link to the work so people can read it.

Optionally, a brief sentence on why you chose this particular piece.

The list of your submissions will be published on the eve of April Fools' Day.

To submit, please email

Saturday, March 20, 2021

Call for Volunteers

After a long period of inactivity, a few persons have stepped forward with interest in giving the Robert Benchley Society a "reboot." Come on and join us. We did active members at whatever level of commitment you care to make. Together we can make the '20s roar with laugher, once again, as our beloved Mr. Benchley did in the '20s of the late century.

To volunteer, email

PHOTE: Gordon Ernst (1959-2012), author of the most comprehensive listing of Robert Benchley's books, essays, newspaper writings, and drama criticism, Robert Benchley: An Annotated Bibliography. It also contains a publishing chronology, filmography, and discography. We miss Gordon's dry wit at Society gatherings.

Garden of Allah Hotel’s 1930 Neon Sign Hits the Market

Algonquin Round Table members Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley and others lived at the hotel off and on for years.


Or, visit the website of the owner, Martin Turnbull, at

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Thurber Prize for American Humor 2020 Finalists

The Thurber Prize for American Humor is a recognition of humor writing in the United States. A panel of national judges selects three finalists to attend the awards ceremony in Columbus, Ohio, where the winner is announced, presented with the Thurber Prize for American Humor, and awarded $5,000.

See who the finalists are at

Robert Benchley in Color

In the first half of the 20th century, America transformed from a young country on the rise into a global superpower. It's a decisive period in our nation's history, and much of that history was caught, at the time, in black-and-white motion picture newsreels. The Smithsonian Channel, available on many cable TV providers, presents those historic moments, colorized in 17 episodes of America in Color

The movie industry was born in West Orange, New Jersey, in 1893 by Thomas Edison. Within thirty years, Hollywood grew into America's fourth largest, and by far most glamorous, industry. Revisit the Golden Age of Hollywood, when actors became global celebrities, moguls became millionaires, and the entire nation became movie crazy. Using digitally remastered news footage, rare studio archives, and home movie footage, look back on the dawn and meteoric rise of Tinseltown in color. Watch "America in Color: Hollywood's Golden Age" on your cable provider and keep on eye open for an uncredited Robert Benchley serving up a meal for our service men at the Hollywood Canteen.

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