Monday, September 14, 2015

Boston Benchley Chapter to Meet Thursday

The Boston "We've Come for the Davenport" Chapter of the Robert Benchley Society will hold its monthly Roundup at the Downtown Harvard Club, high above Boston town on the 38th floor of One Federal Street, in the Financial District. We'll gather at the Crimson Pub on Thursday, September 17th, beginning at 5:30 p.m.
Dress code is informal or business casual. For more information, contact David Trumbull at

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Tell Us Your Favorite Benchley Piece

Okay, folks, let's give this forensics coach so great suggestions for Benchley pieces to read aloud.

Hello David,

I located your email address on the home page of the Benchley Society. I am a forensics coach and am always in search of great humorous stories for competition. My daughter is a three time national champion in high school speech and held the first place national ranking for Humorous Interpretation for the STOA league throughout the 2014-15 season and won first place at this year's tournament where over 500 students competed in various speech and debate events. We hope to choose a Benchley piece for the upcoming competitive season. Would you be able to direct me to one or more selections from Benchley that would offer a female character as the dominant figure for the piece.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to your reply.



Send your suggestions to David Trumbull at

What's the 411 on Jane Wallis Burrell?

From the mailbag --

I am writing a piece about Jane Wallis Burrell, daughter of newspaper editor and writer, James Harold Wallis.

Wallis family legend has Harold being good friends with Robert Benchley and the Algonquian Round Table.

Here's a collection of his books from a brief biography:

Wallis authored eleven novels including The Woman He Chose (1934), The Politician: His Habits, Outcries, and Protective Coloring (1935), The Synthetic Philanthropist (1943) and The Niece of Abraham Pein (1943). He also wrote three volumes of poetry and numerous magazine articles.

1945 Once Off Guard was made into a film entitled The Woman in the Window starring Raymond Massey, Edward G. Robinson, and Joan Bennett. In 1949 "Strange Bargain" screen play by Lillie Hayward, based on a story by J. H. Wallis, was produced by Sid Rogell for RKO Radio Pictures. Inc.

other books Wallis authored were mystery-detective novels including The Servant of Death, Murder Mansion, Cries in the Night, The Capital City Mystery, Murder by Formula, The Servant of Death, and The Mystery of Vaucluse.

you ever heard of Wallis?



If anyone can answer the question, email David Trumbull at

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

...and the winners are...

The Robert Benchley Society Announces the Winners in the 2014 RBS Humor Writing Competition. Our celebrity judge, Mark Russell, said of this year's finalist, "If the New Yorker ever rejected any of these, I would cancel my subscription." --
  1. Lowell T. Christensen, of White Rock, N.M., for How to Help Children with Attention Deficit Disorder
    "Well worth the dizziness I experienced while reading it. The piece should include a prescription for Ritalin." -- Mark Russell
  2. Cy Creed, of Hamburg, N.Y., for Just The Socks Please, Nothing But The Socks
    "Obviously, the pace of it – I was imagining Nichols and May." -- Mark Russell
  3. Kathy Myers, of Petaluma Calif., for A Brief History of Writers
    "Funny digression in the first paragraph – I don’t question the validity of the writer’s anthropology premise." -- Mark Russell
  4. Eileen Mitchell, of Palatine, Illinois, for The Science of Stumbling
    "Loved the magazine titles, 'Fido Fancier,' 'Splay Food Journal,' 'Arms Akimbo Magazine,' etc. – pure Benchley." -- Mark Russell

Benchley Movie "Syncopation" Recently Released on Blu-ray

Now available on Blu-ray director William Dieterle's Syncopation, starring Adolphe Menjou, Jackie Cooper, Bonita Granville, Tedd North and Robert Benchley. Recently restored and digitally remastered.

This musical chronicles the history of jazz music and features many of the most popular musical acts from the early 1940s, including Gene Krupa and Benny Goodman. The story centers on a trumpet player who falls for a young woman with an equal passion for music. Unfortunately, the girl is still grieving for her true-love whom she lost during the war. The trumpeter begins working to get the girl to trust her. He simultaneously tries to start a band. Songs include: "Goin' Up the River" (Dave Torbett, Leith Stevens), "You Made Me Love You" (Joseph McCarthy, James V. Monaco), "Only Worry for a Pillow," "Chicago Ragtime" (Stevens), "Under a Falling Star" (Rich Hall, Stevens, sung by Connie Boswell), and "Slave Market" (Hall Johnson).

Monday, March 30, 2015


The winners in the 2014/2015 Robert Benchley Society Award for Humor Writing Competition have been chosen and will be announced on this blog Wednesday. No fooling!

We are working with our judge, Mark Russell, on a date for the Award Dinner, which will be held in Washington, D.C.

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Annual Contest of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists (NSNC) is Extended to April 1st!

Procrastinators have been reprieved! Besides fame, winners and finalists get a token of fortune: $300 for first place, $200 for second and $100 for third. Finalists and any honorable mentions receive certificates. All will be announced and honored at the awards banquet during the NSNC Conference, June 25-28 in Indianapolis.

Click here for details

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