Robert Benchley [and] The Marvelous Child [within:] Harvard Club of Boston ... 1912 ... Programme ...
An exceptionally early Robert Benchley rarity, from the future Algonquin Round Table wit
Robert Charles Benchley (1889–1989) honed and developed his skills as a humorist and actor while at Harvard (Class of 1912). Benchley was an active, and by all accounts, a very entertaining student. He participated with the Harvard Advocate and the Harvard Lampoon, serving as art editor for the latter. Theatrically, he performed in various productions for Harvard’s Hasty Pudding Club.
On April 26, 1912 at the Hotel Somerset, the Harvard Club of Boston presented an evening of entertainment. Under the evening’s third segment of activities, Benchley provided the opening act: “The Marvelous Child”, described on this broadside as being an entertainment that “Shows what a Game Chicken can do in the Egg.”
The Harvard Alumni Bulletin described the night:
About 500 members of the Harvard Club of Boston attended the smoker, concert, and vaudeville entertainment … The entertainment was furnished by R.C. Benchley, M.E. Crumpacker, J. Ralph Bunker, Floyd J. Neale, Pliny Jewell, and Joseph S. Seabird. Malcolm Lang conducted the orchestra…
With his name cited first, Benchley’s star was clearly rising in his senior year at Harvard.
Benchley’s act was followed by M. Crumpacker’s “The Wolverine Wizard” which was a combination of “African Antics” and “Voodoo Vaudeville.”
The evening was convivial. “Rules” of the gathering insisted that guests socialize with individuals with whom they had never met. Cigars were to be smoked freely and attendees were encouraged to pretend to be interested in the evening’s spectacle whether they were or were not. The text of the broadside concludes with a statement that reinforces this happy bit of time and enjoyment: “Don’t Go Home Unless You Want To.”
An exceptionally early Benchley rarity from the future Algonquin Round Table wit. Benchley would publish his first book Of All Things! nine years later in 1921.
Description: Robert Benchley [and] The Marvelous Child [within:] Harvard Club of Boston ... 1912 ... Programme ...
[Boston, 1912]. Broadside. 15½ x 8 inches. Printed all in red. Verso with old scrapbook mounting remnants; tiny small closed tear, almost imperceptible, recto.
Ref. Altman, Laughter’s Gentle Soul: The Life of Robert Benchley (Norton, 1997). Not in OCLC.