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Q: essays about bank managers ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   2 Comments )
Subject: essays about bank managers
Category: Arts and Entertainment > Books and Literature
Asked by: mevlana-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 25 Aug 2002 21:43 PDT
Expires: 24 Sep 2002 21:43 PDT
Question ID: 58496
Where might one find an article or essay by Robert Benchley lamenting
the fact that he cannot sign a check "Peter Rabbit?"

Request for Question Clarification by digsalot-ga on 26 Aug 2002 11:06 PDT
While I am having a grand time researching and reading Robert Benchley
humor, with Dorothy Parker getting her jabs in now and again, I have
yet to run into Peter Rabbit, though I have run into a bank Mr.
Benchley didn't trust because it would loan money to people like him.

Could it possibly be that the line you are speaking about came from
one of his movies instead?

Just in case you might like to know a little more about him:

"Robert Charles Benchley, born Isle of Wight, September 15, 1807.
Shipped as cabin boy on the Florence J. Marble, 1815. Arrested for
bigamy and murder in Port Said 1817.  Released 1820. Wrote Tale of Two
Cities. Married Princess Anastasia of Portugal 1831.  Children: Prince
Rupprecht and several little girls. Wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin 1850.
Editor of Godeys Ladies Book 1851-1856. Began Les Miserables in 1870,
finished by Victor Hugo. Died 1871. Buried in Westminster Abbey."  -
(Robert Benchley, according to Robert Benchley)

Of course my own favorite Benchley quote is : - "I have tried to know
absolutely nothing about a great many things, and I have succeeded
fairly well."

Clarification of Question by mevlana-ga on 30 Aug 2002 22:34 PDT
The Benchley piece was a complaint about bank managers and the way
they might respond to Benchley's signing a check "Peter Rabbit" in a
nightclub.  If I recall correctly, Benchley provided two sample
letters: one a good humored reply to this use of Peter Rabbit and the
other a rather stuffy and formal scolding. I am upping the fee to
Subject: Re: essays about bank managers
Answered By: luciaphile-ga on 31 Aug 2002 13:17 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hi mevlana-ga,

What a fun question!  I enjoyed this one hugely.

The name of the essay is "Morale in Banking."  It's a short piece,
only two pages and does indeed include a sample letter from a bank. 
Benchley does not, however, reference a nightclub in it.

It definitely does, however, mention signing a check as Peter Rabbit.

"If I, in a happy-go-lucky vein, happen to sign a check "Peter Rabbit"
(as I did once, in a playful mood,) the bank ought to know that I
wasn't trying to forge Peter Rabbit's name."

"Morale in Banking," _Chips Off the Old Benchley_ by Robert Benchley.
Harper & Row (1949), pp 195-196.

According to the copyright information in the book above, the piece
originally appeared in 1933 for the New York Mirror.

Now.  As to finding it, it doesn't appear to be available for free on
the web.  The simplest way would be to obtain a copy of "Chips Off the
Old Benchley."  If you don't wish to pay, a library would be the best
place to go.  According to WorldCat, there are well over 1600
libraries that have a copy of this book.

"Chips Off the Old Benchley" is available for purchase.  The 1949
book, of course, doesn't have an ISBN, but later reprintings do.
Aeonian Press reprinted the book in 1976.  The ISBN for that edition
is 0884113019

 I found the following places offering it for sale:

For all of these, I did a title search for "Chips Off the Old

Mulitple copies of this book available in various conditions and from
various sellers with prices beginning at $2.95.

Has at least 175 copies in various conditions from various sellers. 
Prices starting at $1.86 going all the way to $105.00

Advanced Book Exchange
They have 312 copies, again in a variety of conditions and from
various sellers.

Barnes & Noble
(They have it in stock) $23.95

(Would have to be special ordered) $23.95

Search Strategy:
After initial problems trying to find this on the web, I went to a
college library, found the call numbers for Benchley's books, and
physically perused the volumes they had until I came across a likely
looking title.

Google Searches:
"robert benchley"
"robert benchley" bibliography
"robert benchley" "peter rabbit"
"robert benchley" "morale in banking"
"robert benchley" banks
"morale in banking"

MLA International Bibliography, Literature Online, assorted other
literature databases, all consulted without succes.

Alibris,, Bookfinder, and the other book sites, I've
before with success for out-of-print materials.


I hope this answers your question.  

mevlana-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: essays about bank managers
From: tlspiegel-ga on 26 Aug 2002 12:43 PDT
Hello mevlana,

Just so you know your question has been investigated... I also spent a
few hours researching your question... and just as digs replied...
enjoyed the time immensely! But - I didn't come up with anything
remotely concerned with Peter Rabbit.  At any rate, I got a few
giggles out of the research.  Hopefully another researcher can come up
with your answer.

Subject: Re: essays about bank managers
From: pinkfreud-ga on 26 Aug 2002 14:22 PDT
There is an incident in the vintage Broadway musical "On the Twentieth
Century" in which a character signs a contract as "Peter Rabbit" in
order to render the contract void. Unfortunately, the musical was
written by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, with no Benchley in sight.

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