[Ads-l] Robert Benchley on jogging

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Mon Mar 13 03:37:22 EDT 2017

I located a copy of Benchley's 1935 column about avoiding meteors and
meteorites. The piece does not mention jogging or sunbathing. His
writing does not seem to contain many conventional jokes. Here is an
excerpt from the beginning.

Date: February 11, 1935
Newspaper: Cumberland Evening Times
Newspaper Location: Cumberland, Maryland
Article: Duck, Brothers!
Author: Robert Benchley
Syndicator: King Features Syndicate
Quote Page 4, Column 3 and 4
Database: Newspapers.com


[Begin excerpt]
Next month will be a bad one for those people who bruise easily, as
meteor showers are predicted. It will be well for everyone to travel
by subway as much as possible, or, at any rate, to hug up close to the
buildings while walking along the street. Those meteors can hurt!

To forestall indignant letters from astronomers end ex-meteors let me
say that I know the difference between meteors and meteorites, and
that meteorites are  the  only  one that could hurt if they hit you.
[End excerpt]


On Mon, Mar 13, 2017 at 1:51 AM, ADSGarson O'Toole
<adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> Geoffrey Nunberg wrote:
>> A number of quotation sites attribute to Benchley the
>> line, "Go jogging? What, and get hit by a meteor?”
>> Inasmuch as Benchley definitively departed this vale
>> in 1945, that feels like an anachronism — was “go
>> jogging” used in this sense as early as that?
> Based on an annotated bibliography it looks like Benchley wrote a
> column in 1935 that was thematically relevant. Does anyone have access
> to San Francisco Examiner in 1935? Has this newspaper been digitally
> scanned?
> Year: 1995
> Book: Robert Benchley: An Annotated Bibliography
> Compiler: Gordon E. Ernst
> Publisher: ABC-CLIO
> Quote Page 74
> Database: Google Books Preview
> [Begin excerpt]
> "Duck, Brothers!"  San Francisco Examiner, February 11, 1935, p. [13].
> (How to avoid being hit by a meteor.)  (In B15)
> [End excerpt]
> Robert Benchley died in 1945. Here is a version of the joke based on
> sunbathing instead of jogging in 1957. Benchley delivered the
> punchline.
> Date: May 25, 1957
> Newspaper: The Ottawa Journal
> Newspaper Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
> Article: An Attic Salt Shaker
> Quote Page 44, Column 6
> Database: Newspapers.com
> [Begin excerpt]
> One beautiful afternoon in Hollywood, a friend called on him and found
> him sunning himself under a lamp.
> "What are you doing under that?" demanded the friend. He pointed to
> the sun-drenched patio on the other side of the window. "Why don't you
> sit out there?"
> "What, and get hit with a meteor?" retorted Benchley.
> [End excerpt]
> Garson

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