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The Treasurer's Report (1928)

Assistant Treasurer Benchley reports on the annual expenditures of the club for its home for "boys between the ages of 14", and other projects.


Thomas Chalmers (uncredited)


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Complete credited cast:
Robert Benchley ... Treasurer


A club's formal dinner has been completed, and there is a pause in the entertainment so that the assistant treasurer can give the report of the club's finances for the year. He is noticeably ill at ease, and after making his initial points, he explains that he is filling in for the treasurer, who is too ill to give the report himself. The assistant treasurer then proceeds to go over the club's recent income and expenses. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Short







Release Date:

12 March 1928 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Fox Film Corporation See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.20 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Benchley had been performing this routine since 1922. See more »


Treasurer: I don't think it's generally known that most of our boys are between the age of fourteen.
See more »

Crazy Credits

This is one of the earliest sound subjects, made only four months after THE JAZZ SINGER, by the then new Movietone sound process. (seen in the beginning credits below Thomas Chalmers' credit) See more »


Edited into Robert Benchley and the Knights of the Algonquin (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

Not remotely funny: never was, and never will be.
8 October 2008 | by F Gwynplaine MacIntyreSee all my reviews

The wits of the Algonquin Round Table are my comedy gods, but Robert Benchley is the false idol in the pantheon. I've never found Benchley funny, and never understood why so many other people do so. His jokes are painfully obvious to me: in 'How to Be a Detective', when Benchley escorts a criminal to the penitentiary, we can tell from a mile away which one of them is going to walk out the gate whistling, and which one is going to end up in a cell.

It was Benchley, not Groucho Marx, who said the line about getting out of some wet clothes and into a dry martini ... but the line was written by Charles Brackett as dialogue for Benchley in one of his movie roles, so I shan't give Benchley credit for it.

"The Treasurer's Report" has a history more interesting than the film itself. In 1922, a Russian revue with the French title 'Chauve-Souris' appeared on Broadway. The show was so arty-tarty that the Algonquin wits responded with a one-night-only revue of their own, titled 'No Siree' (a pun on 'Chauve-Souris'). Benchley's sole contribution to the evening's entertainment was a monologue in which he played the assistant treasurer of a social club, required on short notice to give a financial report and failing badly. According to legend, Benchley wrote the skit at the last moment, during a cab ride to the 49th Street Theatre. It certainly feels like it.

This short film is a re-enactment of that skit, fleshed out slightly by letting Benchley interact with other people. It's not remotely funny. Benchley, cast as the assistant treasurer, explains that the head treasurer is home with a cold. When a clubman corrects him, Benchley responds: "I guess the joke's on me ... he has pneumonia." Then Benchley plays with his tie until it comes undone. Let me know when it's time to laugh, please.

In private life, Benchley never considered himself a comedian (I'll second that motion), claiming that his real ambition was to write a serious biography of Queen Anne. But he never wrote it. I wish he'd never written this movie, either.

I'll rate this pathetic short film 2 out of 10, purely for its historic significance as a very early talkie. And now here's the one and only funny thing that Robert Benchley ever said. One of his MGM short subjects required Benchley to be stranded on some overhead telephone lines. His wife happened to be present on the set while stagehands used a cherry-picker to lift Benchley and put him in the wires. While the camera was setting up the shot, Benchley looked down at his wife and asked her: "Do you remember how good I was at Latin in college?" When she replied in the affirmative, Benchley told her: "Well, look where it got me."

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