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David Bruce: The Funniest People in Families — Sex, Siblings, Sons


• A couple of professors at the University of Washington were immensely cool. On their table was prominently displayed a copy of Masters and Johnson’s Human Sexual Response, which reported the results of their research on sex. Inside was an inscription written by Masters and Johnson themselves: “Thanks for your cooperation.”


• Buddy Ebsen is perhaps best known for portraying the character of Jed Clampett in the TV series The Beverly Hillbillies; however, he and Vilma Ebsen were a popular brother-and-sister dance team in the 1930s. As they toured, their billing changed frequently. Sometimes they were billed as the Ebsens, but at other times they were billed as Vilma and Buddy Ebsen. However, Vilma was upset once when they were billed in two towns in a row as “Buddy Ebsen and Sister Vilma.” She even threatened, “If that is not replaced with Vilma and Buddy Ebsen, or The Ebsens, you will be very interested to know that I’m doing the whole act in a nun’s habit. If I’m going to be Sister Vilma, then I’ll be ‘Sister’ Vilma!”

• Fortunately, homosexuality is becoming more accepted. Lesbian comedian Kate Clinton was trying to get into a concert featuring Ellen DeGeneres when she had to ask a police officer for help. The police officer asked her a few questions — then he tried to fix her up with his sister!

• Quaker William H. Sessions once heard a woman in the Salvation Army say that when she realized that wearing jewelry would cause her to go to hell, she immediately gathered up all her jewelry — and gave it to her sister!

• Early in figure skater Rudy Galindo’s career, he was financially supported by Laura, his sister. For a while, he affectionately called her the “Bank of Laura.”


• Yitta Halberstam Mandelbaum used to tell bedtime stories to Eli, her son. For an entire year, each of the bedtime stories she told was about her rabbi, Shlomo Carlebach! Eventually, she collected the stories into a book that her son urged her to title The Rabbi of Love. (She used the title Holy Brother.) Here is one story she tells in the book: In the early 1980s, Rabbi Carlebach, aka the Singing Rabbi, gave a concert to a maximum-security prison for both Jewish and Arab women in Ramlah, Israel. However, when the concert was scheduled to begin, Rabbi Shlomo noticed that only Jewish prisoners were present, so he asked that the Arab prisoners also attend his concert. By the end of the concert, everyone—Jewish prisoners, Arab prisoners, and prison guards—were singing together and dancing in a circle.

• A Jew met a cantor and asked, “What shall I do? My son has decided to convert to Christianity.” The cantor replied, “Funny you should ask — my son has also decided to convert.” Together they sought their rabbi and asked, “What shall we do? Our sons have decided to convert to Christianity.” The rabbi replied, “Funny you should ask — my son has also decided to convert.” Together they decided to pray to God: “What shall we do? Our sons have decided to convert to Christianity.” Out of Heaven, a mighty voice replied, “Funny you should ask ….”

• Poet Nikki Giovanni read frequently to Thomas, her young son, but occasionally she was tired and told him, “Go read it yourself,” although he was too young to read. One day, she said that to him, and he replied, “OK, I will.” Ms. Giovanni said, “But you don’t know how to read.” However, Thomas proved that he could read by picking up a New York Times and reading the headlines out loud to her. Immediately, Ms. Giovanni read a story to him. She explained later, “I didn’t want to punish him for having learned to read, by not reading to him.”

• Francis Hodgson Burnett, author of A Little Princess and The Secret Garden, based the title character of her novel Little Lord Fauntleroy on her own son, Vivien. In 1937, Vivien Burnett died a hero. Two men and two women were in a craft that overturned in a sound. Vivien maneuvered his yawl to the overturned craft and rescued the two men and two women, then he collapsed and died.


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


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