David Bruce Anecdotes
• Mexican artist José Clemente Orozco married on his 40th birthday, an event that shocked his mother, who had assumed that he would never get married because he had a very serious personality. In fact, Mr. Orozco arrived late for the wedding. His mother had fainted at the realization that the wedding was actually going to take place.
• Philippe, oceanographer Jacques Cousteau’s son, married an American model named Janice Sullivan who spoke no French. As a wedding present, Mr. and Mrs. Cousteau gave their son’s new wife a crash course so she could learn to speak French in six weeks.
• In 1919 appeared an advertisement that many people of the time felt was disgusting. The ad showed a woman dancing with a man. Of course, one of her arms is held in the air, and the reader finds out that the ad is for a deodorant for women. By modern standards, the ad is quite tame — we moderns don’t find the idea that women perspire shocking. However, in 1919, when the ad appeared in Ladies’ Home Journal, 200 people cancelled their subscriptions in protest. In addition, some young women told the man who wrote the copy — James Young — that they would never talk to him again because the ad insulted women. Still, the ad was very effective in increasing the sales of deodorant.
• Ben Cohen of Ben and Jerry’s is a true original. While he and his friend Jerry Greenfield were attending Sanford H. Calhoun High School in Merrick, New York, Ben was outraged when he discovered that the toilet stalls in the boys’ bathrooms did not have doors. He even wrote an essay for the school newspaper, titling it “WSSIP,” which stands for “We Shall Sit in Peace.” Unfortunately, the essay was censored and did not appear in the school newspaper. Later, before co-founding Ben and Jerry’s, he worked as a security guard, a job at which he wore a gun holster — which he kept empty.
• In 2007, at age 81, actor Dick Van Dyke starred in the mystery movie If Wishes Were Horses on the Hallmark Channel. The movie also featured Barry, Mr. Van Dyke’s son, as well as Shane, Mr. Van Dyke’s grandson. Of course, Mr. Van Dyke has a very good reason for giving work to his young relatives. He points out, “I found that one way to see my children is to give them work.” Also of course, members of the Van Dyke family do see each other outside of work, although family get-togethers happen mainly at holidays. As Mr. Van Dyke says, “They have very busy lives, these young people.”
• Financial author Andrew Tobias, who is gay, once appeared on a panel discussion with the theme “If Only,” during which he told the story of Eddy. Eddy was a lawyer who wanted to get involved in gay activism, so he called a meeting with his boss and told him that he was gay. His boss’ only reaction was, “Duh,” which to Mr. Tobias is the same as saying, “Of course you’re gay, we don’t care that you’re gay, we love you, you do good work, get out there and march for your civil rights.” Mr. Tobias concluded his presentation by saying, “If only everyone reacted this way.”
• While in high school, Michael Thomas Ford took a career test that required him to answer questions, then plot two lines on a graph. The place where the two lines overlapped was supposed to tell him his perfect career. However, when Mr. Ford plotted the two lines, they overlapped in the one part of the graph in which no careers were listed. Classmates were told that they should be physicians, police officers, letter carriers, etc. Mr. Ford was told nothing. Eventually, he made his own career — he became a writer.
• Actors Eli Wallach and his wife, Anne Jackson, once appeared on TV in a light comedy called “Lullaby” on the program titled Play of the Week. Afterward, TV mover-and-shaker David Susskind told them, “I think ‘Lullaby’ can be developed into a series. I’ll own a third, you’ll own a third, and the network will own a third. And if it’s successful, your children will never have to work again.” Eli and Anne discussed the offer, and Anne asked, “Why shouldn’t the children work?” The two decided they didn’t want to do the series.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
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