Husbands and Wives
• King Henry VIII’s Lord Chancellor, Thomas More, had some novel ideas that he wrote about in his book Utopia. For example, he thought that couples about to be married should see each other naked. In real life, when a lawyer called on him and asked to be married to Megg (Mr. More’s daughter), Mr. More took him to her bedroom, where she was asleep, then swept the covers back and her nightgown up. Rudely awakened, Megg immediately turned over on her stomach. The delighted lawyer said, “I have seen both sides,” then he patted her butt and added, “Thou art mine.”
• Eve Arden became friends with humorist Robert Benchley and even appeared in a movie with him: Pan-Americana. While in Romanoff’s restaurant, Ms. Arden was heading to the ladies room when Mr. Benchley saw her and gave her a note, saying, “Read this later.” She did, and the note said, “Why don’t you give all this up and marry me?” It was only a joke, but it revealed his affection for her.
• Film critic Stuart Klawans, author of Film Follies: The Cinema Out of Order, and his fiancée were out walking when they ran across a street person named “Sarge” whom Mr. Klawans knew. Sarge looked at the fiancée, then told Mr. Klawans, “You’re with a beautiful woman. You got good taste.” Then he told Mr. Klawans’ fiancée, “You got good taste, too. But his is better.”
• Humorous poet Oliver Herford enjoyed having his wife read out loud to him, but he disliked bad things happening to the characters in the writings she read. Therefore, if Mrs. Herford discovered bad things happening to the characters, she would make up a new plot as she read out loud and give the story a happy ending.
• J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, has been married more than once. An in-joke in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban occurs when Professor Trelawny is not looking forward to something that will occur on Friday, October 16 — the date when Ms. Rowling married her first husband in 1992.
• When Walter Tevis, author of the novel The Hustler, first met Jamie, the woman who would become his ex-wife, he showed her some poems that he had written to his former girlfriends. She says that after they were married, these poems became lost — and not by accident.
• When Margaret Mitchell attended the premiere of the movie version of her novel Gone with the Wind, the master of ceremonies asked her husband, “Aren’t you proud of your wife?” He replied, “I was proud of her even before she wrote a book.”
• When Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley wrote Frankenstein in 1816, she was only 18 years old. She was married to the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, and after he died at an early age, she kept his heart, which she wrapped in a piece of linen.
• Queen Margaret of Scotland, aka Saint Margaret, was much loved by her husband, Malcolm. Although he himself was illiterate, he knew that she loved her books, so he used to have their bindings covered with jewels as a gift to her.
Influences and Inspiration
• Children’s book author/illustrator David McPhail believes in taking advantage of inspiration when it strikes. He was awaiting some friends whom he had invited to his house when he was struck by inspiration and began writing Henry Bear’s Park. In the middle of writing the children’s book, he heard a knock at the door. He threw it open, saw his friends, and told them, “I’m in the middle of writing something. Go to the beach and come back in an hour!” An hour later, when they came back, he had finished the children’s book.
Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved
The Funniest People in Books, Volume 2 — Buy