David Bruce: The Funniest People in Relationships — Husbands and Wives

Husbands and Wives

• Director William Wellman once allowed his wife to play a small role in one of his movies. She had seven words of dialogue to begin with, but in the editing room her part was cut down to only three words. After seeing the movie, his wife told him, “Bill, I’ve been married to you for 13 years, and do you know what I’ve gotten out of it? Five kids and three words of dialogue.”

• Tom Waits often collaborates with his wife, Kathleen Brennan. For example, they co-wrote the stage play and musical titled Frank’s Wild Years. Asked in an interview for Spin whether the two had worked together, or worked separately and sent stuff back and forth, Mr. Waits joked, “We sent stuff back and forth — like dishes, books, frying pans, vases.”

• Babe Didrikson’s husband, George Zaharias, fully supported her athletic endeavors. Whenever she was about to compete in an important tournament, he slept in a separate bedroom so his snoring wouldn’t bother her. Apparently, it helped — Babe won a record 17 golf tournaments in a row. (By the way, her husband’s nickname for her was “Romance.”)

• Tenor Richard Lewis danced in perfect rhythm, of course, but his steps when dancing a fox-trot or a waltz were his own original creation. A friend, Brenda Webb, once danced with him, then complained to his wife, Elizabeth, who laughed, adding that it had taken her years to get used to her husband’s dance steps.

• Eleanor Roosevelt was an extremely active first lady, flying around the country visiting schools, hospitals, government buildings, etc. One day, the first lady’s secretary told President Franklin Roosevelt that the first lady was in a prison. President Roosevelt joked, “I’m not surprised — but what for?”

• When Henry Koster, director of Harvey, married actress Peggy Moran, he asked her to give up acting but promised to include her in every movie he directed. How did he keep his promise yet keep his wife from acting? In each movie he directed, a certain piece of art — a bust of his wife — appears.

• Neither Dr. Seuss nor his wife liked to cook, and so they nearly always ate in restaurants. One day, his mother visited, and she was shocked when she opened the refrigerator door and discovered nothing inside except a cookbook that she had given the happy couple at their wedding.

• Some people look for love in the wrong places. Philosopher Richard Watson once knew a man who was looking for his perfect soulmate: a woman who was willing to sail around the world with him. Mr. Watson asked, “And you’re looking in St. Louis, Missouri?”

• One night, singer Nat King Cole’s wife woke him because he was snoring and joked, “Gosh, honey, we’re going to have to get twin beds.” He said immediately, “There’ll be no twin beds in here!” Mrs. Cole says, “I loved it when he said that.”

• Grant Wood, painter of American Gothic, was married briefly. Following a big quarrel, his wife left him. This didn’t seem to bother Mr. Wood much. After she left their house, he merely mowed the lawn and said, “I’m a free man again.”

• Shimon Apisdorf finds saying “I love you” to his wife is very easy, but he regards that as a problem. Such important words should not be said lightly; instead, they should be said with the deepest emotion.

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Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved

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