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BOB AND BRUCE

Hello Collectors,

 
BOB AND BRUCE
 
Did “Bob” collect Postcards and Postal History? 
 
Did Bruce collect Postcards and Postal History?
 
Is there a connection between these two men?
 
“BOB” & BRUCE “WHO” — YOU ASK?

 
 Read On if You Dare !!!
 
There were a number of similarities between “Bob” and Bruce

Are you excited and thinking - was it Postcards?  Was it Postcards? Tell me more or tell me less. Here we go again!
 
Both men had a British background. “Bob” born in England 1903, and Bruce 1888, at Muree, British India. (If you need a calculator, or are good at math you will determine that Bruce was 15 years older than “Bob”.) 
 
In 1895 Bruce registered at a college in England, intent on a military career.  He failed his entrance exams and consequently enrolled in the Cheshire Regiment.
 
On the other hand, “Bob” moved with his parents to the United States in 1908.  At twelve (12) years old “Bob” was hustling “cash” as a busker and was a frequent patron at Luna Park. The venue hosted singing, dancing and comedy.  “Bob” was successfully entering talent contests and throwing a few cents his parents way.
 
Bruce at 19, resigned from the British regiment to enrol at an art school hoping to become an artist. Before long “tea time” (Lipton Tea) beckoned and Bruce was introduced to Thomas Lipton. Their meeting prompted a commission to “sketch” advertising displays for Lipton Tea, Player’s Cigarettes, Keen’s Mustard and others.
 
(So now you’re thinking maybe there are similar characteristics between “Bob” and Bruce but — where do postcards and postal history fit in to this story?)
 
While “Bob” was on the verge of becoming a “funny and crazy” guy, contrarily, Bruce enlisted with a British machine gun unit in France during WWI.  Unfortunately, Bruce was seriously injured and hospitalized with “shell shock and partial hearing loss. After recovery, he was stationed at Salisbury Plain, a Canadian’s military WWI training camp (you may remember it from a previous newsletter).
 
While at Salisbury, Bruce realized he was becoming  a “pretty funny guy” – (just like “Bob”)! Bruce’s “fine tuned humour” gained momentum by his published accounts in the “Bystander” magazine. His challenge now was “how to throw a humorous twist on military life in the trenches”!  Bruce didn’t hold back and told it like it “really was” based on his own war experience in France.
 
Realistically, military life in the trenches was serious stuff but Bruce captured the hearts of soldiers who were anxious to see his amusing sketches and view a comical twist on the war (although not everyone in the British political arena, appreciated the funny stuff).
 
“Bob” was a success in modern America, with his quick wit & sharp tongue.  He was now firmly entrenched (pun) in radio, films & speaking engagements.  
 
Bruce injected his own original humour while featuring the comic character “Old Bill,” a veteran of trench war. Old Bill was featured with the trademark “walrus moustache” and balaclava.  The shaggy look (Old Bill) was popular with the military and apparently with the British Police, who often sported similar facial hair.  It seemed “Old Bill” had “attitude” and was sending a strong message regarding the callousness of war.
 
Why not adopt a “look alike” as Old Bill?  Old Bill was in films, plays, musicals and books. 
 
Getting back to Bruce, he himself was the subject of the first British sound film.  Bruce and “Bob” were now following a similar path — only if you agree.
 
OK! OK! Iffy story so far but did “MJR”  overlook the intent of the newsletters title. In other words do these “dudes” collect postcards, postal history or not?
 
“Bob” now was established as one of the finest comedians, entertainers, and movie star  of all time.  “Bob,” also, had a real appreciation of the men and women enlisted in the U.S. Military.  This deep respect resulted in his next venture to “VOLUNTEER” with the United States Organization (USO) —  from the year 1939 and for fifty seven (57) appearances in all.
 
No! No! It’s not Heinz 57.  It was “Bob’s” commitment, with others, to entertain the enlisted military of the United States of America!
 
About the same time Bruce was officially a “cartoonist” with the American military in Europe. Bruce’s humour was contagious and his caricatures added to entertaining the troops. “Old Bill”was now a legacy!
 
With all these good qualities emanating from Bruce’s ingenuity, what could happen? — Well almost COURT MARSHALLED in 1914!  Was it because of this quote?        
 
“Here I was in this horrible clay cavity somewhere      
in Belgium, miles and miles from home. Cold wet through and covered with mud…..so far as I can see the future contained nothing but repetition of the same thing or worse”.

 
 Story continues next week.


Take care,
John

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