Bruce wasn’t COURT MARSHALLED for that quote but many deemed this type of language as “vulgar,” thus not popular, initially.
But “Old Bill”, (the walrus mustache guy) kept these humorous quotes coming and coming through “Bystander Magazine”.
At first the cartoon characters and their messages were frowned upon. The perception at the time was that such language would have a negative impact on recruitment and morale.
BUT, NO!! IT DIDN'T.
The message in the comics was the “VOICE” of the soldiers - that of trench war revealed.
As Bruce had “first hand” experience of war in the foxholes his references in the cartoons reinforced truth.
Contrary to the original thought, actually the “VOICE” of the soldiers boosted morale and increased enlistments. Old Bill’s popularity was at an all time high.
The value of humour among the troops was inspirational.
Now back to the “Court Marshall”. It’s Christmas 1914 on the Western Front, a disgusting sight on both sides.
SO! SO! Plans were made by two soldiers, one from each side to arrange a “one day cease-fire” in a part of the battlefield, “no man’s land”
Therefore, on Christmas Day 1914, a “truce” in place with guns silent, soldiers from both sides interacted with each other. Communication mostly in French, sharing a cigar or two and apparently engaging in a game of football/soccer.
BRUCE WAS THERE BUT NOT COURT MARSHALLED!
At this part of the story you are thinking, this MJR guy has totally lost it. TRUE OR FALSE?
Or you may wish to get your favourite beverage, have a drink or two, look at postcards and call it a night.
Moving on, Bob on the other hand was now a polished veteran with numerous USO military appearances. The Christmas shows were let’s say - memorable at best.
Santa could not compete with Bob’s magical gift of humour..
I recall seeing a USO Christmas show of Bob and his entourage on TV. The group was entertaining onboard a ship in the hot, hot Persian Gulf.
As Bob approached the microphone, the hundreds of marines (on that U.S.S. Military Ship) cheered at sustained length as million’s worldwide watched the broadcast on their home televisions or listened on the radio.
After a couple of jokes Bob throws out this line:
“I’ve heard you guys are watching the thermometer a lot these days. (Pauses ) I can understand that, it’s the only thing with a figure out here.” Bob then wiggles his nose and who should appear but Barbara Eden’s shapely figure to the satisfaction of the marines.
The story gained momentum, with different interpretations (some false) - “good will at the forefront on the Western Front”. Get it? HA! Ha!
This story continues next week if you have the endurance to read it.