Despite the fact that this picture does not represent them here as
such,(the terse, stoic demeanor on their faces due to yet another squabble
over euchre caught on this wet-plate daguerreotype by Matthew Brady's
kleptomaniac assistant Ryitis Balchunas) A.Noyd & H.Royd Bridges were
actually the most successful food service entrepreneurs of the entire
Bridges clan, seemingly endowed with a golden touch that enabled them to
generate vast amounts of investment capital in whatever culinary venture
they managed to focus their attention on without arguing.
Born as twins in Newark, New Jersey in 1874 at St. Michael's Hospital to
Arthur and Ophelia Bridges, they moved to Staten Island
after Arthur got word of a burgeoning employment opportunity with the U.S.
Immigration service, processing immigrants and their paperwork from Ellis
Island. Countless Slavic, Irish, Russian and Italian Families, held over for
days or weeks at Arthur and Ophelia's, called the Bridges home "La Casa del
Mogollon a Tango Zapatos" due to the fact that Arthur would wear large
steel-toed brogans with brass taps on the heel and toe to work every day,
and refused to change his socks due to his innate fear of foot bathing.( It
is believed that his strict upbringing by Jesuits contributed to this
phobia.) A.Noyd and H.Royd Bridges were the youngest in their rather large
family ( 5 girls and the two boys, 3 dogs, 5 cats, 6 fish, an ant farm and
of course, the boys' varied collection of slugs, bugs, spiders and snails in
labeled mason jars, which were regularly left open after inspection, causing
a weekly uproar in the Bridges' family usually calm and peaceful home in Old
Richmondtown) and it was understood from the beginning in the Bridges'
household that the Bridges twins were indeed the Œgolden boys' (or, as they
were endearingly referred to by their older sisters, Œthe boys that could do
no wrong' or Œthe playboys of the western world' or ŒGod's gift to all that
is shiny to Mummy and Father'). The Bridges sisters would later recall in
their heartfelt memoirs (lovingly entitled ŒHell be my Brothers' Home or,
Sporting Days with Nimrod and Beelzebub' privately published by William
Randolph Hearst as "motivational propaganda" and sent to Teddy Roosevelt's
Cavalry two days before the battle of San Juan Hill) that while this blatant
favoritism may have given rise to resentment among the siblings, (the
Bridges sisters did not ever go to school, but instead concentrated their
efforts on "being a good barefoot homemaker, so as better to be a good wife
and mother someday") it effectively cast upon the boys
a delusional sense of entitlement, irreparably convincing them of their own
invincibility and omnipotent faculties of control and manipulation of others
to achieve their own ends.
This sibling status also destined the Bridges twins for future
successes and accomplishments in the field of culinary speculation and
investment, and as they approached young adulthood, destiny moved her fickle
hand over the boys' faces. While fishing off the pier on the south shore on
a hot july afternoon, H.Royd Bridges caught a catfish and, as was the
fashion of their peer group, took out a pair scissors and promptly snipped
off all of the poor creatures' whiskers. After caving in its head with a
small frying pan, he filleted the fish and started a campfire to have lunch.
He had brought along this cast iron skillet for the occasion, in addition to
several secret herbs and spices, in order to try a new recipe. It was a
delectable concoction that had an as of yet undetermined amount of
by-product, which were jams, jellies and preserves to be rendered from
whatever fish he caught on the line. H.Royd had gotten his inspiration by
peering through the window in the locked door of their mothers' kitchen at
his brother, A.Noyd, who several days earlier, was attempting this same
method of preparation and rendering with his mother. The only problem was
that the spice pate' kept falling out of the fish fillet and thereby caused
the meat to lose its pungent flavoring in mid-fry. But H.Royd had an
alternate route. "Egads, Marvin!" (an indigenous piece of pimply hyperbole
popular among the south shore pre-teens and teens of the day) he whispered
to himself as perception and enlightenment dawned upon his furrowed
adolescent brow. "methinks I've got it, by george! Huzzah!" Working quickly,
H.Royd took several of the dismembered catfish whiskers and tied them
together using his extensive repertoire of Boy Scout lashing knots. He then
took the remaining whiskers and began to mash them in a mortar-and-pestle
fashion in the bowl-shaped stone next to the fishing pier. Adroitly using
the catfish whisker emulsion as spackle and the knotted, elongated whiskers
as a twine, he was able to complete the concoction, place it in the pan and
render the entree' without so much as a single whit of obstacle, and enjoy
a tasty repast to boot.
The pungent smell of the catfish dish, however, had caught
A.NoydŒs probosical attention, and he recognized the smell as the
smelly smell of his own smelly design, the unique blend of herbs and spices
wreaking havoc on his sense of ownership and pride. "Zounds!" said A.Noyd
aloud to himself (wearing the face that you see here in this family
photo) "Methinks I've been bamboozled by Scaramouche!" He ran to H.Royd's
campfire and confronted him in a loud fashion and as a brother thus:
WING¹ED HARPY OF THE DAMN - NED!" At this, the Bridges brothers fell rolling
and altercating into the tall gold grass of Staten Islands' south shore and
the Bridges Brothers Jams, Jellies and Preserves (made from reconstituted
catfish whiskers) Company was born.
As their company grew, the Bridges brothers designed and patented many
related innovations that we still use today. The large spikes that telephone
linemen use to climb telephone and cable poles are a direct result of the
Bridges brothers' vision and
experimentation. (although they did start out with bathroom plungers tied to
their calves, instead of spikes, in order to climb the trees behind the
catfish whisker processing plant for a better view of the Lower Richmondtown
Normal Day School for Wayward Girls and Communicable Diseases) In our
picture, H.Royd's right hand is holding a mug of BBJJ&P beer (made from
reconstituted catfish whiskers) But in his left hand (your right) ,the
device you see that resembles a coronet or trombone is actually the first
prototype of the "BBLL#2346" (Bridges Brothers Leg Lifter #2346) Originally
intended for dog owners, this device was contracted by Alexander Graham
Bell's assistant, Mr.Watson, who after a night of carousing with H.Royd's
secretary Adelaide Mc Nulty, forgot his keys in the lab and had to climb up
the side of the wooden frame building to get back in. In the morning, over a
thick cup of Turkish coffee and cigars, Watson was hit in the head by a
chemical plate (charged with 20 amps of electricity) and in a flash
(literally!) he realized the potential revenue the BBLL#2346 would bring to
the then fledgling American Telephone and Telegraph company and the many
vertical linemen the endeavor would employ and empower with this device.
In their later years, H.Royd (Herman, nickname "Herm") and A.Noyd (No
one really ever found out what the A was for. Some say it stood for "Fred",
for Arthur was a poor speller.) became even more contentious with each other
and began their slow , spiraling descent into an vicious, elderly dementia,
their days filled with loud, vituperative harangues that always centered on
each others' ability to think of a new breakthrough utilizing catfish
whiskers before croquet or some new method of gaining the upper hand over
one another while playing whist.
They never married, but vicariously lived their megalomanic delusions as
Pater Familias only in their patents & inventions, their employees and their
mutual mistress, Ms. Adelaide McNulty, who, as we shall see, was to be the
future mother of a Bridges child.
The first in a tragic set of events that eventually rendered the
brothers incoherent and catatonic was the struggle between the brothers for
the affections of sweet Adelaide McNulty. Initially recruited by H.Royd from
the ticket window at the Steeplechase ride on Coney Island (much to the
dismay of Geo. F. Tillyou and his board of directors, who regularly
delegated the task of acquiring "gentlemen's entertainment" to Ms. McNulty),
Adelaide quickly assumed the role of office manager and head
bookkeeper for the firm, investing in such romantic speculations as the
first airship port on Staten Island (wining and dining Count Von Zeppelin
and his entourage on a variety of BBJJ&P products, all made from
reconstituted catfish whiskers) and a promotion that featured the "Catfish
Whisker Haute Couture" a snappy little jazz number that was written
especially for BBJJ&P by Kid Ory himself, who after eating some BBJJ&P jam
on a zwieback biscuit, was heard to exclaim "Oh my Lord! IT'S CATFISH! Get
me a glass of water! I mean...to... uhh.. propose a toast, of course". It
was this promotion that would shift this lover's triangle into high gear.
As far as the BBJJ&P company records indicate, the "Catfish Whisker
Haute Coture"* promotion had its debut in the first of Flo Ziegfeld's
follies, in April of 1912 at the Second Avenue Photoplay and Vaudeville in
New York City . In the promotional number, the dancers (the now famous
"Ziegfeld Girls") would come onstage dressed as catfish and toss canned
samples of the newest BBJJ&P product into the audience in order to entice
the theatre-goers to purchase each new addition to the product line. On this
night, however, the 14th of April 1912, the entire theater had been booked
by the young male heirs (and their downtown escorts) of the John Jacob Astor
and R.H. Macy families, for a night of "slumming and bumming on the wrong
side of town". It was a wild and licentious evening, with the doors locked
and Flo Ziegfeld himself personally directing the dancers in a series of
bawdy routines, filled with double-entendre and inference. At the height of
this thespian bacchanal, the Ziegfeld Girls were to don their catfish gear
and head out onstage for their plug and sample toss for dear old BBJJ&P. But
the jewel in the crown on this night was that Miss Adelaide McNulty herself
was to slip into the alluring catfish attire so as to drive the sale home
and raise the libidos of the young movers and shakers in the audience.
This, of course, was H.Royd's idea. He had always fancied sweet
Adelaide (and the catfish getup) and had decided that after the product
toss, he would run out onto the stage disguised as a plankton, and propose
marriage in front of the Astors and the Macys. But alas! Such things were
not meant to be for the young lothario! For standing in the wings on stage
right was A.Noyd, dressed as a squid, with the same focused intent. As the
pit orchestra went into the "Catfish Whisker Haute Coture"* theme, so as to
announce the arrival of the dancing catfish and Miss Adelaide McNulty, the
two brothers approached from stage right and stage left simultaneously, each
with a blue velvet ring box in their trembling hands. As the music reached
its frenzied, intoxicating height (somewhere in bar 56), each brother
recognized the other through their respective plankton and squid costumes
(*which was a misnomer on the brothers part. Plankton and squid are actually
salt-water creatures and could never actually be in the same environment as
a catfish, which is a fresh-water fish. -ed.). A.Noyd and H.Royd began
shrieking at each other at the top of their lungs, disrupting the
proceedings by using vulgar, crude language only fit for stevedores and the
mayor of Detroit:



At this point, confusion reigned supreme. The pit orchestra lost its
place somewhere around bar 57 and the catfish girls began toppling over onto
one another, resembling a too-early summer morning at the Fulton street fish
market with no ice. Whiskers were flying everywhere, with the well-heeled
audience howling with drunken delight. But the worst was yet to come. As the
music and the screaming and the laughter and the falling dancers became one
ear-splitting, cacauphanous lump of sound that, like
a trainwreck at high speed, was impossible to take ones' attention away
from, one of Ziegfeld's assistants burst into the theater, sweating
profusely and waving a Western Union telegram. He proceeded to hysterically
announce that the H.M.S. Titanic and the patriarchs of the Astor and Macy
clans were themselves at that moment in dire straits somewhere in the middle
of the North Sea.
The howls of drunken laughter quickly turned into wails of horror and
gasps of disbelief. There was the sound of running feet as they made a mad
rush for the exits. The escorts grabbed for their purses and rented jewelry
and the young scions of the respective families grabbed their phone books to
find the numbers of their probate lawyers. Adelaide McNulty would later
recall at her retirement in 1954, that "It was the greatest moment of my
But the brothers never were the same after that fateful night, and
as they lost their grip on reality, they began to rely more and more
on Adelaide to steer their ship of industry. They began to retreat more and
more into building ships in bottles and flying kites indoors, arguing with
each other from opposite ends of a large room they called "The Beach". No
one is sure why they decided to name the room that way, but everyone is
agreed that it had something to do with Adelaide.
Adelaide McNulty was a woman of independent means after the "Catfish
Whisker Haute Coture" incident. She was found to be with child shortly
afterward but would never reveal which one of the twins had sired the child.
(for all anyone knows, it could have been several of the Astors or the
Macys..) But this child was predestined, for he would later grow into the
Southeast Asian Sales Supervisor for BBJJ&P and travel the world. He would
make his base of operations Adelaide, Australia and would meet his
bride-to-be in Sydney, an Englishwoman of good breeding and manners, but
with a terrible lisp. They would have a child themselves, and they would
name this child LAMONT ( from the French, meaning "the mountain") after
Uluru (A.K.A. "Ayers Rock") in the Northern Territories, under which he was
conceived after a night Foster's Oilcans and chess.
After 28 years of faithful, dedicated service to the twins, who by now
were only replicas of their former selves, Adelaide McNulty became CEO of
BBJJ&P (made from reconstituted catfish whiskers) in 1940 and shortly
garnered a large government contract to create a light, portable and
nutritious meal for the US infantry. This led to the creation of the famous
Army "C-rations" which saw action in every mess hall, foxhole and latrine of
the Second World War. She was a shrewd businesswoman, but a social gadfly
and hobnobbed with some of the greatest titans of 20th century American
industry. John D. Rockefeller and A. Dupont were heard to mention at a camp
outing with Thomas Edison and Harvey Firestone, "What in the name of all
that is holy is THAT WOMAN doing here?" Hopelessly star-struck, she was a
close friend and confidant of Rita Hayworth and Joan Crawford, to whom she
would give unsolicited advice about their personal affairs. "Oh Rita, my
dear", she would say over pate'-foie-gras in the Palm room at the Plaza,
"just tell Howie that if you don't get the itsy-bitsy money from the
bankie-wankie, then there's no nookie-wookie tonight". Joan Crawford had
also consulted with Adelaide in her quest for the Pepsi-Cola fortune. "Joan,
Darling, it's all just so many bubbles! Tell that man what you want and how
quickly he can give it to you. But don't throw your hangers in a hurricane,
dearie! He'll come around, if he knows what's good for him!"
Sadly, A.Noyd and H.Royd Bridges were not much longer for this world.
On December 7, 1941, at 6'o'clock in morning, the twins had been recovering
from a recent bout with Bell's palsy at their summer
retreat in Nova Scotia with their old friend Edward Wood, 3rd Viscount
Halifax a.k.a, Lord Halifax, a formidable whist partner, who had come to
Catfisdu, (the name of their private summer home on the Bay of Fundy) to
lick his political wounds after the debacle of the Munich accords and to
begin work on his memoirs, ŒFulness of Days' (pub.1957) where he attempted
to defend the policy of appeasement. They had been working all night on a
way to assuage the imperial Japanese pig iron smelters and Bethlehem Steel
with a proposal Lord Halifax called called "Pieces for our time" when A.Noyd
and H.Royd began to contentiously debate over the spelling of the word



Lord Halifax attempted to cool the burgeoning hostilities between the
two brothers by waving his atrophied left arm that had no hand. He had
rakishly duct-taped two small flags on his stump, the first being a union
jack and the second, a flag that he had acquired from a comedy gun that said
"Bang!" on it. He had also retained a pair of plastic nose and glasses along
with an Royal Navy Ensigns' hat and put them on as the quibbling began to
escalate in order to complete the humorous ensemble and diffuse the
brothers' volatile excursion. Now fully regaled, he began to attempt the
process of appeasing the twins and to calm their frightful public display of
disagreement by quickly asking in a matronly manner "What do you want? What
do you boys really really want? What can Lord Halifax do to make it all
better? Aw, c'mon fellows! we were having such a bully of a time, eh? What
say we all engage in a lively round of whist, over a few glasses of Kir ?"

But the brothers would have none of it. A.Noyd lunged over the table
with a grapefruit knife, aiming directly for his siblings trachea. H.Royd
merely stepped sideways, and as his brother swirled past him, he jumped
onto his brothers' back and rode him as one would ride a polo pony. As they
careened past the tudor balustrade in the front parlor and through the Louis
XVI style bubinga doors (with DaVinci brass appointments) , they rolled over
a open Guttenberg bible, leaving a cream cheese schmear on the title page.
Lord Halifax, at this point, was inconsolable. "Peace with Honor! Peace with
Honor!" he screamed over and over. The twins, by now in the "beach" room,
twisted and snaked across the antique Ming dynasty rug, on a direct path for
the tall portico windows at the far end. Butlers and maids scurried
to catch the falling bric-a-brac from the cabinets and tables. Elsa, the
member of the housekeeping staff at Catfisdu, was wiping the windows, frame
by frame, pane by pane, with some very powerful ammonia at the southeast
portico when the rolling, tumbling Bridges juggernaut came trundling up in
her general direction. With a half-conscious squeak, (the ammonia WAS quite
powerful, but left a beautiful shine on the portico..) she stepped out of
the way just in the nick of time, for as the twins spun by, they crashed
through the portico window and with a loud unison cry of "Semper Fidelis!",
they flew off the ledge beyond the portico and into their beloved Bay of
Fundy, which lay 300 feet below in a granite and sandstone lagoon. They were
never heard of again. Lord Halifax doffed his hat and began to sing "God
Save the Queen" in a thespian fashion(similar to Ethel Merman)while
retaining his plastic nose and glasses, and the pennants on his atrophied
left arm that had no hand. Elsa then dizzily turned to her next task, which
was to turn on the radio for the morning news and marching music , which the
twins were so fond of. At 1:30 pm, in the middle of the "Liberty Bell March"
Walter Winchell broke in to announce the attack on Pearl Harbor and that all
citizens should stand by for a special announcement from the president.
"Well, that tears it, then" said Lord Halifax with a hang-dog expression on
his face beneath his PN&G. "Anyone for krimpets?"

* The Catfish Whisker Haute Coture*
music by Edward "Kid" Ory (1886-1973)
lyrics by Herman Royd Bridges (1874-1941)
(as debuted at the 2nd Ave Photoplay and Vaudeville in New York City
April 14, 1912)

In the misty moonlight, there's a jiggle on my line
And even though I'm lonley, I know I'll be feeling fine

The Catfish Whisker Haute Coture
Hits me like a two-by-four
Everytime you haute coture with me
The Catfish Whisker Haute Coture
Stole my heart and now I'm sure
That pretty baby, you're in love with me
I'm going to write myself a letter
and send it C.O.D.
So I'll remember better
How good it feels
when you're with me
The Catfish Whisker Haute Coture
That's what you got them whiskers for
Come on baby, Haute Coture with me

The Catfish Whisker Haute Coture
Give me just a little more
And maybe you will haute coture with me
The Catfish Whisker Haute Coture
You're the one that I adore

*Verses missing in cream cheese schmear in the Guttenberg Bible*