The New York Times hired British bridge expert S.J. Snow, just after WWII, to write an article about bridge in Britain. Was bridge still even necessary? Snow’s article responded that wives in Britain bullied their husbands into bridge lessons so that they’re not left out of dinner parties, or invitations for a weekend in the country.
The after-dinner bridge game is pervasive. And hostesses in Britain love guests who play bridge. Non-bridge players need to be entertained, bridge players only need some cards and refreshments for a successful evening.
Here in America in 1946, an American bridge expert, Richard Frey, was asked by House Beautiful how bridge had fared during the war years. He responded with an article, “Is Bridge Necessary?”
He concludes that gin may have challenged bridge during the 40s, easier to learn, faster, a gambling game–but no, it can never replace the unique appeal of bridge. Bridge has status–even international status–as a social diversion. Bridge has class that gin does not.
To the producers of Lost in the Shuffle and the new marketing director of ACBL:
Ely Culbertson knew back in the 20s and acted upon his astute understanding of human psychology that the way to market the then new game of contract bridge was by targeting potential social players–make playing bridge a desirable social skill. In post-War America, based on the above, that was still true. When Goren picked up Culbertson’s mantle as bridge guru of America in the 50s, he got it and knew he had to write for ladies magazines and promote himself to social players.
Why is today’s bridge establishment so entrenched in promoting duplicate bridge and potential tournament players when the way to go is to spend your best energies and sufficient money on recruiting the young for sociable bridge and teaching rubber and party bridge? It’s counter-intuitive to bridge history. If you-all don’t want to sully the purity of ACBL clubs by pandering to the low-class social bridge players then at least set up a parallel organization to do that, give it your blessing, and perhaps wiser members of the bridge establishment will step up and seek funding to get it going.