JKD54: In the past, salient arguments from posters such as yourself have charged Linda and especially Shannon, with constructing a mythical narrative of Bruce Lee with the express purpose of creating a cash cow. Shannon has done little to educate the public about her father's beloved art of JKD and, IMO, that is a travesty. This scenario was the impetus for my "hypocrisy" comment for Bleecker's challenge was mainly directed at the Bruce Lee Estate.
Tom got word that the estate was going to sue him in the hope that his book would be pulled from further public view. Linda and/or Shannon were not going to sue him over the factual errors you mentioned in your post. They were focused on the more controversial issues contained in Unsettled Matters. IMO, your claim that Bleecker's challenge was a publicity stunt is hypocritical because it basically lends credence to a lawsuit concocted by people who are not credible. It speaks volumes that the Bruce Lee Estate did not follow through with this lawsuit.
In terms of Bleecker's relationship with Bruce, he was far from being the only personal friend of Lee's who didn't receive a letter from the Little Dragon. Heck, many of his students never corresponded with Bruce via letters and a few of them have never been photographed with Bruce Lee. Prime example is Seattle Era student Patrick Strong. Bruce never wrote to Patrick and he was never photographed with Bruce, but he was one of the few Seattle Era students to see Bruce when he lived in Los Angeles. Seattle Era students Skip Ellsworth and Jesse Glover have confirmed that Patrick did indeed study with Bruce Lee.
The nature of Tom's relationship with Bruce would appear to be more than acquaintances, but outside of Lee's inner circle. IMO, Tom has put forth ample evidence that they were friends. Examples include...
1) In Unsettled Matters, Tom describes seeing Bruce Lee speaking with Ed Parker at Parker's kwoon.
2) Tom literally helped Bruce move into his first apartment in California.
3) After the move was complete, Bruce and Tom began talking about the martial arts which ultimately led to a friendship.
4) Tom accompanied Bruce to the home of Blake Edwards and once Edwards saw Lee's skill set, he inquired about taking lessons.
5) Tom states that their relationship included several informal sparring sessions. That's impressive, especially when considering the fact that Bruce did not spar with Mike Stone and/or Joe Lewis. The following comes straight from Tom Bleecker.
The Bruce Lee that I first met and hung out with for a long time in the mid to late 1960's was a wonderful man. He had a sense of humor, he was dynamic and explosive, and fun to be around and incredibly talented. I was in awe of him. When I first met Bruce, I was 17 and he was 24, so you can imagine what that was like.
Bruce was the only man who ever walked up to me, stood in front of me, and said, "try to hit me." At that time, I was six foot tall and 180 pounds and he was not a big man.
I couldn't touch him. He also hit harder, pound for pound, than any man I have ever known. He once kicked me the length of a swimming pool. It was in 1969, and we were at Blake Edwards' house and Julie Andrews was there too. I held an air shield for Bruce and it was like being kicked by a horse.