Ghosts Of Daily News . . . Past

Posted: March 14, 1995

I remember when there were nine daily newspapers in New York City?

Many Philadelphians have never forgotten the deceased Bulletin's slogan:

In Philadelphia, Nearly Everybody Reads The Bulletin.

Newspapers are dying. In this contemporary era, television has been the grotesque murderer of newspapers and magazines. Today, pay-for-TV-cable has been an ugly motive for not reading newspapers.

Newspapers are in my blood. I read newspapers voraciously. In the past golden age of newspapers, it was cranky typewriters, inexpensive copy paper, rewritemen receiving stories from reporters over old-time telephones. Today, we grimace at computers and word processors.

A TV commercial shows a young girl getting a computer for her birthday from her father. Her father snaps, "You're lucky, dear. When I was your age, I got a typewriter for my birthday." His daughter asks innocently, "Daddy, what's a typewriter?"

The aging former Daily News building at 22nd and Arch streets stirs

memories of days that will never return - days of Daily News Past. More than four decades ago, I was part of the Daily News team - in the Editorial Department.

Television hadn't hypnotized us yet. I can still hear the busy typewriters gossiping away . . . reporters trashing old copy on the wooden floor . . . a copyboy rushing in with a carton of coffee and toast from Jack's on 22nd Street . . . a scoop on the teletype machine: "Joe DiMaggio has just married Marilyn Monroe!" . . . and the editor screaming a profanity because the newspaper had gone to press a few minutes before the news bulletin.

I study Daily News Past architecture - a dead lady in a lost area; like the leaning tower of Pisa, she is tilting.

I see the Faces of Dean, Sid, Lance and Ed in the clouds. The Daily News in the '50s was coruscating in a different Center City. The basketball Warriors were in Philadelphia, not the Golden State. We had a baseball team in the powerful American League. Martin Luther King and John Fitzgerald Kennedy had yet to make history.

For gossip, we read the "Sock" column. Our fearless editor would scream, ''Copy!" to the frightened copyboy. One afternoon, a sportswriter mimicked our editor by whispering "Copy." The editor fired him.

It was Camelot and Shangri La. "Once upon a time" it was. We dined at Horn & Hardart's and Linton's or Dewey's. The Daily News at 22nd and Arch streets was a manual newspaper.

Today, a hard wind curves around 22nd and Arch, forgetting a deceased newspaper's history.

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