From: DeWayne B. Johnson [dewayne.johnson (at)]
Sent: Friday, December 03, 2004 1:09 PM
Subject: OFS LUNCH

Nostalgia ran deep, recollections muddy, and yarn spinning endless as seven survivors of Manchester Boddy's Los Angeles Daily News gathered in the friendly confines of the Old Farts luncheon on Wednesday, Dec. 3 [2004].

The event marked the 50th anniversary of the demise of that Daily News on Dec. 18, 1954. In alphabetical order the DN veterans present were Don Alpert, Mary Kitano Diltz, Don Fraser, Helen Brush Jenkins, Jack Jones, Goldy Norton, Paul Weeks, augmented by Rip Rense and Delmar Watson.

Paul Weeks presided, name dropping along the way - Norman Chandler, William Randolph Hearst, Don Dwiggins, Sparky Saldana, Don Hoster, Lee Goodman, Jerry Luboviski, Chuck Chappell, among them.

He likened the aura of the paper's city room to that in Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur's "Front Page." It had a national liberal reputation befitting the "only Democratic newspaper west of the Rockies."

"I remember two years before the end when I turned to John Clarke on rewrite and told him with gritted teeth: 'It will be a cold day in hell before I ever go to work for Norman Chandler.'

"December 28, 1954, ten days after I awoke from a siege of influenza and learned that the Daily News had folded, I walked into the city room for my new job on Chandler's Mirror - quickly, but only temporarily, renamed the Mirror-News.

"I checked the weather. It was the coldest day of 1954."

Helen Brush Jenkins told of covering the elevation of an archbishop in the awesome confines of the cathedral, venturing behind the scenes off-limits to females. "Atta girl," the archbishop whispered, as she warned she would kick and scream if a priest carried through on his threat to remove her.

That she was ever feisty was established by a photo displayed by Delmar Watson showing her trying on a pair of shiny black men's shoes.

Mary Kitano Diltz, Daily News librarian, told of her confinement in Manzinar, moves with her displaced family and the return to Los Angeles after the end of the war in the Pacific.

An article by Rip Rense and photo of the Daily News City Room graced placemats prepared for the event.

The article read in part:

By Rip Rense

"Oh, a newspaperman meets such interesting people
He knows the story, now it can be told
He'll tell you confidentially off the record
about the charming people he has known. . ."
---from a song by Daily News reporter Vern Partlow.

The old newspaperfolk climbed the swaybacked stairs up to the third floor. Reaching the top, they pushed open a pair of creaky swinging doors and stepped into a broad rectangular room. There were rows of desks, as there had been fifty impossible years ago, and plenty of bustle. But the bustle was no longer from a cocky crew of young reporters, editors, photographers. It was from sewing machines and fixed-stare garment workers, all stitching together the most godawful pair of plaid pants this side of Ringling Brothers. The Los Angeles Daily News---the original Los Angeles Daily News, which went out of business Dec. 18, 1954---had become a garment factory.


There was no hint on the front page that day the paper was going belly up. Two inside stories tease our memories and sensibilities:
"L.A. Cop Scandal"
"Bonelli Disappears"
The cop scandal continues and Bonelli remains among the missing!


Ken Reich announced that he now is a blogger. View shared sentiments at:

DeWayne B. (Doc) Johnson: CSUN Professor Emeritus,
Journalism; Retired Desk Editor, Los Angeles Times
Please see "Doc's Green Eyeshade" at
or "Doc's Art Gallery" at
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