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March 27, 1992 - Image 137

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-03-27

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

1942-1992

THE JEWISH NEWS COMMEMORATIVE ISSUE

The

Genyine
tele

Danny Raskin's 'Jewish Youth's Listening Post'
appeared in the first issue, and he's been writing
ever since.

••■■••

BY PHIL JACOBS

T

hey were killing
pigeons and sell-
ing them as poul-
try to unknowing
consumers. It was
1941, wartime, and good
meat was scarce. But selling
plucked pigeons wasn't legal.
Danny Raskin broke that
story, his first on the pages
of the Detroit News. He was
23 at the time, and he re-
members a hard-nosed editor
telling him two newspaper
facts of life. First, he'd be
working the midnight shift,
and second, to forget every-
thing he'd learned about
journalism in school. Class
was about to really begin.
Now at 73, Danny Raskin
can teach us all a few things,
some things of course about
career longevity. Many more
things about humility. He's
been with The Jewish News
since its first issue when his
"Jewish Youth's Listening
Post" discussed mainly what
was happening to area Jews
fighting in World War II. It
was in 1964 when the
"Listening Post," which had
become a social column of
Detroit happenings, was
joined by the "Best of Every-
thing," Mr. Raskin's restau-
rant review column, a part of
The Jewish News that
surveys show is still highly
read.
Mr. Raskin is also known
for his charity work, some-
thing he has done for as long
as he's written for The Jew-
ish News. He'll soon receive
the Variety Club's highest
honor for his philanthropic
efforts.
All this from a guy who
wanted to write sports when
he graduated from Detroit
High School of Commerce in
1937 and took night courses
at Detroit Institute of

Technology. He loved sports,
and he loved to type, and
that's how he said he came to
his career decision. He didn't
want to follow the career
path of his father, the city's
first Jewish fireman, who
died at age 33 due to kidney
complications. His mother
died at 97, and almost until
her death, she clipped and
saved her son's columns. All
three of Mr. Raskin's older
siblings — Belle We-
ingarden, Marvin Raskin
and Lillian Rosen — live in
Southfield.
"Danny is an institution in
this city," said Jewish
News Associate Publisher
Arthur Horwitz. "When the
paper was sold eight years
ago, he was writing two
columns a week. He's the
quintessential man about
town.
"Danny Raskin continues
to be a foundation of this
paper," said Mr. Horwitz.
"There is probably nobody in
this arena who's been at it
for 50 years. This speaks
mountains about Danny
Raskin and The Jewish
News. He has an inordinate

Pho to by Glenn Tr iest

Managing Editor

Danny Raskin: People, people, people .. . and restaurants.

he didn't think the paper
would last. In the early days
of "Listening Post," Mr.
Raskin would write poetry,
talking up the boys in
Europe and putting down
the enemy. He became so
well-known for it that his
columns were a welcome
part of the mail for Detroit's

"I love coming to work each day. Writing is in
my blood. I don't think I could be good at
anything else but writing. It keeps me going."

— Danny Raskin

amount of experience not
only in selling advertising,
but his life's experience.
He's good at sharing that ex-
perience with other account
executives here. There's a lot
to be learned from someone
who knows."
When Mr. Raskin came to
The Jewish News, he did so
on a part-time basis. He said
he felt it was a risk, because

Jewish G.I.'s. One squadron
even wrote Danny Raskin's
name on a bomb they
dropped over Germany.
Years after the war, Mr.
Raskin went into the record
business. He actually had a
song that was number one
on the Detroit charts called,
"Is Bonnie Up Yet?" It was
the first hit for his Seville
Record Co. and, he'll tell you

with chagrin, the last as
well.
Mr. Raskin was also
peripherally friendly with
the notorious Purple Gang
and Bugsy Siegel. Virginia
Hill, Siegel's girlfriend, once
gave Mr. Raskin one of
Bugsy's watches, which he
still owns today.
In the 1950s, he gave up
the record business and went
into advertising. But he still
kept his hand in the enter-
tainment area, emceeing
professional and charitable
events and even performing
as a singer.
It is writing, however, that
keeps him going to this day,
especially when it comes to
food and restaurants. In his
"Best of Everything"
column Mr. Raskin writes
about restaurant employees
from the top management to
the busboys and kitchen
help. The difference between
Mr. Raskin and other res-
taurant writers is Mr.

Raskin knows everyone's
name. He's quick to say that
he'll never criticize a restau-
rant. A chef might have been
in a bad mood, or a waitress
might not have justified the
kitchen's effort because of an
attitude problem. It's just
not fair, he said, to totally
down a place.
He said that it is difficult
sometimes for him to believe
that he's been with The Jew-
ish News for 50 years.
"I never thought this
paper would make it," he
said."But I'm so happy to see
how great it's become. I love
coming to work each day.
Writing is in my blood. I
don't think I could be good at
anything else but writing. It
keeps me going, and it keeps
me from ever considering
retiring. I see too many 40-
year-olds who are retired,
and they look like they're in
their 90s. Instead, I'm in my
70s, and feel like a man in
his 40s." ❑

MARCH

27, 1992

7

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