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September 24, 1965 - Image 14

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1965-09-24
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1934: '1
'34 LSA
THIS MAY BE an old alumnus' preju-
dice, but I believe that we who worked
on The Daily during the depth of the
depression took part in its finest years.
There was a scarcity of money in those
days, but no scarcity of news. Locally,
there was much to write about, from
Gov. Comstock's state banking holiday
(the first in the nation) to the Ford riot
in which four were killed, to soapbox
orators and radial agitation on the
The campus abounded in economic
sects of various sorts-orthodox Com-
munists (Stalinists), -leftwing Commu-
nists (Trotskyites), rightwing Commu-
nists (Lovestonites), Socialists, Single
Taxers, Technocrats, Coughlinites, and
fascists, just to name a few.
There were students living in attics
and on bread and water to eke out an
education, co-operative Socialist-run
rooming houses and a similar restau-
rant and bookstore. For several months,
the banks were closed and students'
funds were tied up in them.
T HAT WAS THE local scene, but think
of the national and international
events we were living through - the
Roosevelt landslide of 1932, the New Deal
starting with the famous Hundred Days,
the rise of Hitler to power, the Lind-
bergh kidnaping, the Japanese invasion
of Manchuria and Shanghai, the bonus
army in Washington, and the repeal of
It was a day for crusading and The
Daily, under Managing Editors Dick To-
bin and Frank Gilbreth, did more than
its share. We lived dangerously, court-
ing official wrath nearly every day, but
we usually won our crusades and made
our exposes stick.
Jim Inglis wasn't very popular with
officialdom when he exposed graft in the
buildings and grounds department and
Jerry Rosenthal wasn't either when he
dug up the fact that the Hopwood Award
money had shrunk with bad investment.
The university shut off the D.OB. and
the faculty subscriptions for a time after
Beach Conger had written an editorial
blasting the drunkenness and brawling at
the national American Legion conven-
tion in Detroit, saying that "decent oiti-
zens are afraid to venture into the city
while the loyal sons of their country are
holding their annual brawl."
py when we pointed out soft spots
could be cut out of its budget and copies
of that issue wound up on the seats of
the legislators in Lansing.
We took on the Ann Arbor police de..
partment when it placed plainclothes
officers behind trees to catch summer
session students running stop signs and
one officer sounded off with insulting
language to a group of students. The
Detroit Times carried a banner saying
"3 U. of M. Editors Jailed." But it wasn't
quite that bad. They were only held in
the police station for a few hours.
We also took on Ann Arbor's barbers
when they had the effrontery to raise
their prices from 35 cents to the pre-
depression figure of 50 cents. We advised
the students to let their hair grow long-
er, hitchhike to Ypsilanti for haircuts
or try to work them in on trips home.
We won that one -with remarkable speed
when one shop cracked and the others
had to come back down to 35 cents.
We went into restaurant prices and
book costs too. One campaign we lost was
to legalize the sale of beer in restaurants

east of Division street. We did manage
to force a defiant city--council to put
It on the ballot though.
HERE WERE tense moments though,
such as the one when a Socialist
group invaded the Daily to protest a
story about its bookstore. The invaders
were headed by the late Sher Qurgishi,
a huge man who made Gilbreth look like
David confronting Goliath.
Gilbreth, the picture of coolness, drew






'Father, Son Share
Daily Experience

a chalkline across the floor and defied
any member of the crowd to cross it.
Gradually, the invaders melted away.
I asked Gilbreth later what he would
have done if Quraishi had crossed.
"I was mentally measuring the distance
to the basement stairs," he said.
WE MUST HAVE made life uncom-
fortable for the Ann Arbor News in
those days. Up to our day, The Daily had
stuck pretty much to campus news. But
under the Tobin and Gilbreth regimes,
we branched out to cover the city and
establish ourselves as Ann Arbor's morn-
ing paper.
We put an extra on the streets hours
before the NeWs did on the re-opening
of the city's banks. Even the bank em-
ployees read it first in The Daily. On
the day the bank holiday started, we had
a world scoop.
Gov. Comstock had put out a statement
blaming the Ford Motor Co. for the
holiday. The Detroit papers and wire
services tried frantically for hours to get
a Ford reply. Sometime during the even-
ing, we got hold of Harry Bennett, who

the money to pay them. Then, we made
arrangements to exchange returns on
the state senatorial and congressional
races with other dailies.
On the morning after, we had a line
saying that Republican Congressman
Michener had been defeated. The News
came out at the same time saying Miche-
ner had been re-elected. We were right.
There were, amusing incidents such as
the time a reporter almost got a refer-
ence into the paper on the part of the
anatomy where a lady had been stabbed
and another in which this same reporter,
sent to cover a WCTU meeting, got
in t o a Bible - reading and hymn -
singing session instead. Unable to get out
gracefully, he accepted a Bible and hym-
nal and spent the evening reading and
GILBRETH USED TO conduct staff
meetings sitting cross-legged in the
middle of a table while the rest of us
parked on the floor around him. Some-
times, to liven things up, he told stories
about his family of a dozen children.
Someone suggested he ought to write a

were only officially on The Daily half
the time.
Somewhere in the smallish hours, we
would put the paper to bed and head
for a hamburger joint on State street. As
I must have said somewhere in here,
none of us had much money and we had
to pool our resources for the hamburgers.
HERE WAS an auto ban so the only
one of us who had a car was Inglis
who lived in a family castle out Geddes
way. Jim had a miserable memory about
where he had parked his car so, after
several much-of-the night expeditions
to find it, we found various excuses to
walk home.
It was usually daylight in the longer-
day seasons when we got home and the
infernal chattering and twittering of
the birds (Ann Arbor is actually a for-
est with more feathered than human in-
habitants) kept us awake long enough
for us to sleep through our morning
classes and add to the prospects of our
There were always a fair number of
ineligibles working informally on The
Daily, along with the legitimate occu-
pants of the Publications Building. Along
with them were staff members who had
been suspended by Gilbreth for varying
periods for sundry pranks such as a
nighttime tearing-down of posters urging
"Vote in Michigan Daily-Michigan Union
Straw Poll" and replacing them with
"Vote for Roosevelt in Michigan Daily-
Union Straw Poll."
Both signs were printed in the Daily's
composing room.
ONCE A WHOLE press run of pa'pers
had to be burned up and replaced
because someone had written at the end
of a story covering the American Academy
of Science convention: "At the end of the
sessions, the members of the academy
retired to the Pretzel Bell for a beer
During the 1932 Democratic conven-
tion in Chicago, at which Roosevelt was
nominated, Inglis, Dave Nichol and I
decided on the spur of the moment to
go there and cover it for The Daily.
When we got to Chicago, we discovered
that we had no suitable credentials to
get. in. We solved that by convincing a
Western Union official that we would be
giving him a lot of business and getting
badges as messengers.
In between semesters in 1933, I was
editor of the annual J-Hop Extra and
spent a week or so getting it out with a
staff that consisted mostly of myself.
That week was one of the coldest in Ann
Arbor history, the temperature barely
getting up to zero on most days.
So I slept on' a bench at The Daily,
not wanting to venture to my home way
out on the west side, and took my meals
at a Maynard eating joint. Since The
Daily had no laundry facilities and I
didn't have a razor with me, I must have
resembled a wilderness hermit by the
end of the week.
AS I RECALL, none of us on The Daily
were quite in the struggle-through
class of students who had to make it on
a cracker-and-water diet in those de-
pression days. The closest I ever came to
starvation was when I was assigned to
cover a summer student cruise to Put-
in-Bay in Lake Erie.
After- I got on the boat, I realized I
had no money and it was an all-day af-
fair. When I got -to the island, I went
out looking for berries to keep alive until
the boat came back. -
They tell me that Arthur Miller used
to come to The Daily office to write
plays in those days because he had no
typewriter and not enough money to buy
paper to put in one. But I don't remember
I do remember Bill Reed, who is now
Big Ten commissioner; Bob Hewett, who
I believe is covering the Vietnam war for

the Minneapolis papers; Hart Schaaf,
who is running the Mekong river pro-
ject in Southeast Asia; and many others.
who have made considerable marks in
that that's still being done.

BETWEEN THESE two reminiscences
the curtain has dropped to denote a
lapse of 31 years. Norman H. Hill and
Arthur N. Hill are among the several
father-and-son teams whose subsequent
careers stemmed from The Daily.
Norman H. Hill was business manager
in 1911. His son was associate sports
editor in 1941-42.
The father hitched his star to the late
Frank Murphy, his Daily associate who
became a judge and, mayor of Detroit,
governor of Michigan, governor-general
of the Philippines, U.S. attorney general
and a Supreme Court justice. For much
of this time Hill was Murphy's man Fri-
I would be sure that those who
left newspaper work after The
Daily-whether for business, -the
law or even the church-did a lit-
tle better job than they would have
done otherwise, by reason of their
(Daily) experience.
. Newspaper work compels a per-
son to size up a strange situation,
fast and thoroughly; get all the
significant facts, double-check for
accuracy and be on the alert for
the purple patch of color, human
interest, to brighten his narrative.
And on his way into the office
he must organize his material ,e-
tide what things are more import-
ant or have greater reader interest
-and do this under pressure of a
deadline, which is good mental dis-
A genuine and lively interest in
people is preresquite to newspaper
work. So this, sharpened by the
disciplines of the city room, should
make life a little more interesting,
w. hether one ends up as manager of
a drug store or in the Cabinet.
The son is with the D. P. Brother &
Co. advertising agency in Detroit.
Now in retirement, Norm Hill has
spent an 'active summer keeping the
store and handling correspondence for
a fishing and hunting resort near Horne-
payne, Ont., where the Hudson's Bay
watershed begins.
From there he wrote The Daily, with
emphasis on the fact that he was on
the business staff.
"WHEN THE plaudits are handed out,
. men like Otto Hans and his assoc-
iates, who sweat blood to finance The
Daily at the start and make its very
existence possible, should not be over-
"Thanks to them and their immediate
successors of the lean early years, by the
time I came along The Daily was on a
firm foundation and our job was com-
paratively easy.
"Of course we had to sweat a bit, too,
to get the dough to mike the bread so
that those on the editorial side could
turn out the finished loaf.
"I do remember very well that I aspir-
ed to the editorial staff but was dis-
couraged because there were too many
of my fraternity brothers either already
on the staff or trying for it.
"So they persuaded me to chase ad-
vertisements and collect bills instead. My
immediate predecessor as business man-
ager was John Wurz, who was for many
years editor of the Grand Rapids Herald.
(Editor's Note: Mr. Wurz died last month
at the age of 80.)
RT HILL says of all the classmates,
fraternity brothers, athletes and oth-
ers he knew on campus in the early years
of World War II, "mostly I remember
The Daily imob," and goes on as follows:
"I remember Bud Benjamin, sports
editor when I was a freshman, now the
producer of a great TV show. He stole

my first good story and ran it as a letter
in his column. Then, he rewarded me by
giving me a great assignment. "Write a
piece about all the Michigan All-Amer-

icans and where they are now," he said.
What a story - and how easy! Tn those.
days, there were only 22 All-Americans
from Michigan - no Harmon, no Bump,
only one Wistert - and all of them were
living, which was my downfall. I pulled
the wrong card out of the file and pro-
nounced one of them dead. The gentle-
man under discpssion read the piece and
pronounced me a bum reporter. How
"I remember Pete Lisagor (Although
he doesn't remember me). He was the
gray eminence of the Daily when I was
a rookie. A senior, and he had already
retired as sports editor! Every time he
turns up. on "Meet The Press," I shout,
"There's old Pete . . . from The Daily!"
"I remember Stan Swinton, as he raced
down to the Bell for a quick beer, drank
half of it, then impetuously crushed his
cigarette in a shallow ashtray, (just like
Lee Tracy ii "The Front Page"), mut-
tered, "Gotta get back to the paper," and
dashed out the door, heading uphill. The
last time he did that, he wasn't seen
again until he turned up in charge of
the Via Veneto.
"I remember that, even though it was
hard work, it was more fun to come over
to The Daily and put out the paper than.
anything else we could think of to do on
a Friday night. (Girls weren't so pliable
in those days - at least not for me.)
"I remember how clever my own stuff
was. Until I pull out those brown clip-
pings and read a line or two. I cringe.
But I don't throw them away.
"I remember that we who loved The
Daily and spent so many hours with it
often went to class a little weary. Here-
with, a bit of counsel for today's Daily
thralls: The most valuable lesson you
can learn is how to make a vegetable
torpor look like a brown study. (It will
serve you well in later life, too.)
"And (just to prove I can start a para-
graph without that pronoun), I remem-
ber the last column I wrote for The
Daily. It was in the spring of '42 and it
began with something about "the troop-
ship on the tide." Corny? Okay. But, if
you look it up, I think. you'll find it was
the best thing I ever did.

Nightly telephone calls to Detroit for national an
placed by an Associated Press wire in 1935.
Automation C(
With the Firsti.

'36 LSA
Today, the word "automation" strikes
'ears into the hearts of many.
Not so with the editors of The Daily
n what we still like to consider the vint-
age years of 1935-36.
We not only encouraged it, we embrac-
ed it.
Virtually since its founding, The Daily
had relied on two sources for its spot na-
tional and international news. One
source was the City Edition of the De-
troit Free Press which arrived in our city
room about 9 p.m. Every Daily night
editor clipped it with reckless abandon
without regard to copyright, by-line or
other "unnatural" barriers. The other
source was the "pony wire service," com-
ing to us from the Associated Press night
office in Detroit.

in I
11 e
of t

The Night Harding Died-
An Unforgettable Experience


One of the deans of rotary newspapers, Kenneth L. Chatters, 59, has had a wealth of
experience in the publication field. Before joining The Daily in 1930, he had worked in
the publishing business and served on the editorial staff of the Flint Journal. Chatters.
took over as Shop Superintendent in 1932, when The Daily moved into the Student
Publications Bldg. He was the major typographical designer of the new format which
came out in that year, modeling it after the successful New York Herald Tribune with
its multiple dropdecks and hanging indentions.. Chatters has been cited for typo-
graphical excellence on numerous occasions.

lived near Ann Arbor, and got an offi-
cial denial. For a half-day, the nation's
papers and wire services had to quote
The Daily on the statement.
One night a vital ruling had to be made
in the bank holiday and the Ann Arbor
News "tied up" the state banking com-
missioner in its office. Not able to find
him anywhere, we made a guess as to
where he was, called him there and got
the story the News had hoped to keep
DESPITE THE FACT that we had only
half-hour daily "pony" service from
AP in Detroit, we got out extras on such
notable events as the attempted assassi-
nation of Roosevelt and an earthquake
in California. The News wound up print-
ing its extras in green and urging the
public to buy only green extras.
During the 1932 election, we lined up.
complete coverage in advance, having
someone call in from every precinct in
the county.
This we managed to do by promising
a year's free subscription to an election
official in each precinct. We didn't have

book about it.
It was during those years that we
moved from the old Ann Arbor Press
building to the palatial present quarters.
We felt a little inhibited at first and we
cut down some of our mischievous games.
such as stringing typewriter ribbons
around the walls and setting fire to them.
We lived and breathed Daily so much
that we didn't have much time for classes
and study. Consequently, many of us
were going in and out of eligibility and
the world since The Daily days.
But I think what testifies most to the
value of the experience we went through
is the number of our people who estab-
lished themselves in newspaperdom
around the country.
I still believe as I did then that The
Daily is the best training ground for a
newspaperman in the country. And I al-
so believe that we were there when it
was at its best because =the exciting
times we went through gave us the ma-
terial_ to develop whatever -talents we
I went to the University just so I could
work on The Daily. And I like to think

'25 LSA
IT WAS sometime after midnight on
Thursday, August 2, when I climbed
into the upper deck of my bed in the
third floor dorm at 2006 Washtenaw
only to be routed out minutes later
by a phone call from The Daily.
"President Harding just died and we're
making over page one," said a voice
at the other end of the line. At this
paint I don't recall whether it was Bill
Stoneman, Bob Ramsey, or -who. "We
are all set-nothing for you to do but
just thought you would want to know."
I must have been tired-at least tired
enough to climb back into bed without
a second thought-as it was a long walk
into town and I figured the presses
would be rolling before I'd reach The
Daily. I was just dozing off when I
realized that I'd written a few para-
graphs for the editorial page which
might be out of place in the light of
the President's death, raced out of
bed and called The Daily to ask that
they check my copy and make over the
inside page as well if what I'd written,
was "off base.",
"Don't be silly, we're already on the
press and ready to start rolling," the
man at the other end of the phone ex-
plained. "What's more, we can't be sure
that the Ann Arbor News won't try
to beat us to the punch with an extra
so we're trying to get a gang together
to go out and peddle our own just as,
fast as the papers start coning off the.

I did. I drew the section just east
State Street and south of Hill, andc
still recall the way some of thed
nified old profs who lived up al

HAD ONE interesting experience
that must be recorded:
I was the editor of the May 1,
1918, edition of The Daily. That
was the day Michigan went dry.
Wecovered the last wet night-
when I was on the desk, April 30.
1918-and while there wasn't a big
story it nevertheless reported the
historic event. I gave it the head-
Bob McDonald was the Manag-
ing Editor. He called a staff meeting
on May 1 and raised hell with me!
The idea! of anyone writing such
a sensational head for a college
Now I wish all my heads were as

press. Come on down

and join

to g
by 1
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Oakland came to the door, rubbing
sleep from their eyes after I had so
rudely awakened them with my news-
boy's cry, "Extra, extra! The Presi-
dent's dead!"

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