Paul Newman 1968

Paul Newman at OU 01-03-1968The big news was that Paul Newman was coming to the Ohio University campus in January of 1968 to stump for Eugene McCarthy. I covered the event for The Ohio University Post.

Some bios say that Newman was a student at Ohio university and lived in the very same Scott Quadrangle dorm I did. [He couldn’t remember where his room was; I asked.]

Some say he left the school to join the armed services in 1942. He wanted to be a pilot, but washed out because of color blindness. He served as a turret gunner on an Avenger aircraft. Because of a twist of fate – his pilot developed an ear infection and was grounded – he was not on the USS Bunker Hill when it was hit by kamikaze attacks that killed more than 300 sailors.

Was a keg involved in his departure?

Paul Newman at OU 01-03-1968Other bios say that he was invited to leave the university after he rolled a beer keg down Jeff Hill and bounced it off the president’s car. He mentioned “It’s good to be home” in his remarks, but he did not bring up anything about an errant beer keg.

Students mobbed the car carrying Newman and his wife, Joanne Woodward, when they arrived.

Jon Webb doing Hail Mary

Jon Webb covering  Paul Newman at OU 01-03-1968Jon Webb was the photographer at The Athens Messenger who started the daily picture page. I idolized the guy’s work. Still, it gave me a small amount of pleasure to see him doing a Hail Mary shot, something photographers do when they are out of position or hemmed in and need to try to get SOMETHING.

The story in The Post

Paul Newman at OU 01-03-1968Here is the story that appeared in The OU Post, along with two of my photos:

“It’s good to be home,” Paul Newman said as he walked up to the microphone on the stage of Memorial Auditorium yesterday after being mobbed by students outside.

The former Ohio University student who dropped out of school to join the armed forces in 1942 urged a crowd of some 3000 students to make “a rich physical commitment” to the presidential candidate of their choice.

Young people are McCarthy’s capital

Paul Newman at OU 01-03-1968Urging the crowd to help campaign for Eugene McCarthy in Indiana this weekend, Newman said, “We can’t afford to pay your way like some of the other candidates. We don’t have the capital – you young people are McCarthy’s capital.”

Newman at Press conference

Paul Newman at OU 01-03-1968In a press conference, Newman said he supports the Minnesota senator because “his credentials are better than anyone else and he has demonstrated his courage.”

“McCarthy rises above politics to become a statesman. He deals with things on a higher level: an intellectual strategy, not just a political strategy,” the actor continued.

Wanted to say he was part of his time

Paul Newman at OU 01-03-1968“I don’t know if my campaign will persuade anyone, but that’s not going to stop me,” he said. “I have six kids and I don’t want them to say I was never part of my time.”

Newman, who also visited the Ohio State and University of Cincinnati campuses yesterday, was presented with an Ohio University sweatshirt by students in the crowd.

A Harry & Son encounter

Paul Newman at OU 01-03-1968

For the record, I don’t recognize Mr. Cool, the photographer on the right. He wasn’t on the staff of the newspapers nor yearbook. He must have been one of the Fine Arts students.

I brought up another Paul Newman anecdote when I wrote his obit on my bike blog.

Newman arrived in Lake Worth, Florida, to film Harry & Son in 1984. I went to the set, not to take pictures, but to ask the movie crew if they could switch to a different two-way radio frequency because it was interfering with The Palm Beach Post’s radio system. That was a particular problem that morning because a an airliner inbound to Palm Beach International Airport had declared a mechanical emergency. The reporters and photographers scrambling to get into position were being overridden by the movie crew.

It happened because the FCC assigned newspapers and movie crews a shared group of frequencies in the 173 MHz range. Movie companies would frequently rent their radios from a Ft. Lauderdale company and pick a channel at random. In this case, they grabbed 173.275, which we used.

They were nice enough to switch when I pointed it out. (The plane landed safely, by the way. It was a faulty indicator light in the cockpit.)

 Paul Newman photo gallery

Click on any photo to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move through the images.

A Face in the Crowd

Ohio University Martin Luther King Day of MourningSarah Boumphrey, assistant to the office of the president of Ohio University, contacted me this afternoon. I thought it might be to let me know that they were finally going to give me my degree, but that wasn’t it.

She said that one of the faces in the crowd in my Martin Luther King, Jr., National Day of Mourning photos belonged to a young man who would eventually become the president of the university, and she wanted permission to Tweet it to commemorate Martin Luther King Day.

Here it is in context

Ohio University Martin Luther King Day of MourningThe man who would become president, Dr. Roderick J. McDavis is on the right side of the photo. Follow the brick column straight down until you see a man in a white coat (Sarah thought he looked a little like Sean Penn). Dr. McDavis to behind and to his left.

You can click on the photo to make it larger.

Who would have thought?

MLK Day of Mourning Catalog Show 02-27-2013The young man at the podium, James Steele, led a peaceful sit-in at the intersection of the town’s main drag, Court and Union Streets at the close of the memorial service.

He told the Ohio University Post in 2012, “It would have been hard for me to be persuaded that there would be a black president of OU (today). We can talk so much about the remaining problems and difficulties that we can lose sight of how profound some of the progress has been.”

Where do we go from here?

Ohio University Martin Luther King Day of MourningAfter the sit-in broke up, a few tattered signs remained behind, including one that is asking the question we’re still asking today, “Where do we go from here?”

The tight head shot of Dr. McDavis will be linked to this 2012 post which contains more photos and a more complete description of what happened on that Sunday, April 7, 1968, day when the nation was reeling in shock.

In 2013, the photographs were part of “Dawn of Mourning,” presented by Sigma Gamma Rho, Inc. in conjunction with the College of Arts and Sciences, the Athens County Historical Society and Museum, the Foster and Helen Cornwell Lecture Series, University College, the Campus Involvement Center, The Athens Messenger and The Post. Here is a catalog of the photos in the show.

 

 

The News from Delta

Burfordville NewsOne of the most challenging jobs I had in my newspaper career was a brief stint as District News Editor at The Southeast Missourian. Denny O’Neil, who had been herding the cats we would call “citizen journalists” today left town in a hurry, so I was nominated to take over the slot.

Every morning, I would slit open hand-scrawled envelopes containing “news” that these people would file. In print, they were called Correspondents. In newspaper jargon, they were called “stringers,” who were paid per published inch. Since many journalists are math-challenged, we would measure the published columns with a string, then measure the string to arrive at the number of inches, hence the name.

If we were lucky, the stringer, who might be filing the same stories to three or four papers, would type the copy. If you were even more lucky, you might get the original or one of the top carbons. I usually didn’t have that kind of luck.

Sometimes the stories would be typed in black ink. When that started getting light, they’d switch to the red part of the ribbon, Eventually you’d get something like this: a page that just peters out with a penciled note, “Sorry hope you can make this out. my typewriter ribbon just gave out.”

No, your ribbon gave out about two weeks ago. (Click on the photos to make them easier to read (except for this one. Nothing is going to help it.))

Ann Withers from Delta

1965-12-18 Chicks Delta News by Anne Withers 8One of our long-time stringers was Ann Withers from Delta. She and her husband Andy operated a service station in the tiny town best known for being a speed trap halfway between Cape Girardeau and Advance. He ran the garage and she handled the gas station side.

Her stories were heavy on the doings of Ann and Andy. Being a serious journalist, I edited her copy with a meat axe until here was nothing left but the Who, What, Where, When, Why and How.

One afternoon, Editor John Blue came over to give me some guidance. He said to cut people like Ann and Rip Schnurbusch in Old Appleton some slack. “Not much happens in these little towns, so they make do the best they can. Besides, their little asides are what make their columns fun to read.”

Since I now write in much the same Ann and Rip style, I can appreciate what jBlue was saying.

She loved blood and gore

1966-02-26 Deaths redacted Delta News by Anne Withers 12Ann loved to provide more detail than what most of our readers wanted to encounter over the dinner table. I can imagine her leaning over the gas pumps getting the full scoop from the local railroad gang. (I’ve removed names from this offering to protect the privacy of family members.) She also tended to run stories together, leading to a blending of a gruesome railroad accident, a gunshot suicide and the passing of a well-loved citizen all in the same paragraph.

I never figured out Ann’s penchant for inserting random extra spaces between words and punctuation marks unless she thought she was paid by the typed inch instead of the printed inch and she was going to stretch it as much as possible.

OK, THIS one was funny

Music mystery Delta News by Anne Withers 9Proving that even a blind hog can find an acorn from time to time, this account of mystery music was funny. Since the “beloved senior citizen” wasn’t named, I wondered if it might have been Husband Andy.

Saga of dead sparrows

Storm Delta News by Anne Withers 11Here’s her account of a sparrow-strangler of a storm.

The end of an era in Delta

Leaving Delta News by Anne Withers 6This story must have been written in 1966 about the time they retired.

Andy Withers died in 1979

Pigeon Delta News by Anne Withers 4Here is Andy Withers’ obit from the July 25, 1979, Missourian:

Delta–William Andrew (“Andy”) Withers, a businessman here for many years, died at 8:15 Tuesday night at Chaffee General Hospital. He was 74 years old. Mr. Withers was born May 3, 1905, near Delta, the son of Frank and Selena Lewis Withers. He had resided in the Delta community his entire life.

On Dec. 27, 1927, he married Miss Ann Cracraft at Cape Girardeau. For 38 years, he and his wife owned and operated Withers Service Station and Garage here. He was a member of the Delta First Baptist Church and the Whitewater Masonic lodge.

Surviving are his wife; brothers, John and Louis Withers, both of Florissant, James Withers, St. Louis, and Arthur Withers, Clinton, Md., and sisters, Mrs. Herbert Schlegel, Cape Girardeau, and Mrs. Glenn Chateau and Mrs. Jeff Thomas, both of St. Louis.

Service will be at 2 Friday afternoon at the funeral home in Delta, with the Rev. Ronald Shrum, pastor of the Delta First Baptist Church, officiating, assisted by the Rev. Jack Owens. Burial will be in Memorial Park at Cape Girardeau. Members of the Whitewater Masonic Lodge will serve as pallbearers.

Ann Withers died in 1988

1965-01-22 Grandparents Delta News by Anne Withers 3Here is her obit from The Missourian on Dec. 1, 1988:

Delta–Service for Ann C. Withers will be held at Ford & Sons Funeral Home in Delta at 1:30 p.m. Friday, with Rev. Kenny Martin officiating. Interment will be in Cape County Memorial Park.There will be an Eastern Star service at the funeral home at 7:30 p.m. tonight.

Withers, 77 years old, of Delta, died Wednesday, Nov. 30, 1988, at southeast Missouri Hospital. She was born March. 9, 1911 at Jackson, daughter of John W. Cracraft, and Margaret Statler Cracraft.

She married W. A. “(Andy”) Withers on Dec. 27, 1927, in Cape Girardeau. He preceded her in death July 24, 1979. Survivors include a brother, Lynn Cracraft of Carlsbad, Calif.; two stepsisters, Mrs. Carmen Golightly of Cape Girardeau, and Mrs. Ruth Miller, of Sandusky, Ohio. She was preceded in death by 6 brothers and one sister.

Withers was a member of the First Baptist Church of Delta, the Whitewater Eastern Star Chapter 174 and the VFW Auxiliary 3838 in Cape Girardeau.

She and her husband owned and operated Withers Garage and Service Station in Delta 38 years, retiring in 1966. she was the Delta news correspondent for the Southeast Missourian, the Chaffee Signal, and Advance News.

[Editor’s Note: jBlue would have given the writer of this obit a royal reaming. You NEVER referred to someone in an obit by their last name, particularly if it was a woman: you used the full name or a courtesy title with the last name. It was also style to stick a “the” in front of Rev.. The writer also failed to capitalize “The” in the newspaper’s name in the last graf. There is a better than even chance the obit was written by the funeral home, but a Missourian copy editor should have caught those errors. Unless, of course, that was in the era when the paper didn’t care about such niceties.]

A prayer for the rabbits

1966-02-14 Rabbits Delta News by Anne Withers 2She may not have been the best writer in the world, but she was wired into her community.

Donkey ball game postponed

1966-03-1966 Donkey Ball Delta News by Anne WithersThe excitement of a donkey ball game had to be put on hold because the donkeys scheduled to play were killed in a fire.

Vietnam War touches Delta

1966-01-021966 Vietnam Delta News by Anne Withers 10I can picture Carl Dayton Poinsett’s mother telling the story about her soldier son in just that breathless burst. Maybe Ann was a better writer than I gave her credit for.

jBlue was right: I should have passed on more of her copy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There ARE Dumb Questions

1967-01-14 Dearmont Fire 4How many times have you been told “There are no dumb questions?” Take it from me, there ARE dumb questions. I asked one. More about that later.

The Missourian’s January 16, 1967, front page lead story was “Cake Fires Girls’ Dorm,” with three of my photos. Clothing and bedding were destroyed and smoke and fire damage were extensive when fire enveloped a room in Dearmont Quadrangle, women’s residence hall at State College, Saturday night (January 14).

Wally Sinwell looks at birthday cake

Dearmont Quadrangle fire 1-14/1967Wally Sinwell of St. Louis, right, who used hall extinguishers to contain the blaze, looks at birthday cake whose candles ignited paper, while firemen view the room.

B & C wings were evacuated

Dearmont Quadrangle fire 1-14/1967Girls living in B and C wings, in pajamas and pincurlers, were evacuated, but later returned to their rooms.

Contents damaged

1967-01-14 Dearmont Fire 5A fire which apparently started from a birthday cake Saturday night damaged a room on the fourth floor of Dearmont Quadrangle. Damage was extensive to the room and its contents. Firemen said mattresses on the bunk bed were destroyed, clothes in the two closets were badly burned and smoked, drapes on the windows were ruined and the ceiling will have to be redone.

Carroll Walker, dean of students, said the room was occupied by two freshmen, Miss Mary Lou Halliday, Shipman, Ill., and Miss Patricia J. Ham, St. Charles.

Preparing surprise birthday party

1967-01-14 Dearmont Fire 3Walker said the girls told him they were preparing to celebrate the birthday of Miss Halliday. Some of the girls had taken her down the hall in order to surprise her.

Miss Martha Susan Owen and Miss Iris Anne Hargrove, both of Paducah, Ky., and Miss Patricia Ann Singrun, St. Louis, were in the room decorating for the party. Mr. Walker said they told him they were putting toilet paper on the ceiling and some was on the floor when a piece of the paper fell from the ceiling across the lighted candles on the birthday cake. The paper burst into flames and the girls said they tried to put the blaze out, but couldn’t.

Here’s the dumb question

Dearmont Quadrangle fire 1-14/1967That was the official version.

Somewhere in a box in my shed is a tape recording I did of my interview with the girls where they confirmed that they had, indeed, dangled toilet paper all over the room. With luck, it’ll never be found and played.

“When we walked into the room with the birthday cake, a streamer dropped onto one of the candles and the whole room burst into flames,” one of them told me.

My question, which I tried as hard as I could to haul back into my mouth, was, “Was it supposed to?”

I think a withering glance was the only answer I got.

Student fought fire

Dearmont Quadrangle fire 1-14/1967Walter J. Sinnwell of St. Louis, a student who was in the parlor of the quadrangle when the fire broke out, collected building’s fire extinguishers and attempted to put out the blaze.

Miss Halliday said that at one point the fire was thought to have been put out by the extinguishers, but when they went out looking for more extinguishers, some one heard and explosion – “probably a can of hair spray or spray deodorant” – and the room was engulfed in more flames than before.

Cake remained intact

1967-01-14 Dearmont FireCapt. Paul Kesterson said a pumper, a ladder truck and nine men went to the scene. The Seagraves pumper and 140 feet of one-inch hose were in use for two minutes.

He said one of the girls was concerned because a radio her mother had given her Christmas was damaged. Through it all, he said, the birthday cake remained intact. It had some dirt and water on it, but was still in one piece on the hallway floor.

Photo gallery of women’s dorm

I have to admit that charging into a women’s dorm was a lot less exciting than I thought it would be. I never knew there were so many different forms of pincurlers. Click on any photo to make it larger, then click on the sides of the photos or use your arrow keys to step though the images.