“Old Bill” Suggests—
The readers of an evening newspaper have a chance to watch its daily evolution. From the first edition, when the work-a-day world is just getting under way, the paper turns and twiests like a python to swallow and accommodate successive waves of news.
Steadily, edition by edition, it shapes and adjusts its emphasis. Hour by hour it becomes more complete, more deft in expression, more mature in decision. It is a better product, but it also loses something.
The impetuous phrase, the funny typographical error, arise in, and do not always survive, the editions in which they first clatter to press.
One gem was a comment on an elaborate gangster funeral, with huge floral picture of the deceased, twelve feet square, hung between two trees.
“…like an election poster, wrote the reporter. “He got elected, all right.”
More reflective editorial judgement decided it was bad taste, but the phrase still sticks in memory, the debonair thrust of a fearless young D’Artagnan at the pomp of thugs and murderers.
By the time home-going crowds pour out of the offices and shops at 5 o’clock, the paper is sophisticated, polished, packed with the significant events of the day that is ending. But those who get the earlier editions are not entirely the losers. For them, through the dull medium of printed type, flows the enthusiasm of youth and its divine inconsistencies.
ROYAL F. MUNGER.