Richard Frisbie
Author, advertising and
publishing consultant, former editor of
Chicago and other magazines, former creative director of Campbell-Ewald and
other advertising agencies. For more information, click here. Or see
Who's Who in America or,

Margery Frisbie
Consulting editor, historian, poet and author of several books.
 For more information,  click here or see

By Margery Frisbie
Radishes and Strawberries

Thomas Frisbie
Journalist and author
of Victims of Justice

The Uncommentator
BLOGS and GLOBS:  I have been writing a blog since 1966, only I didn't know  it. In those days, it came out in the form of a
newsletter on paper. Remember paper? It never got lost in cyberspace, although if it got wet enough blog turned into glob. I called it
The Uncommentator, and tried to make it amusing.  To read some of my favorites, see contents.

© 20167by Richard Frisbie


The Uncommentator: Story of the Day


One-time Chicago Daily News foreign correspondent Robert J. Casey recalled that upon learning he was a newspaperman people often exclaimed, "you must meet such interesting people." He said that when he thought about it he realized it was true. But the interesting people weren’t celebrities, politicians and others of that ilk but the wackos he worked with during the 1920s and 1930s in Chicago.

So he mined his colleagues for enough material for two books: Such Interesting People and More Interesting People. Both are long out of print but I obtained them a few years ago through interlibrary loan.

Thinking back on my own days at the Daily News brought to mind coworkers, somewhat less colorful than Casey’s wackos (because less alcohol was involved) but with interesting quirks nonetheless. Some examples:

He had been my classmate and friend at the University of Chicago. He worked at City News, then United Press, which transferred him to the Springfield bureau. UP expected to pay his moving expenses: some clothes, a couple of boxes of books and such. But they balked at moving his horse, so he had to sell it.

Fortunately, horsemanship was only one of Dave’s enthusiasms. For a time he was into gymnastics. Later in life, when he was a highly paid correspondent for Readers’ Digest, he took up sailing.

I’d learned that someone was leaving the Daily News, so I urged Dave to apply. He did, and got the job. After a while he moved up to the rewrite desk. Shortly after Christmas one year an ad appeared in the classified section: "Best Prices Paid for Used Christmas Trees." It gave Dave’s home phone number. The ad had to be an inside job. We suspected another a rewrite man, but he denied it.

After Dave’s phone started ringing incessantly, he had to give up and move back home with his parents in Hyde Park for a week or so.

He was feature editor when I was promoted to be his assistant. We were responsible for feature articles and columns rather then hard news. I soon discovered that instead of the usual procedure of writing a headline for a story, Tom would write the headline first, stick it in a drawer and wait for a suitable story to turn up. This worked out more often than one might think. But one title I remember never got in the paper unless it was used when I was on vacation. It was a headline for a gardening story: "Weed "em and Reap."

Back in the 1950s, as part of the post-war building boom, people were buying tract houses on low-cost former farmland in the suburbs. The local water systems provided well water, so most houses needed water softeners not provided by the builders. Joe, who always had an entrepreneurial streak, set up a moonlighting business installing water softeners. Like several other reporters, I bought one. Joe came to our new house in Arlington Heights one night, installed the water softener, and all was well.

But one morning, as I recall, a reporter named Bob came to work, sought out Joe and said, "Damn it Joe, my toilet is flushing hot water."

Richard Frisbie

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