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38 Years In Newspaper Production – The Monroe Years

Monroe News-Star 1890- Present

I started work at the Monroe Morning World in April of 1974. They also had an evening paper named the News-Star. The Morning World no longer exists as they merged with the News-Star in 1980.

The first day in the composing room was sort of a shock, since the Morning World was still using the hot metal process to produce the paper. The Town Talk had been using cold type composition since 1972, so I had to go back in time and start using hot type again.

Strike Begins

One night about a week into my employment some of the workers left and began striking. It made for a very long night that night, as we had fewer people to do the work, so it took much longer.

The Shreveport Times sent some strike breakers from their plant in Shreveport, to help take up the slack.

It was sort of scary, when I drove onto the parking lot one time, with picketers trying to block the driveway. I kept driving and they finally moved out-of-the-way.

There was no doubt that strikers were serious, when they pulled over one of the strike breakers from Shreveport on the highway, by using flashing lights. They proceeded to get him out of his vehicle and worked them over. Since I had been there only a week I was afraid some of the strikers would think I was a strike breaker  too. The Ewing family which owned both the Monroe papers and the Shreveport Times didn’t give in to the demands of the strikers and the strike ended.

Ludlow Composing Stick

Every Sunday night I was given the job of building up Page 1 for the Monroe Morning World and part of job was to use a Ludlow stick to make the main headline at the top of the page. I had to stagger the type like this in headlines like this one that I made up:

Three Bandits Rob Convenience Store

      In Early Morning Robbery in Epps

            Leaving Victims Frightened

 

Then I would insert the Ludlow stick into the Ludlow Machine which would cast the type in lead and would then proceed to build up Page 1.

Saw Elvis in Concert Again

While living in the Monroe area we got to see Elvis Presley in concert again. We also saw a concert with the Righteous Brothers and the Hues Corporation. The Hughes Corporation sang their big hit at the time “Don’t Rock the Boat Baby”.

Living in West Monroe

Our first apartment in the Monroe area was in the new Shrangri La apartments on Wellerman Road in West Monroe, Louisiana. I had a flat tire on Interstate 20 one night, during my supper time and a state trooper turned on his flashing lights, to warn the other drivers, so I could change the flat tire.

The apartment’s rent was $165, which wasn’t that much even in 1974.

Too Much Overtime

Knew I was taking a risk moving 100 miles to Monroe for a measly $8 more per week more, than what I made at the Town Talk. However, I was making overtime like crazy. Our work week was 37 and-a-half hours a week, but I worked many more hours than that.

I would work 4:30 PM to 1 AM if I didn’t work overtime. However, I almost never got off work at a 1 AM. I would usually go to work at 4:30 PM and then wouldn’t get off work till 6 AM the next morning. Then it got even worse when the composing room superintendent would call about noon and ask me to come in early at 2 PM. So a typical workday would be from 2 PM to 6AM for a 14 hour day.

The reason there was so much overtime is that the daytime workers working on the Monroe News-Star weren’t that interested in overtime. We wound up killing out their pages for them, when we came to work, so we would have empty page forms to publish the Monroe Morning World. Then at night we would kill out our own pages, then turn around and start placing ads in pages for the News-Star workers, when they would come to work.

What it amounted to was that we were doing most of the work for the day crew, while they just built their pages and went home.

I remember working 36 hours of overtime in one Christmas week, which almost equaled my 37.5 regular hours.

There was one stretch, where I worked 49 straight days in a row, when the boss kept asking if I wanted to work both my days off. I was off on the 50th day and got sick and not sure it wasn’t from the stress of working so many days in a row.

It was normal to get only 6 or 7 hours sleep, then return to work again.

Looking back, it is a wonder I survived those two years in Monroe.

Moved to Monroe

We moved to Monroe later, so we could be closer to my work and my wife’s work, since we only had one car most of the time there. We moved to the Plantation Apartments off of North 18th Street in Monroe.

Thought President Nixon Was Dying 

I remember when the editor thought President Nixon was close to death, so we worked on pages about his life, but all that work was for nothing, as he lived many more years. We wound up throwing all those pages in the garbage.

Breaks On The Loading Dock

The best memory of our breaks on the loading dock was during the Christmas season, when we could see the buildings in downtown Monroe with their Christmas lights turned on.

Gannett Takes Over

The Gannett Corporation took over the News-Star the year after I left, so I narrowly avoided working for two Gannett papers, during my years in the newspaper business.

Returning To Town Talk

My wife was not happy with her job, plus there were two openings at the Town Talk in the composing room, so I applied to work at Town Talk in March of 1976 again and was hired and would spend the next 28 years at Town Talk before retiring in 2004.

I remember the cake being served, when I returned because it was so close to St. Patrick’s Day.

 

To Be Continued – Part 3 – Last 28 Years At Town Talk

 

 
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Posted by on October 8, 2014 in Elvis Presley, Family, Nostalgia

 

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38 Years of Newspaper Production – 1966-2004

1883- Present

The first Alexandria Daily Town Talk newspaper was published on March 17, 1883. I started working there in 1966, when the paper was 83 years old and today it is 131 years old, so 48 years have passed since I first set foot inside the Alexandria Daily Town Talk at the time. Today it is known as The Town Talk.

I had returned earlier from my tour of duty in Hawaii and Vietnam and was 21 and looking for work. The lady from the Louisiana Employment called and said there was an opening at the Town Talk. Found out later that the previous worker had drowned and they needed someone to take his place.

Earning $11.20 a Day

The interviewer told me they usually don’t start workers, as much pay as I was getting.  I found out later, that I was making the minimum wage of $1.40 an hour, which came out to $11.20 an eight hour day and $56 a week. The pay for a typical 22 day month was $246.40 and $2,912 a year. Four years later I had worked my way up to $3 an hour.

This is the way we saw hot metal type when working with it – upside down and backwards.

First Job As a Dump Boy

My first job was as a dump boy and went to work on August 24, 1966, and  received type from those working with the linotype machines. They would bring the trays called galleys with very hot metal slugs, with each slug being about an inch tall and a line of type printed on it. The proofreaders would read a proof of the story in that galley and if there was a mistake we would take out the old lines and insert the corrected lines. Then we would turn the galleys around, so the page compositors could place the type in the page forms, in the proper place according to a page layout designed by the wire desk or sports department.

Stopped By Police

When I first started working at Town Talk my starting time was 5:30 AM. One morning I was walking the usual two miles to work and was crossing the Murray Street bridge, when I was stopped by police. Someone had been killed at the Melody Grill Bar that morning, so they questioned me, before realizing I was just walking to work and had nothing to do with the murder.

Became A Page Compositor

After I had been dump boy for a while I became a page compositor. Our job was to place the ads in the page, then place photos and type to fill in the rest of the space on the page. Each page form was on a truck with wheels. that sometimes was called a turtle for some unknown reason.

We were using the hot metal process, so we used zinc photos or photos from scan-o-graver that would make photos. Things really got hectic around deadline time, as we rushed to get the pages ready for the press. After we finished the pages a pressman would process the pages in a mat rolling machine, that would make impressions of the page, that would be placed on the printing press.

Sunday Paper Starts in May of 1967

The first Sunday paper was published by the Town Talk in May of 1967 and has been published each Sunday, for the last 47 years since that date. I had been walking to and from work, but with the night hours finally bought my first car a 1954 Oldsmobile, so I wouldn’t have to walk through town at 1 AM in the morning.

Friday Night Football

To say nights at work during Friday night football were chaotic is putting it mildly. The sportswriters would return to Town Talk, to write-up their articles on that night’s game. It took time for them to write their articles and then sports desk person had to decide how to lay out the pages and what photos of the games to use. Those of us in page composition couldn’t do much, till the pages were designed and we received the layouts. The sportswriters would work with us on the page, in case we had any problems and if an article ran long they would tell us what part of the article to cut, so it would fit in the page form. It was always a relief to turn the last page over to the pressroom, so they could get it on the press, as soon as possible.

Election Night Fun

Elections were a lot of fun, if someone thought working way past time to leave work is fun. We had to wait till late at night, so we could get the latest results of the elections in the newspaper and we would make a second edition to get even later election results. Election nights would see many of the politicians gathering at the Town Talk, so they could see firsthand how many votes they were receiving.

Pressman Died At Work

I was talking to a pressman about a pro football game and it wasn’t long after, when I found out he had a heart attack and died at work. He had been a long time employee, but it still came as a shock to me, when learning he had passed away.

Married and Moved to Riverfront Street

In September of 1970 was married and moved to Riverfront Street in Pineville. I walked to work, so my wife could drive to her work and I remember there was a Russian lady living on Riverfront, that was living in a tent. Never did find out what had happened to her, after the last day I saw her.

Our $75 a month rent was too much to pay at once, so our landlord let us split it up into two $37.50 payments.

End of Hot Metal Composition

It was in 1972, that the Town Talk ended hot metal composition and started using cold type composition. Those of us working hot metal no longer had ink all over our hands, since we were working with paper. Working with the hot metal had caused most of us in hot metal composition, to have to have hernia surgery.

We would have to lift full pages of type from the bottom shelves of page racks, which was extremely heavy, since the full-page galleys were full of metal that was inch high. Imagine how heavy that is when you look at a page, in the newspaper and think of it being full of inch high metal.

Cold Type Composition 

Now we were no longer working with metal, but worked with paper type. We now used scissors, glue sticks, X-Actos and razor blades, to work on the new technology. It took some getting used to the new technology, but thanks to Elvis Presley I wouldn’t be working in hot type composition from April of 1974 till March of 1976, except at the very end.

Elvis Presley Finds Me a New Job

We were watching television, once when we found out Elvis Presley was going to be in concert at Monroe, Louisiana.  So we bought our tickets and drove to Monroe later to see the show. While we were driving to the concert we saw the local newspaper plant and my wife suggested I try to find a job there. I sent in my application and was called in for an interview and was hired. So if it hadn’t been for Elvis Presley I would have never worked for the Monroe Morning World.

Had worked for Town Talk for almost eight years, when I got the Monroe Morning World job and got a huge raise from $159 a week to $167 a week. I didn’t know at the time that I would earn $5,000 more in my first year at the Morning World, because they offered much more overtime. In fact I worked 49 days in a row, without a day off for one stretch. Boss kept asking if I wanted to work both my days off and I kept saying yes.

To Be Continued – Part 2

 
 

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Funny Newspaper Headlines

Surprised that they would find weapons at a gun shop.

It wasn’t easy for law enforcement officials to place the homeless man under house arrest.

Homicides would be easier to solve if they could question the victims.

Is there a law against murdering dead people?

Mississippi’s literacy program didn’t have enough funding for spelling courses.

Attorneys will sue themselves if it means more money in their bank account.

Am wondering who did my surgery if it wasn’t a doctor.

Saw some of these cows standing in the unemployment line.

Fish thank the feds for getting the word out.

This miracle cure is no longer a cure and is now a deadly disease.

A cemetery is the last place you would expect to find a dead body.

 
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Posted by on August 4, 2014 in Comedy, Crime, Detective, Doctors, Funny, News

 

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Funny Classifed Ads

These are just a few of the many funny classified ads, that can be found online. I wrote some suitable comments for each classified ad.

 

Not exactly the best way to get your foot in the door in the broadcast industry.

Not many applicants will qualify for this job.

Could get a little crowded to have three kids and a nanny, in the same outhouse, plus might be a good idea to bring a couple of cans of Febreze to work everyday.

Will have to think this job offer over awhile before accepting.

Good thing that looks are not important.

This car could speak Spanish to the car in My Mother the Car.

It will be a miracle if they find someone with this name.

Guess this means she decided to keep the cat and dump her husband.

Last I knew there is not a legal way to kill someone who is harassing them.

Would like to see the Carfax on that car that has only been rolled once.

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Funny Signs Collection

There are many funny signs online. These are a few of them I have found on internet:

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Sgt. Carter Actor Frank Sutton Not Good Enough For Marines

Frank Sutton 1923-1974

 

Frank Spencer Sutton was born October 23, 1923 in Clarksville, Tennessee. He is best known for his portrayal of Sgt. Carter on Gomer Pyle. 

His father was a linotype operator for the Nashville Tennessean and died, when his son Frank was 14 years old.

Sutton tried to join the Marines, but was turned down for failing to pass the physical, because one arm was bent too far back at the elbow.

However, he was able to join the Army and participated in 14 assault landings, including those at Leyte, Luzon and Corregidor during World War II.

After the war he returned to work as an announcer on a Nashville radio station. However, that didn’t go so well, when his boss turned on the radio and heard silence, since Sutton had fallen asleep. That ended his radio career, but it helped launch his acting career, since he went to Columbia University and graduated  cum laude in Dramatic Arts.

First Television Job

Sutton’s first television acting job was on Captain Video and His Video Rangers in 1949.

He appeared in his first movie The Glenn Miller Story in 1954, but it was an uncredited role. He had another uncredited role in 1955 in the movie Marty.

His next major role was in Town Without Pity  in 1961, in which he portrayed Sgt. Chuck Snyder

First Big Break With Gomer Pyle USMC

Frank Sutton had acted in many movies and television shows from 1949-1964, but his big break came, when he was cast as Sgt. Vince Carter on Gomer Pyle USMC. He portrayed a tough guy sergeant, who encounters a green recruit in Gomer Pyle, who was portrayed by Jim Nabors. It was a classic match of a tough Marines sergeant, who was frustrated by a gentle Gomer time after time.

Both Sutton and Nabors were perfectly cast in their roles as Sgt. Carter and Gomer Pyle. Sgt. Carter is the sergeant, that most of us who served in the military encountered at some point, during our tour of duty, so was easy to identify with. We can all remember recruits like Gomer who didn’t have a clue, about what military life was all about. However, we also know that a recruit like Gomer would not have lasted through boot camp in real life.

Sgt. Carter helping Gomer Pyle through his first difficult days of military service.

Gomer infuriated Sgt. Carter by his actions, but Gomer never retaliated in kind. Gomer was a prime example of a soft answer turning away the wrath of Sgt. Carter.

The show was on television from 1964-1969. Sutton and Pyle both appeared in all 150 episodes of the show.

CBS originally rejected the show, since they were afraid the military theme would not go over well with their female viewers. However, when Danny Thomas the producer threatened to take the show to NBC, which caused CBS to rethink their decision and carry the show on the CBS network after all.

The show apparently used real Marines in some of the scenes, since Jim Nabors didn’t like watching the opening scene of the introduction to the show, which showed the Marines marching, since several of those soldiers had been killed in Vietnam later.

Gomer Pyle was never higher than private first class during the five-year run of the show.

Nabors decided to leave Gomer Pyle after five seasons, to star in the Jim Nabors Hour, which ran for 1969-1971. Sutton would appear on only 3 of the 51 episodes of the show.

The television of career for Sutton was over for the most part, after Gomer Pyle left the air. He appeared in five segments of Love American Style from 1970-1973.  He acted in two TV movies  Ernie, Madge and Artie (1973)  and Hurricane (1974).

The role of Sgt. Carter not only made him a star, but it also ended his acting career, since he was too closely identified with the Sgt. Carter character.

Frank Sutton died of a heart attack at the age of 50, in Shreveport, Louisiana on June 28,1974 while rehearsing for a dinner theater production. Sutton had went from television stardom, to acting on the dinner theater circuit, which showed how fast his fame flamed out after being Sgt. Carter.

Sadly, Gomer Pyle is one of the more difficult shows to find in reruns today. Even when it was being shown in reruns it was being shown in the early morning hours like around 4:30 in the morning.

It was one of my favorite television shows ever and would like to be able to see those shows again, if they are ever shown again.

 

 

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The Carbonaro Effect

Michael Carbonaro pours a drink into what appears to be a levitating cup on The Carbonaro Effect on Tru TV.

 

I was going through the on-screen programming guide, when I ran across a show called The Carbonaro Effect. I was curious about the show, so I recorded one episode. I liked it so much have been recording every episode I can find.

The show can be seen at 10 PM ET and 9 PM CT on truTV.

 

The Carbonaro Effect is a fun show to watch, as the victims of the tricks try to figure out what just happened. Michael Carbonaro the magician/host of the show is perfectly cast, as his easygoing way with the victims of his magic tricks leads some of them to believe his off the wall reasons for the magic occurring.

Below is the video of the magic trick done with the bowling ball and basketball:

Some of my favorite tricks are when Michael is looking for a key in the trunk of a car and “accidentally” locks himself in the trunk. The man he was talking to when this happens tries, to figure out how to get him out of the trunk. Before he can get him out Michael comes out the front door of the hotel and says “I found the key”. The look on the face of the man, who was trying to help him get out is priceless, when Michael appears with the key.

Another favorite trick is when he thinks he has the winning ticket for a new car in a raffle. There is a security guard with a table in front of the car which is in front of a temporary garage. Michael gives him some identification, but then realizes he left his winning ticket at home, so tells security guard he will walk home to get his ticket.

After Michael leaves the security guard looks behind him where the car was parked and the car was gone. A few minutes later Michael drives up in the same car, that he was supposed to win, and tells the security guard that he found the winning ticket. The security guard is going crazy trying to figure out how Michael got the car, that he was supposed to be guarding. You have to see this magic trick to really comprehend how good of a trick that it was.

The following clip shows Michael knocking out passenger windows of cars and telling the owners, that all new cars today come with four windows. He tells them the first window is a dealer window and that all they have to do is break the dealer window and roll up the good windows. Some of the victims of this trick are not exactly happy campers to see him smash out their windows.

 

The Carbonaro Effect is totally different from most shows on television today. This article from Newsday says that the show has been renewed for another 13 weeks, before it was ever shown on television:

http://www.newsday.com/entertainment/tv/the-carbonaro-effect-long-island-magician-michael-carbonaro-debuts-his-pranks-on-trutv-1.7998828

I don’t want to give away any more of the tricks, but will say that another favorite trick is when he pours a huge pitcher of a drink, into a small cup and the cup still isn’t full. The lady tells him, that he is messing with her cognitive development, after looking amazed, that so much drink was poured into such a small cup.

 

 

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