New Book: "Gimme Rewrite, Sweetheart"
NEW BOOK CELEBRATES BYGONE ERA OF CLEVELAND NEWSPAPERS
Fifty-four veteran Cleveland reporters, editors and photographers swap stories about the life and times of the newspaper business in a new book: Gimme Rewrite, Sweetheart: Tales from the Last Glory Days of Cleveland Newspapers (hardcover / $24.95 / 256 pages).
The book, which was compiled from interviews conducted by John H. Tidyman, provides an oral history of the period between 1950 and 1982. During that time, fierce competition between the “Cleveland Press” and the “Plain Dealer” made working for a daily paper an unusually interesting job. (The Press ceased operation on June 17, 1982, a date many people consider the sad end of an era.)
“It was a job unlike any other,” Tidyman said. “Reporters, photographers and editors were envied, threatened, beatified, fooled and thought to be the luckiest s.o.b.’s around.”
Contributors to the book are former staffers from the Plain Dealer and Cleveland Press, many of them familiar to readers from their bylines — Dick Feagler, Brent Larkin, Marge Alge, Don Bean, William Miller, Dan Coughlin, Dick Peery, George Condon, Helen Moise, Mike Roberts, Bob Dolgan and Bill Wynne, among others.
All of them share a common nostalgia for the bygone era when Cleveland had competing daily newspapers and newsrooms were filled with the sound of typewriters and the ring of the newswire bells.
The stories they tell range from funny to tragic and sometimes outrageous. For example:
-Jim Dudas (Press) once bribed a prisoner with a carton of cigarettes to refuse an interview with the rival Plain Dealer.
-Whitey Watzman (Plain Dealer) ventured onto a crime scene and stumbled upon half a dozen officers, guns drawn, waiting in the dark for the real criminal.
-Wally Guenther (Press) infiltrated and wrote about the Ku Klux Klan.
-William F. Miller (Plain Dealer) put on a hardhat and passed himself off as a Salvation Army worker to cover a Great Lakes ore boat fire.
The book groups stories thematically, including chapters on the police beat, sportswriting, the women’s department, drinking on the job, and hazardous assignments. Short anecdotes from different storytellers are interspersed so that the text reads like an informal conversation among longtime colleagues.
More samples and information can be found online at:
About the Author
John Tidyman was ordered by his father to take a touch-typing class the summer before high school. Tidyman often cites that incident as the reason he became a writer. After graduating from Lakewood High School, he was drafted and fought in the Vietnam War. He returned a 19-year old “buck sergeant.” Before he joined the Cleveland Press as a reporter, Tidyman worked as a waiter, a warehouseman and an airfreight agent. He is the author of eight books and has also written for almost every area publication.
Price and AvailabilityGimme Rewrite, Sweetheart ($24.95 / hardcover / 256 pages) is available at Northeast Ohio bookstores, online from Amazon.com, and from the publisher’s Web site. For more information, call Gray & Company, Publishers at 1-800-915-3609, or visit their Web site: www.grayco.com.