After a few years of writing about Ernie Pyle for National Columnists' Day, it grew a bit challenging, and so the focus for our annual column for that occasion was expanded to include homage to other famous columnists from the past such as Herb Caen and Walter Winchell.
For a columnist named Bob Patterson, who was born and raised in
Francisco revealed that during the Twenties Patterson landed a $47 a week reporter's job on the New York Graphic and when he began to work the police beat Freddie/Bob was offered a $100 a week bonus from a Prohibition entrepreneur who wanted a phone call tip whenever the Prohibition agents left on a raid. That stunt got him fired. His confession relates that subsequently Freddie/Bob went to work for the fellow who had supplied the tip bonuses.
In the early Thirties, Freddie/Bob moved to
Freddie quickly transitioned to the staff of the China Press in
Freddy/Bob arrived in
During Freddie's stint in
In describing the conduct of a battle between rival houses of prostitution, he informs readers that the madam with seniority hired coolies to defecate on the front steps of the rival location just as the evening was about to begin.
Freddie got to visit at Madame Sun Yat-sen's home, thanks to Andre Malraux.
Freddie wrote a book about the glory days in
In the 1975 article, Freddie glossed over the time line and ignored certain gaps in the narrative saying only that when it came time to apply for a job at the San Francisco Examiner, that "Sing Sing doesn't provide irresistible references."
Back in the day when Frisco was home for very memorable gin mills such as "The Fly Trap," "Mark's Lower Bar," and the "Home That Jack Built;" Freddie/Bob became good friends with San Francisco Chronicle columnist Herb Caen, and the two gathered material by going bar hopping together. Feddie/Bob conceded that his arch rival was "a shade faster because of fancier footwork and better streamlining."
Once, after the two purchased some toy machine guns and participated in some late night frolicking, they were apprehended by two rookie policemen and the columnists indignantly inquired if the youngster knew who they were trying to arrest. When they arrived at the station house, they walked in and the watch commander broke into a hearty laughing fit and finally managed to ask the two patrolmen if they knew who it was that they were trying to arrest. (Case dismissed -- on the spot.)
Freddie pushed the boundaries and got in hot water with management when he used the word "poontang." He was forbidden to use that word ever again and the top proofreader was charged with making sure the embargoed word was banished forever. In a description of a party that included a list of forty names, a mysterious guest named Poon Tang was listed and won Freddie a wager for a double sawbuck.
1 | 2