Thursday, March 20, 2008

L.A. Herald Examiner Reunion, Part 3

(March 18, 2008)

By Rip Rense, columnist
The Rip Post

Early at the Herald-Examiner reunion last week at the L.A. Press Club, former editor Jim Bellows arrived on the arm of longtime friend (and successor at the Herald) Mary Ann Dolan. Bellows used a cane, and moved like a guy in his 80’s, because he is.

I said my hellos to both, and Bellows eyed me Irishly.

“Make. . .funny!” he said, eyebrows raised half-way to his hairline. He gestured inimitably with his right arm, haltingly, sort of like he was conducting Stravinsky.
That was it for me. After the guest panelists pontificated, after all the crazy happy/sad stuff that always happens at reunions happened, after all the big guts and baldness and menopause and trifocals and hair dye and Diet Coke, that’s what stuck:

“Make. . .funny!”

Bellows is legendary for cryptic stuff like this, if you don’t know. Instructions like “bip bip bip” (explaining the desired style of a column) have become fable. He once advised me to visit a particular bar because “it’s like the shade in a cave.”

He could also be more direct, of course, like the time I wrote a lede on a story about an unknown aspiring starlet with cleavage that the Space Shuttle could have landed in. The lede was "(Starlet) has extremely large aspirations.” Said Bellows, passing me in the Her-Ex city room, with a twinkle:

“Liked. . .that. . .lede.”

Well, of course. I made funny.

I had trouble taking his advice, though, at the Her-Ex reunion. Had trouble making this increasingly old heart lighten up. The paper is, after all, almost 20 years gone---not exactly a funny thing. But the event was really an excuse to honor Bellows, and most rightly. This is, after all, the man who took a strike-wrecked joke of a newspaper (except for sports, which was always good) and turned it into what in my view was easily the best in L.A. history. [Click for MORE]

> Defunct Santa Monica Outlook staff holds 10-year reunion Sphere: Related Content

No comments: