Sex, murder and kidding in the news

This paper used to run a regular item called “20 years ago today” and “50 years ago today,” featuring small stories from those numbers of years ago.

I have to admit they lost appeal to me when I realized the “20 years ago” items were stuff that I had written. “Have I really been around here  that long?” I would wonder,realize I had, and then go into a sulk, feeling like an old fart and whining about where the years had gone.

Still, old news can be fun.

Just for grins I looked up the  1879 edition of the Ogden “Junction” and found a couple of tidbits from this very date, Dec. 17, 130 years ago. The items aren’t what anyone would call big news, but they do show that the news back there was a lot more interesting to read. Certainly the guys doing the writing seemed to enjoy themselves:

A Narrow Escape

A go-as-you-please race between a reporter and a revolver

Early yesterday morning a young man coming down town espied a couple of men asleep in front of a saloon. He approached them with “Hello George, is that you?” At the same instant he raised the rim of one of the men’s slouch hats and attempted to strike a match. His ears were at once greeted with the sharp “Click! Click!” of a six-shooter, and he jumped about six feet off the ground.

“Hold on!” he said. “If you’re going to pull anything like that, I’ve got to go.”

He started off on lightning pace and never stopped for four blocks, when his wind was exhausted. It turns out now that the individual with the revolver was not “a tramp awakening from a debauch” but a good-natured devotee of Bacchus, bent on frightening the first man who tackled him. The steps were measured after daylight, and the greatest was found to be 18, while the least only 10 feet. A piece of his coat tail containing a portion of a pocket with a love letter was found on a neighboring post and can be had on application to this office.

It is not known who the fleet-footed flyer was, but from the evidence it is supposed that it was one of the “locals,” of the dispatch.

(I am going to guess that the Dispatch is a competing paper and the Junction is having some fun at their expense. 10-foot steps sound like a bit of exaggeration, but certainly the news does not lie!)

Marital Infelicity

A row occured on Fifth Street (Now 25th Street in Ogden- ed) last night. An erring husband was out late, and on his return home found his place supplied by a young Lothario, who was drunk even to quarrelsomness. Hot words passed between the parties, and weapons were drawn, when the husband started out after a policeman. With the assistance of the officer the intruder was ejected, but succeeded in proclaiming to the neighborhood his clandestinely acquired rights to the lady’s chamber. He then pushed his clenched fist trough the glass, and will feel the effect thereof when he awakes today. He also declared his determination to kill somebody before he went to bed, but sleep overpowered him, and the murder is still in abeyance.

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6 Responses to Sex, murder and kidding in the news

  1. In a town that Al Capone dubbed “too rough” for him, these stories make sense LOL

  2. flatlander100 says:

    I’ve long thought that Ogden doesn’t do nearly enough to exploit its — colorful? — past. A restored brothel B&B on Historic 25th Street, maybe. A little loosening of the “buttoned up and locked down” tone of Ogden’s promotional lit might serve the city well.

  3. Alan Meyer says:

    The writing is almost as florid as the subject matter, but very entertaining. “Do it again, Charlie! Do it again!”

  4. flatlander100 says:

    Which raises the question, why did the SE drop the 20/50 years ago today in the paper idea? I thought it was a good one. Bring it back?

    Sadly, what’s not coming back are the days of multiple urban dailies. With two or three papers on the ground, competing for readers, they went after news, stories, scandal with a passion, trying to beat the competition into print with the latest. It’s just not the same in one paper towns.

    OK, OK, there was a downside to it all, agreed. Sometimes the competing papers just made stuff up to generate an eye-popping headline and to boost sales. Or they created the news, unwilling to wait for it to happen on its own. [Recall the famous story of William Randolph Hurst telling one of is staff photographers for his NY paper to get to Cuba to take pictures of the war. Since the US didn't happen to be at war with Spain or Cuba just then, the photographer asked "What war?" Hurst reportedly told him: "You take the pictures. I'll supply the war." I know, I know, the story's said to be apocryphal, but I wouldn't put it past him.]

  5. laytonian says:

    Ah….the first time I really felt old: reading “20 years ago today” and remembering it! II was 26. So much for feeling old.

    A few years ago, I found an old newspaper in the bottom of the closet — and recognized my 7-year-old face on the front page. Pointing to a box of Carnation corn flakes. So much for advertising.

  6. tom says:

    Ya Charlie,

    Bring those “20/50 years ago today” pieces back, they were some of the best the Standard had to offer when the paper did it. The Standard also ought to consider re-running the Irene Woodhouse historical articles of yesteryear, the paper must have a huge treasure trove of her material in the vault somewhere.

    These sorts of things could actually make the “Godfrey/Gondola examiner” (Standard) interesting again which might help insure your continuing salary. We may even get to see some fifty year old articles with the “Trentelman” byline!

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