Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Happy 90th Birthday To The Philadelphia Daily News

My beginnings in journalism, in a sense, began with the Philadelphia Daily News.

I sold the Daily News and the Philadelphia Inquirer down at the old Navy Yard during the 1960s when I was a teenager. Many years later, I became a contributor to the Daily News, writing commentary on politics and crime.

Today is the Daily News' 90th birthday and Gar Joseph offers a history of the old tabloid newspaper.

William Scott Vare was a vote-stealer and a boodler. It seemed unlikely that his bid for a U.S. Senate seat would win the endorsement of any of Philadelphia's five daily newspapers. So he started his own.

The International News Service announced its March 31, 1925, birth this way: "The first edition of the 'Philadelphia Daily News,' a pictorial tabloid paper, made its appearance on the streets here at noon. A forty page paper was the initial offering of the Philadelphia Tabloid Publishing Company, publishers of the paper. Lee Ellmaker, who has been associated with a number of the leading dailies in the east is the publisher and manager of the company."

Vare's name was not mentioned, although it was his money - millions from the contracting business - that bankrolled the paper. Vare ran the city's Republican machine, which held most of the elected offices. That was good for business as the growing city always had a need for contractors. He also had an arrangement with Waxey Gordon and Lucky Luciano that kept them out of jail in exchange for Vare's veto power over their operations. This was also good for business.

The new tabloid was printed by the Jewish World on 5th Street near Locust — it didn’t have its own presses yet — and its mix of crime, sex, celebrities, sports, politics and big photos made it an immediate hit.

You can read the rest of the piece via the below link:


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