Jack Smith Walk

There’s an annual walk in Mt. Washington in honor of the Times’ late columnist, Jack Smith, who lived in the L.A. neighborhood. I learned about this via the LAObserved blog. I only bring it up because of a small thrill I got while reading the announcement and clicking on the link for Smith’s name. The link takes you to Smith’s Wikipedia page, which was written by yours truly!

I wrote it in late 2007, surprised that the beloved Smith had no entry, and being a latter-day fan of his work through his books. He’s one of my biggest influences, not that we’re in the same league or that the lessons have been absorbed especially well. The grace and wit of his prose remain a model to which I aspire.

Although I’ll be working Sunday (!) and unable to take part in the walk, I’m pleased to have contributed in a small way to keeping Smith’s legacy alive.

Even if my entry doesn’t entirely meet Wikipedia’s quality standards.

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  • Bob House

    Nice job on the Wikipedia page. I read Mr. Smith’s columns for most of the 38 years they were published and still learned a few things from you.

    Not trying to compare, but I’m just saying . . . I read your work as regularly, and with as much enjoyment, as I did his.

    First a forced week off without pay and now you have to work on Sunday?!?! The DB is really the company with a heart.

    [You're a gracious man, sir. As for Sunday, I volunteered to come in to write a special column for Monday's paper about the Fox Theater opening occurring Saturday night, rather than make readers wait until Wednesday. Which may make me the columnist without a brain. -- DA]

  • Cheryl

    My parents went to school with Jack Smith at Belmont High. We always read his column and enjoyed it so much.

    One day, I had a book of his in my backpack and was eating lunch at Green Street Restaurant in Pasadena with my parents. At the next table, guess who? Jack and Denny Smith. I pulled out the book much to his surprise. He was so unassuming and delightful to talk with as was Denny. They made a great couple.

    God and Mr Gomez. The Great Orange. He was a special man and a special writer. He is a part of history in LA journalism. Thanks for the heads up and I will try to head there tomorrow.

    [What a nice anecdote. Thanks, Cheryl. Hope you enjoy the walk. -- DA]

  • Linda Frost

    I met Jack Smith, a truly beloved L.A. columnist and friend of my uncle. I love his books, and I remember reading God and Mr. Gomez at my uncle’s law office. I’d love to buy a copy if I could find one. I used to subscribe to the Times just to read his columns. Somehow, he could make La La Land and its quirky eccentricities (redundant?) come alive and leave me feeling that everything was fine.

  • Janet Brinckmann

    I just finished reading “Cats, Dogs, and Other Strangers at My Door” that I found in my mother’s assisted living apt. It was personally signed by Jack Smith, so my parents must have met him some time in their lives. I enjoyed this book very much & look forward to reading others if I can find them.

    [Smith must have done scads of book signings; signed editions of his are fairly common at used bookstores. At Acres of Books (now closed) I found an unsigned copy in which the previous owner had taped an envelope on which she'd written "Jack Smith's letters to me"; inside were two brief but punchy replies typewritten and signed by Smith. Now that was a find. -- DA]

  • Guy

    Hi. I recall a Smith column where he defined a person who knows a little about many things. I have been trying to remember the term off and on for years.

    Does this ring any bells for you?

    Thanks.

    [Nope. -- DA]