‘Everybody’s quoting Manchester Boddy’

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I saw this framed advertisement in the Boddy House at Descanso Gardens in La Canada Flintridge on a recent visit. (Sorry for the poor photo.) Manchester Boddy not only wrote a column, he owned the old L.A. Daily News from 1926 to 1954.

His Daily News was the only L.A. paper to support FDR. Boddy ran unsuccessfully for senator against Helen Gahagan Douglas in 1950’s Democratic primary, in which he labeled her the “Pink Lady,” paving the way for Congressman Richard Nixon to defeat her in the general election.

Evidently Boddy was a columnist for his newspaper as well. I’d love to have the Daily Bulletin describe my column as “brilliant” and on everyone’s lips — but it might help if, like Boddy, I signed the promotional department’s paychecks.

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  • The Daily News also proclaimed itself “The only Democratic newspaper west of the Rockies,” right on its masthead. The paper also employed minorities in editorial positions at a time when no other L.A. paper would, including the Saldana brothers and librarian Mary Kitano. My Daily News website is at http://riprense.com/Dailynews.htm. . .

    FYI, I negotiated several years ago with Descanso Gardens to mount a tribute exhibit to the Daily News inside Boddy House. I was going to design, fund, and promote the exhibit, and it would have hosted a group of the original “Newsies” as special guests. At first, the (newly appointed) Descanso head loved the idea, and gave it a thumbs-up. I noticed that a subordinate seemed to disapprove, however, notably when I related how Boddy once issued a newsroom edict, “No Booze Bottles on Top of Desks.” The subordinate said that mentions of alcohol in the exhibit were inappropriate for Descanso patrons. (Really.)

    Then I heard nothing for several months. When I checked back, I found that the newly appointed head had left Descanso, and the subordinate was in charge. I was told there was no interest in my idea of the exhibit—never mind that Descanso was funded with Daily News revenue. I wrote an account of this and mailed it to every member of the Descanso Board—and did not receive a single reply. Since that time, all the original “Newsies” have passed away. I no longer go to Descanso Gardens. — Rip Rense

    [Rip, thanks for the insights. “No Booze Bottles on Top of Desks” — that’s what passed for newsroom moderation in those days, I guess. — DA]

  • Bob House

    Perhaps not on everyone’s lips, but with your recent expolits at CalTrans and having celebrity relatives contact you to update information on your blog, you are clearly an IE force to be reckoned with.

    Most politicians would consider 2 victories at CalTrans a career. I predict you’ll be courted as a power broker by local politicians who haven’t been able to get Cal Trans to do anything since they’ve been in office. Use your power for good.

    [I promise. — DA]

  • Bob House

    early 80s version of “moderation”: The president of an LA chain of stereo stores I worked for got on the headquarters inter-com one day to announce — “Please don’t smoke dope in your offices any more. Go out to the parking lot.”

    [Oh, those out-of-touch corporate suits with their absurd, unworkable edicts. — DA]