REPORTERS: Memoirs of a Young Newspaperman by Will Fowler

REPORTERS: Memoirs of a Young Newspaperman

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

Last of the ""Front Page"" reporters tells his story. Fowler carried a heavy load in following in his father Gene's footsteps, dad being the most famous reporter in America during the Roaring Twenties and a bestselling author (Good Night, Sweet Prince) thereafter. ""Boy, you sure don't write like your father,"" Fowler was told by his first Los Angeles Examiner editor after a few months on the job in the late 40's as Fowler's stories kept getting thrown into the basket. Fowler had been raised among his dad's cronies--W.C. Fields, Errol Flynn, Groucho Marx, and so on--and it wasn't until dad phoned in the obituary for W.C. Fields, asking that the byline be given to Fowler, that the young reporter received his first byline--after three years on the job. Fowler's tales are tremendous fun and often quite grisly, especially those of the blood-bedewed suicides and autopsies that marked his apprenticeship. In fact, the stories circle more around murder, rape, dismemberment, executions, and aging syphilitic whores than around theft, graft, or fraud. That Fowler is writing a hymn to days past is clear from the way he points up how he and his buddies made fun of the bumbling new medium called TV, with its pathetic news coverage for the 300 or so sets then in existence. Among those he memorializes are Aggie Underwood, the first woman managing editor; Jim Murray, Fowler's idol, surrogate brother, and ""the finest raw newspaper writing talent I ever ran into""; ""Uncle Claude"" (W.C. Fields); Flynn; and alcoholic painter John Decker. His richest tale outlines his huge personal scoop on the Black Dahlia murder case and how he and his fellow Examiner reporters kept ahead of the law and the opposition. Restrainedly rip-roaring and solidly readable.

Pub Date: Jan. 29th, 1992
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Roundtable