It was July, 1945. During the final summer of World War II, New York City experienced a newspaper delivery truck strike that lasted 18 days. Maybe you’re thinking, “eh, big deal.” Friends, there was no internet. No TV. Not even portable radios. So, the printed newspaper was critical for the everyday working man to know what was going on in the world.At that time, New York City had eight major daily newspapers, and there were 14,000 newsstands on the city’s streets to sell them. There was both a morning and evening edition, and New Yorkers bought both of them every day. Take away that newspaper, and you plunge a city into information darkness. It was a huge deal. Huge enough that larger-than-life and enemy of Machine Government Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia took to the airwaves during this strike to read the paper to a constituency bereft of any news. LaGuardia didn’t just read the international news or business day or op-ed, he read the serial comics…for the kids.
That’s right, Mayor LaGuardia read the Dick Tracy funnies for the kiddos, who were obviously glued to their glowing RCA Victors at home. He did different voices. He did sound effects. He got into it. How do you not love a guy who does that? He skipped the politics altogether. And the best part is the ending, where he takes off his reading glasses and finds a kernel of wisdom in the comic. Classic.
“…and say, children, what does it all mean? It means that dirty money never brings any luck! No, it only brings sorrow, and sadness, and misery and disgrace.”