Martin Landau, cartoonist?

landau

Martin Landau at the NY Daily News. Courtesy of Daily News

As you may have heard, actor Martin Landau passed away this past weekend, he was 89. I always remember Martin from the Mission Impossible tv series. I remember watching it Sunday nights. I never really understood it, but I watched it, I guess to prolong the weekend.

I was surprised to learn that Martin was a cartoonist for the New York Daily News in the 1940s, before he became an actor. Mike Lynch has a lot about this in his blog today.

Martin: “I did that [cartooning] professionally, actually. I mean, I started on The New York Daily News as a kid when I was 17 years old, as a cartoonist and illustrator, and I was being groomed to be the theatrical caricaturist. And I know if I got that job, I’d never quit. So I quit.

Is it a Republican corner?

There’s a guy on the same corner every morning in New York City who sells the NY Daily News and the NY Post. I don’t think he has any other newspapers, just the News and the Post. And you can tell the political bent on people by what they purchase – Democrats mostly buy the News and Republicans mostly buy the Post. I’m a Daily News guy.

But although the stacks look to be the same quantity, every time I buy the paper, the guy grabs for the Post, sort of out of habit, as if he mostly does that all day, so I assume most people in this area, midtown East 50s, purchase the Post. He doesn’t really look up, so it’s not like he doesn’t recognize me from going to him daily, he just doesn’t pay attention.

I stopped reading The Post due to their negative political views, but to honest, I dropped them years ago when they dropped the comics page. How do you drop the comics page? It was the only reason I bought the paper. Their comics were small and black and white and they didn’t even have their own page, they were part of a page. The Post didn’t respect the comics when they ran them, but how do you drop the six or eight comics that you did have?

Oh, and to upend everything I have said here, I have to say that the Post has the better sports section. So it all could just be that. People are buying the Post for the sports section no matter what their party affiliation is.

Free subway library

subwayI noticed on the New York subways that they have a Free Subway Library which is provided by the New York Public Library system along with the Brooklyn Library and Queens Library. It started in June. The MTA and Transit Wireless provide riders with access to hundreds of e-books and short stories.

Basically only the first chapters are available, enough to read on a train ride and then you can download the whole book at the library’s app.

Now when you’re on the trains you see so many people staring down at their phones either reading or playing games. I usually go through the photos I took during the day.

It’s a far cry from the days, not too long ago (10, 12 years?) where everyone seemed to have their heads buried in a newspaper or paperback book. Tabloid sized newspapers were created for subways and buses, their smaller size than the broadsheet made it easier to manage.

The NY newspaper strike of 1945

I came across this YouTube film about the New York City newspapers strike of 1945. It was a 17-day event. It’s quite interesting to see how people coped, or didn’t cope.

There were an amazing eight daily newspapers in New York at that time and people devoured the papers morning and night. This was before tv and apparently before radio news. Everyone got their news and a lot of their entertainment from daily newspapers and they were addicted to them.

After awhile, people realized during the strike that you could actually get your daily newspaper fix by simply going to the actual newspapers and purchasing the newspaper there. The truckers and delivery people were on strike, so the papers were being printed, just not delivered to the thousands of newsstands and homes. This was the era that Mayor Fiorello Laguardia read the comics to everyone over the radio, describing the goings on in the funny pages.

I find it amazing how many millions of newspapers were published and purchased daily. The New York Daily News alone was selling over 900,000 copies to people who came by the newspaper on foot. People would wait for hours to purchase the daily newspapers. That is 900,000 plus people stepping into the Daily News building to purchase the paper. They figured it was 30,000 people per hour!

Cops waited down in the subway and they told people to get off at the 33rd Street station rather than 42nd Street, where the NY Daily News building was, because the line went all the way from 42nd Street to 33rd Street!

The newspapers were: The Sun, The World-Telegram, the Journal American, The Daily News, The Post, The New York Times, the Herald Tribune and the Mirror. Eight dailies.

So many of the scenes in these films are still there – the Sun building was just restored, it sits near City Hall downtown, and while the Daily News has moved, their building on 42nd Street is still there.

Listen to the numbers as you watch these — the circulation numbers. Amazing. This was the period when the New York Daily News usually sold 2 million copies a day and over 4 million copies on Sundays.

The 1966 newspaper strike killed so many newspapers in New York City, but at least in 1945, the 17-day strike didn’t cause much harm and just proved how addicted people were to their newspapers – the social media of the time.