vp19 (vp19) wrote in carole_and_co,

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Mirror, Mirror...

I work in the journalism business, so I'm understandably fascinated by the history of newspapers. And one of them for years had the second-largest circulation in America, was part of a famous newspaper chain, and featured arguably the best-known columnist in the country. Yet it died before it reached age 40, and has now been gone for a longer period than it existed.

I am speaking of the tabloid New York Daily Mirror -- born in June 1924, died in October 1963. Here's what the paper's front page looked like on Aug. 8, 1962, courtesy of marilyncollector.com (http://www.marilyncollector.com/legend/images/newspaper.jpg):

The Mirror was founded by William Randolph Hearst as his chain's answer to the amazing success of the New York Daily News, founded five years earlier in 1919. The Daily News primarily emphasized photos, features and entertainment. While that sounds like a Hearstian formula, his broadsheets (such as his morning New York American and evening Journal) also tended to focus on politics and public issues, so the scion of San Simeon was a bit reluctant to jump into the tabloid game -- even though its smaller size made for ease of reading on subways and buses, important in a transit-oriented market such as New York.

And Hearst's diffidence showed in the product. The Mirror was somewhat accurately named in that it never quite established an identity distinct from the rival Daily News. Occasionally, it sank to the level of a scandal sheet in its coverage of notorious crimes of the day.

However, the Mirror had a few things going for it, most notably Walter Winchell, shown below with Carole Lombard and Clark Gable, probably at one of Hearst's costume parties:

Winchell's columns covered not only Broadway and Hollywood, but politics as well; he became a fierce anti-Nazi long before war broke out in Europe. His breezy style was well-received, and his column was syndicated to hundreds of newspapers.

By the 1950s, however, Winchell had become old news, and New York's increasing suburbanization -- not to mention labor problems and the growth of television -- doomed the Mirror. Less than four years after its demise, only three Manhattan-based dailies remained, down from seven at the start of the sixties.

As stated earlier, entertainment was a key part of the Mirror's appeal, and in the 1930s the paper used film star images to boost circulation. Its Sunday edition regularly printed color photos of Hollywood favorites, and here are three of them -- Hearst's own beloved Marion Davies, from June 14, 1936; Marlene Dietrich, from Sept. 26, 1936; and Myrna Loy, from Nov. 28, 1937:

On Dec. 12, two weeks after Loy's appearance, Lombard got the Sunday Mirror treatment. Carole was riding high at the time, having not one but two comedies in theaters -- the Technicolor Selznick production "Nothing Sacred" and what would be her swan song at Paramount, "True Confession." So here she is, relaxed and casual:

If you like the Lombard picture, you can obtain it through eBay (note, however, it's only the cover, not the entire magazine section); it measures 11 by 15 inches. Find it at http://cgi.ebay.com/NY-Sunday-Mirror-1937-Carole-Lombard_W0QQitemZ290265695512QQcmdZViewItem?hash=item290265695512&_trkparms=39%3A1%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A1%7C240%3A1318&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14. However, bidding (which begins at $6.95) closes at just past 1 p.m. (Eastern) Wednesday, so you have less than 24 hours. (If you're interested in bidding on the other Mirror pictures above, you can link to them from this site.)

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