This week, October 7-13, is National Newspaper Week, and I support that. I take three newspapers (one online) and read them all. About the online subscription: I really prefer having the newspaper spread out on the dining table, a cup of coffee nearby. But The Beebe News is a weekly publication and by the time I get it through the mail, it ‘s a day or two old. If you think it strange, my concern about getting the weekly news a day late, just never you mind.
I was married to a newspaper man for twenty years and this is one of my favorite stories:
In the early 50s, my husband Doyle May, worked for the Durant Daily Democrat. Durant, Oklahoma, lies just ten miles across the Red River from Texas. Texas had a three-day waiting period on marriage licenses and Oklahoma didn’t. Both had mandatory blood tests. Thus Durant, the first town across the state line with a clinic that would put the lab work on a fast track, became Elopement City. In the time it took to see a double feature, a couple could drive to Durant, visit the clinic, find a minister or judge to pronounce them husband and wife and be back home before their parents had a clue. Even if the minister’s church required the obligatory counsel on the sanctity of marriage, not much time (or thought) was involved in the venture.
One day in 1953, just before my husband left the office for lunch, a call came from someone in the courthouse. Jose Ferrer and Rosemary Clooney were there buying a marriage license. Jose Ferrer was an extremely talented actor of movies and stage, the first Hispanic actor to win an Oscar (for Cyrano de Bergerac). He was at the time appearing at the Dallas Summer Musicals in Kiss Me Kate. Rosemary Clooney (George’s aunt) was one of the most popular singers of the day. (The next year she would star in White Christmas with Bing Crosby, making herself immortal as far as Cable TV is concerned.) The couple had been dating for several months and all the “movie magazines” had the world wondering when they would tie the knot. She had flown from California to visit him in Dallas and they decided that driving to a little town in Oklahoma would be a low profile way to make it official.
Doyle grabbed a camera and took off. He got there just as they were leaving the license office. Standing on the court house steps, Mr. Ferrer said to him, “Please don’t take our picture.” Doyle raised the camera (which was about the size of a shoe box) and took a shot. He had no idea if it was good until he got back to the Democrat and spent some time in the dark room. The picture was great, and a 21-year-old reporter from a newspaper with circulation of probably less than 2,000, scooped Hollywood.