Chicago is blessed to still have two daily newspapers, while many other U.S. cities are lucky to have one. And too many these days have none. In light of such loss, it is remarkable to learn that at one time, Chicago had at least nine newspapers and in that age reporters and editors would do just about anything to get a scoop. The era is epitomized by the stage play “The Front Page” authored by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, who mined their experiences as Chicago reporters into Broadway and Hollywood fame.
One of the most infamous men who lived through this Front Page Era and beyond was Harry Romanoff. As the resourceful night editor of the Chicago American “Romy”, as he was best know, would regularly outwit his competition armed with little more than a telephone to purloin gritty details, suss out the story, and get the scoop.
Today my co-host Chris Lynch has scored a historic scoop! So the Windy City Historians can bring you a 54-year-old, previously unknown, and never before available audio of Harry “Romy” Romanoff spinning tales from his 50-year career. Do not miss hearing these incredible stories from the 1920s to the 1960s from the man himself. Stories about the rich and famous, murderers, high-society scandals, gangsters and more. Join us in this extended episode for the colorful antics and anecdotes of a key newsman who not only witnessed but helped create Chicago’s newspaper heyday. Also catch a rare recording of Romy’s friend William Sianis founder of the famed Billy Goat Tavern & Grill and the Cubs curse of the goat.
Links to Research and Historic Sources:
- Ben Hecht biography in the Encyclopedia Britannica
- The play The Front Page in Wikipedia
- The 1931 film The Front Page (1 hr. 40 min.) produced by Howard Hughes on YouTube
- Chicago newsman and editor Harry J. Romanoff’s Obituary from the New York Times
- Charles Macarthur biography from Spartacus Education
- Harold Fowler McCormick in Wikipedia
- Ganna Walska in Wikipedia
- Serge Voronoff in Wikipedia
- Sculptor “Lorado Taft and Chicago Sculpture” from the Encyclopedia of Chicago
- Series Murderer, “Robert Irwin: The Mad Sculptor” on the Encyclopedia of Chicago website
- Ganster Samuzzo Amatuna in Wikipedia
- The death of Samuel “Samoots” Amatuna on Nov. 13, 1925 as reported in the Chicago Daily Tribune
- Chicago and Midway Airport Photographer Mike Rotunno and Chris’ book When Hollywood Landed at Chicago’s Midway Airport: The Photos & Stories of Mike Rotunno
- Chicago south side’s March 4th, 1961 Tornado in the Chicago Tribune’s “Ask Tom”, on March 3, 2015
- “The Billy Goat Curse” the legend explained on The Billy Goat Tavern & Grill’s website and Bleacher Nation’s take on the Curse, “75 Years Ago Today, a Dude Got Mad About a Goat” with a video
- An interesting side gig for Harry Romanoff included the Burma Brand which was part of his company the “Empire Spice Mills MFG Co., est. 1936” on the Made in Chicago website