Tuesday, August 18, 2015

1954: Uncle Saint reporting from Fire Island?

    My cousin Katharine and I have every reason to believe the young barefoot reporter seen in this 1954 NBC news footage is our Uncle Saint. The footage is for a story about New Yorker theatre critic Wolcott Gibbs and his weekly summer newspaper The Fire Islander. Gibbs was a friend of Saint's step-father John O'Hara back then ( thus the name "Gibbsville" in so many of O'Hara's stories) and must have known J Bryan III as well. Gibbs even recruited O'Hara and other friends to write for The Fire Islander.

  With literary lions providing much of the copy, it was up to the Gibbs's reporting team to handle the day to day news and Uncle Saint, the former managing editor of The Virginia Spectator at U.VA, appears to be up to challenges like covering trustees meetings.

   In the first issue of The Fire Islander Gibbs promised his readers:

    Our reporters will be instructed to get around. There are usually twenty little communities in any community. It will be their job every week to get in touch with a representative member of each of them and come back with the facts, upon which the editors will them superimpose grammar.

  Why would Gibbs devote so much time to a little read broadsheet?

"I'm in love with the goddamn beach!"


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