Memories of Deano
Dean Singleton denied selling the Post up until its dying day. Never mind the new chairs, fresh paint, new carpet (in some departments), parking lot reconstruction, whitewashing and the ironic "For Sale" sign that went up on the southwest corner of the lot recently, which was dismissed in a staff memo as old Hobby property. A lot of expense for a man who gave sparse pay raises and probably couldn't name ten of his employees who weren't on his special "bonus" list.
He treated his relatives with the same respect. His brother-in-law Roy was given the enviable job of dispensing stamps in the musty, open-air mailroom. Until now, most of his employees couldn't have picked Deano's mug out of a lineup, such was his hands-on work ethic. What they could tell you, though, is that when he was there, he had a different car for every day of the week. (This, in sharp contrast to the employee parking lot -- the majority of vehicles were older model, paid-for automobiles). And that no one was really sure what sidekick Ike (Massey) did except walk around saying "hi" to everybody (at least we knew his face). As a final kick in the butt, rumor has it that reporter Jim Molony was denied a job at the Singleton-owned Denver Post under orders not to take on any ex-Post staffers. I guess the rich get richer and the rest get special closed sessions at TEC.
So now Houston is a one-newspaper city. I will miss my mornings scanning the clever headlines and not having to wash dirty newsprint off my hands. Even after the Chron gets hold of our presses, we'll still be facing their mind-numbingly dull headlines. Thank you, Houston Press, for giving Houston a real story with substance ["Post Mortem," by Tim Fleck, Michael Berryhill and Jim Simmon, April 27] and space to say good-bye.
Editor's note: For what it's worth, Dean Singleton, in a phone interview with Press staff writer Tim Fleck, denied that he ordered his remaining papers not to hire former Post employees. Of course, as you point out, he also publicly denied the Post was for sale.
Covet Thy Competitor's Comic
Notice that the first former Post feature picked up by the Chronicle the very next day after the Post's demise was Doonesbury. I recall several years ago after Garry Trudeau's sabbatical how much the Chronicle really wanted Doonesbury, but the Post somehow managed to hold on to it.
Remember how Victor Kiam loved the Remington shaver so much he bought the company? My analysis of the real reason the Post is out of business: the Chronicle coveted Doonesbury so much it bought the paper!
Then There Was One
In the early 1960s photography was my hobby. As a member of the Houston Volunteer Fire Department I was fortunate to arrive at fires well ahead of the newspapers and my shots would regularly wind up in the [daily] Houston Press. Of course, I took photo credit instead of the $5 fee -- especially since they bought all of my film. When the Chronicle purchased the Press it was at least afforded a decent farewell with 20-point headlines, and the columnists simply changed addresses. And then we were two.
It was another story with the Hearst purchase of the Post ["Post Mortem," April 27]. Just a terse disclaimer that the Post had "shut down" and they purchased the assets. Obviously, a great ploy that nobody believed. No farewell edition, no transfer of columnists and cartoons -- nothing but a void in the lives of Houstonians who have had a Post with their coffee forever.
Inasmuch as we're now a one-daily-paper town, the Press has an excellent chance to become a major player in Houston news. Columnists such as Herskowitz, Harasim, Palomo and Parish should be wooed to join you. Why not bring their employees on board the Press? After all, they're the ones who really made the Post what it was. Requiescat in pace.
The Smart and Not-So-Smart
Please keep us informed of new jobs for Houston Post staffers!
As is typical of the Chronicle, they hired only supervisors from the Post pressroom and these supervisors did not know how to put out papers as the real workers did. That is why not everybody could get a full Chronicle even days after the sale.
One item overlooked is how columnist Leon Hale used the fake issue of out of town ownership of the Post to transfer to the Chronicle. He was much smarter than anybody thought and propelled himself into making more than $100,000 a year, plus company car and travel expenses around the world.
If Beverly Narum took her column on marketing/advertising to the Austin paper, will the duds at the Chronicle ever realize it was the one thing that sold the Monday Post?
Thank you for the "Festi-Brawl" article regarding the Westheimer Street Festival [News, by Mitchell J. Shields, April 6]. I used the article several times as an accurate explanation of the series of events that surrounded the biannual event.
As the special events point man for Silver Eagle Distributors (Budweiser and Bud Light, etc.), I was involved in negotiations with Sirron Kyles for last October's festival, and with John Flores for the latest and greatest festival April 8 and 9. Even though it appeared that we were working with the wrong organization in late March, the one that did not have street closure, we were committed to the event. We brought in the Bud Light Pro Beach Volleyball Tour with ESPN, and rented the billboard above Tila's to advertise our involvement with the event. We also worked with the Houston Music Council and brought in one of our top "In Concert" bands, Global Village, for a Saturday night performance.
As each of the groups were lining up their forces against each other, I received a call from Richard Tomcala of the Kyles camp, and another from Jay Allen of the Flores camp, requesting that I get together with Mr. Tomcala. I was somewhat wary of meeting with Richard, but I did, and, to my surprise, he was trying to fashion a peace treaty and extend an olive branch. I was receptive when I discovered that they were not trying to extort any money from us. Instead, I found out that both camps really wanted a fun, safe, clean, successful event. Somehow, at the 11th hour, Don Swarzkopf, the executive director of Earth Works and Peace Fest, brought both groups together for the common good of the festival, and it came off without a hitch. There is even talk of some of the members of each group joining the other's board of directors. It's not over, but with so many people working in the same direction, I am really looking forward to future Westheimer Street Festivals.
Thank you for writing the memorial piece on my friend and fellow artist Robert Campbell ["A Matter of Faith," by Michael Berryhill, April 13]. It was a beautiful tribute to Robert and to the personal missions in his short life.
We were classmates at Glassell in 1984, were the same age, were in exhibits together and had studios at the Commerce Street Artists Warehouse. Through the years our paths went different ways, but Robert always kept in touch through his newsletter.
As a very dedicated painting and medical student, Robert always had time for others. His kindness and ability to listen were important to me. We shared our early ideas about painting and he was always supportive.
Not until reading your article did I begin to understand Robert's journey of faith and his personal relationship with God. His faith became his foundation of strength, his guide and, at the end, his hope and peace. I'm so glad I was brought to read your article, because I must admit, I am not a regular reader of the Houston Press.
My family and I had stopped for dinner at a Heights restaurant. As we were walking out with our children in our usual state of chaos, my husband Bob bent down to pick up the paper. Quietly, he showed it to me. He, too, knew Robert and knew what an extraordinary person he was. I cried when I realized it was a memorial. It was Easter Eve, and Bob and I felt Robert's presence simultaneously, as we looked at his picture on the cover.
Robert Campbell has given his life and example of undying faith to us all. Two years ago I talked with Robert for the last time. As we were saying good-bye he said, "God bless you!" "God bless you, too, Robert," I answered. Sometimes the face of God does shine through us and His grace is revealed by our actions.
Thank you again for writing about Robert and his life. I am grateful to have known him.
Carolyn T. Florek
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Houston Press' biggest stories.