A History of the UCLA Daily Bruin, 1919-1955
The New Golden Age: Part 1
by George Garrigues
Printed edition © 1970, 1997
Internet Edition © 2000, 2001
All rights reserved, but you are welcome to download electronic copies, send e-copies to your friends or make printouts for yourself.
Go to the Front of the Book
Preface, Contents, List of Editors, Bibliography and Index
Go to the Preceding Section
11C. The Staff on Strike
Quite frankly, I try to forget those years on the Bruin although I made many good friends whom I still see. (1953 Editor Al Greenstein, Questionnaire.)
I guess a psychiatrist would say I've developed a "block" about those days. I know that the effort to recall has been disquieting -- not to say unnerving and traumatic -- but don't quote me. (An editor of the Thirties, name withheld, Questionnaire.)
. . . recollections have a way of conforming to what one wishes had happened rather than what did happen. (1949 Editor Grover Heyler, Questionnaire.)
It had been three years since I wrote my first very bad story for the Daily Bruin as a cub reporter. Now I was standing on the balcony of multispired Kerckhoff Hall, just outside the Bruin's office windows, with Marty Rosen, the small, intense student body president. I was fingering a metal pica ruler I used to lay out the Bruin's pages; I had risen from cub to senior reporter to desk and night editors to production manager to city editor. The next step was managing editor and, beyond that, if possible, editor-in-chief. But the Student Council had rejected my bid for the managing editorship the night before. I was angry. I had shanghaied Rosen in the hall and led him out to the balcony.
"What in hell is this all about, Marty?" I asked. "What the devil is going on?"
Rosen couldn't explain it himself. I am sure he didn't have all the answers.
"There's a group out to get you," he said. "You know who I mean. Look, you know you irritate a lot of people and then, besides that, well, someone saw a copy of an Un-American Activities Committee report with your father's name in it."
With my father's name in it! So what, who cares and what kind of world are we living in? [My father was C. H. (Brick) Garrigues, an organizer for the Newspaper Guild and later jazz critic for the San Francisco Examiner. He was "named" as a Communist in the state Senate Un-American Activities Committee Report for 1943. So was John F. Cohee of Hell's Bells fame, who by that time was a professional journalist.]
I asked Rosen if there were any chance of his getting the Council to reverse its decision and he said he would do his best. I went back in my office and reflected. I had always liked Rosen, feeling he had a tough job in a tough time. Years later, he wrote about his term as ASUCLA president:
In retrospect, it is clear to me now that I was quite immature and overly solicitous of administration views. On many occasions, I believe, I was conned or misled. We must remember, however, that these were the days of Senator Joe McCarthy's witch hunt and the days of the Korean war . . . the students were generally quite submissive . . . Conduct by the Dean of Students office was, I am sure, well intended, but not always candid or straightforward. The dominant theme, which we bought, was "Don't rock the boat," and we didn't. (Ackerman, 1969, p. 73.)
If "Don't rock the boat" was the theme for the Student Council, "Create a few waves" was the theme for the Daily Bruin. The Bruin was not a crusading newspaper, but it didn't dodge the news, either, and there was plenty of news during the early Fifties -- both on campus and off.
During 1951, Dean Hahn suspended the Carver Club, an African American organization, from campus activities because it had invited speakers for Negro History Week before submitting a proposed program to the Dean's office. (DB, 2/15/51.) A University of Washington student editor was dismissed in March by a faculty committee because he devoted "so much time to the prosecution of one particular issue he cannot effectively serve the student body" (DB, 3/13/51), a suspension that cast an ominous shadow over the Bruin because the president of the University of Washington at that time was Raymond B. Allen, who was to be appointed Chancellor at UCLA later that year.
On April 11, 1951, President Truman removed General Douglas MacArthur from his command in Korea. Editor Martin A. Brower editorialized:
Once upon a time there was a little boy named Douglas who liked to play war. Oh, he had such fun with his toy soldiers, tanks, and guns. The only trouble was that he would play with them so long and so hard that he would often break them. But Doug didn't care. There were more soldiers and other toys where these came from, a big toy shop called the US.
Now this little boy liked to make rash promises to other boys about his toys and how he could play with them across the street. His father, Harry, would often tell our hero not to make these statements because daddy would not back them up as sonny boy thought he would. But Doug didn't care. Possibly he thought that if he made the boasts often enough he would get himself into so much trouble that papa would have to let him go across the street to play war.
Therefore, he would not heed the repeated warnings of his father, Harry. But daddy knew that papas always know best and that the head of the family was the only one who could make decisions. He knew it was poor for little Doug to cross the street.
Finally, after repeated warnings, papa Harry had to discipline Doug. First he spanked him but that didn't work. So as Doug ate lunch one day this week, Harry took away all of his little boy's toys.
And the family lived peacefully ever after -- we hope. (DB, 2/12/51.)
One bright spot in 1951 was the end of the University loyalty oath.
Loyalty Oath Dies After Two Years
By Joe Lewis
University of California's Loyalty Oath is dead.
In existence for only a two-year span, the oath was the central issue in many an editorial column, academic seminar, after-dinner conversation and political meeting.
On its last legs since the decision in favor of the 18 non-signers handed down by the Third District Appellate Court last May, the edict finally succumbed at last week's Regents' meeting at Berkeley.
The decision was more of a formality than anything else -- it could even be considered as the last rites for the oath . . . (DB, 11/19/51.)
And in December the Board of Regents appointed Raymond B. Allen as UCLA's first Chancellor. Editor Bob Myers said editorially:
Let us celebrate the naming of Dr. Allen as chancellor. And in our rejoicing, let us hope that with a man of Dr. Allen's caliber as its chief, UCLA can assert itself as a leader in the field of education and can soon become free from the encumbering web that goes with dependence upon Berkeley. (DB, 12/17/51.)
But he warned that the Chancellor would have a "battle . . . winning the faculty over to his side. He holds the dubious distinction of being the first college president to disregard that cherished possession, tenure, in firing three Washington professors in 1949 for 'subversive' activities."
The year 1952 began with President Sproul banning Communist speakers from all campuses of the University (DB, 1/9/52). Dean Hahn barred the pacifist magazine Anvil from sale in the student store because he felt it was a partisan political publication (DB, 1/10/52); he was opposed politely but firmly in his decision by student David McReynolds, a Socialist, whose brother, Martin, was later to become a Daily Bruin editor. The same year, the Student Council voted to ban the sale of all Communist publications in the bookstore. (DB, 3/13/52.)
Near the end of the year, the University suspended Scop magazine for "poor taste" in an article parodying Sen. Richard Nixon, the vice presidential candidate. (DB, 12/1/52.) David McReynolds commented facetiously that if the magazine wanted to go underground, "I know a good cellar and have lots of experience along this line." (DB, 12/2/52.) McReynolds was not earning any goodwill for the family name, as his brother was to find out two years later.
In Berkeley, President Sproul cracked down on the Daily Californian, which had run three articles on a Communist-sponsored youth festival in East Berlin. He named an Advisory Board to consult with the Daily Cal staff on material to be published in the paper. Daily Bruin Editor Peter Graber opposed the Advisory Board but claimed that the Daily Cal "fell down in its responsibility" by not publishing any articles opposing the festival. (DB, 2/29/52.)
Throughout 1952, the nation's colleges were ripe targets for legislative investigating committees, who were busy doing the things that later caused Richard Rovere to write
McCarthyism rampant managed, for a time, to make politics in America seem almost entirely a matter of idiotic chatter about "loyalty risks" and "security risks" . . . a visitor from another civilization would have been forced to concede that in the United States the measure of political virtue was the number of unworthy civil servants a government could manage to dismiss. (Rovere, p. 17.)
Southern California college presidents were invited to a meeting with the state Senate Committee on Un-American Activities in March, where they promised to appoint "contact men" for committee investigators in an effort to weed out Communists on their campuses. Editor Graber said it was a matter of being
Sold Down the River
A special Loyalty Oath . . . Regulation 17 . . . an Advisory Board for a student newspaper . . .
These are a few of the milestones in the recent history of a once-proud institution, the University of California. And now they have a new bedfellow -- a representative for each UC campus to the state Senate's Committee on Un-American Activities . . .
Whether this representative will in effect be a spy is purely a matter of conjecture. Yet one must question the wisdom . . . in agreeing to the appointment of such a "contact man" who could so easily exercise a police power over professors and students. . .
When an educational institution no longer has the freedom to choose its own instructors and install and implement its own system of housecleaning -- without the presence of a "contact man" and a publicity-seeking legislative committee -- then it has become a prostitute in the academic world. (DB, 3/31/52.)
These stories and others were covered by reporters and editors who brought a new Golden Age to the Bruin -- certainly up to the standards that had been set in the Thirties and early Forties. Though there were still recurrent and serious staff shortages, those who stuck with the paper were competent and professional craftsmen. Peter Graber, as city editor, brought in horizontal make-up and white space between stories. Jack Hefley, Jack Weber, Joe Lewis and Al Greenstein covered campus controversies with wit and excitement. The feature page continued to be the voice of the student body, but conservatives still complained that it was dominated by leftists and worse.
The "new" and the "old" staffs merged and worked well in the shaky aftermath of the Bruin walkout of February 1951. Dean Hahn was pleased. He wrote to Editor Bob Myers almost a year later that "you have been the best editor since Chuck Francis. This is high praise." (Chanc, 1952, Folder 246-DB, 1/16/52.) One event that lent distinction to Myers's term was the celebration of the Bruin's Silver Anniversary, with the motto "A Quarter Century of Service to UCLA" running daily beneath the Page One flag. A special anniversary edition, featuring a double-truck photo layout of a typical day's production, ran on Nov. 28, 1951, with this editorial by Myers:
25 Years of Service
Friday, Oct. 22, 1926, is a date long to be remembered in the annals of UCLA. For it was on that day that the . . . name of the student newspaper changed from "Daily Grizzly" to "Daily Bruin."
Since that time, UCLA has dropped the "southern branch" nonsense and has grown to such proportions that it is completely capable of becoming an independent university . . .
It's been a stormy quarter-century for The Bruin. Almost before the ink had dried on its first issue, it had been branded as a "red" newspaper. The attack has continued ever since, and although the persons who slammed The Bruin so many years ago have departed, the cry still sounds the same -- "That damn Bruin is red." . . .
But despite the turbulent life it has led, The Bruin has continued to publish daily since 1926. Staffs have come and gone, but The Bruin tradition has lived on . . .
The Daily Bruin has completed 25 years of service to UCLA. It has been an influence and an experience in the lives of the thousands of students who have read it. May it continue to retain the position of high integrity in the future that it has achieved in the past. (DB, 11/ 30/51)
The special issue featured quotations from stories of past years, an interview by Carl L. Cain (who may have been the first African American reporter since Ralph Bunche) with alumnus Matt Weinstock, who was at that time the featured columnist for the Los Angeles Daily News, and a newly drawn cartoon by Times staffer Bruce Russell featuring, of course, a bear -- this one wearing an eyeshade and carrying three huge pencils over his shoulder.
Under "Harry Tells Us We're Not Old Enough to Celebrate," the Bruin lamented the fact that President Truman declined to send a congratulatory message because his policy was to limit them to publications reaching at least 50 years. "We are crushed and feel very juvenile," a news story said. "Harry's chances for reelection have taken a nosedive because he has lost The Daily Bruin vote."
A story by Vivian Shulman (who later became Vivian Garrigues) took a backward look at fashions of 1926, when "coeds were discussing the pros and cons of 'trousers for women,' the daringly new innovation of Paris couturiers."
The featured story by Joe Lewis on the Bruin's checkered history ended with the words
Probably the thing that hurt The Bruin most was the same factor that plagued the Normal Outlook back in 1911 -- student apathy . . . the DB is still faced with the same problems, the same intrigues and the same hopes for the future.
It'll probably be here as long as there is a University. (DB, 11/28/51.)
In the spring semester 1952, Peter Graber took over as editor and the Bruin moved its shop to the Beverly Hills Citizen, where a United Press machine was installed (wire service having been discontinued as an economy measure a few semesters earlier). A daily wire news column was begun on Page 2.
Editor Graber was later described by a predecessor, Martin Brower, as "Highly excitable, but a strong and capable journalist with a strength for layout and form. A strong departure from the concerned intellectuals who preceded either of us. Enjoyed newspapering for newspapering alone."
Graber was a perfectionist. He began a series of "Correction Boxes," which had to run the succeeding day whenever there was a mistake, no matter how trivial. Often boxes would be printed five days a week. So well received was the Bruin that Lieutenant Governor Goodwin J. Knight, a Republican, praised the paper as "an excellent tabloid replete with campus news and a good coverage of all affairs including sports and social activities . . . [It] is one of the best of the college publications . . ." (DB, 4/23/52.)
Jointly with the new Graduate Department of Journalism, the Bruin began to sponsor high school journalism days in the hope of attracting more workers to pad out scanty staffs. Special Saturday issues were distributed to the younger students explaining Bruin procedure.
Everybody Talks About It . . . Here's How They Found Out
An organization plans a meeting . . . a professor gives a lecture . . . an athletic contest is held. Students depend on The Daily Bruin to keep them informed of happenings on and off campus. The city room of the campus daily is a gristmill for news touching every aspect of college life. Newsgathering is a continual process. Early each day writers check the morning copy board for story information to be prepared for publication . . . Afternoon activity centers around the horseshoe desk where the night staff, consisting of a night editor and a desk editor, is stationed . . . The desk editor distributes assignments received from the city editor and reads copy already turned in by reporters. The night editor consolidates the copy from which the city editor . . . makes layouts after the majority of the stories have been written . . . At the shop the night editor is in complete charge of that particular edition of the campus daily. Other night staffers at the shop are the desk editor, the sports night editor and the proofreader . . . At 7 a.m. Bruins are distributed on campus . . . A critique or "hell sheet" is posted by the managing editor in The Bruin office suggesting improvements and crediting good work . . . The managing editor also talks over the finished product with the night editor, pointing out in detail the various mistakes that were made. By this time, work on the next day's Daily Bruin already has begun. Newsgathering is a continual process . . . everybody talks about it. (DB, 5/24/52.)
Despite the hard work and the professional air about the paper, or maybe because of it, there was no separating the Bruin from the political milieu around it.
Late in 1952 the Bruin was attacked because of an article by Eugene Blank in which he defended convicted atomic spies Ethel and Julius Rosenberg. (DB, 11/24/52 ) (Blank had left the Bruin staff temporarily after the staff walkout but was still writing opinion articles for the feature page.) Feature editor Joe Lewis said one irate caller wanted to know if the Bruin had a "policy of defending Communist traitors." Lewis replied: "After all, America's greatest asset has always been Freedom of Expression." (DB, 12/4/52.)
A distant echo of the 1945 Bruin trouble with the Warner Brothers picket line was heard in 1952. Frank Underwood, the Bruin's circulation manager and chairman of the Students for Eisenhower club, was censured by the Administration because his group draped "UCLA for Ike" banners on a bus. "I have made enough apologies for my actions and I am not sorry that people outside the University now realize there are Republican students on campus," he said. (DB, 10/16/52.)
Go to the Conclusion of This Chapter
12B. The New Golden Age
It isn't good to get a standing ovation when you're young: You have nothing to look forward to when you're old.