Bob Considine

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Robert "Bob" Bernard Considine (November 4, 1906 – September 25, 1975) was an American writer and commentator.[1] He is best known for co-writing Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo and The Babe Ruth Story.

Biography[edit]

As a student, Considine attended Gonzaga College High School and George Washington University, both in his hometown of Washington, DC. He worked as a government employee there, as well.

He launched his career as a journalist by his own initiative. In 1930, he purportedly went to the editors of the now defunct Washington Herald to complain when they misspelled his name in a report about an amateur tennis tournament in which he had participated. He was hired as the newspaper's tennis reporter.[2] He later wrote drama reviews and Sunday feature articles.[3] The newspaper was one in a syndicate of major-market daily newspapers owned by media magnate William Randolph Hearst. As such, Considine could and would use this fact to his advantage.[4]

He would later become a war correspondent with the International News Service, also owned by Hearst, with the advent of World War II.[5] [6] The wire service was a predecessor to United Press International.[7] And, his column "On the Line" was a well known syndicated feature.[8]

"Bob Considine is no great writer, but he is the Hearstling who regularly gets there first with the most words on almost any subject," wrote Time magazine in an un-bylined profile.[2]

With Ted W. Lawson, Considine wrote Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, an account of Lt. Col. James Doolittle's 1942 air raid on Japan that was released the following year. It became a best-selling book.[9]

Considine was prolific, with a level of production few could match. "Considine's speed, accuracy, and concentration as a writer and his seemingly inexhaustible energy were legendary in the newspaper profession. He was known to work at two typewriters at one time, writing a news story on one and a column or book on the other. His colleagues at the Washington Post recalled that he wrote a column on the 1942 World Series in nine minutes--on a train with his typewriter on a baggage car and the conductor shouting, 'All aboard.'," according to the Dictionary of American Biography.[9]

In 1955, Considine was a panelist on the television game show Who Said That?, then hosted on American Broadcasting Company by John Charles Daly, in which celebrities attempt to determine the speaker of a quotation in the recent news.[10]

But he was not without his detractors. Considine was often taken to task for biased reporting, as in an article about then president Harry S. Truman that appeared in 1946.[11] Simply working for Hearst was enough for others. “I was talking to Harry [Bridges] about a miserable anti-union article by a Hearst columnist named Bob Considine,” remembered journalist Sidney Roger in a series of interviews. “He was a quintessential Hearstling. Very anti-union and very pro-war. I was describing what Considine wrote in his column. Harry said, ‘I saw it, but you know, after all he works for Hearst and he's loyal to Hearst and Hearst's ideas.’” [12]

A profile of the writer appearing in Time bore the headline "Ghost at Work," alluding to the numerous works to which he contributed in a behind-the-scenes role. "Ghostwriter Considine dashes off his fast-moving autobiographies while their heroes still rate Page One, takes one-third of the 'author's' royalties as his cut. His General Wainwright's Story was in print before Wainwright was out of the hospital. While Ted Lawson was still recovering from wounds suffered in Doolittle's Tokyo raid, Considine finished Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo." He made an estimated $100,000 USD annually.[2]

He continued to work for Hearst while writing his books and adapting some of them into screenplays. He was not daunted by the pace of his schedule. "Last year [1948] I spent time in Palm Springs, Paris and Mexico City. I covered the Kentucky Derby and talked to the Pope. I even saw the World Series. It's a pretty good job,'" he told Time.[2]

With the creation of United Press International in 1958, Considine remained on the Hearst payroll, but his work was syndicated through the wire service.[13]

The crypt of Bob Considine

Considine had a notable array of admirers in high places; he had correspondence from Lyndon B. Johnson, Harry S. Truman, Rube Goldberg, Nelson A. Rockefeller, Cardinal Francis Spellman, and General William C. Westmoreland. President Dwight D. Eisenhower in a 1960 letter to William Randolph Hearst, Jr., he praised Considine's reporting on the downing of an American aircraft used for intelligence gathering and the abrupt ending to the American-Soviet summit in Paris in 1960. "Writing this note gives me also an opportunity to express my satisfaction over the balanced and reasonable way the Hearst papers handled the recent U-2 incident and the 'Summit' meeting. I thought that some of the pieces by Bob Considine were excellent, and of course from my viewpoint they were highly complimentary. I never forget the old saw -- 'He is a great man; he agrees with me.'" [14]

Bob Considine's "On The Line With Considine" commentaries were heard (at different times) on the ABC Radio Network, and on NBC Radio's "Monitor".

In his final column in 1975, Considine reportedly wrote: "I'll croak in the newspaper business. Is there any better way to go?" [9] He died in Manhattan that same year following a stroke.[8] Bob Considine is interred in a crypt at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Hawthorne, New York.

His papers are kept at Syracuse University. The collection includes correspondence, tape recordings, and typescripts, among other ephemera.[3]

Awards[edit]

  • 1957 Overseas Press Club
  • 1959 Overseas Press Club

Select Works[edit]

  • MacArthur the Magnificent, 1942
  • Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo, 1943
  • The Babe Ruth Story, written with Babe Ruth, 1948
  • The Red Plot Against America, with Robert E. Stripling. 1949
  • Innocents at Home, 1950
  • The Maryknoll Story, 1950
  • The Panama Canal, 1951
  • It's the Irish, 1961
  • The Men Who Robbed Brink's, 1961
  • Ripley, The Modern Marco Polo, 1961 - The Life and Times of the Creator of Ripley's Believe It or Not!
  • The Remarkable Life of Armand Hammer, 1975
  • It's All News to Me, 1967
  • Toots, 1969

References[edit]

  1. ^ Obituary Variety, October 1, 1975.
  2. ^ a b c d "The Press: Ghost at Work". Time. January 24, 1949. 
  3. ^ a b Bob Considine Papers An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University
  4. ^ "The Press: Forward, Hearst!". Time. April 14, 1924. 
  5. ^ Presidential Papers, Doc#1550 Personal To William Randolph Hearst, Jr., 27 May 1960. In The Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower
  6. ^ Trow, George W.S. My Pilgrim's Progress: Media Studies, 1950-1998 New York: Pantheon Books, ISBN 0-375-40134-2
  7. ^ United Press International. (2008). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved March 21, 2008, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online: http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9074318
  8. ^ a b "Milestones, Oct. 6, 1975". Time. October 6, 1975. 
  9. ^ a b c "Robert Bernard Considine," Dictionary of American Biography, Supplement 9: 1971-1975. Charles Scribner's Sons, 1994.
  10. ^ Who Said That? in Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh, A Complete Directory to Prime Time Cable and Network TV Shows, 1946 - Present, p. 978. New York: Random House Publishing, 2003. Retrieved June 11, 2011. 
  11. ^ "The Press: Thirty Seconds over Truman". Time. February 4, 1946. 
  12. ^ Shearer, Julie. ILWU History Series. A Liberal Journalist On the Air and On the Waterfront: Labor and Political Issues, 1932-1990 – Sidney Roger, With an Introduction by Jessica Mitford. http://content.cdlib.org/ark:/13030/kt1000013q/?&query=Shearer&brand=oac
  13. ^ "The Press: New York, May 24 (UPI)". Time. June 2, 1958. 
  14. ^ Eisenhower, Dwight D. Personal To William Randolph Hearst, Jr., 27 May 1960. In The Papers of Dwight David Eisenhower, ed. L. Galambos and D. van Ee, doc. 1550. World Wide Web facsimile by The Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission of the print edition; Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996, http://www.eisenhowermemorial.org/presidential-papers/second-term/documents/1550.cfm

External links[edit]