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The Chroniclers Who Came Before Jack Smith

May 11, 1997

Josh Getlin's May 1 article entitled "-30-" was excellent. I assume Mr. Getlin is too young to remember Jack Smith's predecessor, friend and colleague on The Times--the original Mr. L.A., Matt Weinstock.

Matt wrote an L.A. column first for the Daily News, then for the Mirror, and finally for The Times. He was a warm and witty chronicler of our city and a marvelous man. I and others of my generation will never forget him.

RICHARD J. KAMINS

Los Angeles

*

The columns by Jack Smith, Mike Royko and Herb Caen that we enjoyed for so long will become just memories.

I wonder how many people ever think about the entertaining columns written in the 1920s and '30s by O.O. McIntyre when he told us about his "Thoughts While Strolling" in "New York Day by Day."

WINIFRED ICKER

Monrovia

*

I enjoyed reading the comparison (contrast) of Jack Smith, Herb Caen and Mike Royko, but I think they were more different than your article suggested.

Caen was too bland; Royko, while often quite funny, could also be mean; and Smith was witty, nice and occasionally over-folksy. I remember a Caen column in which he went through the San Francisco telephone directory and listed names to show what a varied population the city had. It must have been a very slow news day.

I also remember Smith and Caen agreeing that the only way to determine the merits of their respective cities was to change places, whereupon Royko quickly suggested January and February.

EUGENE FRIEDMAN

Granada Hills

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