McIntyre’s Column Reflected His Own Character

Damon Runyon

Pittsburgh Sun-Telegraph/February 15, 1938

MIAMI, Feb. 15.—O. O. McIntyre was undoubtedly the most beloved newspaper writer of his time.

His appeal to the newspaper reading public was at once the marvel of publishers, and the despair of other writers.

There never was anything exactly like McIntyre’s column in newspaper history, and never anyone else exactly like McIntyre himself.

While ostensibly devoted to news and small talk of New York City, Odd’s column always reflected his own personality and It was that personality—gentle, lovable and essentially human—that was probably the real secret of his tremendous appeal. It was the same element that made the late Will Rogers so popular, and it is an element that cannot be simulated or imitated. It is something that comes from the soul.

Small Towner

Though McIntyre wrote of the big city, his following was not metropolitan. It was in the small towns of the United States. He sprang from the small town himself, and he was always recognized by every small-towner as a blood brother. He was, of course, completely sophisticated and cosmopolitan in the later years of his life, but he had the trick of maintaining the wide-eyed amazement of a country boy at the big show that is New York, and his friends saw in him their own selves.

Mirror of Big Town

His column was not a Broadway column, though he wrote of Broadway as much as he did of any other section of New York. It was more a mirror of the big town in general, and through his comment he generally managed to weave a strain of homely observation and philosophy that was the delight of the greatest newspaper audience enjoyed by any individual since the late Arthur Brisbane. It was my privilege to know McIntyre for many years. I always found him an interesting, kindly gentleman.

All-Around Newsman

He was an all-around newspaperman. He came up the hard way, and the now familiar story of his rise from the obscurity of a country town to fame and affluence will always be one of the greatest inspirations of the newspaper game. McIntyre found his gold in a field that thousands and thousands of others had been prospecting for generations. Before McIntyre, it would have been difficult to convince newspaper publishers outside New York that their readers could possibly be interested in the people, and neighborhoods, and small happenings of the big city.

Gave Column Away

As a matter of fact, McIntyre himself found difficulty in convincing the publishers for years. It is related that in the beginning, he practically gave his column away just to get it going. It may well be that had McIntyre remained in Gallipolis, Ohio, the small town on which he hung a wreath of fame, he would have become celebrated just the same because of the magnetic quality of his writing.

The newspaper game lost a tremendous personality in O.O. McIntyre, and his readers have lost an entertainer who will probably never be replaced in their affections.

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