Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Did you notice the glaring error in Monday's print edition?

It's been often said that every writer needs a good editor.

At newspapers, one of the things we are dealing with is the absence of what we used to refer to as the copy desk. They were editors who read and edited stories, designed pages, and wrote the headlines and captions that appeared in the finished print product.

These days, all those sets of eyes are absent.

What was once unthinkable has now become routine.

Yes, fewer and fewer sets of eyes look at copy and pages before they hit print.

That last line of defense - the copy desk - is just one more reminder of how this business has changed.

I can't tell you how many times a solid copy desk has saved a reporter - or editor's - backside and allowed us to avoid looking incredibly silly.

I have often said that working here as I do in the early a.m. hours and posting content online - without the benefit of anyone else getting a chance to look at it - is something akin to what the Wallenda family used to do. Yes, it's a little bit like working without a net.

All of which is my way of wondering just how many people noticed the glaring error that accompanied my Monday print column. If you're an online reader - and thanks for reading by the way! - this will not pertain to you. This is instead directed to our longtime, loyal, ink-stained print readership.

I managed to quickly erase the error from our website, again reminding me of my favorite thing about the online world, a couple of keystrokes and - Voila! - what mistake?

I was writing about the fact that Ward Bond appeared in two classic movies, including one of my personal Top Fives. He portayed Bert the cop in the Christmas classic 'It's a Wonderful Life,' but I never realized until my wife told me that he also played Father Peter Lonergan in the John Wayne classic 'The Quiet Man.'

I finished off that column very early Sunday morning. Then I went about finding a photo of Bond, along with Ernie the taxi driver in 'Wonderful Life.'

But in putting together the caption for the photo that accompanied my column, I made a ridiculous error. Instead of referring to Ward Bond, I called him Burt Ward.

Now, as any Boomer can tell you, Burt Ward played Robin to Adam West's Batman in the campy classic based on the comic book hero.

That's the kind of thing that the copy desk would pick up on - and often times loudly announce in a crowded newsroom, much to the shame of the offending writer, in this instance me.

Instead, since I wrote the column, the caption and also laid out that page. As much as I would like to shirk the blame here and yell at someone for making such a silly error, the offending person is staring back at me in the mirror.

SpellCheck does not catch that kind of mistake; humans do.

As a paean to loyal readers, I can at least offer one more bit of trivia connected to that photo, passed along to me by a reader yesterday, one by the way who did not notice the glaring error in that caption.

The cab driver, Ernie Bishop (you know, that "guy who sits around on his brains all day," according to old man Potter), was portrayed by an actor named Frank Faylen.

Know who else he portrayed? Again, I'm hoping Boomers will get this one.

Yes, Frank Fayley also portrayed Dobie Gillis' father in the TV show, 'The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.' Merry Christmas, Boomers!

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