James Rainey of the LA Times has written what almost seems like an obit for the Chronicle, an “imperfect vessel for this perfectly self-centered city.” He points out that nobody has really replaced Herb Caen, an obligatory line for every national story about the Chron’s woes. But he continues “The Chron might have been thin on foreign and national news, overloaded with wire copy and sometimes loosely edited, but it knew how to wallow in the city’s cherished stew of high and low culture.”
Perhaps Rainey’s best anecdote came from his conversation with Chron lifers David Perlman, 90, and Carl Nolte, 75.
- Both recounted an infamous Chronicle gimmick from 1960, when flamboyant editor Scott Newhall sent outdoor editor Bud Boyd into the Trinity Alps. In the midst of the nuclear scares of that era, Boyd was to survive in the wild as if he were “the Last Man on Earth.”
He dutifully filed stories of his harrowing scrapes in the great outdoors, until the rival San Francisco Examiner sent its own investigative reporter, who discovered that Boyd sustained himself, not off nature’s bounty, but piles of canned food and soda pop.