Headline was ready: regardless of who won…

December 11, 2008 by  
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Among the many curious newspapers we’ve encountered the last 32 years is a pair of the “Publix Opinion” newspapers from New York, both dated September 22, 1927. This was essentially a promotional newspaper done by the Publix Theatres Corporation which owned various movie houses across the country.

The curiosity of this pair is that they both report on the famous Jack Dempsey – Gene Tunney boxing match fought the date of this issue. Obviously they had two editions ready to hit the streets depending on who won: “TUNNEY WINS” with subhead “Champion Retains Crown” was the one newspaper, and: “DEMPSEY WINS” with subhead: “Ex-Champ Regains Crown” read the other newspaper. Somehow both editions were bound into the volume of issues for the year, but I suspect none of the “Dempsey Wins” issues were offered on the street, as Gene Tunney won the fight.

This was the famous “long count” match during which there was some controversy as to whether Tunney, when knocked down, was actually down for 13 seconds versus 9 seconds before standing up and coming back to defeat Dempsey.

The text was written generically enough–or so they thought–to satisfy any reader of the newspaper. Or at least they didn’t care about inaccuracies, as there was no mention of Tunney hitting the canvas, nor the controversial long count. And they report the crowd was 160,000 when in fact it was 104,000.

Ultimately the report was just a lead-in to promote the showing of the film “Underworld” in the Publix Theatres (see last paragraph). An ad for the movie appears on page 3. Not surprisingly the contents of pages 2, 3 and 4 are identical in both issues.

Enjoy a fascinating curiosity!

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