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Paper, Mister?

The latest video from Ken and Shorpilu Studios is "Newsies," about the newsboys who hawked papers on street corners at the turn of the last century, featuring the photography of Lewis Wickes Hine. For maximum impact, view it in Full-Screen mode at 1080p resolution (click "Play," select 1080p, then click the icon).

On Shorpy:
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I was a Chicago newsie

Worked West 63rd and South Kedzie Avenue from 1959 to 1962. I was 13 at the start and left when I was old enough to work at a grocery (16). Sold papers 6-10pm. The newsboy job was the most important one I ever had. It took me away from the small block, family, school, church to the world of adults who were out at night -- business owners, shoppers, drunks, gamblers, lonely people, nutty people, beatniks, and more.

Making my own money was important and led to many important life decisions. I worked through high school, college, law school and just retired from my business. Despite my profession and business, the news job remains the most important. One thing I do now is collect copies of old pics of newsies. Shorpy and Lewis Hine -- great!

Shorpy soundtracks

Soundtrack for "Newsies" is Arthur Pryor's "Frozen Bill Cakewalk," recorded by the composer and his band in 1909. For those who (like me) are fans of this kind of music, here are a couple of online sources for period recordings:

The Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project run by the University of California at Santa Barbara.

The Internet Archive 78 RPMs & Cylinder Recordings collection.

Also, The Paragon Ragtime Orchestra has recorded an excellent series of recreations using original period scores, many of them from Arthur Pryor's collection.


At 0:28 that looks like Stan Laurel on the left of the screen waiting for the wagon and then jumping into the crowd.

40 cents a week

I remember filling in for a friend for a week delivering his papers...waiting for the papers at the stockroom, folding 30 or 40 and heading off on the the end of the week I think I took home 40 cents or some ridiculous amount...I'm sorry, but child labour laws were enacted for a reason...!!! That one legged newsie probably lost it while delivering his papers and got nothing for his trouble, including the crutch!

[Strictly speaking, newsies were not newspaper delivery boys -- they didn't have routes. They hawked papers to passers-by on the street. - Dave]

Pushing and shoving to get going

If kids today were only so eager to work.

"St. Louis, Chicago and Denver aaaaaaaaaaper!"

That was the call that my dad used in about 1928 or 29 on the square of small town Piggott, Arkansas. About 30 years later they would make the movie "A Face in the Crowd" using locations around that same square. Hemingway also wrote his "Farewell to Arms" about 6 blocks from that square. Shorpy has made my week. Thank you!

"Jimmy Brown the Newsboy of The Town"

This brings to mind the Mac Wiseman version of the A. P. Carter song, "Jimmy Brown"; "I sell the morning paper sir, my name is Jimmy Brown, everyone knows I am the newsboy of the town."

The song was written in the 1930's when newsboys struggled to help their families during the Great Depression. Like so many of the Carter Family songs, it painted a vivid picture in simple wording.

A fight?

Someone should stop that fight! What if it damages their self-esteem?

All kidding aside, as I mentioned in another discussion, my father was a newsie as a young boy around 1910. When I was young, he told me stories about his newsie experiences and what it was like growing up during that time in general, plus things that happened during his forty-four years with the Pennsylvania Railroad. Now that I better comprehend the significance of his life experiences, I wish I had listened closer and that I could ask him to tell me more. He lived from 1902-1998. What a time to have been alive, eh?

All I can say is....

THAT WAS FANTASTIC!! I loved that!

The great photos of those sweet, pathetic faces... the authentic ragtime music... the Ken Burns effect... the one-legged boy...

I laughed! I cried! I ran out and bought a newspaper!

Please, sir, could I have some more?

In 1080p

Which one was Christian Bale?

Great video ....

More, please!


Newsie musings

Newsies in that time period were working to help the family eat and survive. I was a "newsie" in the early-mid fifties and only did it for money to support my bike. It taught me to be self sufficient, if I wanted something, I worked for it. Kids today are hindered by child labor laws and don't get that chance to learn that lesson.

I Was Taken

The plucky newsboy with one leg is inspirational. I'm betting he made a success of his life.

Another splendid presentation

viewed with much appreciation and gratitude to Ken and Shorpilu Studios. This vignette manages to provoke shock and sadness (for the most unfortunate youngsters), humor (from the fighting few), admiration (for the perseverence of the determined young sellers to earn some coinage) and awareness (of how drastically times have changed). Thank you for creating all these emotions in a two minute flick, very well done.

Keep them coming

Another great one from shorpy. Love them.
Keep them coming.

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