Adventurer Floyd Gibbons : Eye Street's Eyewitness to History
Overview - Floyd Gibbons was the most famous journalist and adventurer of his day. His astonishing account of being sunk by a German U-boat 100 years ago was read in both Houses of Congress and contributed to the U.S. entering World War I only five weeks later. Read more...
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More About Adventurer Floyd Gibbons by Paul Warren
Floyd Gibbons was the most famous journalist and adventurer of his day. His astonishing account of being sunk by a German U-boat 100 years ago was read in both Houses of Congress and contributed to the U.S. entering World War I only five weeks later. His battlefield reporting of the bravery of the Marines in defending Paris first established the Marine image, making him the Father of the Marine Mystique. He lost an eye to a German gunner in doing so and his white eye patch served as his trademark for the rest of his life. After the war he remained in the Paris bureau of the Chicago Tribune, rubbing elbows with the writers and artists who flocked there. From there he covered multiple wars and conflicts, taking his life in his hands aboard dangerous airplanes, among starving Russians and in battles between withering fire from both sides. He was tasked by his editors with a four month trek across the Sahara, where he encountered slavers, sandstorms and deadly thirst. He once bluffed his way into covering a conflict by wearing a host of phony medals, including one for a dog show. In 1929, Gibbons tried his hand at broadcasting and created the first national U. S. daily news show. His rapid fire baritone delivery enchanted listeners and within months he was one of the most famous broadcasters on the air. Mothers named their babies after him, thousands sent letters and everyone repeated his yarns around the water coolers, country store stoves and street corners. His fame as a broadcaster led him to a career in movie projects. He produced short movies about various adventures and announced for movie trailers. He became very wealthy and eventually was awarded a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Born and raised in Washington, D.C., he attended Gonzaga College on Eye Street there. His first taste of newspapering came from the Washington Post, whose late editions he peddled during the Spanish-American War. His early reporting jobs came from daily papers in Minneapolis and Milwaukee but his big break came when reporting for the Chicago Tribune. He was assigned to cover the Mexican Revolution spilling over into Texas when he charmed his way into riding with mercurial revolutionary Pancho Villa, filing exclusive story after exclusive story about his exploits. The Tribune readers ate it up and Gibbons became a star in the Chicago constellation. He went on to interview presidents Wilson, Coolidge, Hoover and Roosevelt, advising the latter on domestic policy. He wrote two books, one which made famous the famed Red Baron. Gibbons died in 1939 while preparing to go cover World War II. The New York Times obituary described him as "the internationally known correspondent and radio commentator who seemed to have devoted his whole life to the search of thrills." He "differed from most publicized personalities in that he actually lived up to his publicity." Book has 70 photos. All author's royalties go to a Gonzaga College High School scholarship in name of Michael Kelly, journalist who died in the Iraq war.
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