Partial Transcript: John Ed, before I get into the questions that get us back on the chronology, I thought I would mention that, uh, on the way down here this morning, I-I was listening to Al Smith's show.
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks about Mitch McConnell and John Sherman Cooper.
Keywords: Liberals; Mitch McConnell; Politics; Republicans
Subjects: Cooper, John Sherman, 1901-1991; Pearce, John Ed.
Partial Transcript: S--you know before we get too deep into this, I wanted to go over again a little bit, as you know, I don't know why we're doing this. And I can't believe that I have been, or am, or will be of sufficient importance to merit my recollections being kept in an archives.
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks about his desire to accurately present himself. The interviewer explains why the interviews are important.
Keywords: Biographies; Interviews; Oral histories; Personal histories
Subjects: Oral histories.; Pearce, John Ed.
Partial Transcript: Okay. The last time we, uh, we got you to the Courier-Journal. And, um. And think--
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks about getting his job at the Louisville Courier-Journal. Talks about the differences between working at the Courier-Journal and The Somerset Journal.
Keywords: Job; Journalists; Kentucky; Newspapers; Somerset (Ky.); The Somerset Journal
Subjects: Courier-journal (Louisville, Ky.); Newspaper editors; Pearce, John Ed.
Partial Transcript: What about your politics? You know when we last--we had talked about your politics when you were in college. Sort of this, uh, well the way I interpreted, you know, just sort of experimenting with ideas, and--
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks about his political beliefs during different times in his life. Talks about writing editorials. Talks about the men he worked for and how he felt comfortable following them. Talks about how the Courier-Journal was received in different parts of the state.
Keywords: Conservatives; Democrats; Editorials; Journalists; Kentucky; Liberals; Opinions; Politics; Republicans; Writers
Subjects: Courier-journal (Louisville, Ky.); Newspaper editors; Pearce, John Ed.
Partial Transcript: I assume that, uh, Bingham and, uh, those of you aff-affiliated with the Courier-Journal, again in this late 40's period were-- did you become caught up in this, uh, post-war, uh, zeal to, to fix things in the state?
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks about becoming aware of the deficiencies of the state. Talks about problems with roads and education and out-migration. Talks about not being popular in eastern Kentucky. Talks about John L. Lewis.
Keywords: Coal miners; Continuous miners; Education; Hotels; John L. Lewis; Mining; Out-migrations; Roads; Strikes
Subjects: Courier-journal (Louisville, Ky.); Kentucky; Pearce, John Ed.
Partial Transcript: Uh, during this process, John Ed, I'm going to be learning about how newspapers work and how the editorial staff works.
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks about meeting different people while working for the Courier-Journal. Talks about his interaction with the Tennessee Valley Authority. Talks about TVA controlling flooding, demonstrations to farmers about taking care of land, and reforestation programs. Pearce talks about reading old editorials in the newspaper library. Talks about the TVA damming rivers and its affiliation with strip mining.
Keywords: Controversy; Dams; Editorials; Electricity; Erosion; Farms; Floods; Hydroelectric power; John L. Lewis; Journalists; Newspapers; Paul Evans; Reforestation; Strip mining; TVA; Writers
Subjects: Courier-journal (Louisville, Ky.); Newspaper editors; Pearce, John Ed.; Tennessee Valley Authority.
Map Coordinates: 35.972778, -83.942222
Partial Transcript: Now by the late 40's, um, and we-we'll touch upon this in another way later, but since we're talking about public power and the debate over public power, uh, in the, uh, if I'm recalling this right, in the '47 election you had Clements and Waterfield.
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks about the Courier-Journal's support for Harry Lee Waterfield. Talks about writing speeches for Harry Lee Waterfield. Describes Harry Lee Waterfield and Earle C. Clements. Talks about Dick Moloney and his friendship with Tyler Munford.
Keywords: Courier-Journal; Dick Moloney; Earle C. Clements; Governors; Harry Lee Waterfield; Kentucky; Personalities; Speeches; Tyler Munford
Subjects: Clements, Earle C. (Earle Chester), 1896-1985; Governors--Kentucky; Pearce, John Ed.
Partial Transcript: I suppose that, uh, while you were at Somerset, you had met a lot of these, uh, uh, newspaper editors from around the state and while you were at the Courier in these early years traveling around, you would meet more and more of these, uh, editors?
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks about meeting various newspaper editors. Talks about making Governor Clements angry and Governor Clements' later apology. Describes Governor Clements' personality, manners, abilities, career, and interests.
Keywords: Dick Moloney; Governors; Kentucky politics; Newspaper editors; Personalities; Politicians; Power
Subjects: Clements, Earle C. (Earle Chester), 1896-1985; Pearce, John Ed.
Map Coordinates: 37.684444, -87.911944
Partial Transcript: It's-it was too bad that Earle and Barry Bingham Senior didn't get along better personally.
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks about how Governor Clements and Barry Bingham did not get along. Talks about Governor Clements' relationship with Lennie McLaughlin. Talks about Lennie McLaughlin's political power in Louisville.
Keywords: Barry Bingham; Earle C. Clements; Johnny Crimmins; Lennie McLaughlin; Louisville (Ky.); Personalities
Subjects: Kentucky--Politics and government; Louisville (Ky.)--History; Pearce, John Ed.
Map Coordinates: 38.25, -85.766667
Partial Transcript: I liked covering the legislature. I liked to write editorials in Frankfort. I thought it was a very exciting, colorful thing to do.
Segment Synopsis: Pearce relates stories from his time in Frankfort, Kentucky.
Keywords: Beauticians; Capital Hotel; Prostitution
Subjects: Frankfort (Ky.); Kentucky--Politics and government; Pearce, John Ed.
Map Coordinates: 38.2, -84.866667
Partial Transcript: Going back to the incident with you and the Governor in the hallway. Uh, after he walked away, what, what went through your mind? What did you think about all that?
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks more about why Governor Clements was angry with him. The interviewer talks about requesting an interview with Barry Bingham. Pearce talks about Senator Nick Johnson.
Keywords: Harlan (Ky.); Nick Johnson; Scars
Subjects: Bingham, Barry, 1906-1988; Clements, Earle C. (Earle Chester), 1896-1985; Kentucky--Politics and government; Pearce, John Ed.
Partial Transcript: Were most of, uh--back in this late 40's, early 50's period were the, uh, legislature even then made up of predominately lawyers? Or were there less lawyers at that time?
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks about the most active lobbyists in Frankfort. Talks about Garvice Kincaid throwing parties for the legislature.
Keywords: Frankfort (Ky.); Garvice Kincaid; Kentucky; Lobbyists; Tyler Munford
Subjects: Kentucky--Politics and government; Pearce, John Ed.
Partial Transcript: We were talking about--earlier, about Earle Clements, and your confrontation with him. Herman Lee Donovan had a confrontation with, with Earle Clements.
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks about Clements engaging in various confrontations. Interviewer talks about how hard Clements worked. Pearce talks about having dinner with Clements. Talks about Clements' driving.
Keywords: Anger; Confrontations; Dinner parties; Driving; Emerson "Doc" Beauchamp; Fights; Herman Lee Donovan; Prayers; Speeding; Tempers
Subjects: Clements, Earle C. (Earle Chester), 1896-1985; Kentucky--Politics and government; Pearce, John Ed.
Partial Transcript: Doc Beauchamp stories are--that's another person I never met.
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks about why Emerson "Doc" Beauchamp never ran for governor. Talks about Beauchamp's political abilities and Beauchamp's relationship with Governor Clements. Talks about losing political power and politics in eastern Kentucky.
Keywords: Buying votes; Earle C. Clements; Electoral fraud; Emerson 'Doc" Beauchamp; Happy Chandler; Jackie Howell; Logan County (Ky.); Shelbyville (Ky.); Speeches
Subjects: Kentucky--Politics and government; Lieutenant governors--Powers and duties; Pearce, John Ed.
Partial Transcript: When, uh, when you think back about Lennie McLaughlin, did she have a job other than running the--
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks about how sources of power have changed in politics. Talks about Louisville, Kentucky when he first moved there. Describes Louisville at Christmastime, downtown, and local businesses. Talks about racial division and influential people in the city. [There is a pause in the tape during segment.]
Keywords: Bankers; Barry Bingham; Brown Hotel; Communities; Eli Brown; George Norton; Jefferson County (Ky.); Lennie McLaughlin; Local businesses; Soldiers; Tom Graham; Town growth
Subjects: Louisville (Ky.); Pearce, John Ed.
Map Coordinates: 38.25, -85.766667
Partial Transcript: Did you get to know, uh, did you get to know Thruston Morton while he was in Congress, representing this district?
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks about Wilson Wyatt's term as Louisville's mayor. Talks about his impressions of Wilson Wyatt and Thruston Morton. Talks about Kentucky's influence in national politics.
Keywords: Harry S. Truman; Thruston Morton; Wilson Wyatt
Subjects: Courier-journal (Louisville, Ky.); Kentucky--Politics and government; Morton, Thruston B. (Thruston Ballard), 1907-1982.; Pearce, John Ed.; Wyatt, Wilson W. (Wilson Watkins), 1905-1996
Partial Transcript: And then of course, the C-Courier's connected to all these people.
Segment Synopsis: Pearce discusses how the Courier-Journal was a respected newspaper. Talks about taking a course at Columbia University. Talks about his journalism education at the University of Kentucky. Talks about learning about journalism through his employment at newspapers.
Keywords: Columbia University; Education; Journalism; Journalists; Lecturers; Lexington Herald-Leader; University of Kentucky
Subjects: Courier-journal (Louisville, Ky.); Journalism, Educational; Pearce, John Ed.
Partial Transcript: Your day at the Courier was rather interesting. We'd come in around 8 or 8:30 to 9 and get the papers and start reading the papers.
Segment Synopsis: Pearce describes a typical day at the Courier-Journal. Describes his office. Talks about Courier-Journal staff members Molly Clowes, Weldon James, Tarleton Collier, and Russell Briney. Talks about cartoonists Grover Page, Bob York, and Hugh Haynie.
Keywords: Barry Bingham; Cartoonists; Editors; Grover Page; Hugh Haynie; Journalists; Molly Clowes; Newspaper staff; Newspapers; Robert York; Russell Briney; Tarleton Collier; Weldon James; Writers
Subjects: Courier-journal (Louisville, Ky.); Pearce, John Ed.
Partial Transcript: We each had our own--his own--each had his own specialty, sort of. His own bag. We wrote on our own subjects. I handled all the politics for the thing.
Segment Synopsis: Pearce talks about traveling throughout Kentucky to the different bureaus of the Courier-Journal. Describes the Hatcher Hotel in Pikeville, Kentucky. Talks about Gerald Griffin. Talks about other men who staffed the newspaper bureaus. [Tape ends.]
Keywords: Gerald Griffin; Hatcher Hotel; Newspaper bureaus; Pikeville (Ky.)
Subjects: Courier-journal (Louisville, Ky.); Pearce, John Ed.
BIRDWHISTELL: Okay. John Ed, before I get into the questionsthat get us back on the chronology, I thought I would mention that the -- on the way down here this morning, I -- I was listening to Al Smith's show, "Prime -- "
PEARCE: "Prime [Time ?]", --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- "Prime [Line ?]".
PEARCE: -- whatever.
BIRDWHISTELL: And it was an open topic, but he started offwith a phone call from Senator Mitch McConnell.
BIRDWHISTELL: Mitch McConnell's preparing to go over and file his papersthis morning, and Al asked him something about it and he said, "Well, as my --," "You know, it's like my mentor John Sherman Cooper," and McConnell cloaks himself in this --
PEARCE: Yes, he's trying veryhard [chuckle--Birdwhistell] to do that.
BIRDWHISTELL: And -- and -- and it strikes me that --I mean, and we -- last time, or the time before, 00:01:00you know, we talked about John Sherman Cooper, and it's gonna come up again in these interviews because of your interest and your involvement in the political scene here in Kentucky, but do you find it odd that somebody with -- like Mitch McConnell and his politics cloaks himself in the -- in the John Sherman Cooper --
PEARCE: No. If Iwere Mitch, I'd do just that.
BIRDWHISTELL: You think it's a very practical --
PEARCE: Oh, yes.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- thing to do.
PEARCE: Yeah. And afterall, John's dead. He can't [chuckle--Birdwhistell] protest.
BIRDWHISTELL: He ca--- And he probably wouldn't any--- anyway, --
PEARCE: [He ?] --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- would he?
PEARCE: [Now ?], I don't[chuckle] know.
[Interruption in taping]
BIRDWHISTELL: But the -- you don't see any similarity between MitchMcConnell's politics and John Sherman Cooper's politics, I take it?
PEARCE: That's a difficult question.00:02:00We'd have to go over them almost vote by vote, I guess, to answer that.
PEARCE: And Mitch is inthe -- He is not a reactionary Republican, --
PEARCE: -- he's a conservativeRepublican. John was usually a -- considered a moderate Republican. But I think it was -- to a great extent it was his personal charm, and his basic decency that made for him a lot of friends in Washington, including Democrats. He was -- he was quite a favorite of the Kennedy set. He was greatly 00:03:00admired by John Kenneth Galbraith. And for that reason, he had a very -- almost liberal image. I don't know that he deserved a liberal image, he was a middle-of-the-road Republican, but he was a man, as I say, of great humanity.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. Where do you think the -- the liberalimage -- how did that develop? W--- was it on race, was it on --
PEARCE: It was partly onrace, he was liberal on race, and he was also internationalist in his foreign policy.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. I guess that's -- that's what he's --was interested in in --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- in large part.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. You know I mentioned -- asked you whenyou were living in Somerset that year, when he returned home, you 00:04:00know, and you just talked about what it was like living there and John Sherman Cooper coming home almost as a hero.
PEARCE: Not almost as ahero.
BIRDWHISTELL: Strike the almost [chuckle].
PEARCE: Almost. He camehome almost Jesus. [Chuckles] He certainly was a hero.
BIRDWHISTELL: And -- I think I -- what -- whatI would have -- what I wanted to follow up on on that is that you -- you -- you talked about him being there, but did you and John Sherman Cooper at that point ever sit down and talk?
PEARCE: No. He wasin our apartment a couple of times with his brother Don, but this was social occasion and -- and that was all.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. I'm always curious, two people who had suchcareers as you and John Sherman Cooper, at an earlier time, you know, if there were conversations and what you all might have talked 00:05:00about, but that never happened [inaudible].
PEARCE: If -- if ithappened, I can't recall.
BIRDWHISTELL: It -- it would have been more casual.
PEARCE: Yes. [It ?]--
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Nothing that --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- would stand out in your mind. Okay.
PEARCE: As I say, itwas awkward for me running a Democratic paper in a Republican county --
PEARCE: -- and having torun against a local hero.
BIRDWHISTELL: [Chuckle] [Yeah ?]. Well, I thought you answered thatquestion very well, you know, when I asked you that. If it's a Democratic paper, it's a Democratic paper and, you know, you -- you stick to your -- stick to your guns.
PEARCE: Are we on now,or --
PEARCE: All right.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. I'm just checking it. I -- Iworry about the equipment sometimes.
PEARCE: Y--- you know, beforewe get too deep into this, I wanted to go over again a little bit, as you know, I don't know why we're doing this [chuckle] --
PEARCE: -- and I can'tbelieve that I have been, or am, or will be, of sufficient 00:06:00importance to merit my recollections being kept [chuckle--Birdwhistell] in an archives. But, it occurs to me, thinking about it, that if I agree to this, I ought to do a better job than I've been doing. I ought to try to get as honest a presentation as I can of, not only my life, the events in it, but some of the personal traits that come out in the experience. I think I told you I think that any man, no matter how honest he tries to be about these personal things, tends to present himself, consciously or unconsciously, in the best possible light. 00:07:00And I have been thinking about that and trying to avoid it. I d--- I don't want to present myself as better than I have been. I haven't been too [chuckle--Birdwhistell] good at times. I --
BIRDWHISTELL: Well, I -- I -- As I told youwhen we ended the interview last time and turned off the tape recorder, you brought this up. And it's -- I agree with you that it's a -- it's human tendency to -- to present yourself in the best possible light, but to just reiterate why the Oral History Commission thinks this is important and why I think it's important, it's because y--- your -- your early life was interesting because of who you later became. I mean, I think people are interested in biography generally, and -- and then we're now at this point where, as you go to the Courier-Journal, you're around some 00:08:00of the major players in the state, you eventually become a major player yourself, with the [Bert] Combs administration, you've written a book on Kentucky politics, you've observed all these politicians, and so what John Ed Pearce says about Earle Clements and [Albert] "Happy" Chandler and Wilson Wyatt, Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, what John Ed Pearce says about your interest, as I perceive it, in making the state more progressive through -- through editorial policies and through information -- I -- I think that's what it's all about, is trying to -- History will -- Your editorials and your writings are s--- already there, and this is just a way for the people who are going to be using that to get to know -- 00:09:00
PEARCE: [Chuckle] [That's ?] --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- you better.
PEARCE: -- one reason Inever [chuckles] -- one reason I didn't like editorial writing more was anonymity. I thought if I wrote something that was good, I'd rather have my name on [chuckle--Birdwhistell] it, but you know there's -- there's no one that is less -- that's more anonymous I guess, than an editorial [chuckle] writer, and -- and -- and rightly so, because it's not supposed to be his work, it's supposed to be the voice of the newspaper.
BIRDWHISTELL: The position of the paper. Well, yeah, I --I thought about that, too, John Ed, because, you know, in doing oral history you want to go back and -- and look at the documentary evidence b--- before you do --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- the interviews, and with the editorials, --
PEARCE: Who wrote 'em.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- you know, I could read all the editorials and-- and probably what I could do is pick some of those that are most interesting, most provocative, and then ask you about those, and I still might do that at some point, but I think 00:10:00-- You know, this came up when we first met about doing this, is that I think that writers have a tendency to want their writing to speak for themselves, too, that --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- that -- You know, and I understand that,that a writer takes a great pride and works hard to express themselves in a clear and -- and effective way, and then someone like me comes in and just pops off [chuckle] questions.
BIRDWHISTELL: But that's what it's all about.
BIRDWHISTELL: That's what it's --
PEARCE: [All right ?].
BIRDWHISTELL: -- all about. Okay.
PEARCE: I'm gonna turn thisoff.
BIRDWHISTELL: Okay. [Pause]
PEARCE: Won't have --
BIRDWHISTELL: That --
PEARCE: -- so much humin it --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- that was making --
PEARCE: -- [inaudible].
BIRDWHISTELL: -- a little. I wondered where that noise wascoming from.
PEARCE: From my printer.
BIRDWHISTELL: I thought it was my head [chuckle].
BIRDWHISTELL: Okay. The last time we -- we got you00:11:00to the Courier-Journal. And in --
PEARCE: We were just --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- think--- Hmm?
PEARCE: -- discussing some ofthe people on the editorial board --
PEARCE: -- and --
BIRDWHISTELL: In -- in thinking about that move, since we talkedabout it, I asked you back then at -- in our last interview, you know, about what a big jump that was, from the Somerset newspaper to becoming an editorial writer for the Courier-Journal. Now, as I understand it, you made no inquiries to the Courier-Journal while you were in Somerset about a position, at the Courier?
PEARCE: No, I didn't.
BIRDWHISTELL: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. But I guess, you know, yourfriends and acquaintances at the Courier-Journal knew you would like to work there and I -- and --
PEARCE: Well, not only that,but I had called on Jim Polk, the managing editor, and had applied for a job. That was before I got the job 00:12:00--
PEARCE: -- at Somerset.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- before you went to Somerset.
PEARCE: And he said, "We'llkeep your" [chuckle] "name on file."
BIRDWHISTELL: And so, just to go over this again, when --when Barry Bingham was looking for you at the K.P.A-- .
BIRDWHISTELL: -- convention and then later wrote you and asked youto come there, he -- do you think he'd been your newspaper, or that -- How did he -- Did he read the w--- some -- like some of the things you had written that had won the awards at the K.P.A. or --
BIRDWHISTELL: You think that's what attracted him to you?
PEARCE: Well, that's one thing.And then, as I say, people who knew him had recommended me. I know that George Goodman, the head of the O.P.A. [O________ Press Asso.?] in Kentucky --
PEARCE: -- with whom Ibecame friendly in Somerset, he had recommended me. Phil Ardry had. Other people who knew Barry had said, there's a good man 00:13:00in Somerset you -- if you're looking for somebody. And as he explained to me, he wanted somebody who was interested in Kentucky because he wanted a more Kentucky flavor on the page.
BIRDWHISTELL: Were you interested in Kentucky at that time?
PEARCE: Not especially. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell]But since he wanted me to be, I was.
BIRDWHISTELL: [Chuckle] You -- you thought you might [get moreinterested ?].
PEARCE: Yeah. Whatever hewanted, you know, I was gonna try to find -- try to learn it.
BIRDWHISTELL: Just like those jobs you took as a kid, whenthey said, "Can you do this?" and you'd say, --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- "Yes, sir, I can," and -- and it wasyour job to learn -- learn about Kentucky,
BIRDWHISTELL: -- right?
PEARCE: And I was [chuckle--Birdwhistell]-- You know, that was not a new aspect of employment to me. I had done it all my life. "Can you do this?" "Sure." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] The least you can do is lose your job, and you don't have one anyhow, so you might as well go ahead and give it a shot.
BIRDWHISTELL: There you go. There you go. So, in00:14:00-- in moving to Louisville, you -- you came here and lived in an apartment before your family joined you.
PEARCE: Lived at the Y.M.C.A.[Young Men's Christian Asso.].
BIRDWHISTELL: Lived at the Y.M.C.A.
PEARCE: Couldn't find an apartment.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. That's right, because it was post-war --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- housing shortage still, but you eventually moved your familyhere?
BIRDWHISTELL: How dif--- I was just thinking about this.I -- I was struck by what you had told me about living in Somerset, you know, about it being somewhat difficult. You were a Democratic paper, you -- you had led a drive to legalize liquor sales. It was a small town. You know, you were a guy that had hoped to live in New York and now you were in Somerset, Kentucky, and so it was kind of constraining, I guess would be a way to describe it, for you.
PEARCE: Yes, and p--- probablythe worst thing was the lack of hope. I could see 00:15:00no way out. No one was gonna notice my paper, no one's gonna notice me, and I was gonna be stuck there, and I wasn't making a decent living, and furthermore, life was difficult.
BIRDWHISTELL: Right. Right. And as you said, you evenconsidered other types of work at that --
PEARCE: Oh yeah, --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- point.
PEARCE: -- I would donejust about anything to turn a decent living, I guess.
BIRDWHISTELL: But you get this chance to -- to come toLouisville and work with one of the leading newspapers in the country, and -- and I was -- just wanted to ask you to sort of describe for me, in personal terms, how that changed your life. I mean, right at that -- We're talking about a period in the late '40s, right?
BIRDWHISTELL: In the late 1940s.
PEARCE: Well, mid. Iwent to work for the Courier in December of 1946.
PEARCE: And --
BIRDWHISTELL: So, before -- you know, before you get established --00:16:00You know, by the 1950s, you know, your -- your career is changing, evolving, but just concentrate on this period from ninet--- you know, from the end of '46 through the end of the decade. What -- how did that change your -- your life and --
PEARCE: Change me?
BIRDWHISTELL: -- and change you, umhmm.
PEARCE: Well, I doubt ifI can tell you that. And naturally I saw little change in me. It certainly changed my life. The job was easier than the job in Somerset, in one respect, in just the number of hours it required and -- and the concentration on the job that was required. The hours were liberal down at the 00:17:00Courier. At the same time, it was far more demanding in knowledge. It -- it demanded that I know more than I had to know in Somerset. But I was -- as far as I know, I was [chuckle] still the same person, with the same personality and character. I was hugely relieved, of course. It was just -- just transformed my outlook on life. I felt that I was on my way up. And I had already taken a giant step up.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. What about your politics? You know, whenwe last -- we'd talked about your politics when you were in college, sort of this -- well, the way I interpreted, you know, just sort of experimenting with ideas and -- 00:18:00
PEARCE: I think that wasit. We were all -- In those days, if you were [even ?] bright, you were expected to be pretty liberal, and we were. We were all pretty liberal Democrats. And so, this was a natural progression for me.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. So the -- I would assume duringthe war years, when you're in the service, your politics are -- politics aren't as important in that kind of setting, are they?
PEARCE: No [chuckle].
BIRDWHISTELL: There are no [chuckle] -- [I mean, it ?] --
PEARCE: No, there's no outletfor your --
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. I mean, you can express an opinion toyour buddies or something like that, but it -- you -- you're not involved like you were in college or like you would be --
PEARCE: There weren't so manybull sessions. And furthermore, the wardroom was strongly conservative. The executive officer and one warrant officer and I were, I think, the 00:19:00only real liberals or Democrats in the wardroom.
PEARCE: The captain and mostof the officers were nice, conservative Republicans.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. And -- and, of course, when you're inSomerset, it's not hard to look liberal.
PEARCE: No, and furthermore, Iwas running a Democratic paper, and I was expected to be -- to hew more or less to the Democratic line.
BIRDWHISTELL: Okay. So what I'm leading up to, John Ed,is that when you get involved then with the Courier -- again, keeping in mind it's this late '40s period, where is your -- where are your personal politics in relation to what you understood to be the politics of the paper, or the politics of the Binghams, or the politics of Mark Ethridge?
PEARCE: Well, in the firstplace I ought to make this ad--- admission, an editorial writer isn't 00:20:00really paid to have opinions, but to express opinions.
PEARCE: Now, it is fareasier, and more ethical certainly, if the editorial writer agrees with the opinions he expresses. But the job of the editorial writer is to express the opinions of the publisher, and that is the purpose, of course, of the editorial conference each morning, to let the editorial writers know what the publisher wants. Now, if you feel in tune with the publisher, and editorial writers usually do because they wouldn't be chosen --
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. It's --
PEARCE: -- and they wouldn'tchose, --
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. That's --
PEARCE: -- if they wereat odds with the publisher. You pretty well know what the 00:21:00publisher wants. I was seldom in disagreement with Barry Bingham or Mark Ethridge. And after a few years, I found that on those occasions when I disagreed with them, they were right more than I was. And so I felt very comfortable in hewing to their line. I was young, I was just starting really, although I wasted four years and was older than most beginners. And so I had no reluctancy, no reservations.
BIRDWHISTELL: So, their politics, the politics of the Binghams in thislate '40s period fit nicely with your developing political philosophy yourself.
PEARCE: Yes. And this00:22:00is not -- Editorial writing is a lot of politics, of course.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Well, --
PEARCE: [Inaudible] --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- I'm thinking of politics --
PEARCE: Yes. [And bright?] --
BIRDWHISTELL: Beyond part---
PEARCE: And --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- but going beyond partisan politics, --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- but taking a -- taking positions on -- onpublic issues, basically, is what --
PEARCE: I always felt, fromthe beginning, that both of those men were decent men, very much so. They meant well for their fellow man. And they wanted to do the right thing. They were conscientious. They were moral men, and I felt comfortable in following them. At the same time, as I traveled more and more around the state, 00:23:00I started developing certain ideas of my own, just from meeting people and listening to them talking. I found early on, and somewhat to my surprise, that the Courier was unpopular in many areas, especially insofar as the editorial page was concerned. A lot of people would say, "Well, I like Courier-Journal, don't like that damn editorial page." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] "I can't stand those editorials." "Uh-huh. [Okay ?]." And that was quite true, I think especially in eastern Kentucky. I -- I found that the people up in the hills and hollows, they wanted that Courier-Journal on the table every morning at breakfast. They wanted it there on the front porch. And if they didn't get it, they'd raise hell with the circulation 00:24:00man there in town. But they didn't agree with the editorial policy at all. They s--- [thought ?] all the news was slanted and [chuckle--Birdwhistell], you know, that sort of business, as it was not. I never knew a news stories to be slanted because of the wishes of the publisher. The division between editorial and the news department was so definite on the Courier that we were almost forbidden to go into the news room. And I know that when I -- because I had friends up there, and when I did go up I was viewed with some suspicion, if not dislike.
BIRDWHISTELL: I assume that Bingham and those of you affi--- affiliated00:25:00with the Courier-Journal and -- again in this late '40s period, were -- did you become caught up in this post-war zeal to -- to fix things in the state? I mean, as you went around the state during this period, again in the late '40s, this immediate post-war period, anybody could see problems with this state, whether it was in education, whether it was in roads, whether it was in health care, tuberculosis, --
PEARCE: And it was in--
BIRDWHISTELL: -- hos---
PEARCE: -- all those things.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. So I mean, you -- There werejust numerous issues that the state still faced, and in fact was slipping behind the national average more and more, and there -- there was a mood in this -- I think it comes out of Louisville, actually, th--- what -- isn't it a mood to fix things, to -- to bring this kind of post-war optimism to fixing 00:26:00the -- i--- the problems of Kentucky?
PEARCE: Yes. The Courierwas always trying to jostle the state forward, which was one reason, of course, that people resented it.
PEARCE: And -- "We'rebetter than you, you poor folks. Get yourself in shape."
BIRDWHISTELL: [Chuckle] [To try to get ?] --
PEARCE: Naturally they didn't appreciateit. But, a fellow here named Harry Schacter, I remember he was the head of the -- what was that, Committee of a Hundred or something like that.
BIRDWHISTELL: The Co--- Yeah, there was a -- a committeeon Kentucky, I believe, [inaudible] --
PEARCE: The Committee on Kentucky?
BIRDWHISTELL: Or something like that. S--- It was the-- The -- the campaign was "Wake up, Kentucky," or --
BIRDWHISTELL: Is that the one you're talking about?
PEARCE: I don't think thatwas the name of it, but it was a committee for Kentucky --
BIRDWHISTELL: I --
PEARCE: -- and --
BIRDWHISTELL: Committee for Kentucky. I think you're right, umhmm.
PEARCE: And they were makinga concerted effort to pull the state out of the doldrums. 00:27:00In traveling through the state, I be--- you couldn't help but become aware of the deficiencies. It took all day to drive to Pikeville and it -- you were a nervous wreck by the time you got there. The roads were narrow, pot-holed, winding, up and down hills, trucks were [clears throat] -- Trying to pass a truck was impossible. You could grind along for miles behind one. Excuse me. [Coughs] Very hoarse this morning for some reason. The hotels [chuckle] were miserable. It was almost impossible to get a -- a decent meal some time. And towns that were very attractive and you'd think that, you know, they would 00:28:00-- accommodations would be comfortable, they weren't. They were terrible. Our standing in education was a disgrace and was embarrassing. You could see on every hand the deplorable sanitary and health conditions. So many people still had privies. So many people didn't have electricities, especially once you got well out of town.
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
PEARCE: Going through the miningareas especially, it seemed to me that you saw an awful lot of crippled people, people bent over, people limping, people without a hand or an arm or something. Just seemed to me that we were -- we were mistreating an awful lot of people. People 00:29:00were having a hard time getting through life.
BIRDWHISTELL: And -- and literally thou--- like a -- a hugepercentage of our population left the state during this --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- during this period, too, so you have a tremendousamount of out migration of the -- I mean, a brain drain, a -- a -- a -- of -- of the -- the -- The best, healthiest people tried to leave, especially from eastern part of the state I think.
PEARCE: Well, I don't thinkthat you could say that, really.
PEARCE: I don't think itwas the healthiest or best, it was a -- a lot of young men who had been working in mines and were laid off. I don't know how much you want to get into that, but -- I was accused of saying two things that made people up around Hazard and Pikeville really dislike me. I was 00:30:00accused of saying the best thing we could do was to dam the Kentucky River east of Lexington and make a -- one big lake out of eastern [chuckle] Kentucky.
BIRDWHISTELL: [Chuckle] Oh.
PEARCE: I didn't say that,[Vego ?] Barnes said it. I --
BIRDWHISTELL: He [chuckle] did?
PEARCE: -- don't know whyit was -- Yeah. I don't know why it was blamed on me. I didn't say it [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. I did say, and I probably could have said it in a more diplomatic way, but I did say that if the people of eastern Kentucky, the business leaders and government leaders, were truly interested in the welfare of the people, as well as trying to get jobs in there, they would establish an office to get jobs for peoples elsewhere. I said the best thing you could do is try to get these people jobs in Cincinnati and Detroit and Dayton. 00:31:00
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. Did you say that in a -- inan editorial?
PEARCE: No, I said itin a speech.
BIRDWHISTELL: In a speech?
PEARCE: Yeah. And Iwas right, but it was not very diplomatic [chuckle--Birdwhistell], I suppose, to say get rid of these people. But they had more people than the economy could support. We -- I'm saying "we", the Courier-Journal was -- we were -- we were -- Usually we supported John L. Lewis who, it seemed to us, was trying to help the common miner, who certainly needed help, ['cause ?] miserable conditions. John L., however, had the idea, and it was a sound idea, that mining required too much manpower and paid them too 00:32:00meagerly. What the mining profession needed was mechanization. And I remember some man saying, "I saw that continuous miner on that flat-bed car come in here and I knew right then we're gonna lose our jobs." And it -- and they did. So, what John L. did, he brought his miners out on strike, during the war when they had to have the coal, for higher wages. And he got the wages so high -- I'm -- around then -- in those days it was about eleven dollars a day, I think, which was a huge salary, huge wage. He got the wages so high that the operators had to mechanize. It was 00:33:00economic -- economical for them to mechanize the mines. And they did, and that threw thousands of eastern Kentucky miners out of work. So there were two sides to that. So, the best thing we could do was to get rid of those people--now, that sounds brutal--but get 'em jobs somewhere else because there were no jobs in the mines for them. And that condition has existed to this day.
BIRDWHISTELL: It still does, doesn't it?
PEARCE: Yeah. People s---condemn John L. for that or they bless him for it. But I think it was a [humane like ?] -- because a mechanized mine is better than a pick and shovel and mule [dragging ?].
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. Well, and mine safety, which would be anissue all during --
PEARCE: Oh, yeah.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- the time you're -- you're -- you're writing editorials.During this process, John Ed, I'm gonna be learning about how 00:34:00newspapers work and how the editorial staff works. I think now that editorial -- editors will meet with individuals, politicians and others, bring them in and have a meeting with the editorial staff. During this period in the late '40s would somebody like John L. Lewis come to the Courier-Journal and --
PEARCE: He --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- meet --
PEARCE: -- never did.I met him down in Knoxville at a hearing down there, Congressional hearing, as I recall. May have been a trial. May well have been a trial 'cause it was in a courtroom, I remember, [but that doesn't mean ?] --
BIRDWHISTELL: Now, were you just -- Would -- would it-- just to talk with him, or were you interviewing him, or --
PEARCE: No, just talking withhim.
BIRDWHISTELL: Just talking, --
PEARCE: Uh-huh. Uh-huh.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- getting his views on --
PEARCE: Well, just talking.
BIRDWHISTELL: Just talking.
PEARCE: Now we did --very often, especially at election time, and they still do, ask candidates to come in and talk to the editorial board, and the editorial writers would ask him questions, and they would expand on their philosophy 00:35:00and policies. We would also have visitors. Sometime people from the State Department, writers, famous people come to town, sometime they'd come and meet with us. Or they'd have lunch -- we'd all have lunch. And it -- it was very interesting.
BIRDWHISTELL: I'll bet.
PEARCE: Very interesting.
BIRDWHISTELL: I'll bet.
PEARCE: And furthermore, we gotto know people -- I got to know the people at the T.V.A. [Tennessee Valley Authority]. I had been aware of the T.V.A. in a rather off-hand way. When I was a -- a boy in Norton, I remember the [Norris ?] Dam went in. And it backed up the Clinch River near Gate City, Virginia. 00:36:00And people went over there and as the [chuckle] fish came up the river, they just snagged 'em out by the bushel basket. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] [While ?] talking about the T.V.A. And, of course, during the war, Oakridge would be --
PEARCE: -- [very ?] --very famous. And s--- I was happy to -- to know the T.V.A. people. Paul Evans, their public relations man, and I became quite friendly. And I didn't feel that that was any conflict of interest since we were always in s--- so much in support of T.V.A.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. Now Paul -- Paul Evans, where was hework -- where was he working out of at that point?
PEARCE: He -- AsI recall, he worked out of Knoxville.
BIRDWHISTELL: Uh-huh. So you would be in Knox---
BIRDWHISTELL: -- you would be in Knoxville on occasions.
PEARCE: Yeah, I'd go down00:37:00there and talk to him about things. As I said, Barry -- Barry encouraged this, face to face with people in the news. Very advantageous, beneficial for a editorial writer to get out.
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, I would -- I would imagine.
PEARCE: 'Cause editorial writers tendto be rather cloistered. And they can s--- very soon lose touch.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. So, to follow this T.V.A. issue for aminute, you saw the T.V.A. as a -- as an instrument of progress?
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. Bringing flood control, electric power, --
PEARCE: So many things.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- jobs.
PEARCE: The first impact thatall of us noted, I -- I suppose, was the hydroelectric power. As I mentioned a moment ago, throughout the rural areas of 00:38:00this state, the rural dwellers, farmers, didn't have any electricity. And the K.U. [Kentucky Utilities], which served eastern Kentucky, and other -- I forget what the biggest utility was in western Kentucky, they just said, "We can't afford to run lines up and down the hills and hollows. We can't -- we can't afford that." And T.V.A. did. In -- in the -- in the wake of -- of T.V.A., the Rural Electrification Administration was -- was set up for the -- for the very purpose of buying power wholesale and taking it to the farmers retail. All of a sudden all up 00:39:00and down the hollows of eastern Kentucky and through the river valleys of west Kentucky this little lines, sometime on trees or on poles, and started taking power to the farms. And in a few years it revolutionized lifestyles of the farming family.
BIRDWHISTELL: It really was a revolution.
PEARCE: Oh, it was.
BIRDWHISTELL: I mean, I -- when I've heard my father talkabout living on -- on the farm and -- and electricity changed everything.
PEARCE: Everything. I havevisited and spent some time on farms where there was no electricity, and I'll tell you the difference is -- [chuckle] is really night and day.
PEARCE: You forget how muchwe depend on electricity 'til you don't have it. 00:40:00
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Yeah.
PEARCE: Well, that was onegreat thing that the Tennessee Valley Authority did. It manufactured that hydroelectric power. And we thought it was going to prevent floods in the valley. The very words "flood control" are so attractive [and they ?] -- so appealing. Control those floods. You can't do it.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Well, you knew something about flooding --
PEARCE: Oh, yeah.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- from your childhood.
PEARCE: Sure. But, youdraw down the lakes behind the dams in -- in your dry season and then let 'em fill up [inaudible] when the hard rains got -- But they can only hold the rain that those lakes can contain. And once the lakes are full, you've got 00:41:00to let that water through. It'll go over the dams. And it will flood downstream. T.V.A. dams took maybe two or three feet off of peak water downstream, but how much they -- how much they controlled flooding is still a -- a matter of debate. It was better than it was. Furthermore, the dams and the locks that went with 'em increased transportation from the Mississippi or t--- from the Ohio, right up to the mountains, all up the Tennessee River and its tributaries. And it was -- that was quite a thing. The -- the T.V.A. also had a 00:42:00farm demonstration, or model farm program, to teach farmers how to take care of the land.
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, really? I didn't know T.V.A. did that.
PEARCE: Yeah. They hada big -- It's -- The -- the original purpose of T.V.A. was not power. The power was really a byproduct of the hydroelectric dams, or the hydro dams. You put in the turbines and made power, but it was a byproduct. They wanted to control erosion, for one thing. Boy, those valleys over in t--- in eastern Tennessee especially, and up on the plateau, were just red gashes in the land. Terrible erosion. And they showed how erosion could be checked fairly simply with the materials at hand and how erosion then could be controlled by contour plowing and 00:43:00[they had ?] the planting of grasses and trees at s--- at strategic areas on farms and pastures. They also had a -- an extensive reforestation program, and experimental programs of all kinds. I once went with some T.V.A. people over into my home area over in Virginia, where they were experimenting with planting on unreclaimed strip mine. Operators had just gone away [chuckle] and left it. It was all rock and mud. You -- And they went in there with various grasses and [lagurus of ?] one kind and another.
BIRDWHISTELL: Just trying to get it covered, huh?
PEARCE: [Lespedeza ?]. Yeah,and v--- various trees. And they -- That -- that 00:44:00interested us. And so we were very much in favor of that. I still believe that one reason that Tennessee has outstripped Kentucky in so many respects, population, per capita income, and often in educational achievement, is because it was given a boost at a critical time by the T.V.A. So many industries moved in there from aluminum and paper plants, to the smaller industries around eastern Tennessee. Oak Ridge.
BIRDWHISTELL: At a critical time in a critical part of thestate.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. Hang on just a second, let me turn--
[End of Tape #1, Side #1]
[Begin Tape #1, Side #2]
PEARCE: So, I was learning,and I was writing at the same time. And -- I found out early on that I didn't know enough to be an editorial writer for a paper of the Courier-Journal's eminence, reputation, and I spent many nights in the library there, reading editorials of the past. And in reading up on certain subjects, especially [foreign ?] policy, things like that, about which I knew too little. And -- But the travel around the state was very beneficial. And I learned a lot about the various parts of the state.
BIRDWHISTELL: As you -- as you think back -- re--- reflect00:46:00back, a person whose -- you're a person who's advocated change, progress. You know, you took positions supporting things like the T.V.A. and other things that in the late '40s and early '50s gave every appearance of being progress. A lot of those types of things, just speaking generally again, over time have come under attack from the liberals as -- you know, like -- thinking about public power and damming -- damming scenic wildness --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- and all of that, how do you -- whatdo you make of all that? Is that just change over time? I mean, what -- th--- that -- --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- what we -- we learn more or --
PEARCE: We learn more.We were very much in favor of dams in those days because we had suffered so much from flooding, and because the dams created 00:47:00lakes that were immediately attractive to sportsmen and tourists and --
PEARCE: -- so forth, and[seeing ?] that they were -- they enriched the community as a -- and its standard of living and way of life. And there were economic benefits, too, from the lakes. Later on I think two or three things became a--- apparent. First, the T.V.A. was not an unmixed blessing. It was caught -- [chuckle] hoist on its own petard, in a manner of speaking, because this enabling act required it to produce power at the lowest-producing cell power, at its low as possible cost. Well, this meant that they bought 00:48:00coal -- W--- once they went into the coal-fired business, they .they quickly found there was such a demand for power, throughout its region, that their hydroelectric dams just could produce only a fraction of the -- of the need, so they went into coal-fired power plants producing electricity. This was useful because the Tennessee Valley Authority was supposed to provide private industry a yardstick. That's what we're always talking about this day, a power yardstick, see how much it really costs to produce power and what these private utilities should be selling it for. So, once they got into the coal-burning business, they bought strip-mined coal. They had [chuckle] alternative. They bought they 00:49:00coal they could. They always had, they kept doing it. But of course they came under great attack from people like Harry Caudill and the young volunteers that came down into the state, you know, with the Great Society. Those people always criticized the T.V.A. for buying strip-mined coal. It was a strip -- it was a T.V.A. contract that made Bill [Sturgill ?].
BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?
BIRDWHISTELL: I didn't --
PEARCE: [Bill ?] --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- know that.
PEARCE: -- Bill Sturgill andDick Kelly had gone into the strip mining -- I forgot, maybe [Harv Barley ?] was there first, [Big Mine ?], I don't remember exactly. But, Dick Kelly developed -- I don't guess you could say develo--- invented, because augers were in wide use, but he invented a coa--- developed a coal auger that was, I think, seven feet. 00:50:00[And I ?] -- that thing could tear into a seven foot t--- seam of coal [chuckle] and just produce coal by the tens of tons. And it was remarkable to see that thing eat up a hill. But, once it left, you had a mess. It's -- That didn't become apparent at first. They were buying deep mined coal up until the '50s. Then, of course, you c--- we got into the matter of damming scenic or wild rivers, and the need for wild rivers. And -- Down in Tennessee on the [Dock ?] and Elk Rivers, there was movement to prevent T.V.A. from damming them. [Nat Caldwell ?], 00:51:00the Nashville, Tennessean, fought T.V.A. tooth and nail on that, although he was the hottest pro-T.V.A. man in the world. He did not want them damming those few remaining free-flowing streams. We ran into the same thing when the Army Corps of Engineers proposed to dam the Red River here in Kentucky.
PEARCE: And we fought themawfully hard on that.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. So, those issues changed --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- in -- in thinking about that. Also, the-- as T.V.A. pushed for rural electrification, providing this power, that caused a political problem in the state between K.U. and -- and the 00:52:00interest of public power, is that --
PEARCE: Oh the -- it-- You're [chuckle] [inaudible] --
BIRDWHISTELL: Is that an understatement?
PEARCE: Yes. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell]You know, there's one thing that I might mention here: T.V.A. power had a strange effect on towns, where it didn't take power necessarily. But in towns like Murray and Benton and -- suddenly people out in the country were buying stoves and refrigerators, [chuckle] --
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, yeah.
PEARCE: -- freezers, and milkers,[chuckle--Birdwhistell] and light bulbs, and all [chuckles] those things, and heaters, and -- And the appliance stores flourished.
PEARCE: And farm equipment storesflourished on a different, higher level. Bigger and better machinery. Recreational businesses sprang up and flourished, such as boat sales, fishing -- 00:53:00
BIRDWHISTELL: Fish stuff.
PEARCE: -- tackle, --
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Sure.
PEARCE: -- and marinas, boatdocks. All --
BIRDWHISTELL: Live --
PEARCE: -- these things.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- live bait signs --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- went up everywhere [chuckle].
PEARCE: Yeah. And peoplejust were making a living who before had been scratching out an existence. It really changed things a great deal. But, as you say, things change.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. Now, by the late '40s, and we --we'll touch upon this in another way later, but since we're talking about public power and the debate over public power, in the -- if I'm recalling this right, in the '47 election you have Clements and [Harry Lee] Waterfield, Clements representing K.U. interests and Waterfield representing the public power interests. Is that an oversimplification?
PEARCE: Yes, it's an oversimplification00:54:00but it's a correct oversimplification [chuckles]. And that is why we at the Courier opposed Clements and favored Waterfield, because Waterfield was a strong R.E.A. [Rural Electrification Administration], T.V.A. man, and the co-ops pretty much supported him. And we were very hot for the co-ops of -- the R.E.A. co-ops that took electricity and -- down to the farms. Yes, [chuckle] once again -- I wrote for Harry Lee. I would write him speeches and --
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, you --
PEARCE: -- [inaudible] --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- did?
BIRDWHISTELL: See, I didn't know that.
PEARCE: Yeah. And --I did that [chuckle] with Barry's -- at Barry's request. 00:55:00And I liked Harry Lee very much.
BIRDWHISTELL: What did you like about him? I -- I'venever met Harry Lee Waterf--- You know, of all these guys that I've gotten to interview and gotten to have a first-hand impression of, Harry Lee Waterfield just sort of remains an en--- enigma for me. I just can't --
PEARCE: Well, --
BIRDWHISTELL: You know, I never met him and I don't --his -- He --
PEARCE: [He's a ?] --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- [seemed to ?] --
PEARCE: -- pretty good small-townpolitician. He later became quite successful in the insurance business, --
BIRDWHISTELL: Set up the --
PEARCE: -- [you know ?].
BIRDWHISTELL: -- had that building right there --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- on the corner there, --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- going up toward the Capitol, yeah.
PEARCE: Right, in Frankfort.Very successful. He had been a very successful small town newspaper publisher there in -- what's it, Fulton?
PEARCE: [Or w--- ?] orw--- was it, Fulton County? I get those two mixed up. Very pleasant guy, I liked him. Earle, on the other 00:56:00hand, was hard to like. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] Easy to respect. Hard to like. He was a large, almost forbidding man. Had a way of hunching his shoulders forward and he'd lean over, and he weighed around 245 [lbs.], you know. Played center for U.K. when he was a student there. And he was a man of few words and very well-considered words. He chose his words very carefully, played his cards close to the vest. But he's a man of huge energy. When Earle beat Harry 00:57:00Lee, we supposed Earle for the -- in the general election. I forget just who he ran against. There was always somebody running for governor and not making much of a stir. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] [Eldan Dalmet ?]?
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, that sounds -- sounds right. You had observedthese two men -- You had told me last time that when you went to the Courier-Journal, you spent about six months in Frankfort looking at --
PEARCE: Off and on, [yeah?].
BIRDWHISTELL: Off and on?
BIRDWHISTELL: So, you saw Clements and Waterfield operating at the --in the last -- latter parts of the -- of the [Simeon] Willis administration, I suppose.
PEARCE: As I recall, Earlewas -- Earle was in Congress.
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, that's right. He would have been in Congressat that point.
PEARCE: I -- I didn'tknow him much before the campaign.
BIRDWHISTELL: But you got to know Waterfield while you were downthere? Is that where you met him? Or did you 00:58:00meet him after Mr. Bingham assigned you to work with him?
PEARCE: I met him whenhe declared. I don't believe I had met him before then.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. Did you sit down with Harry Lee Waterfieldand talk about the campaign in a way that would get you comfortable with what you were gonna write about, or would he tell you topics he wanted to talk about and you would write speeches? Do you remember how that worked?
PEARCE: I forget whether Iwrote speeches for him or not. I know I wrote something for him. I'd write things for him. But I forget what it was. Yeah, we'd talk. I'd -- I've stayed at his home overnight, [down in ?] west Kentucky. We became rather close, and later on we split company and he was very 00:59:00bitter about me, and --
BIRDWHISTELL: When he teamed up with --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- Chandler?
PEARCE: Umhmm. But Iremember -- In those days I was making friends here and there. Through Tyler Munford of Morganfield, whom I met through my college roommate, Billy Sugg, --
BIRDWHISTELL: Billy --?
PEARCE: Sugg, S-U---
PEARCE: -- Double G.He was a nephew, as I recall, of Earle Clements. And I met Tyler Munford through him. I ran into Tyler a lot up in Frankfort. And in those days we were very suspicious of Dick Moloney, [chuckle--Birdwhistell] who was a hard-bitten, cigar-chewing Irishman from Lexington who was known to be in the pay of slot machine 01:00:00operators. He was called "Pinball King." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And we thought he was with gambling elements and that he was sort of a hired gun for shady people around Lexington [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. And Tyler kept telling me, "You're wrong. Dick Moloney's a fine man." And "You ought to get to know him because he'll tell you the truth." And that was exactly right.
BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?
PEARCE: Dick Moloney was afine man and whatever he'd tell you would be the truth.
BIRDWHISTELL: Was he the "Pinball King?"
PEARCE: I don't know whetherrepresented them or not. Probably did. It was -- [Chuckle] He'd been lobbyist for a lot of people in [this town ?]. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell]
BIRDWHISTELL: Now, I did --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- interview Tyler -- I did interview Tyler Munford.01:01:00I met Tyler Munford.
BIRDWHISTELL: Quite a man.
PEARCE: I like Tyler.We'd sit up there and drink whiskey and argue all night. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] He was rather conservative.
BIRDWHISTELL: So did -- Tha--- While we're -- whileI'm thinking about it, did -- did -- I suppose that while you were at Somerset, you'd met a lot of these newspaper editors from around the state, and then while you were at the Courier in these early years traveling around, you would meet more and more of these editors? Like --
PEARCE: Nearly every -- every townI'd go into, I'd call on the editor.
BIRDWHISTELL: Like Tyler Munford, ["Snooks" ?] [William E.?] [Crutcher ?], --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- Mr. [James T.?] [Norris ?] up in Ashland, --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- [Paxtons ?] in Paducah. You got to knowall of these --
PEARCE: All these people.[Louise Hatmaker ?].
BIRDWHISTELL: Who's that?
PEARCE: Louise Hatmaker. Sheruns the Jackson paper.
BIRDWHISTELL: I don't know that name.
PEARCE: Well, you ought togo [chuckle] -- Louise pretty nice woman.
BIRDWHISTELL: She still there?
PEARCE: Far as I know.01:02:00She was a few years ago. Dick Moloney got me into my famous clash with Earle Clements.
BIRDWHISTELL: How'd he do that?
PEARCE: Well, a bill wasintroduced into the legislature that would free the co-ops, the electric co-ops, from certificates of necessity. They would not g--- They wouldn't have to have the approval of the Public Service Commission in extending their lines.
PEARCE: The K.U., of course,had a fit. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] They had to have permission to extend theirs. And they knew that the minute that the R.E.A.s got that, R.E.A.s would take a lot of the business. And 01:03:00R.E.A.s always accused K.U. of skimming off the cream, --
BIRDWHISTELL: Taking --
PEARCE: -- [inaudible] --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- the easiest lines?
BIRDWHISTELL: Taking the easiest --
PEARCE: That's right.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- routes.
PEARCE: Ta--- F---Servicing homes near existing lines, not having to build so many lines up and down the hollows. That bill was introduced into the House. Clements was then governor. He passed by the House at noon on his lunch break, if he ever took a lunch break. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] He worked from sun to sun, you know. And he saw this bill, which -- in those days they had a blackboard up there and they'd write the bills that were to be intr--- well, had been introduced and would be considered. And he got red in face, and his neck would s--- veins 01:04:00would swell. He was a -- as I say, he was a [chuckle] -- was an intimidating man. And he just walked up there and erased it with his hand. Just took his hand and erased the bill from the blackboard, [laughter--Birdwhistell] which was strictly, you know, irregular, illegal probably. He's not supposed to be in the House unless invited.
PEARCE: And he has nobusiness whatever in [chuckle--Birdwhistell] tampering with the operations -- the legislative operations of the House. And he turned and stormed back to his own office [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. I w--- I was up there around and I said to Moloney, "We'd he do that? I thought there was -- that bill was fixed, that it was an agreement, that it would be greased and go through." And he said, "I 01:05:00can't tell you. Now, he had a reason." He said, "Now, Earle had a reason. Earle doesn't do things [with]out a reason." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] "You go to him and tell him that I told you ask him why he did it." So, later that day, Earle was walking down the hall there by the Senate. Not many people out in the hallway. And I fell into step beside him. And he put one large arm sort of around [chuckle] my shoulder, "Hello, partner." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And "Governor." And I did just what Moloney suggested. And I asked him, "Why -- why did you erase the bill? Moloney said you had a reason." I felt that big body [chuckle--Birdwhistell] stiffen and he grabbed [microphone interference] me by the front of my coat, 01:06:00sort of by the lapels. I was standing near the wall and he slammed me against that [chuckle] marble wall there in the hall. "You son of a bitch," he said, "you've been trying to gut me ever since last November."
BIRDWHISTELL: Oooh [chuckle].
PEARCE: Which was not true.I hadn't. I -- And ever time he'd say something, he'd slam [chuckle--Birdwhistell] [me right here ?]. [Clenches teeth] "You son of a bitch. You've been -- " And there I was bouncing off that like a -- you know, a basketball. And I could see this wasn't gonna do my head any [chuckle--Birdwhistell] good. The -- Joe [Ferguson ?], who was at that time I think Attorney General, and a state trooper were standing there accompanying the governor. And Joe jumped in and -- and sort of tried to wedge between -- "Governor, Governor." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] 01:07:00And the trooper, the poor trooper, didn't know [chuckle--Birdwhistell] what to do. He -- he was -- didn't want to see the governor kill a man, at the same time he didn't want to lay hands on the governor.
BIRDWHISTELL: 'Cause he'd lose his job [chuckle].
PEARCE: Yeah [chuckle]. Hewas there looking totally perplexed and afraid. And the -- and Earle let me go, and wheeled, and marched off without another word.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umm. Umm.
PEARCE: Years later, when hewas running for the Senate, I was in Madisonville and he was making the rounds. I think I'm right on this. And there was a fellow down there named [C. W.?] Maloney, M-A-L-O-N-E-Y. 01:08:00He had been in the Senate -- in s--- in the House, I think. And he and Earle were making the rounds of the courthouse square and the -- the business section. And I was following them. And a man from -- I forget who the other fellow was, I think he was from television station or something like that. And Earle says, "Do you know Mr. John Ed Pearce here?" And -- and he said, "I -- Mr. Pearce is a very high-class fellow." [chuckle--Birdwhistell] "I did him an injustice one time, and he never held it against me and 01:09:00he has dealt fairly with me ever since." That's as close -- as Moloney told me later, that's as close as Earle ever came to an outright apology in his life.
BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?
PEARCE: I thought it wasvery gracious statement on his part, considering his personality especially. He was an intensely proud man. Very proud. Earle had the greatest political intellect that I've ever seen, on any level. He not only saw accurately the results of any action he took, but he could see the results that would stem from the results. He could see two or three steps down the road. What effect this was going to have on Trigg County and what effect that would have on Smith Broadbent and what Smith Broadbent would do 01:10:00about the Lake Barkley development, and so forth. All these things Earle would -- before Earle would say, commit himself on anything, he would consider what effect it was gonna have two years from now, five years from new, or ten years from now. It was fascinating to follow him around. I drove around with him once. The man was -- had phenomenal energy for such a big man. He would get up 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning, and before he'd dress he'd be on the telephone. And he make maybe a dozen calls. He got people out of bed [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. Now, you'd think that would make somebody s--- Well, what it did was flatter them. Here's a man so -- 01:11:00
PEARCE: -- important, you know,that he's calling me this early in the morning.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Yeah.
PEARCE: Earle would always say,"I need your help, partner." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And that made 'em feel good, "I can help this big man." He would make all these early morning calls. He'd have people all over that section that he was working, he'd have them up by breakfast time ready to go to work, and he would -- and they would help him as he came through town. He would then work then with almost no time off to eat until maybe ten o'clock at night. He'd stop by a Dairy Queen or [another place ?] and get one of those big quart cups of ice cream [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. He'd take it back to the room, he'd get into a hot tub, and he'd eat that ice cream [chuckle--Birdwhistell] and relax. He loved ice cream.
BIRDWHISTELL: Get in a hot tub of water and eat icecream.
PEARCE: Hot tub. Andeat [chuckle--Birdwhistell] ice cream. And relax. And often, dictate, make 01:12:00plans, talk to people.
BIRDWHISTELL: He was always on, wasn't he. I mean, just--
PEARCE: He never quit thinking.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Yeah.
PEARCE: I spent the nightin his home down in Morganfield. He was very gracious. He was courtly when he wanted to be.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Yeah. Almost to -- almost seemed affected,I mean, almost like a show, at -- at some point, wouldn't you say?
PEARCE: I -- Iwouldn't say that.
BIRDWHISTELL: You wouldn't say --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- [it to that ?] extent. Okay. Youknew him a -- [inaudible] --
PEARCE: He was just verycourtly in his hospitality, in his conversations with his wife, he was very -- He was -- -- he was southern, surprisingly.
PEARCE: But he was --could be very gentle and very courtly. He was a fine 01:13:00host. We later fell out, and I'm sorry about that, too. As I say, I have certainly made enemies because of my position and because of my work, and --
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, --
PEARCE: -- because of --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- nature of politics, --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- [inaudible]. In looking at Earle Clements, would --I want to pursue this just for a minute and then -- Looking at Earle Clement as opposed to the many other politicians you came across, he -- he was different from all those others in some ways, I would assume. And part of it might be this skill he had, you call it a political intellect, it's a politic--- he's a political strategist. In looking at all 01:14:00the politicians you've known, how does one develop that skill that Clements had? I mean, is it just -- was he that bright, was he that --
PEARCE: Yeah, --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- hard-working?
PEARCE: -- very bright, hewas very hard-working.
BIRDWHISTELL: And that combination --
PEARCE: And -- and heloved it.
BIRDWHISTELL: That's all he did, wasn't it?
PEARCE: Yes. He --
BIRDWHISTELL: I mean, that was his life.
PEARCE: That was his life.He was a farmer. He had a farm down there for a while, but he didn't pay any attention to it. He -- he was a -- Let's see, he was sheriff once.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. That's right, and county judge.
PEARCE: County judge. Andthen went to --
BIRDWHISTELL: And then s---
PEARCE: -- [this ?] legislature.
PEARCE: Then went to Congress.
BIRDWHISTELL: And then -- then governor.
PEARCE: It was a steadyprogression upward. And he worked it. Earle, as you say -- Ned [Breathitt], and Bert [Combs], and the rest of 'em would go out shooting birds and go [chuckle--Birdwhistell] fishing. Earle --
BIRDWHISTELL: [None of that ?].01:15:00
PEARCE: He liked women and-- but he never was accused of having an affair with anybody. I've never heard of Earle and a -- and a woman. Now, he may have, because women liked Earle. I think women tend to gravitate toward power.
BIRDWHISTELL: Power, yeah.
PEARCE: And he was apowerful man. I could see where he and Bert would be friends, because they both played it close, --
BIRDWHISTELL: Did they?
PEARCE: -- and said --They -- they didn't waste their words. And Bert too had quite a -- a political savvy, a political intellect. He was different from Earle.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, you don't get the sense of being completely consumed-- I mean, when I think of Earle Clements, I think 01:16:00of almost consumed by the political process.
PEARCE: Well, you could saythat. I -- I imagine -- It occupied his life.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. What was in it for him? What-- In -- in looking at -- Again, we're gonna be talking about a lot of politicians during the course of these interviews, and looking at Earle Clements, what did you see as driving his interest in the political process? Was it good government, was it the thrill of victory in politics, or a --
PEARCE: I think --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- combination?
PEARCE: -- it was power.I think any man likes power, probably, and Earle liked it more than most, because he had power within him. And I -- I've known his family, and they're that way. They're big, outgoing, masculine people. Earle had decent instincts. We forget that 01:17:00Earle was the greatest supporter that Lyndon Johnson had. He was very disappointed when Jack Kennedy got the presidential nomination over Lyndon. He supported Lyndon in the Senate right down the line. And I think he did it because they both really wanted good things. They wanted government to be strong, and they wanted the government to operate more or less for the common people. They saw government as activist government. Earle would have despised what's going on now --
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, yeah.
PEARCE: -- in Washington, thisshrinking of government and this depriving agencies of [microphone interference] authority. 01:18:00Because all of it will deprive the poor and the needy and the working class of help. Earle believed in government helping people, and that's not fashionable today. Let people help themselves and take the taxes off the others.
BIRDWHISTELL: And, of course, that was in line with the editorialphilosophy of the Courier-Journal.
BIRDWHISTELL: Courier-Journal believed that --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- government could be a -- an instrument of changeand good -- for the good.
PEARCE: Yes, and an instrumentof help. We thought that government had an obligation to help those who needed help. To afflict -- what was it -- the afflict the comfortable and to comfort the afflicted. We really 01:19:00thought that was our -- our purpose.
BIRDWHISTELL: [Chuckle] [That's good ?].
PEARCE: I don't agree withthat [chuckle] whole-heartedly.
PEARCE: I don't think youought to afflict the comfortable. I -- [Chuckle] If anybody can be comfortable in this world, you ought to pat him on the back and send him on his way.
BIRDWHISTELL: This Cl--- The Clements administration came -- Youknow, we -- we started out today talking about this post-war progressive attitude that was coming out of the Courier-Journal. Clements picks that up, not that he gets it from the Courier-Journal, but Clements is on the same wavelength, if you will. He's -- His administration is about change and -- and -- and -- and raising standards, and pushing for improvement in the state. 01:20:00
PEARCE: It's -- Itwas too bad that Earle and Barry Bingham, Sr., didn't get along better personally.
BIRDWHISTELL: Why didn't they?
PEARCE: They were different personalities,for one thing. Barry was the complete diplomat. Barry hated confrontation, argument [chuckle--Birdwhistell], conflict of any kind. He -- he was a polite man. He -- Earle thrived on confrontation. He won arguments, he won battles. And the liked that. On a pr--- more practical basis, Earle saw early on that to win he was gonna have to carry Louisville. And Louisville was 01:21:00still something of a Republican stronghold. In those days, "the Fourth Street Organization," as they call it, the Democratic organization here, located over here on Fourth Street, run by Miss [Lennie McLaughlin ?] and [Johnny Crimmons ?]. Miss Lennie was party secretary and I forget what Johnny was. Earle went right to them, and he said, "I -- I know that you all favor good government, as I do. I know that in order to stay where you are, you have to have something to say about patronage. I will make no appointments here without consulting you." And Miss Lennie and Earle 01:22:00got along just like that. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] They were -- they were both terribly practical politicians. And yet, not without their political scruples and not without sound philosophy of government. Barry could not abide either Johnny or Lennie.
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, really?
PEARCE: Yeah. Although MissLennie always said, "I always tell my people, don't fall out with the papers."
BIRDWHISTELL: Did -- did Barry Bingham not like them because ofwhat they represented in terms of the m--- machine politics?
BIRDWHISTELL: But not -- I mean, pers--- it wasn't apersonal --
PEARCE: Yeah, it was personal,--
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, it was personal? [Chuckle]
PEARCE: -- too. Ithink -- I don't think he liked 'em and he hated 01:23:00what they represented. You know, the ward-heeling aspect of politics, the turkey at Thanksgiving [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. He didn't -- he didn't like that.
BIRDWHISTELL: But -- but Clements had no problem in going rightto their office --
PEARCE: [Right ?].
BIRDWHISTELL: -- and cutting the deal.
PEARCE: Clements knew where powerlay. He had a s--- nose for it.
PEARCE: He could sent it.
BIRDWHISTELL: Right. That didn't -- that didn't offend his pol---his political sensibilities.
PEARCE: It -- Oh,no [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. Didn't at all. He -- As I say, he was practical. He was running for office. He wanted to get elected. There was nothing wrong with -- I never saw anything especially wrong with Joh--- Johnny and Lennie. They wanted jobs. They didn't want anybody giving away jobs without their say-so. As long as they had control of jobs, they controlled people.
BIRDWHISTELL: Right. Right.
PEARCE: And they had power.I thought Miss Lennie was -- was [chuckle] likeable. Sitting 01:24:00back there in the back room, smoking those cigarettes, about two a minute, I think [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. Boy, she could smoke those cigarettes [chuckle].
BIRDWHISTELL: So, you got to know her -- as you movedto Louisville and got involved with the Courier-Journal, you would -- you --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- would run into her or --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- or go down to headquarters --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- and talk to her.
PEARCE: No, I'd just runinto her more --
BIRDWHISTELL: Just run into her.
PEARCE: -- or less.Well, I may have gone by there, yeah.
BIRDWHISTELL: Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Now I've heard her name andre--- You know, I -- I've heard her name all the time -- in the last twenty years I've doing political interviewing and -- and so often, I mean, people just say, "Well, the Louisville politics, Lennie McLaughlin." I mean, --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- she was that powerful?
PEARCE: Yeah, she -- shesort of ran the organization here. She -- she usually said who could or couldn't run. It wasn't that definite, but she 01:25:00had a lot of influence on who was gonna run.
BIRDWHISTELL: Now, how did a woman get that kind of powerat that point?
PEARCE: I don't know.They said she was a mistress of [Mickey Brennan ?].
BIRDWHISTELL: Who was a earlier political --
PEARCE: Who was an early--
BIRDWHISTELL: -- ward --
PEARCE: -- political boss here.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- ward boss, [right ?].
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. And so she --
PEARCE: I mean, she worked-- w--- worked with him. And she was sort of a secretary to Mickey, as I recall. And then when he died, she just sort of took over.
BIRDWHISTELL: Hang on just a sec.
[End of Tape #1, Side #2]
[Begin Tape #2, Side #1]
PEARCE: I liked covering thelegislature and liked to write editorials in Frankfort. I thought it 01:26:00was very exciting, colorful thing to do. And I met a lot of interesting people. And it was far rowdier in those days --
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, yeah.
PEARCE: -- than it isnow. It was quite rowdy.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Yeah. A rough group [chuckle].
PEARCE: A man named Tuckerfrom Harlan and Ed Pritchard's father, "Big Ed," ran a room, I believe it was on the third floor of the Capitol Hotel--now, I'm not sure, but it was second or third floor of the Capitol Hotel--which they [chuckle] referred to as a "snake pit." And it was a -- it was the whi--- it was a hospitality room of the whiskey industry. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And they kept a cooler full of beer, soft drinks, whiskey and just go in there, and day and night it was [chuckle--Birdwhistell] open and there'd be somebody in there to fix you a drink. And some of -- some 01:27:00of the legislators, I forget who it was, it w--- it was from northern Kentucky, and he'd go over there, and he'd get drunk, and [chuckle--Birdwhistell] -- and lie down on the sofa, and go to sleep, [laughter--Birdwhistell] you know. And one day his -- his vote was needed, and so they just sent somebody over to the "snake pit" w--- to wake him up and get him back over there for the vote [chuckles]. And there was a fellow there named Charlie [Trusdale ?] I remember. I hope this never -- is never read or listened to. But, Charlie didn't bother anybody. Charlie would come down to Frankfort and he'd get himself a room, 01:28:00and he'd check in with his friends, and then he would go to a whorehouse down in what was then known as "the Craw," --
PEARCE: -- down by theriver. It was a big, flat area --
PEARCE: -- down there.And there were a number of houses down there of questionable virtue, and this one house that he frequented was approached by long s--- steps, oh, maybe twenty of them leading up to this house. And Charlie walked up the steps laboriously and knocked on the door, not knowing that in his absence for two years the house had been bought by sort of a Holiness preacher [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. And Charlie, he said, "Yes?" And Charlie greeted him jovially [chuckle--Birdwhistell] and sort 01:29:00of pushed past him and said, "Well, you've changed things around here." And the man said [chuckle], "Indeed, we have." "Well, I -- I hope I can see Miss Beatrice" or whatever her name was. And he said, "Sir, you're quite mistaken. This is the home of the Reverend So-and-so." And Charlie said, "Well, that's all right with me. Where's Beatrice?" [Laughter] And this got into sort of a controversy there in the doorway, and the peacher's -- preacher shoved Charlie, and he fell down the steps. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And picking himself up, he looked up and he said, "Well, I don't know what you are or claim to be, but I'll tell you," [chuckle] "with a temper like that, you'll never run 01:30:00a successful whorehouse." [Laughter] There were always a bunch of women hanging around there.
PEARCE: I think I toldyou that they used to have a beauty and barber's -- barber and beautician bill every year.
PEARCE: And one year somewag would enter a bill to outlaw home permanents [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. And, of course, all the beauticians would rush to Frankfort to lobby for it [chuckles]. And they would get down to very practical one-on-one, you might say, lobbying [chuckles]. And on this -- the next year the boys [chuckle], they -- they'd carry on for a week or two and then they'd beat the bill, [chuckle--Birdwhistell] you know [chuckle]. The next year they would introduce a bill to outlaw beauty 01:31:00parlor permanents [chuckles]. And the girls would all rush to Frankfort to lobby [chuckle] against it. And they boys would have their fun and beat the bill. On this one occasion, "Fritz" Lord [chuckle], Frederick Lord, the large craggy-faced, handsome, son of a r--- very prominent family here in Louisville, his sisters were noted beauties. One of them dated John Sherman Cooper for years. And his brother Nathan was president of WAVE for a while. This was a solid family. "Fritz," as he was known, "Fritz" Lord, fell into newspapering. He and a photographer named [Abfire ?] were sitting in 01:32:00the lobby of the Capitol Hotel one evening and they were approached by a couple of the lobbyists, ladies up there to beat the home permanent bill [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. And they said, "Are you gentlemen with the legislature?" And "Fritz" seizing the moment, carpe diem, "Yes, ma'am. I'm Senator Lord and this is Representative Abfire." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] "Well, we'd like to talk to you gentlemen about the so-and-so bill." "Why, yes, let's step into the bar -- in the bar and have a drink," you know. Within a few minutes they decided they'd get down to cases and so they retired to their gentlemen's room [chuckles]. Suddenly the door to "Fritz"'s room burst open, 01:33:00and this woman clad only in her slip ran down the hall to Abfire's room and beat on the door, hollering, "Mary, Mary. If you ain't done it, don't do it. That son of a bitch is with the Courier-Journal." [Laughter] [Microphone interference]
BIRDWHISTELL: Ah, that's funny.
PEARCE: [Inaudible], I got toquit that.
BIRDWHISTELL: It was a [microphone interference] -- Thinking back abouthow Frankfort ran during that period, early period, late '40s, early '50s, it's so different from the kind of government we're talking about today. 01:34:00 I mean, with the lobbying rules and the --
PEARCE: Yes, it was [not?] --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- BOPTROT, you know, and all -- it was wide-openin a sense, wasn't it?
PEARCE: Much more lax.With the -- with the coming of the Legislative Research Commission, a lot of the untidiness disappeared. They had someone then to research bills, to write bills, and they didn't have to depend on lobbyists much, and outsiders to do their work. And then, of course today, the legislature rules itself.
PEARCE: Select its own officers.
PEARCE: And --
BIRDWHISTELL: [Whereas ?] --
PEARCE: -- in those daysthe governor --
BIRDWHISTELL: The governor --
PEARCE: -- pretty well selectedhis own leadership.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Yeah.
PEARCE: I don't know thatthat might have been the better system.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. That's --
PEARCE: It has occurred to01:35:00me that if a governor doesn't have a program and is not e--- able to see it through the legislature, we often don't have a program, because there's not enough discipline and organization in the legislature to agree on a broad visionary program.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. Well, I think we saw that in thelast administration, --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- with no program, basically.
PEARCE: Basically no program wasthere.
BIRDWHISTELL: Going back to the incident with you and the governorin the hallway, after he walked away, what -- what went through your mind, what did you think about all that?
PEARCE: Thank God he let[chuckles] me go.
BIRDWHISTELL: But you still didn't know what -- what provoked himto -- to -- to take you on? 01:36:00
PEARCE: Yeah, I knew.
BIRDWHISTELL: He didn't like you?
PEARCE: Well yeah, and hethought I was trying to gut him. He thought I was trying to bring up the K.U.-R.E.A. fight and he was trying to keep it down.
BIRDWHISTELL: Ah. Ah. I see. I see.
PEARCE: Yeah. No, Iwas in no --
BIRDWHISTELL: Now, --
PEARCE: -- [chuckle] doubt aboutwhat the situation was.
BIRDWHISTELL: Wh--- what did your -- your boss Barry Bingham thinkof that when he heard about it? Do you know his reaction to that?
PEARCE: I'm trying to thinkif he said anything. I think he was amused by it [chuckles].
BIRDWHISTELL: I --
PEARCE: [I was ?].
BIRDWHISTELL: -- would think it would aggravate him.
PEARCE: No. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell]I -- Didn't aggravate me much. You know, I [chuckle] ver--- I wasn't very angry about it.
PEARCE: No. I --I knew what was going on. And I was rather flattered [chuckles] to be singled out as the governor's son of a bitch [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. It was all right. 01:37:00
BIRDWHISTELL: You know, I was thinking, when you were talking aboutBarry Bingham and Earle Clements, the differences in the two and Barry Bingham's not liking controversy.
PEARCE: [Yeah ?].
BIRDWHISTELL: You know, and i--- and it -- argument and --When I was first starting out doing the Earle Clements project, oral history project, one of the things we would put in a letter when we'd write people, thinking that would help us get the interview, we would say, you know, "We're doing this project, Earle Clements project," la da-da da, and "We know that -- " And I wrote to Barry Bingham and I said, "And -- and I know that Senator Clements would be pleased by your participation."
PEARCE: What'd [chuckle] Barry say?
BIRDWHISTELL: Well, I sent the letter off. And most peoplewould just let that slide. You know, they --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- th--- they'd either do it or not do it.Well, I was -- This was probably 1976 or something 01:38:00like that. I didn't hardly know what I was doing and -- and the phone rang one day in my office. And I said, "Hello?" And they said, "This is Barry Bingham." Well, it scared me to death, of course, --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- to get a call from Barry Bingham, because --I mean,that was just incredible. But he said, "I got your letter in regard to the Clements project." I said, "Oh, good. Good." And he said, "I'm -- I'm so glad you all are doing this. I think this is a -- I think this is a great thing." I said, "Oh, well, good." And I'm thinking I had the interview. And he said, "But I'm going to have to decline your -- your invitation to do the interview, because I just can't believe that Senator Clements would be pleased by my participation." [Chuckle]
PEARCE: I think that Earlewould have in his last days, --
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, he would have, and -- and -- and --and -- but I -- you know, I just -- that's when it oc--- you know, occurred to me that -- you know, that Barry Bingham would be hesitant to -- to get involved in that, 01:39:00bring all that up again, I guess.
BIRDWHISTELL: [But ?] --
PEARCE: No, I -- Iseldom -- You know, I'd get irritated for a few minutes, but I never -- I never resented too much people attitude toward me. You know, [or ?] -- [They let ?] some wild people like Nick Johnson of Harlan County? Did you ever know Nick?
PEARCE: [Coughs] Nick was,oh, about 5' 10", weighed about a 175 pounds, black hair, chiseled features, big scar across his forehead. Nick was sort of a 01:40:00mean-looking man, and I think Nick would have killed you, you know, if -- almost for recreational purposes [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. He was senator from Harlan. He got in a fight with a huge black man over in the -- over in the Capitol Hotel, and picked up a fire hose that had that big metal thing --
PEARCE: -- on the endof it, and hit the guy [chuckle] with it and almost killed him. And on another occasion, he hooked up the fire hose [chuckle] and hosed down one of the hallways [chuckles], clearing it out. And he became so rowdy that the hotel management was forced to ask him to leave. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] Would not give him 01:41:00a room after that. And so Nick rented a house up on the river there [chuckle--Birdwhistell], rented a whole house. And he brought down a number of ladies from Harlan to keep him company. And [chuckles] somebody said, "Hey, Nick, I -- did I see your wife in town last night?" And Nick said, "Yeah. Yeah, she's -- she's down here. First night since I been here I didn't get laid." [Chuckles]
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh [chuckle].
PEARCE: Nick was -- hewas in insurance business, he and his daddy, up in Harlan. Dick Harwood and I once went up there [chuckle], I forget what we were on, mine strike or something. And went in to see Nick. Oh, he was overjoyed to see us. "Come in. God, it's good to see you fellows." And Harwood 01:42:00said to him, "Nick, how in the hell do you live here in this dry town? You can't get a decent drink." And Nick said, "Well, that's crazy. What do you want?" [Chuckles] And he said, "Well, where can we get a little bottle of whiskey?" Nick picked up the phone. [Chuckle] "[Lester ?], let me have one red and one white." [Just ?] hang up the phone. In a minute here came a taxicab, one [chuckle--Birdwhistell] of those old slam-banged together taxicabs. This slope-head got out and came in, and put a bottle of gin and a bottle of bourbon [chuckle] down. [Chuckles] Nick said, [chuckle] "You --" Harwood said to him, "Any girls here?" "Girls?" He said, "Hell, for a while we thought about just putting 01:43:00a roof over Harlan County and calling it the world's biggest whorehouse." [Chuckle]
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh [chuckle].
PEARCE: And while we're sittingthere talking this fellow came in, and he said, "Mr. Johnson, I'm -- I'm going to need your help again." And he said, "Preacher, God damn I'm tired of s---" [chuckles] "-- of seeing you. What do you want now?" "Well, we need -- Somebody broke out one of the church -- one of the windows up in our little church and we got to get it fixed." "All right. How much you need?" "[I was hope ?] I could get ten dollars. God damn." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] "[Inaudible]. Now, get the hell out of here. You come back in here one and I'm gonna -- " [Chuckles] He said, "Well, that's an awful way to talk to a preacher." "Aw, hell, he's a coal miner most of the time. He 01:44:00just preaches on Sunday. He thinks he's gonna get an offering." [Chuckles] Nick had, oh, sort of -- sort of a s--- series of scars stitched across his mid-section and this bad scar on his head. He -- he said he got it during the war. And he said, "[Hell, all right ?], you know. The -- this scar here," I said, "they put a bullet right through there. I ought to be dead." He said, "I ain't reckless. People think I'm reckless. I just living on borrowed time. Every day I get, you know, is a bonus." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] So, I don't give a damn what happens to me." And I don't think he did [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. People like that were pretty common up there.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Yeah. Well, most of -- back in01:45:00this -- the late '40s, early '50s period were the -- the legislature even then made up of predominately lawyers, or were there less lawyers at that time?
PEARCE: There always are lawyers.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. No matter what. No matter what.
PEARCE: I don't know thatthey were any more predominant then than they are now. I have to give that some thought, I guess.
BIRDWHISTELL: You mentioned the lobbyists -- again, keeping it on --focused on this late '40s, early '50s, who would be the more powerful lobby groups during this period? This is all pre--- pre-Chandler's second administration, pr--- you know, during the Clements and Wetherby administrations. Who would be the powerful lobbyists? There'd be K.U., I guess. 01:46:00
PEARCE: I don't think thatthe lobbies change much from year to year.
PEARCE: The race tracks alwayshave a man.
PEARCE: Liquor interests. Utilities.Banks.
PEARCE: Teachers. Unions, laborunions, they'll always have people. I don't know that that changes much.
BIRDWHISTELL: So, those would be the -- that come to mindas the most po--- more powerful, more influential lobbies?
PEARCE: More active.
BIRDWHISTELL: More active -- active. And so the -- the-- the efforts of the liquor lobby would be -- I guess would be a tobacco, cigarette lobby. Is there a tobacco lobby, probably? Well, why would they need a lobby, right? Who would they lobby [chuckle]?
PEARCE: Yeah. There afarm lobby, --
BIRDWHISTELL: Farm lobby.
PEARCE: -- of course.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, there would be a farm lobby.
BIRDWHISTELL: But, the -- the liquor lobby, I guess, that --01:47:00it was easy for them to figure out what to do. They would just maintain this hospitality suite, --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- and that would be their -- their -- theirlobbying. I guess there were lots of parties, from the lobbyists.
PEARCE: [Garvis Kincaid ?] --I guess it was somewhat later than that when Garvis Kincaid became prominent in the banking, small loans business.
PEARCE: He bought the CampbellHouse, or built it, I forgot, --
PEARCE: -- over in Lexington.
PEARCE: That huge hotel --motel --
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, --
PEARCE: -- there?
BIRDWHISTELL: -- yeah. I didn't know he had an interestin that.
PEARCE: Yeah, he used toown it.
BIRDWHISTELL: I didn't know that.
PEARCE: And he would throwa dinner for the legislature. He didn't make any bones about [chuckle] it. He threw a huge party for the legislature, and the whole legislature [chuckle--Birdwhistell] usually showed up. Man, it was a 01:48:00lavish party. Anything you wanted, you ordered. And [this ?] Garvis once told me, "I don't have to lobby over there." He said, "If they pass small loan bill, if they clamp down on the small loans, it'll help my banks." [Chuckles] "If they clamp down on banks, it'll help my small loans business." [Chuckle] But he always kept a man over there. And he always entertained the legislature. There was never any subtlety about it. Tyler was a m--- was a -- I think Tyler was a lobbyist for a while. I think maybe he was a liquor lobbyist.
BIRDWHISTELL: I think you might be right.
PEARCE: I n--- [chuckle]I -- I never knew exactly want Tyler did. I knew he was over there for one bill or another.
BIRDWHISTELL: You mentioned, again last time after we turned off thetape you were talking about how you -- you enjoyed the night, you e--- you know, enjoyed being out, an--- and I guess in Frankfort during a legislative session, the nightlife -- I mean, there's a whole 'nother part of that -- There's the daytime legis---
PEARCE: I very seldom stayedover there at night.
BIRDWHISTELL: You wouldn't stay there --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- at night? Uh-huh.
PEARCE: I'd come home.
BIRDWHISTELL: Okay. We were talking about -- earlier about EarleClements and your confrontation with him. Herman Lee Donovan had a confrontation with -- with Earle Clements. 01:50:00
PEARCE: [Chuckle] A lot ofpeople did. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] He had a f--- There was a man named Victor [Sholis ?] --
PEARCE: -- who was generalmanager of WHAS and WHAS --
PEARCE: -- TV.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- okay. Yeah, sure.
PEARCE: And they were atChurchill Downs. And at the bar there and Earle hit him.
BIRDWHISTELL: Hit him?
PEARCE: Hit him. [Chuckle]And he shoved Arthur Lloyd, [Emmy ?] Lloyd's father?
PEARCE: General Lloyd. Shovedhim. Damn near knocked him down. Maybe have knocked him down.
BIRDWHISTELL: In the same incident, he hit --
BIRDWHISTELL: No, di---
PEARCE: Just --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- di--- different incidents.
PEARCE: Yeah. Earle getmad, he'd [chuckle--Birdwhistell] grab somebody. And he s--- [chuckle] "Have -- Has Earle shaken you?" "Yeah, Earle shook me." [Chuckles] [You know ?]? He'd grab 'em always by the front of the coat, and "[Here you rr-rr-rr]." 01:51:00
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Well, he shook -- he shook Donovan once,as I understand.
PEARCE: Yes. He shookDonovan.
BIRDWHISTELL: Did you ever talk about that? Since you allshared a shaking?
PEARCE: I forget. Iknow I interviewed Donovan once for a series --
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, you mentioned that --
PEARCE: -- that I wroteon U.K.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- you mentioned that in that wonderful article you wroteabout him.
BIRDWHISTELL: So, I suppose you all must have talked it.
PEARCE: I guess we did.
PEARCE: He never made any-- As I say, it was no big deal [chuckles]. Earle shook people [chuckle] and --
BIRDWHISTELL: I guess it's better to be shook than to bepunched.
BIRDWHISTELL: Given a choice, I'd take the shaking.
PEARCE: Yeah, sure. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell]And he would sort of lose his temper, and then it'd blow over. I [chuckle] don't think anybody ever took it very seriously.
BIRDWHISTELL: Was he a bully?
PEARCE: No. Well, hewas in that sense, that he was bigger than most people [chuckle]. 01:52:00He had a bad temper. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] He always fascinated me, I'll tell you that. I just loved to watch him work, and loved to s--- see his mind work. You could just almost hear the gears clicking and clacking around. He was quite a thing, I'll tell you [chuckle--Birdwhistell].
BIRDWHISTELL: Ned Breathitt's told me about being down here in the-- I guess they were in the Seelbach, that's where the room -- that's where they --
PEARCE: Yeah, seventh floor.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. They were in the Seelbach and -- verysimilar to what you've said, and it -- late at night, Earle would still be churning, --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- churning. And he'd be in his boxer shorts.He'd have his clothes off, all but his boxer shorts, and he'd pace, and talk, and plan, and come up with strategies, and assign people. C--- And I -- I hadn't heard the 01:53:00story about the morning calls, but that makes sense, too. You know, he'd get up and do all that.
PEARCE: Earle had a keensense of timing, too. We had breakfast one morning in Russellville at "Doc" Beauchamp's house. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And he must have had twenty people in there at that huge table. And Ms. Beauchamp and her daughter had fixed a marvelous breakfast. And "Doc" said, "Well, all right, let's dig in here." [Laughter--Birdwhistell] And Earle, didn't like to be one-upped. He wanted to be [chuckle] in charge. And he -- he sort of rose in his seat and he said, "'Doctor', I trust that we're not going to eat 01:54:00this fine repast until we have given thanks to the Lord who sent it." And poor old "Doc" was crushed, you [chuckles] know. "Shame on you 'Doc' for not giving thanks [to God ?]." And so everybody [subsided where ?] Earle [chuckle], and he gave this mellifluous [chuckles] and flowery thanks to God. [Chuckles] "Doctor."
BIRDWHISTELL: Called him "Doctor," huh?
PEARCE: Yeah, "'Doctor', surely you'renot going to -- " [chuckle--Birdwhistell] "partake -- partake of this luscious repast before thanking the Lord who sent us these blessings." [Chuckle]
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, that's --
PEARCE: Earle and "Doc" woulddrive around the [chuckle--Birdwhistell] country together. Earle was a wild driver.
BIRDWHISTELL: Was he?
PEARCE: He hated to drive01:55:00anything less than 70 miles an hour [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. And those west Kentucky narrow road, you know, whim, wham, here he'd go [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. And he had strange -- he had a strange affectation, a habit, or pulling -- pulling on his titty, pulling on his nipple there on the right side. And he'd drive with that left hand, here they'd be going 80 miles an hour, and he'd be giving orders and talking to "Doc," and he'd be pulling [chuckle--Birdwhistell] [like that ?], and scaring "Doc" to hell. He -- And finally "Doc" said to -- , "God damn it, Earle, you drive with two hands and I'll pull your titty." [Laughter] You know, Combs -- Combs came in and instituted a -- a regime of purity. And he passed an executive order that no one 01:56:00in his administration would accept a gift from anyone that was worth more than ten dollars.
PEARCE: Yeah. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell]And this fellow came in from [Hoptown ?], around there, to see "Doc" and he brought him a fine country ham. And "Doc" looked at it [chuckle], and his mouth watered, and "Doc" was a gourmand, you know [chuckles]. And he said, "[Barnon ?], what -- what do you think that ham would bring?" [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And he said, "Well, I guess it'd bring about twenty dollars." "Tell you what you do. You take it down here to the butcher and have him cut it in two pieces, and give it to me in two ten dollar pieces." [Laughter]
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, that's funny. "Doc" Beauchamp stories are --01:57:00That's another person I've never met, but --
PEARCE: Oh, God, "Doc" wasa catbird.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Now, why was he called "Doc" Beauchamp, doyou know?
PEARCE: His father, I think,was a doctor.
BIRDWHISTELL: Was he?
PEARCE: "Doc" Emerson Beauchamp.He wanted to run for governor.
PEARCE: And Earle told him,"'Doctor', you can't make a speech growling at people." You know, "Doc" had an old whiskey voice like [this ?]. So, they went up when Bert -- Earle chose Bert to run against "Happy" and they went up to Shelbyville to open the campaign.
PEARCE: And Bert, in hishonest, plodding way, said, "I'm not gonna tell you that I'm gonna 01:58:00cut your taxes, 'cause we're gonna need about twenty-five thousand -- twenty-five million more for education."
PEARCE: Well, as Hugh Morriswrote [chuckle] later, "Earle opened and closed his campaign on the same night." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] Coming back in the car, "Doc" looked at Earle and shook his head. "God damn, Earle, you wouldn't let me g--- run 'cause I couldn't make a speech." [Chuckles]
BIRDWHISTELL: Is -- is that the reason that "Doc" Beauchamp nevermade it?
PEARCE: Well, he -- helooked like a political hack.
BIRDWHISTELL: Was he?
PEARCE: Sort of. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell]But he was a man of intellect, --
BIRDWHISTELL: Was he?
PEARCE: -- and of refinementbeneath it all.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. How had he made a living? Anybody01:59:00know?
PEARCE: Yeah, he had abusiness there of some sort. What the hell did "Doc" do? I forget. He's a pretty good administrator, pretty good highway person.
BIRDWHISTELL: Was he?
PEARCE: Yeah. "Doc" wasall right.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. He comes across so often in comparison toClements, and Wetherby, and Combs, and Breathitt as a -- as a lesser light, as a --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- as a cl--- almost as a clown sometimes.
PEARCE: Ooo. I wouldn'tsay that.
BIRDWHISTELL: Well, I -- I'm not saying I b--- I believethat, but I'm saying that that's a --
PEARCE: Oh, he owned thatcounty.
PEARCE: Let me tell you,you didn't move in Logan County without "Doc"'s permission.
BIRDWHISTELL: He was a serious guy when it came to thatstuff.
PEARCE: Oh, boy. And"Doc" could call an election within ten votes.
BIRDWHISTELL: Could he?
PEARCE: He really could.He could tell you, "Well, he ain't gonna get more than five 02:00:00hundred votes," and he wouldn't get more than five hundred votes.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. So, he knew his politics.
PEARCE: He knew it, andhe controlled it.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. W--- How would you describe his relationwith Earle Clements, then? What kind of relationship did --
PEARCE: They were --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- they have?
PEARCE: -- friends.
BIRDWHISTELL: They were just friends.
PEARCE: Well, they were political--
BIRDWHISTELL: I mean, not just --
PEARCE: -- friends.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- friends, but I mean they .
PEARCE: They were special friends.They understood each other, --
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, that's what [I'm trying ?] --
PEARCE: -- spoke the samelanguage.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. Respected one another?
PEARCE: Oh, yeah. Yes,indeed. He loved Earle. [He ?] always wanted to support Earle.
PEARCE: And -- [JackieHowell ?], that girl I used to date, the granddaughter of Marie Turner?
PEARCE: She told me somevaluable things. She was very bright. And she says, "You 02:01:00know, you -- you can't give up political power. You've got to lose it." [Said ?] [chuckle], "You're a political power as long as people think you are. As long as people think you're a political power, they'll come to you, they defer to you, and they ask your opinion, they ask your permission. And then you're a political power. The minute they figure you're not," --
BIRDWHISTELL: That's it.
PEARCE: -- they quit comingto you. If you lose, they say, you just can't quit and go home, you -- It's got to be taken from you, nobody ever quits." [Chuckle]
PEARCE: And she also toldme one more thing that interested me about east Kentucky politics. They would sometimes send her up into tough -- into tough regions 02:02:00of the county because they figured a little blue-eyed girl wouldn't get shot or knifed up there. And she would pay off the voters. And they would have their haulers out, and the haulers would bring people in, and they would be paid for the people that they brought in. And the people themselves would get either five dollars or a pint of -- half-pint --
BIRDWHISTELL: Half-pint. Hmm.
PEARCE: -- of whiskey, whichwas kept in the trunk of the car. Yeah, I remember her mother, [Treva ?] Howell says, Jackie wasn't too good at it. Said, "I could never teach her, keep your hands in your raincoat pocket. So that when you bring it out to shake 02:03:00hands, you've already got the dollar, and you've got the money in your hand."
BIRDWHISTELL: You don't have to --
PEARCE: "You don't have toput your hand -- " [chuckles] "-- in the pocket and get the money and come out. And said, "The state trooper standing over there'll get you." [chuckle--Birdwhistell] I said, "Weren't you reluctant to buy votes? Like," I said, "we never bought a vote in our life." And said, "Our people couldn't be bought." Said, "They -- if we didn't pay 'em, they just wouldn't show up the next year, but they wouldn't vote against us. We knew who was for us, you know. Knew people were for us. We were just returning the favor."
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. Umhmm. Which is a -- one way of--
PEARCE: Yeah. Said, they-- they'd take a half a day off, come out of the hollow, and they'd have to get a cab or one of our haulers, get gasoline, come down. And said [chuckle], if they'd been 02:04:00paid for their time, they'd have gotten ten times as much.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. A net loss for them.
PEARCE: [Well, going ?] back.
BIRDWHISTELL: When -- when you think back about Lennie McLaughlin, didshe have a job other than running the --
PEARCE: No, that was herjob.
BIRDWHISTELL: That was her job.
BIRDWHISTELL: That was a -- Did she get paid forthat?
PEARCE: Oh, I think shewas paid handsomely.
BIRDWHISTELL: By the party?
BIRDWHISTELL: And did she do that -- talking about losing power,did she do that until her death, or is -- is that when she st---
PEARCE: No, she retired tothe [800 ?].
BIRDWHISTELL: That's right, I remember that. Yeah. Who tookover after she retired?
PEARCE: Well, Johnny ran itfor a while. And then the organization just sort of faded. 02:05:00
BIRDWHISTELL: There's not anything comparable in Louisville --
PEARCE: No, [there isn't ?].
BIRDWHISTELL: -- today, is there?
BIRDWHISTELL: Why is that?
PEARCE: I don't know.Politics is different.
BIRDWHISTELL: Because of television?
PEARCE: Television had a lotto do with it, I think, increased the cost of running and increased the -- and changed the sources of power. People you want today have money. You don't worry about the common man and his one vote.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. On balance, what would you say about LennieMcLaughlin's machine down here? Do you -- Was it good for the city?
PEARCE: Yeah, I'd say on-- on balance they were probably good for the city. Bad for the democratic process [chuckle].
BIRDWHISTELL: I wanted to ask you -- again, we're going back02:06:00-- back again, but, you know, we talked about your adjustment to working at the Courier-Journal --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- beginning in 19---
BIRDWHISTELL: -- December of '46. I was wondering if youcould sort of give me a sense of what Louisville was like as you arrived here, say 1947-48. Was it a -- I would assume it'd be a city of -- that was bustling, that was --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- busy, that was --
PEARCE: Louisville was a muchmore vibrant town then than it is now because it had a downtown. Third, Fourth, and Fifth Streets, Jefferson, Liberty, Walnut, Chestnut, Broadway, that area in there was very alive. Fourth and Walnut was the -- sort of the nerve center of the town. It 02:07:00was -- it was exciting to be down here at Christmas time and pl--- times like that. Streets crowded with shoppers, the stores all lighted up and pretty, Stewarts, and Selman's, and Kaufman's, and Byck's, and the [Galleria ?], fine shops, [Lemmon's ?]. The--- these were high-class establishments. And the ladies in their furs, go in and out, you know. The Brown Hotel bar would be teeming with people. The English Grill with the ladies [down ?] for lunch. It was a f--- it was an exciting town. It was exciting, too, in an industrial sense. [Ballard ?] Mills were running then, and say [Cochran ?] Foil, Archie Cochran had just started 02:08:00that. And Reynolds Metals was here. Am--- American Standard, American Filter, all those -- And, of course, the Courier-Journal. These were local little empires that people had started before they sold out.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Now, would something like Belknap be in --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- be in that?
BIRDWHISTELL: B--- Belknap.
PEARCE: Belknap Hardware.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. [Sure ?].
PEARCE: And the big hotels,you know. That's --
BIRDWHISTELL: The big hotels would be the Brown, the Seelbach, --
PEARCE: The Kentucky, and theWatterson.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- the Kentucky, and the Watterson, okay.
PEARCE: The first two themain ones.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Yeah. S--- so, it was a cityon the move. I mean, it had lost some -- It -- it was a big ci--- it was a important city following the Civil War, and then it sort of lost some ground, 02:09:00but --
PEARCE: Not much. It-- it was pretty vigorous up to the time of the war. It -- The Depression and the 1937 flood both hurt the town.
BIRDWHISTELL: Okay. So, this post-[war ?] feeling was, well, we'reback, we're gonna --
PEARCE: Yeah, and --Yeah. Well, it was a feeling that St. Louis, Cincinnati, Louisville, and Atlanta would be big regional centers.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Yeah.
PEARCE: Now, Louisville expected torival Atlanta, and we didn't, and sort of hard to tell why. We had the river and all the river shipping. We were a railroad center. Roads led in and out. Here the r--- roads of Kentucky, of course, were miserable, that may have hurt. But for some reason, we just never quite caught the ring. But it was indeed a vigorous town and there was a great deal of optimism in it. Wh--- when the war 02:10:00was over, there was a great feeling aborad in the nation, as well as the state, that we were in for a hard time, that there'd be no jobs for all these millions of boys coming home, and that there would be trouble. A--- Capitalism and democracy for once showed their muscle, and prosperity just blossomed overnight, almost. The boys went back to college by the millions and they came out well prepared, and suddenly we had a workforce we'd never had before. And there was, I say, a great feeling of optimism, "we're on our way." And in places like Atlanta, progress 02:11:00was noticeable. Louisville, Nashville, didn't do too well.
[End of Tape #2, Side #1]
[Begin Tape #2, Side #2]
BIRDWHISTELL: In spite of the optimism for Louisville after the war,in s--- in a lot of ways it was a divided city. All -- all cities are divided in a sense, but Louisville and Jefferson County was divided up into lots of little cities, and also you had a racial divide. I mean, that one would have to deal with eventually and we'll talk about at some length as we get into civil rights movement.
PEARCE: To a degree.02:12:00I -- I don't think the division was ever -- was as great in '45, '55 as it became later.
BIRDWHISTELL: As it would be later. That's probably a fairstatement, yeah.
PEARCE: The west end [outthere ?] and when I was -- when I used to come over here when I was in school, west end was very fine residential area, white. During and after the war, the blacks started flocking north from the south and little by little they took over the west end, and the west end became black, and it became the problem area. The southwest Louisville, the Dixie Highway area, became largely industrial and Charlie Farnsley [chuckle] got us on that one. 02:13:00
BIRDWHISTELL: What do you mean?
PEARCE: He was the attorneyfor the distillers, [Schenley ?], National, the big distillers that used to be down there, Seagram's, Schenley. And in order to lower their taxes, he got a -- permission from the legislature to hold a referendum there on incorporation, and they incorporated the distilleries [chuckle] --
BIRDWHISTELL: I didn't know [that ?].
PEARCE: -- and called itShively.
PEARCE: And they didn't haveto pay much taxes [chuckle--Birdwhistell].
BIRDWHISTELL: I didn't know that [inaudible].02:14:00
PEARCE: That was Charlie's.
BIRDWHISTELL: Who -- This -- Again late '40s, early'50s period, who are the -- who are the power brokers in Louisville? Th--- Of course, the Binghams are power brokers. Who else are -- are the people -- Lennie McLaughlin's a political power broker, but --
PEARCE: Tom Graham. TomGraham, a banker here. He was a big Democrat. He was a power broker.
BIRDWHISTELL: Uh-huh. Now, was he friendly with the Binghams, then?
PEARCE: Yes. Fairly.Fairly p--- fairly friendly. [Eli ?] Brown --
PEARCE: -- was a powerfulDemocrat. [Neville ?] Miller was somewhat influential Democrat. And then we had the bankers and the lawyers. George Norton, Thruston Morton.
BIRDWHISTELL: Who'd gone to Congress in '46.02:15:00
PEARCE: Yeah. Uh, let'ssee. Who were the bankers then? Hud--- [Hudson Milner ?]. I forget some of the others. They were power brokers, more or less.
BIRDWHISTELL: Tell me about George Norton. He was a --close friends with John Sherman Cooper, wasn't he?
BIRDWHISTELL: They'd been at college together, is that right? Hadthey been at -- Or how did they become friends? I -- I can't remember how they'd become friends, but they were --
PEARCE: I -- I don'trecall.
BIRDWHISTELL: I don't know if they'd been at Yale together or--
PEARCE: I just --I'm sorry, I don't --
BIRDWHISTELL: Well, tell me about George Norton.
PEARCE: Don't know a lotabout him. He was a quiet figure. He stayed in the background a great deal.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. How had he made his money?02:16:00
PEARCE: The Norton money --I'm tr--- He married Rose [Morton ?], I think. Was that her name?
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, y--- He had married -- Yeah, that's-- that's right.
PEARCE: Yeah. [He'd ?]married --
BIRDWHISTELL: He had married --
PEARCE: -- Morton --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- Thruston's --
PEARCE: -- money, and hehad some money that came out of eastern -- [well ?] --
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, it was Jane.
PEARCE: Jane Morton.
BIRDWHISTELL: Jane Morton Norton.
PEARCE: Morton Norton. Yeah,right. Not Rose, Jane. [Rose Blakely ?]. And he and [inaudible] --
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, Rose Blakely worked for Thruston Morton.
PEARCE: Yes. He inheritedsome money, he married some money, and he made some money. Made money on the stations.
BIRDWHISTELL: On the -- on WAVE, --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- radio and television.
PEARCE: And then, of course,the Mortons sold out the mills. And George sold out the 02:17:00stations. The Binghams sold their empire. Archie Cochran sold Cochran Foil. Bill [Reeves ?] sold -- what was the name of that, American S--- American Air Filter, I --
BIRDWHISTELL: That --
PEARCE: -- guess.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- sounds like it.
PEARCE: Yeah. One byone they -- men who had built up the local industries and businesses sold 'em out to chains and -- and big companies. And the banks now, of course, are all gone.
BIRDWHISTELL: I had a question there, and then I -- I02:18:00lost it. Did you get to know -- did you get to know Thruston Morton while he was in Congress representing this district?
PEARCE: Very little. Thrustonwas -- He was prominent in the social/business world in which I didn't move much.
BIRDWHISTELL: Tha--- at that point, yeah. When did you firstget to know Wilson Wyatt? Did you meet him during this period?
BIRDWHISTELL: Did you meet him during this --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- period?
PEARCE: He -- Wilsonhad been mayor, you know.
BIRDWHISTELL: Uh-huh. Right, during -- during the war.
PEARCE: Right. Very famousmayor, very well thought of as a mayor. Got a lot 02:19:00of national publicity, "The Boy Mayor." And it was always a question of what to -- what he could do. Wilson just can't sit here and mildew, he's got to be something.
PEARCE: He would come aroundthe Courier, I met him that way, and then he gave parties. He and Ann gave a lot of parties. I attended some of those. I didn't have a whole lot to do with him until he started running.
BIRDWHISTELL: Uh-huh. But y--- your initial im--- impressions were veryfavorable, I take it?
PEARCE: Oh, yeah. Ialways thought highly of Wilson. I think he's very highly principled man. I think he was much more principled than Thruston.
BIRDWHISTELL: Well, his '62 campaign would --02:20:00
BIRDWHISTELL: -- would be the --
PEARCE: That cut that cord.
PEARCE: And then, too, Thrustondrank too much. And they always said, you know, Thruston'll screw a rattlesnake if somebody'll hold its head. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And he did. boy, he had girls all over. And he drank an awful lot, and he got to the point where he was -- he was drinking badly.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. Of course, I've had people say that hewas a better Senator drunk than most are sober. You think that's true?
PEARCE: He was capable.
BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. He was a bright guy.
PEARCE: I -- I --I didn't recall that he was a great political thinker. He was -- He was a rich Republican and he represented the 02:21:00interests of rich Republicans.
[Interruption in taping]
BIRDWHISTELL: Okay. Sorry for the interruption. At this-- at the -- I'm still not getting anything here. At this point, Wilson Wyatt is called --
PEARCE: You're -- you're notgetting the sound through here?
BIRDWHISTELL: Let me see. Try it again.
PEARCE: Well, ask me something.[What ?] --
BIRDWHISTELL: [Well ?], yeah --
PEARCE: -- you want meto talk about?
BIRDWHISTELL: -- that's -- th---
[Interruption in taping]
PEARCE: You were talking aboutWilson Wyatt.
BIRDWHISTELL: Much better. [Now ?], --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- it's losing -- losing power there.
PEARCE: All righty.
BIRDWHISTELL: Wilson Wyatt had -- had been dr--- had been calledto Washington to be housing --
PEARCE: Yes, --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- czar.
PEARCE: -- expediter, yeah.
BIRDWHISTELL: Uh-huh. And did you have much contact with him02:22:00while he was doing that? I guess you kept in touch with his career, kind of watched what he was --
PEARCE: The Courier --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- [doing ?].
PEARCE: -- did. Barrydid.
BIRDWHISTELL: [Courier did ?].
PEARCE: They were close.But that wasn't on my level. That was above me, really.
BIRDWHISTELL: Uh-huh. And before that, of course, you have the1948 election with [Harry S.] Truman running with [Alben] Barkley on the --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- [Democrat ?] ticket. That must have been quitea -- quite a thing to -- to watch unfold from -- from a perspective of a newspaper man.
PEARCE: It was wonderful.I remember that Truman was speaking down at Paducah and Wilson -- oh, that's right. I went -- I think I went down with Wilson.
BIRDWHISTELL: Did you?
PEARCE: Anyhow, Wilson, and youngBarkley, and somebody else, and I talking to Truman there before the 02:23:00talk, and he was his plain old gracious self, you know. And I have a picture autographed by Harry saying, "Thank you for the good advice." [Chuckle]
BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?
PEARCE: Yeah [chuckles]. Idon't know what advice I gave him [chuckle].
BIRDWHISTELL: You don't know which one it was, huh?
PEARCE: I guess I wasn'tbackward in [chuckle] giving anybody advice [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. But I -- I was very charmed with Truman. And I sensed a solidness about him, a -- a willingness to take responsibility, and I enjoyed that. And I remember the day of the election, it was raining, 02:24:00rainy as it could be, and we were living at the time -- we had not yet moved out of this apartment complex down in the south end. And this friend of mine and I went all through the apartments, "Don't forget to vote. Let's get out and vote." [Chuckles] "What are you voting for? [Hell ?], can't win that", Tom Dewey was already nominated, he was picking his cabinet. And the next morning, we couldn't believe it.
PEARCE: We just couldn't believeit.
BIRDWHISTELL: And, of course, you have a Kentuckian who becomes vice-president.
BIRDWHISTELL: I was reading something the other day and when youthink about Kentucky's role in national politics, in that 1948 -- actually 1949 inaugu--- inauguration, you have a president being sworn in by a 02:25:00chief justice from Kentucky, --
PEARCE: Who was that, [Stanley]Reed?
PEARCE: Vinson. Sure, FredVinson.
BIRDWHISTELL: And then you have a vice-president from Kentucky being swornin by a justice from Kentucky, Reed.
PEARCE: [Chuckle] Yeah.
BIRDWHISTELL: Inc--- incredible, --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- when you think about it, -- it -- to-- it -- In comparison to Kentucky's standing in national influence today.
PEARCE: Yeah, I think thatwe -- we had men then like Earle Clements, John Cooper, Thruston Morton. These were men of stature, men of dignity and power.
BIRDWHISTELL: Have the men become less powerful and less of stature,02:26:00or has the job just changed so much that it's harder to be that anymore?
PEARCE: It just seems itdoesn't attract the men. I'm not saying that they were always great, Noble -- Gregory was no great [chuckle--Birdwhistell] Congressman, but he was [chuckle] a man of a lot of ability.
BIRDWHISTELL: Was he?
PEARCE: Yeah. He wasa man of background, he was a gentleman. Bill Natcher had one saving grace in that you counted on him to vote and he was honest [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. But Lord knows he was -- Was sort of a farm representative for forty years. And we often sent up some weirdoes from the mountains like "Long John" Robison, some of those people.
BIRDWHISTELL: But Kentuckians were -- and -- and Clements would, you02:27:00know, work in -- in terms of being Johnson's right hand --
PEARCE: Right hand --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- man in the Senate. I mean, you --you have these Kentuckians up there who are -- who are power -- power brokers in a national sense.
PEARCE: Yes, we had moreinfluence. And --
BIRDWHISTELL: And then, of course, the C--- Courier's connected toall these people.
PEARCE: Yes, one way oranother we were connected with them. And we were so greatly admired in those days. As I think I've told you before, it was a pleasure to go places and be able to say, "I'm an editorial writer with the Courier-Journal." It -- it just meant almost automatic instant respect. Not for who you were [chuckle], 02:28:00but who you worked for. They figured you must be a good person. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] You go to conferences, and I went to a lot of 'em. I went into that short course up in Columbia and [Monty Curtis ?], who then ran the School of Journalism there and the American Press Institute, sort of favored me from the beginning. He even got me to lecture there [a little bit ?]. I -- Those were pleasing years.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. What year did you go up to Columbia?
PEARCE: As I recall, itwas '5--- between '54 and '55, or in there. 02:29:00
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. Did the Binghams want you to go ordid you want to go? How did that work?
PEARCE: [Well ?], [chuckle] youdidn't go unless they wanted you to go [chuckle--Birdwhistell].
BIRDWHISTELL: If you -- if you went, it was a giventhat they --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- approved of it.
PEARCE: -- absolutely. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell]
BIRDWHISTELL: I wanted to ask -- We talked about yourjournalism s--- day -- your -- your time at the journalism school at U.K. And now you're, in the -- in the late '40s and early '50s you find yourself a journalist at one of the nation's leading newspapers. Had U.K. trained you adequately to do that job?
PEARCE: No, I trained myself.Now, I know that sounds -- oh, self-promoting, vainglorious, but I 02:30:00thought the journalism education I got there was very poor, which is why I quit the school. I quit and went over into political science and history. And enjoyed it much more, and felt it more beneficial. I continued to take courses in journalism, the -- under Willis Tucker. I think I told you I thought Willis Tucker was fine teacher.
PEARCE: I liked him, foundI was working very hard under him and that was good. But, the journalism school hadn't prepared me. As I told you, I lived over on South Upper Street with other newsmen and I 02:31:00started getting jobs, special writing down on the -- on the Herald-Leader -- the Herald, yeah. Herald, I think. And at WLAP. That's where I learned to -- I learned to do a whole lot by doing --
PEARCE: -- and by reading.
PEARCE: You know, you'd reada -- a lead and you'd figure out what it was about, with what little schooling you'd had and what training you'd ha--- what experience you had. I didn't find anything mysterious about newspapering. You find where the sources and news were, and you called on 'em, and .and took what you could get, and wrote it up. I -- I felt that I was -- I was not 02:32:00too lacking in technique of writing; it was knowledge that I needed. I just didn't have enough knowledge for my job, and I tried like hell to get it. And the day at the Courier was rather interesting. We'd come in around 8:00, 8:30, to 9:00 and get the papers, and start reading the papers. And sometime talking to each other. I forget the -- the hours of the conference changed somewhat. We used to have the conference around eleven o'clock 'til 12:00 and then go eat lunch, but that 02:33:00didn't allow us enough time, really, so we started having conference at either 10:00 or 10:30 and I forget just which. But we'd go into the conference room there, which was right next door to my office. I thought the offices were inadequate [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. The offices at the "new building" as we called Sixth and Broadway, the "new building", because we were right next door here.
BIRDWHISTELL: Right. When did you move to the --
BIRDWHISTELL: In -- in '48. So, you were -- fora year you were in the old building.
BIRDWHISTELL: [Or more ?] --
PEARCE: A little bit --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- [than a year. Yeah ?].
PEARCE: -- more than --Umhmm. And --
BIRDWHISTELL: And you thought the offices was inadequate in the oldbuilding or the new building, or both?
PEARCE: Both [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. Wethought, "Oh, boy, we'll move over to the new building, we'll have better offices." We got over there, they were lousy [chuckles]. 02:34:00The all looked like, you know, somebody from the accounting department, glass, linoleum floors, neon lights overhead. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] Bunch -- It was really crappy.
BIRDWHISTELL: Now, I remember -- I came to see youonce in an office over in the Broadway building, and it had windows, as I recall.
PEARCE: Well, if you hada window, it was all right. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] I never wanted a window especially. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] I always thought if I had a window, I'd look out it.
BIRDWHISTELL: Now, you've got windows that look out onto a [chuckle--Pearce]office --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- building.
PEARCE: Yeah. The editorialconference was very interesting. To me it was. I was very impressed with it. Shortly after I -- shortly after I joined the Courier and after we moved to Sixth and Broadway, [Molly 02:35:00Klaus ?] returned. She had worked on the Herald Post, in the old days when the Herald Post was still running, and had married a French consul. I think he was in Chicago. And they moved back here. He taught at the University of Louisville and Molly came and got a job on the editorial staff. I was sort of put off by her at first; she was rather brusque and spoke in sort of an English accent. And I found that she was one of the sweetest, finest people I was ever to know. [I ?] just adored her. 02:36:00
BIRDWHISTELL: Didn't bother you having a woman on the staff, editorialstaff?
PEARCE: No. She knewmore in a week than I'd know in my life. And then not too long after that, [Weldon ?] James came. Weldon was a South Carolinian who was orphaned and reared, I think, by aunts and uncles. He went to -- he went to some South Carolina school, as I recall. And then he went into -- He -- he got a job with Collier's magazine and he was aboard the -- all right, what was the name of that gunboat that was sunk by the Japanese in -- 02:37:00
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, --
PEARCE: -- the --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- on the river there?
PEARCE: Yes, on the river.
BIRDWHISTELL: Um, I can't remember that.
PEARCE: It was the incident.
PEARCE: Well, I'll think ofit in a minute. He was on that gunboat with a couple of other newspapermen in the early stages of the Sino-Japanese War. The boat was attacked by the Japanese and sunk, creating considerable international incident. Weldon swam and waded ashore, went straight to the telegraph office, and scored a tremendous scoop, or whatever, beat on all the other newsmen and all the papers, became rather famous for it. He was a good writer. He was facile and -- and he was solid man. Largely through that he became a 02:38:00member of the first [Newman ?] class at Harvard. And he came out and was working for Collier's on sort of an assignment basis, I guess he was making a living, traveling around the country. Wanted very much to settle down so he could have his wife and family with him. He was, oh, five years, maybe more than that, older than I was, five or ten years. During World War II he had joined the Marine Corps and he'd been sent to London as part of the staff as a military attach there. And shared an office with Barry Bingham. Weldon was enormously lucky. There he's on the only gunboat in the 02:39:00east that got attacked by the Japanese, --
PEARCE: -- and he wentinto the war and instead of getting sent to Guadalcanal he got sent to London.
BIRDWHISTELL: [Chuckle] And shared an office with --
PEARCE: He had a --had a -- a affectation of holding a cigarette up between these two fingers, and waving it about [chuckle--Birdwhistell], and speaking in this strange accent which was half London and half South Carolina. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] He charmed the girls over at the Courier-Journal. And he'd sit up in the cafeteria over coffee, waving that cigarette around. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] Raised eyebrows and [chuckles] a supercilious look. He came to work then. [Tarleton ?] Collier was on the staff then. Tarleton was a Georgian, came up with Mark Ethridge. He had 02:40:00served, I think, in the Department of Agriculture in Washington and he was quite a farm and commerce man. A good writer [in that thing ?]. Russell [Briney ?], a Louisvillian, who had married well. Married a woman named [Melville Otter ?], and she wrote a s--- book, a series of -- of historical sketches of Louisville. And Russell was the master of precision. He'd never write an editorial more than six or eight inches long, but every word 02:41:00was needed [chuckle--Birdwhistell], and he wouldn't write one word that wasn't necessary. He had a sardonic sense of humor. I remember we were out at Mark Ethridge's one night at a party, drinking and singing. And he said to me, "John, I have sometime thought that you may have made a mistake becoming an editorial writer, but we can be glad you didn't take up singing." [Chuckles] He was very courtly, like "Uncle" Tom Wallace.
BIRDWHISTELL: Umhmm. Was the size of the editorial staff comparableto other newspapers, of -- of the Courier's size?
PEARCE: At that time Ithink we had a large staff. We --
BIRDWHISTELL: Sounds large.
PEARCE: -- also --I beg your pardon?
BIRDWHISTELL: Sounds large.
PEARCE: Yes, it was and02:42:00then we had Grover Page, the cartoonist.
BIRDWHISTELL: You know, his -- his cartoons are now at U.K.
PEARCE: Yeah, I think so,yeah.
BIRDWHISTELL: They were at the [Louisville] Public Library?
BIRDWHISTELL: And when the public library was getting rid of alot of stuff, we picked those up. We've got a person going through and indexing those.
PEARCE: Grover was something ofa weirdo [chuckle]. Grover didn't want to go home, I think. He hung around the paper after he'd already finished his cartoon. As I said, he was a c--- self-congratulator. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] He would always attend conference. He wore little bow ties and smoked a corn-cob pipe. He was about 5'3" or 4". 02:43:00"Kik, kik." He had a cackling laugh, "Heh, heh, heh," [chuckle--Birdwhistell] and after conference he would return to his office, and it wouldn't take him more than thirty minutes, it [chuckle] seemed to me. He'd come out with either a cartoon or a sketch of one and he'd show to you, and if you didn't exclaim over it, he would exclaim over it himself. [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] "Here's a good one." [Chuckles] "Yeah." "Pretty funny, eh, heh, eh, eh," cackle. George [Burt ?], a Georgian who also came north with Ethridge, he'd -- had been trained, among other things, as an opera singer [chuckle]. Went to [Woodbury Forest ?]. He --
BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, really?
PEARCE: -- he was a-- from a proper Southern family.
BIRDHISTELL: That's where Thruston Morton went.
PEARCE: Yes. Well, George02:44:00couldn't stand Grover. [Chuckles] And Grover would come in and [chuckle] -- and he'd show George this cartoon. "I think you'll like this one, it's funny. Eh, eh, eh." And when he would start, "Eh, eh, eh," he smoked too much and his throat I guess was raw, and he'd go "Eh, ah, ooah, uuh, heh, heh," cough. [It ?] sounded like he was clearing out a sewer. And it would irritate Burt [chuckle--Birdwhistell], "Goddamn little gnome." [Chuckles] Burt would get furious, and he'd sort of swell up. [Chuckles] He hated Bob [Shulman ?] [chuckle].
PEARCE: Said, he --Bob fascinated him. He said [chuckle], "There's a man with no 02:45:00talent in the world except for self-promotion and he seems to bounce from one failure higher than the f---" [chuckles]. And he did, he just bounced uphill [chuckles]. And George had to edit Shulman's copy when Shulman became sort of a media critic.
PEARCE: And -- and hiscopy was gibberish [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. He -- he either couldn't type or couldn't thi--- And Burt would have to put it into English [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. And he protested and Barry said, "Oh, George, you can do that now." [Chuckle--Birdwhistell] Nobody ever wanted to get rid of Shulman. And George would have to edit -- And he came into me one day shaking, "Look at that. Look 02:46:00at that." Threw this copy down on the desk and it was the worst looking piece of copy [chuckle] I've ever seen in my life [chuckles].
BIRDWHISTELL: [That was funny ?]. Where did --
PEARCE: [But there the ?]--
BIRDWHISTELL: -- where did Grover Page come from? Where --what was his background? Did you -- I don't know if you told --
PEARCE: North Carolina.
BIRDWHISTELL: Did -- he came up with --
PEARCE: I don't think so.
BIRDWHISTELL: -- Ethridge or you just --
PEARCE: I -- I thinkhe just sort of eased in there through osmosis or something.
BIRDWHISTELL: Was he good?
PEARCE: He was all right.Bob York was the other one.
PEARCE: Bob York. Hewas the edi--- he was cartoonist for the Times. And Bob would come in -- Wore sort of a pork-pie hat, and always wore a sports jacket, crepe-soled shoes. A soft-spoken man, went through rather hurriedly. Went to his office, never came out. 02:47:00[Chuckle--Birdwhistell] And after about an hour or two, he'd come in, "[Here's a ?] cartoon." Put it down on George's desk and go home.
BIRDWHISTELL: And go home.
PEARCE: He didn't see anyneed to hang [chuckle] around, so he didn't [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. Bob won the Pulitzer. It surprised everybody so that it was almost incredulity. Nobody could believe that Bob had really won it [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. On the other hand, Hugh [Henya ?], who was a genius and a marvelous cartoonist, and who worked harder at cartooning than any man I've ever heard of. Hugh came in fairly early, well before conference. Very seldom or never attended conference. And he didn't come out of his office all day long, except to go to 02:48:00the men's room, maybe. And -- now, he'd be there when everybody left at four or five o'clock. Boy, he worked at those cartoons, especially after they became syndicated and he handled his own syndicate.
BIRDWHISTELL: I didn't realize they were syndicated.
PEARCE: Yeah. He --
BIRDWHISTELL: [Inaudible] --
PEARCE: -- had quite afew -- he had quite a few papers and made quite a bit of money.
BIRDWHISTELL: Did he?
PEARCE: Yeah. Hugh wasan excellent cartoonist. He was brilliant. His ideas were so good. And I thought that his execution was very good.
BIRDWHISTELL: What about --
PEARCE: He --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- his ideas --
PEARCE: -- never won it.
BIRDWHISTELL: What made his ideas different? What made them sogood?
PEARCE: He was bright.
BIRDWHISTELL: Just in -- just in the presentation of an idea.
PEARCE: Yeah. I dothink that Hugh was as close to genius as we ever had 02:49:00down there.
BIRDWHISTELL: Hmm. Was there a -- a lot of competitionamong you young newspapermen?
PEARCE: In what way?
BIRDWHISTELL: To succeed at -- at the paper, was there --
PEARCE: Not especially.
PEARCE: I can't think ofany. I mean, we all wanted to --
BIRDWHISTELL: Everybody wanted to do well and make money, right?
PEARCE: Yeah, everybody wanted tobe editor, but we knew that was up to Barry [chuckle--Birdwhistell].
BIRDWHISTELL: You wanted to be editor?
PEARCE: Yeah. We eachhad our own -- his own -- each had his own specialty, sort of, his own bag. We wrote on our own subjects. 02:50:00I handled all the politics for the thing. Not that I wanted to, it just sort of fell to me.
PEARCE: Yeah. I traveledthe state. It was very interesting paper in those days. We had bureaus all over. We had a bureau in Paducah, we had a bureau in Bowling Green, we had a bureau in Lexington, and Pikeville, Hazard. You know, all over the damn state we had bureaus. Did we have one in northern Kentucky? I think we did.
BIRDWHISTELL: I would imagine.
PEARCE: And I used totravel around and see each one of 'em, and it was great fun.
BIRDWHISTELL: A full-time reporter would be at each of those bureaus?
PEARCE: Yeah. Sometime we'dhave two or three people. 02:51:00
BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?
PEARCE: Oh, --
BIRDWHISTELL: Well, in Frankfort or --
BIRDWHISTELL: -- Lexington, sure.
PEARCE: Umhmm. yeah, Iremember in Pikeville we had [Gerald Griffin ?], a Lexingtonian who had been Lexington before the war, went off to the war and came home a Colonel, expecting to get the Lexington bureau back and maybe a promotion of some sort. Instead he seemed to run afoul of Jim Pope, Sr., who sent him to Pikeville [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. Boy, that was Siberia. He lived in the Hatcher Hotel there. The Hatcher Hotel was an ancient inn. And the old man Hatcher had written on the walls, all around the lobby of the hotel, what he considered wise sayings [laughter--Birdwhistell]. "If you sell for 02:52:00what you buy for, you'll starve to death." "Never hire a man who smokes cigarettes or wears a belt. He'll spend all of his time lighting up or hitching up."
BIRDWHISTELL: "Hitching --" [laughter] So, if you -- if you--
PEARCE: Hatcher Hotel had beenflooded about twenty times, I think, and they'd had marks along the wall [chuckle--Birdwhistell], "1937," "1957," you know. All the high water marks of the flood.
BIRDWHISTELL: Right there in the building.
PEARCE: It just about droveGerald crazy. He got to drinking a lot. He couldn't stand it, he didn't have anybody to talk to. When I was there he insisted, you know, stay with him, go out for 02:53:00dinner [chuckle--Birdwhistell], "God damn it." He'd get drunk and he'd talk to -- he'd talk to soldiers on the street, you know, "I'm a colonel." "Yeah." And show 'em his -- "Hey, Colonel." Make Gerald feel good [chuckle--Birdwhistell]. But one night up there he was almost in tears, I think maybe he was, drinking. And he said, "And John Ed, you've got to -- you've got to help me. [You got to ?] -- I want you to go to Bingham. Don't go to Pope, don't go to Ethridge, you go to Bingham. And tell him they've got to get me out of here. This is killing me. I'm gonna die here. Now, I've got to get out of here, I can't stand this, and I'm too old now to 02:54:00get another job." And I said, "All right, I'll do that." And I did tell Barry, just about the way it came to me, but it didn't get him out of there.
PEARCE: And he died.
PEARCE: His daughter is marriedto young Harry Miller. Robin, is that her name? I think so. Nice girl, woman. We had Harry [Bolser ?] down in Paducah. A old-time newspaperman and something of authority on the river and river commerce and things like that. And Joe [Easter ?] over in Lexington. And of course we had [Trout 02:55:00?] and [Morris ?] in Frankfort. Trout and Morris were the best newspapering team I've ever seen.
PEARCE: Yeah, I thought AllanTrout was a marvelous newspaperman. For one thing, Trout knew and respected, revered the English language, and he could write it. He wrote a column called "Greetings from Old Kentucky." And it sounded hayseed. He would tell about vines growing on trees and that sort of crap, you know, and about hound dogs and how they ran [slunch-wise ?] [chuckle--Birdwhistell] with their hindquarters slewed out to one side. But it was written in flawless English. And he had a great following, especially among small town people and country people. 02:56:00
BIRDWHISTELL: Allan Trout.
PEARCE: "Where the whang-doodle [mourneth?]," where -- It's something about "where the columbine twineth, and the whang-doodle mourneth its firstborn." What that meant, I never knew [chuckles], but it was rather colorful, picturesque, musical when you said it. I never knew what a wh--- whang-doodle was, or why it should mourneth his first --
BIRDWHISTELL: [Or why ?]?
BIRDWHISTELL: Well, we're out of tape here.
[End of Interview]