I was hesitant to put a date on this article. It is clearly published in the Daily Mirror – which I can only assume is a New York newspaper – but the first issue of the Daily Mirror in New York was not published until 1924. However, the date that is written in the scrapbook is 1923, so that’s what we’ll go with for now.
At the very least, we can be sure that our ancestors did indeed have a sense of humor.
By Gene Fowler
Knives are trumps tonight at Billy Gallagher’s milk and honey depot, the Monte Carlo. Champion Jack Dempsey is entertaining there. His guests of honor include Luis Angel Firpo, champion prune and been demolisher of the Andes, and Tex Rickard, the charlotte russe magnate of Madison Square.
There will be speeches, and will you please excuse Firpo for talking with his mouth full? Once Firpo and Dempsey were enemies. Now they are thick. But we don’t mean the kind of “thick” that one might infer from this observation.
Sporting writers and their grandsons will be there in droves. Chauncey DePew has sent his regrets. The famous after-dinner speaker is quoted as having failed to [sic]
“I am strictly a Marquis of Queensberry after-dinner speaker. From where I sit, it looks as though I wouldn’t get any dinner. There will be entirely too much competition when the Blue Plate Special steams into the station. No eat, no speak! That’s the motto of the DePews.”
Say, What’s Eating on Firpo, Anyway?
Wall Street is laying heavy odds on Firpo to win the Billy Gallagher championship belt. This belt is inlaid with Bermuda onions and Florida grapefruit. It must be won three times in succession before it becomes the permanent property of any one food-destroyer. Inside advices have it that Firpo will solve this question of perennial ownership by eating the belt once he has won it.
Dempsey, the host, will enter the lists himself. He is said to be in great gastronomical form. The fact that $90,000 income tax had to be paid made it necessary for the Champ to starve a month. This was a lucky thing, as it will make the Dempsey-Firpo nosebag futurity a real race.
Joe Bannon Spurns the Victual Watch
Billy Gallagher is referee. Joe Bannon, the Duke of William Street, would have been timekeeper. But Joe was afraid it would be too brutal. Hence, he sailed on the S. S. Berengaria. Commissioner Enright will act as Club Physician. Anyone caught cheating in such manner as hiding a side of beef under the table will be automatically disqualified. Contestants who drop gravy on the necktie instead of in the proper receptacle will be warned.
At the command of the referee, which shall consist of a gentle rap with a meat cleaver on the neck, a scoffer and his steak shall break cleanly. Fighting trunks shall consist of a napkin knotted under either ear. Celery and lettuce is barred, as it makes too much noise. Give Firpo ten heads of lettuce and a cluster of celery and it sounds as if he is half-soling a pair of Epinard’s shoes.
Referee Gallagher has issued explicit orders that no contestant shall eat the pictures on the wall. Anybody detected gnawing upholstery on the chairs will be set back two yards. The wrinkle-crowding classic makes it look like a year of famine for the boys on Broadway. Nothing will be left when those Dempsey guests get through with their rations.
Luis Angel Firpo (aka “The Wild Bull of the Pampas”) was the first Argentinian to challenge the world heavyweight title. Even though he lost to Dempsey in a controversial match in September 1923, he returned to Argentina a hero. After a few uneventful comebacks, he retired in 1936 and became a car dealer for Stutz and by 1940 had a successful ranching business. Firpo and Jack Dempsey teamed up to manage amateur boxer Abel Cestac, who later became the heavyweight champion of South America.
Chauncey DePew was a senator from New York, and a lot of other things. Here is a brief biography.
I’m pretty sure Joe Bannon was a muckety-muck of some sort, but it was difficult to find any information on him or his title “Duke of William Street.” However, this is a history of the S.S. Berengeria (aka RMS Imperator), in case you wondered.
Commissioner Enright could quite possibly be Police Commissioner (1918-1925) Richard Enright. His wikipedia page is here.