Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Dave Burgin's musings on Hunter Thompson

Dave Burgin, one of the more colorful editors in my newspaper past, is quoted in a Dean Singleton-owned Bay Area paper regarding the demise of Hunter S. Thompson.

Dave was rather a beast to some of his reporters, but he always treated me well when he ran the Houston Post newswroom.

He's was the only "big" editor I ever drank with. Once, he even invited a bunch of us over to his house in Tanglewood after last call. In one room, an entire wall was covered with pics of Dave with various noteables, prompting one of the crew to remark, "Gosh, a shrine to Dave Burgin."
I can't remember if Thompson was among the pictured noteables, but I do remember a great pic of him with a very young Cassius Clay (both were from Kentucky, of course, as was Dr. Thompson.)

Anyway, here's the rather humorous excerpt, with a link to the full story:

A former Oakland Tribune executive editor describes episodes with Thompson marked by a wild eccentricity.

Dave Burgin said he met Thompson at a meeting of a group called The Study of Sports in Society at sports theorist Jack Scott's house in Berkeley. Burgin was sports editor of the San Francisco Examiner at the time.

"I can't say we became close friends ... but we were both from Kentucky ... and I saw him around," Burgin said.

Later, when he was sports editor of the Washington Star, he took Thompson with him to a Washington Redskins game — but there was trouble in the press box.

"He didn't take his hat off during the national anthem, and some drunken sports writer behind us took off (Thompson's) hat and threw it out the window.

"Hunter turned around and threatened to cut the tongue off of the guy who threw the hat."

Finally, management asked them to leave.

"Just as we were going out the door, I looked over my shoulder and I saw all these stricken faces. Hunter leaned back in and said, 'We'll be back with guns and dogs.'

"Those stricken faces turned to horror, like we were carrying machetes or something. I'll never forget that look as long as I live," Burgin said.

Thompson wrote about the episode, Burgin said.

"But he gonzoed it up ... He made it worse than it was."

[alameda times-star]

No comments: