"Slow Peace... Quick Death" and Other Classic Headlines From Miami's Former Tabloid

Ah, the 1950s. An innocent time in Miami when a boxing fight at the Coral Gables Coliseum was just a buck, and a dog race at the West Flagler Kennel Club was only a quarter.

Care to travel to Havana direct? Choose from a $30 plane ride or a $46 steamer. Castro had just seized power, and the Miami News, then the city's evening newspaper, could print without fear of retribution: "We Have No Right to Intervene in Cuba's Affairs."

All of this trivia is now available online thanks to the magic of Google, which has digitized the archives of the paper. Nobody is old enough to remember it, except maybe El Jefe, but what was best about the News were its headlines.

This is no small feat. In a recent Slate column, Ron Rosenbaum bemoaned the loss of the classic tabloid headline. "Headless Body in Topless Bar" and "Ford to City: Drop Dead" went the way of the Selectric typewriter and -- uh, to get really apocalyptic -- newspapers. These days, it's only the New York Post still dispensing classics such as "Choke on This Charlene" and "Moo! Says Breast Milk Cheese Mom."

Well, as the archives make clear, the News was a pro at "wood" -- the trade word for blaring headlines.

Consider this alliterative whopper about the USS Missourri, a World War II battleship nicknamed Big Mo that ran aground in 1950:

Or 1962's ominously ellipses-ized "Slow Peace... Quick Death." But my favorite has to be from that same year, this understated doozy about a plane crash that killed 25:

Surely a hall-of-famer in laziest attributions ever. To go even further back, there's the front page that greeted the new year in 1930: "Celebration Is Said Noisiest and Wettest in Many Years."

Wettest? Maybe Miami has always been this kinky. Eventually, the News would become more than just a tabloid, and over the years it actually won five Pulitzers. After 92 years in publication, it was finally shut down in 1988 and its archives bought by the Palm Beach Post.
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Erik Maza