Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Mickey & Joe

Veteran Toronto Sun columnist Joe Warmington has always reminded us of the late, great Mickey Carlton.

Mickey, like Joe, favoured a fedora and catered to the offbeat crowd in his Tattler column in the Richmond Review in B.C.

But Joe is the one with the leash.

Mickey worked for the Toronto Star before moving to B.C., where he turned the sedate little weekly Review into a tabloid in a broadsheet's clothing, with plenty of cops, robbers and T&A.

Circulation at the Review in the late 60s and early 70s mushroomed with Mickey at the helm. Elderly owner Herbert F. Gates winced initially but soon welcomed the hike in revenue.

The small Vancouver suburb got to know Mickey through his column, a no-holds-barred account of happenings in the backrooms and the bars of Richmond.

When Warmington was handed The Scrawler column years ago, it was like watching Mickey do his thing one more time. Great tab fare, with Joe going places most scribes don't go.

Page 6 was no longer an anchor for a Gary Dunford type multi-item column, leaving a huge hole in the upfront Sun, but the roaming Scrawler filled the bill.

Scrawler was toned down to a weekend column months ago and that is a shame. Joe needs to shed the harness and get back to offbeat Scrawler material throughout the week.

Cut Joe loose and let him roam the naked city, with all of its street people and gin joints.

Put some offbeat flare back into the increasingly predictable Sun.

Michele Mandel's fascinating "The book of job" column Monday is an example of the countless stories on the streets of Toronto that are waiting to be told.

People stories that make the Sun shine.

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