Monday, July 28, 2014
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Sam Bushman, 91

"There are three kinds of communications: telephone, television and tell Bushman."

Sam Bushman, 91

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Sam "There are three kinds of communications: telephone, television and tell Bushman."

Sam Bushman, himself, was the source for this pearl, of course. Sam, who died Sunday, head-mastered the Old School. He was a press agent, not a public relations man. He'd been doing it since the year Amelia Earhart made her solo flight, and the FBI shot Ma Barker. That was 1935.

For the time most of us at the newspaper knew him, he worked out of his apartment in the Dorchester, borrowing the building's fax machine, because he didn't have his own. Few of us visited him in his office.

He would come to our place via public transportation - he never learned to drive - padding around the paper in his slippers, a short man with slicked-back hair and billowing jowls, toting a cloth bag, dropping odd tips and lost facts as he made his determined rounds.

Reporter Murray Dubin: "If he moved slowly, his mind didn't move slowly."

Dubin wrote one of many classic profiles of Bushman, whose memory for Philadelphia people and places was as close to photographic as one will find.

"You knew you were in the presence of a dinosaur," Dubin said. "It was special. No one like that was going to pass this way again. He knew about Philadelphia of a time and in a way that's going to be gone."

More details from a Rich Nichols profile of the man who still pecked his releases on a Royal Standard.

He's the publicist from another planet - Broad Street Sammy Bushman, the keeper of the flame from the city of the '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s and '80s, the days when he plugged drummer Gene Krupa's opening date at the Arcadia, and baby shrimp were big.

The days when the manager at the old Stork Club at Broad and Olney scissored the legs off its storks after losing a copyright fight (with the New York original) and renamed it the Swan Club.

And when, back in 1965, the most sensational news was an infamous murder-for-hire "robbery" at Dante's Inferno, 18th and Chestnut, which left the owner's wife and partner dead, but key business suspiciously unfinished.

Bushman pauses for effect, brandishing a pitch-black Dante's menu.

"The bartender," he rasps, "survived. "

He smiles that owlish smile.

He represented Kal Rudman, publisher of Friday Morning Quarterback. By phone this morning, Rudman called his longtime friend "The Walter Winchell of Philadelphia," the man who'd ghostwrite gossip columnists' copy when they were still "sick" from the night before.

Bush used to distill what he did for clients into seven words, Rudman said - words that will serve here as an epitaph for a disappearing craft:

For immediate release. Tear sheets. Cash flow.

Anthony Damato
Posted 11/18/2006 04:53:47 PM
He was good man there was not to much he did not no was going on in town .    
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About this blog
Daniel Rubin is a columnist and The Inquirer's director of social media. Since joining newspaper as a staff writer in 1988, Daniel Rubin has reported from Mayfair to Macedonia, 27 countries in all. He has been the European Correspondent for Knight Ridder Newspapers and for two years he sat at home and wrote Blinq, the paper's first daily blog. Dan began newspaper work in Norfolk and Louisville, Ky., after getting his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Northwestern University. He has lived in all four commonwealths, most recently in Pennsylvania. He teaches urban journalism at the University of Pennsylvania

Email Blinq here. My day job - Inquirer metro columnist - is here.

Reach Daniel at drubin@phillynews.com.

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