BiNGE Notes

Rambling thoughts of a cartooning cab driver on the Jersey Shore

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Mobsters and Cartoonists

It was back in 1991, I was drawing ed-carts for a small local newspaper here on the Jersey shore called "The Leader." One of the paper's biggest advertisers was a man who owned about 80% of the boardwalk and other family oriented businesses. He was dragged into court to be questioned in murder trial. Apparently his nephew was found dead up in the Meadowlands. He had been beaten to death by a golf club. Obvious mob hit. His uncle, a local big shot was splashed all over newspapers throughout the state, except for the one in his home town. My editor didn’t want to touch it. I, a cartoonist with no formal journalism education chastised the editor for overlooking a story of such magnitude.

He agreed to let me do a cartoon as long as I didn’t use the guy’s name. The following week about 60-70% of the advertisers in our shore town dropped their ads from the paper. My editor was scared to start his car in the morning. After working for the paper for almost 4 years, the editor recieved a call for the first time from the owner. Mark Goodson, the TV producer owned our weekly paper. It seems he was not too amused by my cartoon.

I was almost out the door when a man walked in asking to talk to the editor. He praised my cartoon and said it was great. The man was the leading prosecutor of organized crime for NJ. He had faxed the cartoon to almost every orginized crime investigator in the state and Washington DC. The Mark Goodson decided to give me one more chance as long as I didn’t try to take on the mob any more. In a few weeks advertising returned to normal.

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