by Dick Kraus
Staff Photographer (retired)




Bob Luckey was a staff photographer for the Long Island Press for many years before coming to Newsday where he recently retired as the Day Photo Editor. He tells a story about being sent by the LI Press to get pictures of a Long Island society matron. The woman answered the door clad in a bathrobe and ushered Luckey into the living room. She asked his indulgence for a few minutes while she showered and dressed for the photo.

Luckey settled into an arm chair to wait, but no sooner had he gotten comfortable than he heard the woman call, "Luckey, come here!"

Bob got out of the chair and went upstairs where he confronted the flabbergasted woman who was standing naked as the day she was born, and dripping from her recent shower. Covering up as best she could, she demanded to know what possessed the hapless photographer to invade her boudoir.

"But, I heard you call, "Luckey, come here." ", said Bob.

"Lucky is my dog's name" exclaimed the woman.



Jimmy was a sweet little man and had been a fixture in our darkroom for as long as I could remember. He was a pretty good printer, back in the days of b&w film and chemical darkrooms. But, he didn't posses much in the way of imagination. He would tie his fingers into knots trying to hold back some detail in a face that I had spent a good deal of effort making into a silhouette. He also had a strange habit of wrapping his right arm behind his head and scratching his left ear. And although the man was imperturbable, he would give out with a short "whoo-woo!" when the mood struck. Because he was imperturbable, he was the favorite target of our Photo Dept. jokesters, Bill Senft and Don Jacobsen. They never did anything unkind or vicious. As one of them said, "I just want to rattle Jimmy's cage."

Bill owned a boat and would often go fishing in the bays before starting his afternoon shift. One day he brought in an eel he had caught. Eels are hardy creatures and can survive out of water for some time and this one was still lively as Bill slipped him into the print room hypo tray while Jimmy was out answering a call of nature. Everyone waited anxiously, trying not to snicker, as Jimmy returned and went into his darkroom to continue printing. He was back out in a few minutes and with his right hand scratching his left ear, he announced to those assembled in his slow, measured tones, "There's an eel swimming in my hypo tray. Whoo-woo."

Some years later, Don brought in one of those flasher buttons that fit into the socket of Christmas tree lights. As the button warms up it alternately opens and closes the circuit causing the string of bulbs to blink. I don't know whether this guy stayed awake nights thinking of ways to "rattle Jimmy's cage", but when Jim was out of the darkroom, he waltzed in and screwed the device behind the bulb in Jimmy's enlarger. Again, everyone waited while Jim went in to print. Within a few minutes he was back out, complaining to the Night Photo Editor, "There's something wrong with my enlarger. The light keeps going on and off." And of course, the left hand and the right know. "Call Maintenance," was the editor's reply. And that's what Jimmy did. Joe Palmisano came down with his tool belt and Jimmy took him into the darkroom to show him the offending machine. Of course, by this time, the flasher button had cooled down, so that when they turned the enlarger light on, it stayed on. Jimmy uttered a couple of "whoo-woos" and Joe Palmisano gave him a funny look and went on his way. I don't have to belabor this story. You can all guess what happened. It took several trips to the print room by Maintenance before someone finally unscrewed the enlarger lamp and discovered the flasher button. Unfazed, Jimmy scratched his ear; said "whoo-woo" and went back to work.



Newsday Staff Photographer Jim Nightingale was the early man when the news came in that the luxury liner Andrea Doria had been struck by the Swedish liner Stockholm in the Atlantic between Montauk Pt. (Long Island) and Rhode Island. At first light, Jim was dispatched with a reporter, to the local airport where Newsday had chartered a small plane to fly them over the scene.

When the team got over the area, Nite began photographing the scene. The Doria was listing badly and obviously was going to the bottom of the ocean. The Stockholm was standing by with her bow crushed, and was helping to retrieve survivors. Other ships were in the area doing the same and the ocean was dotted with rafts and lifeboats.

The small plane was only able to stay in the area for a short time due to limited fuel supply so they high tailed it to the nearest airport in Rhode Island for fuel. While the plane was being gassed, the reporter joined a long line of journalists waiting to use one of the two public phones on the small airfield. Nite tried to get him back on the plane so they could return to the scene, but the reporter insisted on waiting for his turn at the phone so that he could file his early reports.

It took some time before they finally got back into the air. Nite later said that he knew they were in trouble when he saw the NY Daily News plane flying out of the area. Jim says that when he got back to the crash site, all he saw was the biggest Alka-Seltzer bubble in the world.


© 2002 Dick Kraus
May not be republished in any part without written consent of the author

Dick Kraus


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