Noise is Feature

Damon Runyon

New York American/June 5, 1916

Boom for Ford Is Quietest Thing in Chicago

Bell Hops Use Megaphones to Page the Delegates

Chicago Dry For Two Days

Sunday and Local Election Closes Saloons Until Tuesday.

Roosevelt Boom Less Uproarious, Says Damon Runyon.

They began paging people through megaphones around the Chicago hotel lobbies Sunday, the noise exuded by the incoming delegates, candidates, statesmen, senators, congressmen, justice of the peace, authors, actors, coroners, county chairmen, taxpayers and peasants connected with the impending Republican national convention having gradually grown to such volume that no ordinary two-cylindered bell hop could make his voice audible above the roar.

The lads had been going great guns in the face of strong opposition up to as late as noon. They were able to make their naked tones heard in their calls for Mis’um-glum at a distance of ten feet. Several of the hardier youths employed at the Congress and Blackstone hotels claim a record of twelve feet, off hand paging, up to 12:30 o’clock, but about that time another New York train got in and all the hops succumbed and took to the megaphones.

The chief characteristic of the assemblage is the noise referred to above. Old bedlam was probably a deaf and dumb asylum compared to certain sections of Chicago at this writing—to most sections in fact, and at this preparedness parade which was current in this city up to a late hour has finally almost concluded. True, there were segments of it still floating around early this morning waiting for the day shift but in the main the parade is over and all the local noise is now being provided by the Republicans and Progressives and other visiting patriots.

Afflicted With Tire Trouble

Sunday, a day when people go home to be annoyed by callers, the stir and bustle around the hotels grew stirrier and bustlier as each hour waxed and waned. The only real quiet places in the neighborhood were the community graveyards and that spot immediately adjacent to Henry Ford’s presidential boom.

Mr. Ford’s presidential boom has never been especially virulent since this gathering set in and just at present it lies so cold, and still, yet withal so lifelike that many people fear the worst. It has been suggested in several quarters that an inquest is to be held to determine whether Mr. Ford’s boom is suffering from rigor mortis, tire trouble or a dirty spark plug.

That Roosevelt Boom

The Roosevelt boom which has been one of the really agile booms of the period, ceased straining at the leash to some extent. This is not to suggest that it is wholly quiescent, but it is less uproarious.

It might reasonably have been expected that an apostle of preparedness would be prepared forty ways from the jack for such an occasion as this, and yet it has been discovered that Mr. Roosevelt’s friends brought his boom along to these parts with a singular lack of preparation. It has scarcely been groomed, let alone conditioned. The result has been of some profit to the Postal Telegraph and Western Union Telegraph companies, for every moment or so someone connected with the Roosevelt camp dashes out and sends a night letter to someone else.

The fact that some of these night letters go to men already pledged to some other candidate and frequently refer to delegates already otherwise bound, seems to make no difference to the senders. All this unpreparedness brings saltine accents into the voices of old-time followers of the colonel whenever they mention the matter.

There was great sadness among the visitors when it became generally known that Chicago is having a dry spell two days hard running. Yesterday was dry because it was Sunday, and as such respected even here. Today is dry because they are holding an election, or some other local rite of grave importance. The boys fought through Sunday with few casualties but today is another day.