A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from September 08, 2010
Runnin’ Scared (Village Voice column)

"Runnin’ Scared” is the name of a political news column (and later, a blog) in the Village Voice newspaper and on its website. The newspaper column was started in the late 1960s by Mary Perot Nichols (1927-1996); Ken Auletta and other Voice staffers briefly wrote some columns.

The name “Runnin’ Scared” is not explained, but it was possibly influenced by the 1961 Roy Orbison song, “Running Scared.”

Wikipedia: The Village Voice
The Village Voice is a free weekly newspaper in New York City, United States featuring investigative articles, analysis of current affairs and culture, arts reviews and events listings for New York City. It is also distributed throughout the United States on a pay basis.

It was the first and is arguably the best known of the arts-oriented tabloids that have come to be known as alternative weeklies, though its reputation has been unstable since a recent buyout by publishing conglomerate New Times Media. The turbulent times its writers have covered have often been matched by the intrigue in its own offices, most recently including the firing of several high-profile contributors and a scandal over a fabricated story in 2005, the year the paper turned 50. The Voice’s spirit can be captured in its 1980s advertising slogan: “Some people swear by us...other people swear AT us.”

Wikipedia: Running Scared (song)
“Running Scared” is a 1961 American pop song written by Roy Orbison and Joe Melson and sung by Orbison. An operatic rock ballad, the song was released as a 45rpm single by Monument Records in March 1961 and went to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

“Running Scared” also appears on Orbison’s 1962 album titled Roy Orbison’s Greatest Hits and (in a live version) on his 1989 posthumous album A Black & White Night Live from the 1988 HBO television special.

Noted for being a song written without a chorus, the verse builds to a climax that, without vibrato, demonstrates the power of Orbison’s clear, full voice. It is written in the bolero style; Orbison is credited with bringing this to the rock genre.

Wikipedia: Roy Orbison
Roy Kelton Orbison (April 23, 1936 – December 6, 1988) was an American singer-songwriter and musician, well known for his distinctive, powerful voice, complex compositions, and dark emotional ballads
Orbison was now able to move his wife and son to Nashville full-time. Back in the studio, seeking a change from the doo-wop styled pop sound of “Only the Lonely” and “I’m Hurtin’”, Orbison worked on a new song, “Running Scared”, based loosely on the rhythm of Ravel’s Boléro; the song was about a man on the run with a woman, followed by another man who is trying to take her away. Orbison encountered a difficulty when he found himself unable to hit the song’s highest note without his voice breaking. He was backed by an orchestra in the studio and the sound engineer told him he would have to sing louder than his accompaniment because the orchestra was unable to be softer than his voice. Fred Foster then put Orbison in the corner of the studio and surrounded him with coat racks in an improvised isolation booth to emphasize his voice. Orbison was unhappy with the first two takes, but in the third, he abandoned the idea of using falsetto and, to the astonishment of everyone present, sang the final high G sharp naturally. On that third take, “Running Scared” was completed. Fred Foster later recalled, “He did it, and everybody looked around in amazement. Nobody had heard anything like it before.”

Village Voice (New York, NY)

Google News Archive
17 July 1969, Village Voice (New York, NY), pg. 3, col. 1:
-- Mary Perot Nichols and The Voice Staff

Google News Archive
8 October 1970, Village Voice (New York, NY), pg. 3, col. 1:
-- Mary Perot Nichols and The Voice Staff

Google News Archive
12 October 1972, Village Voice (New York, NY), pg. 3, col. 4:
Runnin’ Scared
-- Mary Perot Nichols

Google Books
The Voice:
Life at the Village Voice

By Ellen Frankfort
New York, NY: Morrow
Pg. 43: 
Mary let everyone carry on in an atmosphere both jovial and strained. For who could know for sure if the right thing was being disclosed; that is, something that would rate a favorable mention in Mary’s column, “runnin’ scared.

New York (NY) Times
Mary Perot Nichols, 69, Who Led WNYC, Dies
Published: May 22, 1996
Mary Perot Nichols, the strong-willed former head of the television and radio stations operated by New York City, and a former columnist and city editor of The Village Voice, died yesterday in the hospice of the Cabrini Medical Center in Manhattan. She was 69.
She lived with her husband and three children in Greenwich Village, and was involved in local issues, particularly the effort to stop Robert Moses from putting a road through Washington Square Park. She kept nudging Dan Wolf, a founding editor of The Village Voice, to write about the park. He encouraged her to write about the danger to the park herself, and she did.

Soon she became a mainstay of the young newspaper, first as a reporter, then as author of “Runnin’ Scared,” a column about city politics.

A competitive writer with a streak of indignation—“Mary had the kind of anger that made abolitionists,” said a former colleague, Jerry Tallmer, the writer—she wrote extensively about organized crime and political corruption and was among the loudest critics of the Lower Manhattan Expressway and then Westway. Neither was built.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMedia/Newspapers/Magazines/Internet • (0) Comments • Wednesday, September 08, 2010 • Permalink