This Week in History, 1952: Jack Wasserman comes out After Dark

June 22, 1960 Photo of Vancouver Sun columnist Jack Wasserman, from a house ad. Vancouver Sun

Legendary Vancouver Sun columnist penned his first column 70 years ago

by John Mackie

Vancouver Sun

April 15, 2022

The front page of the April 16, 1952 Vancouver Sun was a jumble of stories and photos that were probably forgotten the next day. But there was a historically important item on page 15, crammed in beside several ads: the first Jack Wasserman column.

It was called After Dark, and started off with some lines from the song My Time of Day: “My time of day is the dark time/ When the street belongs to the cop/ And the janitor with the mop/ And the grocery clerks are all gone …”

Wasserman then went full Raymond Chandler, spinning vignettes of Vancouver nightlife in ‘50s hepster slang.

“The words belong to Guys and Dolls, a musical fable of the Big City, but the mood is the property of every place that flashes a neon sign,” he wrote.

“The mood is set by the people who live after dark, the lifter, the grifter, the chiseller, the holster, the gonnif, the thief, the taxi driver reading a comic strip by street lamp light, the tired waitress, the hat check girl, and the characters — like Murray.

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