do not buy tickets, Beano has never been seriously concerned by their
hostility. Only one man has ever been able to strike fear into his heart, and
that was Admiral Hamilton, the burly, deep-voiced individualist who hired
in the Pitt Field House was situated on the third floor of a layer-cake
arrangement of athletic headquarters. Beano's was on the first floor. Arriving
at work in the morning, Hamilton would light a cigar, pick up Beano's latest
publicity release and lean back to study it. Frequently he would storm out to
the catwalk that fronted the top floor, seize the railing as though he were
back on the bridge of the U.S.S. Enterprise, and thunder, "Bee-no!"
All 30 employees
in the athletic department would sit up, the hackles rising on their necks, and
Beano would crash out of his office and clamber upstairs, falling three times
along the way.
What was it,
anyhow, that could provoke such wrath?
The answer is to
be found in Beano's conviction that the dry statistics and unimaginative prose
mailed out daily by most of today's three-button press agents land directly in
the wastebaskets of many sportswriters. "I know what I like to read in the
papers," says Beano. "Controversy! I don't care if the writer is Ernest
Hemingway—he's got to write some controversy!" Consequently, Beano always
endeavors to inject some type of shock value into his publicity releases. One
thought: The Air Force Academy is a million dollars over its budget. If Pitt
were, the Panthers would be undefeated, too."
operandi has been watched with incredulity by Leo (Horse) Czarnecki, the chunky
head maintenance man of Pitt's athletic plant. "Listen," says Horse.
"I seen the brass here so mad at Beano their eyes was popping out of their
heads. But their words would bounce offa Beano like water offn an umbrella.
Every time I think he's gonna fall he stands up straight and gets stronger.
They give him a raise and pay his salary while he goes off to some summer
school." (This past summer, significantly or not, Beano studied libel law
At work in his
office, Beano scandalizes his secretary, Mrs. Doris Armstrong, who went to work
for him last May after having left the employ of a sedate physician. Mrs.
Armstrong, cupping a hand to her mouth, whispers, "He comes in from lunch
and takes off his shirt and walks around all afternoon in his undershirt. He
has hay fever, you know, so he wraps a turkish towel around his neck and blows
his nose in it. Really! I should have to say he is hyperkinetic."
Beano comes by
his flamboyance honestly enough. He is named for a great-uncle, Judge Carroll
Cook, a florid mouthpiece for the De Young brothers, who founded the San
Francisco Chronicle in 1865 and ran it as a theatrical and scandal sheet. Beano
himself was born in San Francisco, the son of a securities broker, but was
raised in Boston and Pittsburgh. He had wanted to become a sportswriter but
while working as a copy boy for The Pittsburgh Press was advised, after
submitting several news items, that he had no talent for writing. So, quite
logically, he became a press agent.
In 1949, while
still a student at Kiski Prep in Saltsburg, Pa., he persuaded a Pittsburgh
sportswriter to compose an article about a lad named Chuck Cooley, whom Beano
had represented as Kiski's finest all-round athlete. At the time, Kiski's
student body also included a boy named Bob Mathias.