(Editor’s Note: Retro News is a new column that will appear every week as part of the celebration of the Chronicle’s 50th anniversary. Each week, Retro News will look at a past issue of the Chronicle, encapsulate the news reported that week and comment on how those items that pertain to today’s Jewish Pittsburgh.)
The cover photo of the Chronicle’s inaugural issue was not of David Ben-Gurion, Israeli soldiers on patrol, not even of local Jewish leaders engaged in some civic activity.
The honor of gracing this paper’s very first front page went to — Burt Lancaster?
That’s right. The lead story of the Chronicle’s first issue included a publicity photo of the famed movie star from a scene in the motion picture, “Judgment at Nuremberg.”
It’s not as unusual as you may think. In the film, which opened around the same time the Chronicle began publishing, Lancaster starred as a notorious Nazi judge on trial for crimes against humanity. So, for the paper’s first feature story, Michael A. Musmanno, then a justice of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, who once served as a judge on the Nuremberg tribunals, wrote a first-person account of the film.
Rarely in its 50-year history has the Chronicle published a movie review on page 1, but this was not your average review, nor your average reviewer.
“Every question that Spencer Tracy [who played one of the three judges on the tribunal] puts, every observation he makes, every rule of law he announces, turns another page in my book of memories,” Musmanno wrote, “and I revel in seeing him extract truth from untruth, justice from injustice, legality from illegality.”
Also on page 1 was an editorial — really a tribute — to Samuel Horelick, titled “May His Memory Remain A Blessing.”
Horelick, who died the Friday before at age 75, was an engineer, corporate executive and philanthropist, according to the piece.
“He worked hard at giving away his earnings, and enjoyed it,” according to the editorial. “Giving charity is a virtue. Giving and setting an example and a standard for others to give is a higher rung in Jewish virtue. In this, Sam Horelick stood out as a model.”