The Brice Road fire fighting exercise shows then Truro Township Fire Chief John Cobel, left, and Charlie Walters, Fire Chief at the Brice Fire House, holding a copy of Mad Magazine.
This is the cutline for the lead article, shown at the top of the page,
in the March 16, 1960 edition of the Little Weekly.
The paper's fictionalized story exists in play form. A copy reposes with the Reynoldsburg-Truro Historical Society. The title: 16 1/2 Apple Alley. The set location is not Reynoldsburg. That has been changed to protect the guilty. Philip Vaughn / Doral Chenoweth 2009
Little Weekly made national news a couple of other times. Mademoiselle Magazine, in doing a story about a newspaper owned by a woman, told the story of a Reynoldsburg cop blowing a hole through the roof of a new police cruiser. With an elephant gun. Little Weekly had made light of the incident, noting that few elephants were known to be in the town.
A part-time printer for Little Weekly shot a picture of a street sign reading Apple Alley. A scrawled cardboard sign beneath the name panel with an arrow pointing south read WORMS FOR SALE. Time-Life bought the image.
Enter John Cobel. As fire chief, he had his company doing a practice fire fight by torching a decaying house on Brice Road. Chenoweth, always looking for a picture (today called images) that he could peddle to some magazine or news service, knew he had a fun picture for Little Weekly. Maybe more.
When he heard about the test fire exercise, he bought a copy of Playboy and Mad Magazine. With this story, the tale is told. Cobel and Brice Fire Chief, Charlie Walters, willingly posed for two pictures, each time holding one of the magazines, the roaring blaze and smoke in the background being ignored.
Both magazines bought their picture. Playboy paid the going rate. Mad magazine paid by sending two free copies to Chenoweth and a request to keep them on his wild art list.
Reynoldsburg, Ohio may have had several weekly newspapers over the years. However, and this is one opinion, the only fun one was the Little Weekly, a tabloid started on a whim, a dare and one-thousand hard earned bucks. The "whim" part, credit Elmore Hayes, then owner of Hayes's Store that sold magazines, candies, sundries and Vick's Salve. It was not a pharmacy. Vick's was about the only medical part of his stock. The sundries, Hayes once explained, was to confuse our village cop. The then village had one person in uniform.
But the town did have a fire department, a very good one composed of volunteers, then the norm across the land for villages. Then the saving factor was that it was partnered with the larger Truro Township. The chief was John Cobel, a nice gent who was a friend of Hayes. His fire department and Hayes store were side-by-side neighbors in Old Reynoldsburg. It was Hayes who, one day, suggested to Doral Chenoweth...that "what this town needs is a good five-cent newspaper." Cobel agreed, adding that such a publication could print his fire runs and garner support for the growing fire department.
Little Weekly became a quick reality in 1959. Chenoweth and Jack Godfrey pulled it together. Those fire runs proved popular. The next biggest reader appeal came when school lunch menus were printed. All this came about when John Kennedy was the nominee for president. Little Weekly, functioning with a partnership of Chenoweth and Godfrey, leaned heavily and finally actually endorsed JFK. That was credited to the partnership: Chenoweth's wife, Sue, owned 52 percent of the newspaper, Godfrey owned 48 percent.
Godfrey came into the fray from a casual remark by his wife, Irene, to Chenoweth the day Hayes made the initial suggestion. Chenoweth and Irene ran into one another right in the middle of busy Rt. 40 - the National Road that carried all the east-west traffic through Ohio. Also, it was Main Street in Reynoldsburg. It was on a sad day when Scripps-Howard, then publisher of The Columbus Citizen, announced it was creating a joint operating agreement with the Dispatch Printing Co., publisher of the Columbus Evening Dispatch.
At the time Columbus had three daily newspapers, the other one being the morning Ohio State Journal. (A JOA agreement meant the Dispatch would handle all the advertising, circulation and business details for the Citizen, then overnight to become the Citizen-Journal and remain a morning newspaper. The Dispatch continued as the evening newspaper. All of this background explains why Jack Godfrey was involved in the Little Weekly. He had been in the old Citizen's advertising department. All the Citizen people, except editorial, were out of jobs. Chenoweth, then a Citizen reporter and suburban columnist, still had a job with the newly minted C-J.
To create the Little Weekly, Mrs. Godfrey's casual remark to Chenoweth, was "why don't you cut my husband in on the deal?"
Done deal. When the Little Weekly started to roll off a borrowed offset press made by Addressograph-Multigraph, the legal ownership was Chenoweth's wife, Sue, a newspaper writer in her own right, and Jack Godfrey. The Godfreys were long time residents on Graham road of Old Reynoldsburg; the Chenoweths were among the first to buy a Huber Home (on Mariner Drive).
Little Weekly was a fun read with all the old town's community news, churches, civic clubs, school doings heavy on the RHS football team...and just plain good gossip. And, yes, those fire runs.
A Good Ten-Cent Newspaper
Reynoldsburg-Truro Historical Society © 2018