As I can tell, that was the largest headline type...

SO FAR

January 19, 1991|By THEO LIPPMAN JR.

SO FAR as I can tell, that was the largest headline type in TheSun's history last Thursday. WAR IN GULF 2 1/2 inches deep.

(The column promised about the new U.S. memorial on Guadalcanal will appear at a later date.)

The way we go to war in headlines has changed over the years.

The attack on Pearl Harbor brought the second biggest headline, according to my research.

That Dec. 7, 1941, event produced an extra. The banner headline, each word 1 1/2 inches deep, said:

JAPS DECLARE WAR ON U.S Honolulu, Manila Bombed NAVAL BATTLE OFF HAWAII That's not my carelessness in the first line. There was no room for a "." after S, and, I would guess, not enough time for an editor to re-write the line to fit.

On April 16, 1917, The Sun's banner said this in 3/4 -inch deep type: World War I Declared

No, just kidding! It said:

HOUSE, BY VOTE OF 373 TO 50, GIVES FINAL SANCTION TO WAR; (that was all on one line)

NATION PREPARED TO THROW ALL ITS FORCES INTO CONFLICT: (line 2)

CONGRESS ASKED TO PROVIDE $3,502,517,000 FOR FIRST YEAR (line 3)

That's a lot of information for a headline. Remember, this was old newspapering, before the days of radio, television and USA TODAY.

I didn't look up the headline for the beginning of the war in Vietnam, because, of course, no one knows when it began.

I did look up Korea. Talk about down-playing something.

President Truman formally declared U.S. intervention on June 27, 1950. The Sun put that fact not in the main headline, not in the first subhead, but in the second subhead, in type only 1/4 of an inch deep:"[Truman] Orders Sea and Air Support."

The main headline was in inch-high type:

U.S. JETS LAUNCH ROCKET, MACHINE GUN ATTACKS (all that on the first line)ON NORTH KOREA COMMUNISTS (on second line)

If our WAR IN GULF seems high in drama and low in information to you, consider that at least 12 major U.S. dailies had a front page banner headline Thursday that said just WAR or WAR!

Lots of critics of newspapers say we're only interested in bad news. That's not true. Some of the biggest headlines around here have been about good news.

For example, this one-line head in one-inch type across the whole front page of Oct. 10, 1966:

WOULD YOU BELIEVE IT? FOUR STRAIGHT!

That was about Baltimore's first World Series victory.

Then there was this sublime 1 3/8 -incher from Aug. 9, 1974:

NIXON RESIGNS And, finally, another 1 3/8 -incher from Aug. 15, 1945, that we all hope to see again very soon:

THE WAR IS OVER

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