EIGHT YEARS ago this month this column under the above by-line appeared here for the first time. Today it does for the last time.
Beginning next week, it will appear on Mondays and Thursdays. This is a return to the column's historic roots.
The use of the final section of The Sun's editorials columns for personalized, sometimes idiosyncratic writing began on Monday, April 28, 1958. It was called "Other Comment" briefly, then became "Notes and Comment. (Later "&.")
It joined a somewhat similar Thursday column that then appeared on the far side of the cartoon and letters entitled "The Spillway." Before long, "The Spillway" vanished and "Notes and Comment" became a Monday and Thursday fixture.
It was written almost exclusively by Price Day, and it was always anonymous. In 1966, I began filling in when Price was away.
By the early 1970s, I was the co-writer of "Notes," as around the paper and in other quarters it was known then -- and in fact still is by some graybeards.
On Jan. 1, 1976, I became the full-time writer, and my signature was added at the end. On March 24, 1984, the big move took place. The column began appearing on Saturdays and Wednesday. "Notes & Comment" became
THEO LIPPMAN JR.
It will remain so titled on Mondays and Thursdays. It will remain the same sort of column that has appeared here and on Wednesdays for the past eight years. A little history, a little satire, a little nonsense, a little sense, a bit more than a little politics and government.
When I first started writing on Saturdays, it was also presidential primary time. Ronald Reagan had no opposition on the Republican side, but his presidency was thought to be in trouble. And Gary Hart, who had won New Hampshire and four other primaries, was thought to be headed for the nomination on the Democratic side.
We pundits were the ones who thought that. Actually, you have to live in Washington to be a card-carrying pundit. In that first Saturday column I termed myself a "semi-pundit." In this last one, express the wish that you think of me as a "senior semi-pundit." I still may be only half bright (as Harry Truman used to say about Sen. William Fulbright), but I'm older and therefore have a better perspective on things.
Now that I've told you more than you ever expected to know about the history of this column, I'll get back to my stock in trade. The sort of thing the inside-the-beltway pundits miss.
On Monday, I will explain the significance of Paul Tsongas' swimming style -- and Franklin Roosevelt's.
Gallimaufry, which now appears in this space on Mondays, will become a regular fixture here on Saturdays. This is a collection of short, medium and long pieces to which all members of the editorial pages staff contribute.