The Kibosh Files

eBook (PDF), 145 Pages
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The Gladstone Kibosh was a fake newspaper invented by the editor of the Silverton (Colorado) Standard in 1899. The "Extracts from the Gladstone Kibosh" were hilarious entries on alleged events in the remote mining camp in the San Juan Mountains, introducing us to Demon's Delight homemade whiskey and the Angel of Mercy Saloon, famed for its shin-kicking contests and shell games. We also meet deeply flawed but endearing characters such as James Bowman, the conniving editor who will resort to just about anything -- including extortion -- to win subscribers and advertisers, Dr. Bunion, the corn surgeon/gun slinger, and Deacon Devine, who converts few in Gladstone, while descending deeper into poverty and temptation of saloons. The Gladstone Kibosh, by its nature as fiction, was able to comment bluntly on the darker side of the mining camps -- violence, alcoholism, while poking fun at the harsh weather and economic conditions at the 11,000-foot high town.
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  • By Mark Esper
    Dec 31, 1969
    "Telluride Daily Planet review" By Reilly Capps The Telluride Daily Planet In 1927, when readers of the Silverton Standard were told that Oliver Klinger had died “after short illness from acute indigestion,” they might have thought Klinger was playing one last joke. Klinger, editor of the Standard from 1899 to 1905, was a great writer and a constant joker. And if he had written his own obit, they might have been expecting one last punchline: “Klinger died from a short illness of acute indigestion. His dinner bill at the Angel of Mercy saloon and restaurant remains unpaid.” So Klinger was dead. But his writing is still kicking, thanks to a new little treasure of a book called “The Kibosh Files: Extracts From a Ghost Town’s Ghost Newspaper.” If that title is confusing, it’s because Klinger’s best work for the Standard wasn’t straightforward. Klinger was meta and post-modern before there was meta or modern. Here’s the deal: Gladstone is a real mining town, located up the... More > road from where the Silverton Ski Area is now. But the newspaper Klinger created, the Gladstone Kibosh, was fake, one of the great fake newspapers of all time, an early Onion. He slipped his fictional “Extracts from the Gladstone Kibosh” into the Standard without fanfare, and the people of Silverton must have fell off their donkeys laughing. Last summer, after veteran journalist Mark Esper was hired as the editor of the Standard (which is owned by the same parent company as the Daily Planet), he stumbled on Klinger’s “Extracts.” He published them in his paper and, eventually, collected them into this book. “I was forced to limit my consumption,” Esper writes in the introduction, “because I would laugh so hard it made my stomach hurt.” Me too. See the picture of the book on this page, all dog-eared and crinkled? That’s my copy, worn out from over-reading. I toted the book around everywhere, to work and coffee shops, even slipping it in my coat pocket for the long ride up Lift 9, because this guy Klinger can flat-out write. A miner doesn’t lose a fight, he “had his face dislocated.” Klinger’s main character is the editor of Kibosh, the Hon. James Bowman, consummate newsman, always ready to write a glowing article about a business as soon as they advertise. He’s such a great reporter that, when he found a dead body, he “proceeded to cover him up … as our paper would not appear for six days.” Bowman is also Gladstone’s treasurer, shopkeeper, prospector, and eventually, the duly elected mayor. He writes of his election: “Our town is growing as last week’s census only showed 102 inhabitants and we received 201 votes and our opponent 58. The election was quiet and clean.” Klinger’s sly, twisty one liners are worthy of other great early American satirists like Ring Lardner or Damon Runyon. Examples: • “The election was very quiet compared to former years, there being only four shooting scrapes, sixteen fights, and thirty drunks.” • “Miss Amelia Rove … had two front teeth pulled yesterday. … The Kibosh congratulates Miss Amelia on the great improvement made on her face by removing part of it.” The mining camps attracted great and adventurous minds, and it helps to read Klinger’s writing slowly. Because through the matrix of jokes you can glimpse the reality that it was probably grim business, living in Gladstone. Poisoning, murder, dogfights, racism, drunkenness, beatings. At the end of Klinger’s 1927 obituary, which Esper reprints, the Silverton Standard laments the loss of Klinger, a “writer of no mean ability,” “a brother whose vacant chair cannot again be filled on this earth.” This, clearly, is not a joke.< Less
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Mark Esper
September 30, 2011
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3.08 MB
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