As a traveling companion, George Seldes didn't believe in letting you rest. In the spring of 1982 when he was 91 and in New York to collect a George Polk Award for a lifetime of contribution to journalism, I took the Fifth Avenue bus with him for a 30-block ride between the ceremony and his nephew's apartment. We would have taken a cab but he preferred the bus: a better way to get the feel of the city and its people.
Along the jostling way, Seldes threw at me a half-dozen story ideas, mingled with sidebars of his opinions, plus advice on how not merely to gather facts but to cull the useless from the useful, and then a string of mirthful recollections from his newspapering days going back eight decades. If we were the boys on the bus, George Seldes was some boy.
Seldes lived in Hartland Four Corners, Vt. Until recently, he was self-sufficient at home and ever delighted to receive such pilgrims as Ralph Nader, Morton Mintz and Rick Goldsmith, a California filmmaker who is completing a documentary on Seldes's life. The film will include references to I.F. Stone, who credited Seldes's newsletter "In Fact" -- which had 176,000 subscribers for a time in the 1940s -- as the model for his own carefully researched "I.F. Stone's Weekly."
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