| Weegee (Arthur H. Fellig)
Fragment from Weegee's (Arthur
H. Fellig) autobiography, "Weegee by Weegee: An autobiography",
New York, Ziff-Davis Publishing Company, 1961.
WEEGEE, Charles Sodokoff and Arthur
Webber Use Their Top Hats to Hide Their Faces, 1942
Things went back to normal. The cops and reporters were happy,
and I was Happy. Gang wars, shootings, stick-ups, kidnappings
was in the chips again. My pictures
with my by-line: "Photo
were appearing in the papers every day. Life
magazine took notice and ran a two-and-a-half page spread in their
"Speaking of Pictures" section on how I worked at police
headquarters. I made the "Picture of the Week" several
Now all the papers and syndicates offered me jobs. I told them
not to be insulting; I intended to remain a free soul.
I bought myself a shiny new 1938 maroon-colored Chevy coupe. Then
I got my press card and a special permit from the Big Brass to have
a police radio in my car, the same as in police cars. I was the
only press photographer who had one.
My car became my home. It was a two-seater, with a special extra-large
luggage compartment. I kept everything there, an extra camera, cases
of flash bulbs, extra loaded holders, a typewriter, fireman's boots.
Boxes of cigars, salami, infra-red film for shooting in the dark,
uniforms, disguises, a change of underwear, and extra shoes and
I was no longer glued to the teletype machine at police headquarters.
I had my wings. I no longer had to wait for crime to come to me;
I could go after it. The police radio was my life line. My camera
... my life and my love ... was my Aladdin's lamp.
I would start my tour at midnight. First, I checked the police
teletype for background on what had been happening. Then, into my
car. I would turn on the police radio, then the car radio, which
I tuned to the egghead stations for classical music. Life was like
a timetable, tragic but on schedule, with little bits of comedy
relief interspersed among the crimes.
Anónimo: Weegee escribiendo
en su máquina de escribir en el maletero de su Chevrolet,
From midnight to one o'clock, I listened to calls to the stations-houses
about peeping-toms on the rooftops and fire escapes of nurses' dormitories.
The cops laughed those off. . .let the boys have their fun. From
two to three, auto accidents and fires. . .routine coverage that
the cops had learned how to handle when they were still rookies
at the Police Academy. At four o'clock, things became livelier.
At that hour the bars closed, and the boys were mellowed by drinks.
The bartender would holler "Closing up!" But the customers
would refuse to leave. . .why go home to their nagging wives? The
boys in blue would escort them out, then jump in for a few quick
drinks themselves in the darkened back rooms. Then, from four to
five, came the calls on burglaries and the smashing of store windows.
After five came the most tragic hours of all. People would have
been up all night worrying about health, money and love problems.
They would be at their lowest physical and mental state and, finally,
take a dive out of the window, I never photographed a dive. . .I
would drive by. Nature was kind. A woman would land on the sidewalk,
one shoe off, but with never a mark on her face. The cops would
cover her body with newspapers. I couldn't take it; I was finished
for the night. (