35th Anniversary: Fun with Feagler

Dick feagler enjoys a unique place in Cleveland Magazine history. You might say he’s got us covered. The dean of Cleveland journalists has graced our cover three times, covered the gamut of issues — from Kucinich to Kucinich — over our 35-year life and even took refuge from daily deadlines as a member of our staff for about five minutes in 1979. The stint didn’t last; the Cleveland Press demanded he return and stay until at least one of them croaked. He wrote the paper’s obit for us three years later.

We asked Feagler to step down from his PD perch for a moment to face some tough questions about his status as our most sacred icon.
— Richard Osborne
How did it feel to play Moses Cleaveland on our cover?
I never thought he was such a big deal. When he landed here, he didn’t even bother to unpack. They should have named the town Goddard — he’s stayed around longer.

Were you dull before we named you one of our Most Interesting People?
I made the list in 1996. At the rate this magazine is going, everyone in Cleveland will be interesting. Except maybe Frank Jackson.

Wilma Smith, Mona Scott or Connie Dieken?
Oh no, oh no. I’m not answering that. Hell hath no fury like an anchorwoman scorned.

Dumbest assignment?
They sent me out to pick the best disco joint in Cleveland. I hate disco. It would be like asking Dennis Kucinich to pick his favorite PD editorial writer.

You invented Dennis, didn’t you?
Nah. Shirley MacLaine did.

In my family, what happens at Christmas is that a lot of the female relatives buy clothes for a lot of the male relatives that the male relatives wouldn’t be caught dead buying for themselves, much less wearing. It is the spirit of Yule. ... Recently, my wife told me she thought it would be a good idea if I greeted the holiday season this year clad in a leisure suit. “Yule find it’s just the thing for the holidays,” she said.
— “The Uncouth Suit,” Dec. 1976

Two a.m. on Saturday morning in downtown Cleveland and the crowd is just beginning to peak at Nite Moves on Playhouse Square. Outside, up and down Euclid Avenue, up and down 17th Street, cars line the curbs. The Growth Association is home in bed, dreaming of songs and slogans, and here, unnoticed by the slumbering city boosters, is a genuine downtown Cleveland crowd.

Not the kind of crowd, of course, that you see in those commercials about how (despite what you may have heard) the Best Things in Life Are Right Here in Cleveland. Not a ball game crowd. Not a joyous mixture of happy hard hats and stall salesmen from the West Side Market. No, this crowd, here deep inside Nite Moves, looks like the cast of “A Clockwork Orange.” Which is to say that there is something spacey and futuristic-looking about these people who have come here in the middle of the night to have a Disco Experience.
—“Disco Passion,” March 1979

Found: “In, Out, Way Out” 
IN Dick Feagler’s face: the “Popeye the Sailor Man” expression
OUT Dick Feagler’s face: the “Tricky Dick Nixon bulging brow” expression
WAY OUT Dick Feagler’s face: the “Burgess Meredith as The Penguin conniving to kill Batman” expression
— June 1991
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