Gibbons is given a "home town" welcome at Minneapolis, Minnesota on October 5, 1918. To the right of the photo is his sister Zelda.
Floyd Phillips Gibbons
July 16, 1887
|Died||September 23, 1939 (aged 52)|
|Occupation||Journalist and radio commentator|
Floyd Phillips Gibbons (July 16, 1887 - September 23, 1939) was the war correspondent for the Chicago Tribune during World War I. One of radio's first news reporters and commentators, he was famous for a fast-talking delivery style. Floyd Gibbons lived a life of danger of which he often wrote and spoke.
The first of five children of Edward Thomas Gibbons and Emma Theresa Phillips, he attended Gonzaga College High School, and later Georgetown University, from which he was expelled. He began as a police reporter on the Minneapolis Daily News. He moved to the Minneapolis Tribune in 1907, and to the Chicago Tribune in 1912. He became well known for covering the Pancho Villa Expedition in 1916, and for reporting on the 1917 torpedoing of the British ship RMS Laconia, on which he was a passenger.
The Chicago Tribune appreciated his keen eye for detail, and vivid splashy style. It sent him to England to cover World War I. As a correspondent at the Battle of Belleau Wood, France. Gibbons accompanied the Fifth Marines where his account of the battle that he submitted violated wartime censorship by mentioning that he was serving with the U.S. Marine Corps. Gibbons' colourful prose added to the reputation of the Marines. Gibbons lost an eye after being hit by German gunfire while attempting to rescue an American Marine. Always afterwards he wore a distinctive white patch on his left eye. He was given France's greatest honor, the Croix de Guerre with Palm, for his valor on the field of battle.
In 1919-1926 he was the chief of the Chicago Tribune's foreign service, and editor of the paper's Paris edition. He gained fame for his coverage of wars and famines in Poland, Russia and Morocco. He was fired in 1926, started to write novels, and became a radio commentator for NBC. He narrated newsreels, for which he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He also narrated Vitaphone's "Your True Adventures" series of short films, which began as a radio program in which Gibbons paid twenty-five dollars for the best story submitted by a listener. In 1927 he wrote a biography of the Manfred von Richthofen (the Red Baron) titled The Red Knight of Germany. He also wrote the speculative fiction novel The Red Napoleon in 1929. Gibbons was the narrator for the documentary film With Byrd at the South Pole (1930). In 1929, he had his own half-hour radio program heard Wednesday nights on the NBC Red Network at 10:30. Competition from Paul Whiteman's show on CBS Radio, however, brought Gibbons' show to an end by March 1930.
Gibbons died of a heart attack in September 1939 at his farm in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.
These were all produced by Warner Brothers, filmed at the Vitaphone studio in New York with Joseph Henabery directing. Each recreates a "heart stopping" event with actors and often presenting the real person behind the story in the final scene, introduced by Gibbons himself.
Earlier, he hosted two other short films titled The Great Decision (about Woodrow Wilson) (released August 27, 1931) and Turn Of The Tide (September 14). These were part of a projected 13-part series dubbed "Supreme Thrills" covering World War I, produced by Amadee J. Van Beuren for RKO Pictures and Pathé Exchange. However only two were put in active release.