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1980: 25 & Counting

[IMGCAP(1)]On June 19, 1980, Roll Call published its 25th anniversary issue. The cover had no stories on it; rather, the page was taken up by a letter to then-Editor Sid Yudain from President Jimmy Carter. Carter ended his letter by advising Yudain to “keep those Roll Calls coming,” and we have.

In that same issue, an “Ode to Sid Yudain” by John Arthur Reynolds chronicled Roll Call’s first 25 years, noting, “They thought that Yudain / Was trying in vain / To buck the Post, the News and the Star. / Others had tried / But they all died, / Before they had gone very far.” Obviously, Yudain did something right in his years as editor of Roll Call, and many on Capitol Hill were eager to join him in the 25th anniversary celebration.

Prominent Hill personalities such as then-Speaker Tip O’Neill (D-Mass.), former Arizona Rep. Mo Udall (D), Lady Bird Johnson’s former press secretary and staff director Liz Carpenter, political comedian Mark Russell, and author, journalist and playwright Larry L. King gathered to roast Yudain. Held at the Shoreham Hotel Regency Ballroom, the roast was “A Silver Night for Golden Memories,” according to a Roll Call headline.

“For 25 years the jokes were on the House — and the Senate. But Thursday night at the Shoreham, the laughs were on Sid Yudain,” the June 26 story read. The issue also featured a photo spread from the event, including one shot of Yudain yukking it up at the podium.

Many turned out to congratulate Roll Call on turning 25 — 900 people, to be exact. And it seemed like everyone wanted to take a dig at Yudain.

“Only in America could a ‘sleazy, penny-pinching, gossipy’ editor set himself up in the newspaper business just beside Capitol Hill,” Udall quipped.

As this newspaper approaches its 50th anniversary, we cannot make any promises about roasting our current editor. However, we can make one promise: to “keep those Roll Calls coming.”