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Flyer Flashback

To mark the Flyer's 20th anniversary, we're looking back at stories from our first two decades.

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The Flyer's cover story for August 13, 1998 (11 years ago to the very date of this week's issue), concerned the conclusion of a county-wide election that had some surprising results — one of which illustrated the importance to candidates' hopes of celebrity gained elsewhere. (Pay attention, Jerry Lawler!)

With the vote-counting still incomplete and convinced that suburban voters might have doomed his reelection hopes, Criminal Court judge Joe Brown — then as now a TV judge as well — was writing out a formal complaint. As I wrote then: Watching him scribble furiously, Election Commission chairman O.C. Pleasant said casually, "You know, you finished ahead in the early voting."

"What!" said Brown, coming to a dead stop. He mused about the disclosure briefly, then wadded up his still-unfinished letter of complaint and walked away from the counter. "What the hell. I'm out of here!" he said, forgetting all about his earlier grievance.

In the same issue, John Branston documented how shaky the 1997 merger of Promus Corporation and Doubletree Hotel Corporation had become. As Branston noted, "The chiefs found out they didn't like each other." The "eye-opener" was "the departure of [Mike] Rose, former chairman of Promus and president of its Memphis-born predecessor, Holiday Inns. ... That someone of his stature would resign they took as an indication of how strained relations were at the top."

We also editorialized in that issue in favor of the state's "Yes or No" method of voting on appellate judges' tenure. "On balance," we wrote, the Tennessee Plan had "served the purpose of responsible — and responsive — justice." For what it's worth, the plan has just survived, with unexpectedly modest changes, a fresh all-out challenge to it in the 2009 session of the legislature.

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