John Logue. A native of Alabama. Born in Bay Minette. Grew up in Pine Apple, Greensboro, Evergreen (note, things are growing in these towns) and Auburn.
Graduated Alabama Polytechnic Institute (Auburn University) in 1955. Journalism. English. History. Fifteenth man on a 13-man basketball team.
Police reporter-sportswriter for the Montgomery Advertiser. (Spring before the Rosa-Parks-wouldn’t-move-to-the-back-of-the-bus Fall.) Went into the Air Force as a 2nd Lieutenant in July or his life would have been quite different. Spent two years in the Air Force, between wars, thank goodness.
Six months with United Press in Atlanta in the Fall of 1956. Wrote radio wire. 3,500 words a night, present tense. Graveyard shift. First night, senior U.S. Senator Walter George died. A two-hour-old reporter, he says he was near-fatally ill…dictating the story to New York.
Worked in sports on the later Atlanta Journal, under the lash of Furman Bisher for 10 years (1957-1967). Prep writer, baseball writer for 3 years, college editor for 5 years. Bisher did not leave folded yellow slips in your in-box to tell him what a swell fellow he was.
Joined Progressive Farmer Co. in Birmingham, in the Spring of ’67. Company took in $9M that year. He helped spend $10M with 1-year-old Southern Living. Management frowned on that. The two writers had quit. Logue was it for 16 states. He says it was like a vacation after working for Bisher. Gary McCalla became Editor and Logue became Managing Editor and they finally quit losing $1M a year.
In the early 70’s, the company started Oxmoor House, the book division. Logue became Editor-in-Chief. Kept doing that for about a decade and a half. One of his fun deals was a photographic book of The Masters. Hired Bisher to write the text. Logue sent him back to Augusta after reading Bisher’s initial introduction. Thought Bisher knew it too well. Asked him to do it again. He did, brilliantly. But Logue loved asking him. (He had way better sense than to leave Bisher a yellow slip.)
Don Logan, a good Auburn man, took over the business end of Oxmoor House and won’t admit it…but saved their anatomy. We had many memorable times together, some are even publishable. We paid the rent with cookbooks and craft books. We had our fun with art books. Logue always promised Logan he wouldn’t lose more than $100,000 on an art book. He lied.
Jousting with Walter Cronkite (who wrote the text to three books with marine painter Ray Ellis); dueling with the ultimate grammarian, Jack Kilpatrick, who wrote the text for two books with photographer William Bake; drinking with Charles Kurualt, who dictated a text to novelist Mark Childress for a visual history of the South; and closing the late night bars with novelist/poet James Dickey, who wrote the text to three art books, including the best-selling Jericho, with the artist Hubert Shruptrine…for all of which…Logue says the fun was only exceeded by his expense account. Ah, Oxmoor House…
In the 80s somewhere, the late Emory Cunningham (another Auburn man) coerced Logue into becoming creative director of all of the company’s magazines. Logue could kill the editors, but he couldn’t fire them. In truth, they all got along.
The owners of Southern Progress sold the company to Time, Inc. in 1985. After Logue retired early, 1992, he consulted with Southern Progress for many years. Did one thing — create the idea for the magazine for Coastal Living.
If you can’t sleep at night, you write novels. Logue has published:
Political Novels: Boats Against the Current
Mysteries: Follow the Leader
The Feathery Touch of Death
Murder on the Links
On a Part With Murder
A Rain of Death
Novels: The Dust of Lovers
One Autobiography: Pat Dye: In the Arena
One Memoir (with the late Gary McCalla): Life at Southern Living