The Knifer#039; wasn#039;t all bad, or good either

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Occasionally, you run across a person who can be termed only as an &uot;individual&uot; – a one-and-only of a kind who defies all efforts at cloning or duplication.

Such a character was Robert G. Ursul, an erstwhile fellow newspaperman, who globe-trotted himself to Montgomery on two occasions and in each instance, remained a part of the scene for more than a year.

He served the Montgomery Advertiser news editor both times, and was dubbed by his managing editor variously as the &uot;Knifer&uot; and/or &uot;Slasher&uot; of all news copy passing through his fingers.

Email newsletter signup

Others – particularly the reporters – called him the &uot;Butcher,&uot; a Hitler-type German officer who delighted in slaughtering Jews by the thousands – a real &uot;high&uot; type.

Urs (rhymes with curse, without the &uot;c&uot;) at times did indeed take a broad ax to some of the cubs’ stories, but ’twas done, said he, in an effort to educate those neophytes. Thus, he philosophized, he was performing for them an invaluable service – preparing them for the rigors of real life.

On still other occasions he would purr like a kitten, get soft sort of, and just about let anything go.

Thus, old Urs was a conundrum, a sort of unfathomable quantity whose quixotic nature could not be plumbed satisfactorily.

In addition to his newspapering, he was radio announcer, disc jockey and an author of numerous books.

The books, styled after his whimsical nature, are loaded with facts, half-truths and rumors overheard on street corners and just plain made up gobbledygook. That’s whuffo’ the reading of them is so delightful – makes the reader thereof exercise his gray matter in separating fact from fiction.

With all his shortcomings and longcomings, Urs is a delightful fellow – much in demand on festive occasions when he regales his listeners with tale after tale of the most sublime, ridiculous and even impossible nature.

The globe-trotting reference is factual, because he has served in the variously described capacities, outlined above, throughout North America, Central America, South America and Hawaii. Currently he resides in one of Alabama’s major cities, again as news editor of a metropolitan daily.

At the Advocate, while we do not adhere to some of the more fanciful facets that make up Big Urs’ character, we practice his positive qualities, and at the same time, put forth every effort to be both entertaining and obliging.