Spontoon Island
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Upload: 22 February 2005
*  Upload of facsimile front page 28 January 2008  *
** Upload of Color Beach Fashion Supplement 16 July 2008 **

MIRROR Color Beach Fashion Special issue - art by Antonia Tiger
**  Beach Pajamas on the MIRROR cover (August 1937)  **
a "Speed Week" special supplement
from the collection of Antonia Tiger

The Spontoon Mirror
- A tabloid Euro newspaper published on Casino Island -
A background article
from our reporter, EOCostello.

[With special commentary on the newspaper's appearances in the investigations by

 Detective Inspector Stagg, Spontoon Island Constabulary,
as recorded by Sgt. Orrin Brush]

The Spontoon Mirror (est. 1930) was founded by an ex-pat American from Los Angeles, Charles Foster Crane, a wealthy third son who was lying low in the Spontoons until certain romantic indiscretions committed back home died down.  He had been used to the more lively Los Angeles press, and, in particular, missed the comic pages and extensive sports coverage.  The local papers, he decided, wanted competition the American way.

The prodigal's father was only too glad to finance his son's ambitions, as he figured this would at least keep him out of trouble at home, and it might teach him some valuable business lessons in the bargain.

The Spontoon Mirror is published in tabloid fashion, and publishes a morning edition, six days a week, Monday through Saturday, and an evening edition, five days a week, Monday through Friday.  (Price: 2d, except for the Saturday edition, which is 6d.)   In addition, the contents are sometimes changed during the run, as per American practice, with a 3-star edition usually going out to subscribers, and the five-star final being the newsstand version, reflecting the latest news.  [You see Sgt. Orrin Brush occasionally referring to these different editions.]

Thanks to family connections, the Mirror has access to a lot of syndicated material from the US, including a variety of comic strips, at a relatively cheap price, especially since no paper in the area has taken these features up.  (The Saturday morning edition has the Sunday color funnies, plus a number of other features which make it bulkier.)  The various Hollywood gossip columns and other features are also popular.  The Mirror subscribes to the AP and Reuters, and thus has access to a great deal of international news and photos.  There is also wide coverage of world-wide sports, in addition to the local stuff about aeroplanes and seaplanes.

The Mirror generally likes to put something zowie! on its front page, usually relating to (a) sex, (b) crime, (c) scandal, or (d) sports.  Combinations of the above, of course, are preferential.  Needless to say, a snappy headline to accompany the eye-catching photo is even better.

[The Mirror thus takes something of an interest in Detective Inspector Stagg's work, of course, and this exacerbates a somewhat tense relationship between the Chief Constable and Stagg, such as at the end of "Sleight of Paw."]

The Mirror generally has a brisk sale on Casino Island in the hotels, and at the airline terminals as well.  Subscriptions are rather smaller, mainly confined to the naval base (who follow the home sports scores) and some Meeting Island types, who want to keep up with who among them is getting in trouble publicly.  (Few there will admit to reading the paper...most copies are hidden in desk drawers.)  The native population, for the most part, ignores it, preferring the Spontoonie edition of the Daily Elele. Thus, few copies of the Mirror are seen outside of Meeting or Casino Islands, or the naval base/seaplane areas.  There are some isolated subscriptions outside the Spontoons.  Home delivery is not yet available to Cranium Island.

The paper currently runs at a small loss, largely because family connections again allow for some advertising subsidy (ads pitched at the tourists and travelers, and the "captive" sailors at the base).  The government does *not* give it any official business, naturally, which means that the Elele, thanks to its virtual monopoly of the native market and its ties to the government, is still the market leader.  Crane, however, is sanguine about this, and is biding his time.

Crane enjoys himself immensely, surveying Casino Island from top (fifth) floor of the brand-new (ca. 1934) Mirror Building, and for the most part enjoys the trouble he stirs up, now and again.  He will, however, hush things up as a "favour" now and again, though he usually figures out a way to call in these favours.  The exceptions, of course, are hints from Spontoon's intelligence services, which are carried out quickly and quietly.

Crane has been seriously thinking about expanding into radio, and even taking a flutter on television, if they ever get the bugs out of the latter.   With all the limitless possiblities of the Spontoons, Crane is coming to the conclusion that he's well rid of Los Angeles, and this is where his future is!

October 2004
February 2005

A front page from the Spontoon Mirror. As discovered in the clipping file of S. Barber
A cover from the "Spontoon Mirror" tabloid!  *
as discovered in the clipping file of S. Barber

Late 30s testpattern Spontoon Island

  A test pattern from the experimental TV station L3XRC in the late 1930s.
Graphic provided by M. Mitchell Marmel.