While I am responsible for the headline, “Argyle socked by tornado,” I have yet to – type on keyboard – enter into the fraternity of headline writers who have unwittingly turned a headline into a sexual innuendo.

I’m sure an alert reader will produce evidence to the contrary.

A brief scan of the Internets found the world’s best, or worst, newspaper headlines, of all time – best for us, the readers who giggle at them; worst for the poor chumps who typed them. 

I have collected some of these real newspaper headlines (not from “The Onion”) for your pleasure, sometimes adding in italics an explanation, or sarcastic remark, for clarification. Others need no commentary. While most newspapers don’t capitalize all the words in a headline, I have for this exercise.

Mind you – some of the phrasing in these headlines may be intentional; a clever gag. For the sake of my fellow headline writers, I hope so.

That said, the best/worst of the worst/best:

• “Hospitals Sued by 7 Foot Doctors.”

For the record - Dr. J is only 6-7.

• “Astronaut Takes Blame For Gas In Spacecraft.”

Must have been a solo  flight.

• “Reagan Wins On Budget, But More Lies Ahead.”

• “Vaccine May Contain Rabies.”

In headline writing, I try to avoid the word ‘may,” or ‘hooker.’

• “One-Armed Man Applauds Kindness Of Strangers.”

From a column headline – probably intentional.

• “Two Soviet ships Collide, One Dies.”

• “Utah Poison Control Center Reminds Everyone Not To Take Poison.”

• “Royals To Get Taste Of Angels’ Colon.”

One of many comical headlines concerning baseball player Bartelo Colon (pronounced like cologne.)

• “Juvenile Court To Try Shooting Defendant.”

• “Miner Refuses To Work After Death.”

• “Joint Committee Investigates Marijuana Use.”

• “Something Went Wrong In Plane Crash, Expert Says.”

I’m sure glad they interviewed an expert, and not just some guy off the street.

• “Prostitutes Appeal To Pope.”

• “Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over.”

• “Chick Accuses Some Of Her Male Colleagues Of Sexism.”

Council woman’s last name was Chick.

• “Police Begin Campaign To Run Down Jaywalkers.”

• “Iraqi Head Seeks Arms.”

• “Stolen Painting Found By Tree.”

• “If Strike Isn’t Settled Quickly, It May Last A While.”

See what I mean about ‘may’?

• “New Study Of Obesity Looks For Larger Test Group.”

• “Blind Woman Gets New Kidney From Dad She Hasn’t Seen In Years.”

• “Hooker Named Lay Person Of The Year.”

See what I mean about ‘hooker’?

• “Man Accused Of Killing Lawyer Receives A New Attorney.”

• “Threat Disrupts Plans To Meet About Threats.”

• “Statistics Show That Teen Pregnancy Drops Off Significantly After Age 25.”

• “Missippi’s Literacy Program Shows Improvement.”

The actual spelling of the headline.

• “Skywalkers In Korea Cross Han Solo.”

About the Han River. Headline writers usually are geeky enough to know who Han Solo is.

• “Federal Agents Raid Gun Shop, Find Weapons.”

• “Two Sisters Reunited After 18 Years At Checkout Counter.”

And my personal favorite:

• “War Dims Hope For Peace.”


Len Robbins is the editor of The Clinch County News. He can be reached at lrobbins@theclinchcountynews.com.