Ed’s reports of the rapid pace of modern love, which in his column seemed to twirl faster than ever, offered readers a vicarious thrill. “Romances fizzle and burn out in a hurry on the Queerialto that is tagged Broadway…the big heart affairs pass into the hands of receivers quicker than that,” he reported. (Sullivan invented his own slang term for Broadway, “Queerialto,” a combination of “queer” – he always found the Broadway world odd – and “Rialto,” after the famous Broadway theater.) If he could fit in a bit of moralizing with his coverage of romance, all the better:
“Funny, the reactions of the fellows who are involved in these affairs of the cardiac…Tommy Manville Jr, heir to the asbestos millions…is typical of the wealthier playboys of the Main Stem…Interested in the lovelies of the stage, Manville, like his fellows, will go just so far…The breaking point arrives when a column like this reports that Manville is thinking of buying an engagement ring…The current romance is dead the following day…to the wealthy fellows, wedding bells make a noise like a police riot car.”
The News gave Sullivan wide latitude in terms of what he covered, and, like his TV show in later years, his column offered something for many audiences: romantic travails, theater news, political predictions, show business gossip, odd quotes that celebrities gave him, bits of shop worn wisdom. It was all jumbled together without any differentiation, a stream of consciousness Broadway diary, like the circuitous route taken by a cabbie trolling all of Manhattan. On a daily basis he veered from wedding news, denoted as “hunting for a license bureau,” to announcing a starlet’s pregnancy, referred to as “the arrival of Sir Stork,” to alimony payments, all within the space of a single paragraph.