Two of Manhattan's favorite tabloid characters got married last week. The Rev. Adam Clayton Powell Jr., 36, wing-collared pastor of Harlem's big Abyssinian Baptist Church and New York's first Negro Congressman, took as a wife (his second) round-eyed, plump Hazel Scott, 25, Bach-to-boogie pianist. Their wedding should have been a tabloid editor's dream a cast of stars, and a comedy of errors.
The bride, in knee-length white lace and satin, was seven minutes late to the wedding, and the bridegroom arrived 21 mintes later (flat tire). Afterwards, every body adjourned to the bride's place of business, Manhattan's Café Society Up town, where 2,000 guests were invited and 3,000 showed up. Then came the blowoff.
"Throw That Man Out!" Trouble started when the Reverend Powell brusquely shooed news photographers away, so that a photographer could shoot some pictures for LIFE first. When one of the newsmen squawked, the bridegroom told a cop: "Throw that man out!" Thereupon news photographers did what they often threaten but rarely do, staged a sitdown strike. Terms: either the Reverend Powell apologized, or they would take no pictures.
Congressman Powell's harassed publicity man pleaded in vain to the newsmen: "This is his wedding day and he just got excited." Then he tried pleading to his boss to apologize to the boys. He came back muttering: "I've worked for him for five years and he just insulted me!" Result: photographers packed off without pictures.
What they missed was the kind of scenes that are butter to the tabloid's bread. Samples:
¶ The wedding cake was a replica of the White House, with a minister standing in the door, and a little Scottie labeled Fala playing on the lawn.
¶ The bridegroom doggedly lasted out a double-row, round-the-block reception line, pumping the hands of the men and kissing the women on the cheek. The bride had to retire with a dizzy spell.
¶ Twenty-five cops were needed to shepherd the well-wishers, until the nightclub loudspeaker system finally sounded taps by telling the guests to leave: "It's time for the next show."
Duty Before Pleasure. Manhattan's tabloid Daily News, sharing its cameraman's pique, brushed off the wedding in a single sniffy paragraph. The good grey New York Times gave more space to the squabbling than to the wedding. Only the Herald Tribune, among all nine Manhattan papers, put duty before pleasure, and ran a fetching picture of the wedding taken before the photographers walked off the job.