When the Daily Mirror was at latimes.com, I did some digging into the many adventures of “Phlange Welder,” a fictitious name that was slipped into The Times beginning in 1961. The Los Angeles Examiner had its own fictitious person, Victor Frisbie, who rather miraculously appeared in The Times occasionally after the demise of the Examiner in 1962.
In 1994, Evelyn “Evie” De Wolfe compiled Phlange’s many exploits into a book, long out of print, which has been reissued with new material. She is having a book signing on Saturday, May 24, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Chevalier’s Books, 126 N. Larchmont Blvd.
I should emphasize that such antics aren’t tolerated today and even at the time, according to newspaper veterans, Otis Chandler threatened to fire anyone caught slipping Phlange’s name into the paper. Of course, in those days it wasn’t possible to go through ProQuest and hunt them out, as it is now, and research shows that the Phlange pranksters were a busy bunch.
Hmmmmm…..”flange” (flanj/) [noun]
Singular noun: flange; plural noun: flanges
Definition — a projecting flat rim, collar, or rib on an object, serving to strengthen or attach or (on a wheel) to maintain position on a rail.
Was it originally used as an attachment (or space-saver) on a story or report to maintain a position for the real name to be substituted prior to going to press?
It has no specific function in printing… Someone saw the term in the classified ads and thought it would make a funny name.