ED NOTE: This is a special edition page put out by the Mike's friends at the Grand Rapids Press. I have modified it to work on the Metro website.




Who knows where longtime copy editor Mike McCarty will end up when he leaves the Press today? It could be in Bay City. Or in Saugatuck. Or in Lake Cadillac. He may be directionally challenged, but McCarty managed to get to work most days, without incident for nearly 30 years. Never mind that, when he showed up for his interview with Gary Schroder back in 1980, he thought he was interviewing at the Chicago Tribune.

McCarty, fondly known by his co-workers as "Larry" and "Mr. Smooth," and "Mac," and "that tall guy who's always smiling" built a long career on the Press copy desk by poking fun at less-fortunate celebrities. He built the Name Dropping column into what it is today make that what it was three or four years ago. Despite the many challenges he overcame throughout his life to get here, no matter when a person asked him how he was, his answer was "Smooth." 

A man with career goalies: As a youth, Mike was a two-sport player - hockey and baseball.

Tragically, Mike McCarty was born a Chicago Blackhawks fan (see photo above) in Detroit. While born with a pleasant disposition, as soon as he could talk, he reportedly begged his parents to move the family to the Windy City, to no avail. As he grew ... and grew and grew taller, he learned how to play hockey and saved his allowance and paper route money to buy a Black-hawks jersey and wore it almost constantly on the ice and off. He also found escape in the adventures of his three favorite action heroes, Larry, Moe, and Curly, and even dreamed of a life in show business as a backup plan to Blackhawks goalie.

After high school, he got his big chance. He was given a full hockey scholarship to Northwestern University, but somehow graduated from Michigan State University with a degree in radio and television management. Try as he might, he couldn't find the MSU hockey facility for tryouts.

Undeterred, and with a backup plan in hand, Mike landed a disc jockey gig in Athens, Ohio. But when his future wife got a job back in enemy territory the Great Wings State he swallowed his pride and followed. There were no TV or radio jobs in the town of Cadillac, so Mike interviewed as a TV reporter in Lansing but somehow ended up a newspaper reporter back in Cadillac. Thus, a long and storied newspaper career was born.

From Cadillac, he went to Escanaba. Jeff Daniels is rumored to have written the play "Escanaba in the Moonlight" based on Mike's life there. At first, he denied this rumor. But then there was the story on the rumor in Namedropping, followed by the rumor confirmation story and then the denial of the confirmation. "That turned into four or five days of good gossip," he said at the time.
After Escanaba, he landed in Grand Rapids, sometimes rather painfully. 

He inherited the nickname "Larry" during his first day at The Depressed, when he was told it was impossible to share log-in names with someone else. You'll be called Larry, some stooge told him (System problems prevailed even in the good old days).

Mike survived many tough assignments in the early years, but his toughest was a six-month undercover stint investigating the dark side of Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital. To gain admission, Mike first tried falling from a tree. He was unable to execute the daring stunt as he grabbed the tree and slid down after losing his balance while standing on his daughter's play stove atop an extension ladder. He suffered bark burns to his stomach, which didn't even earn him admission to the local Med Center.
Next, he tried driving over a fire hydrant at the end of his block, but this merely gained him admission to the fire department's Bonehead Hall of Fame. Success came at last when Mike slammed into a car while roaring down the Bridge Street NW hill one day. After a brief hospital stay to repair broken ribs and a punctured lung, he was admitted to Mary Free Bed. His research turned into a blockbuster story on a scandalous brainwashing program being run by the facility's medical staff. While writing the story, Mike managed to resist the harshest treatments, but be did consent to let doc-tots attempt to fix his sense of direction.

Upon his return to The Depressed, Mike was given the honor of sitting in Row 1 on the copy desk. Unable to find Row 1, he took a desk in Row 3, where he remained until today.

The grass is always bluer on the West Side. He can pick his friends, and he can pick his nose. Now he will have time to pick his banjo.



George Wordsmith Bush: "Mike McCarter is a fine American. It kinda hurts to think he's gonna be leaving journeyism."

Bob Dole, former U.S. senator: "Mike McCarty is no Bob Dole. You know it, I know it, the American people know it

Ernie Harwell, legendary baseball broadcaster: "I taught Mike everything I know. Look what he did with it."

Howard Stern, shock jock: "(Unprintable)."


Elizabeth Taylor: "If only I had met Mike first after my second husband."

Madonna: 'I'm going to adopt Mike before he gets away."

Donald Trump, Mike's career coach: "Buyout?! You're fired!"

The late Moe Howard: Mike's former career coach and Stooge: "What're ya standin' around for? Get back ta woik!"

Darren McCarty, Detroit Red Wings forward: "Mike who??"

Michael Jackson, the king of pop: "EEE-hee!"

Pictures From The Party

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