The ad caused aroused worldwide hilarity, much of it at the Sunpapers' expense. News agencies as far away as London, Peking and Bangkok ran stories, and the illustration of the couple enjoying their own, private merry-go-round was reproduced in Playboy's "The Year in Sex" for 1987.
In addition, Schnably admitted to a mischievous streak. As he later told a Sun reporter: "It's fun being an impish, 50-year-old kid. You try to get away with something and if you do, you feel good."
• Proving the existence of slavery in Sudan (1996)
In 1996, Sun reporters Gilbert Lewthwaite and Gregory Kane demolished a lie. The Sudanese government was roundly denying reports by human rights organizations that slavery was rampant in the African country. Nation of Islam founder Louis Farrakhan had challenged journalists to prove the horror stories were true.
So in June, Lewthwaite, who is white, and Kane, who is African-American, traveled to the Sudan, sat under a mango tree and bought two slaves for $1,000. The young half-brothers, 10 and 12 years old, had spent the past six years living in servitude on a cattle ranch.
Though the reporters freed the boys within minutes of making the purchase and returned them to their father, the three-part series caused a ruckus nationwide.
Critics accused the paper of sensationalism and questioned the journalists' conclusions. They claimed that, by paying money for the boys, The Sun was indirectly supporting the practice that it condemned.
But the majority of commentators thought that The Sun had performed an important public service. Lewthwaite and Kane were finalists for the 1997 Pulitzer Prize in explanatory reporting.
• Showbiz and The Sun (1993 + 2008)
HBO's television show"The Wire" was one of the most critically acclaimed dramas of the past decade, and the show continues to attract new viewers in the U.S. and abroad four years after it went off the air.
For better or worse, watchers of "The Wire" can't help but be familiar with The Sun, because much of the fifth and final season takes place inside the newsroom where creator David Simon formerly worked as a police reporter. The series examines various factors, such as the ouster of veteran editors and reporters and a perceived over-emphasis on winning journalism prizes, that Simon thinks prevents the print media from fulfilling its watchdog role.
Still, the series was a useful corrective to the 1993 movie "Sleepless in Seattle," in which Meg Ryan portrays a perky Sun reporter named Annie Reed. When Annie falls for a complete stranger, her editor, played byRosie O'Donnell, sends the young journalist across the country on the company dime and the company time to check the guy out.
Yup — exactly what Mencken would have done.
*An earlier version of this article did not specify that Mencken reported on the Scopes trial for The Evening Sun.