No organization seems quite complete without at least one Johnson; it is a grand old name that goes a long way back. One of SI's resident Johnsons, Associate Editor William, figures that he goes back as far as any of them: say 900 years or so, to the days when the original Johnson stalked around Scandinavia brandishing a broadsword and drinking a shot of eagle's blood before dinner.
This is an article from the Nov. 16, 1970 issue
When it was decided to introduce this year's winter sports season with a special look at the old country—a colorful package that starts on page 50—it seemed clear that only one man on the staff should handle the job. After all, our own Manhattan Nordic originally hailed from Minnesota, where a good many Scandinavians settled. Three of his grandparents came from Norway and one from Sweden. William further tightened his claim to the role by attending St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., where the fight song goes something like, "Ve come from St. Olaf, oom ya-ya, oom ya-ya," which sounds pretty fierce booming from a gang of students in full voice. Our Johnson also married a blonde Norwegian girl, Ruth Jacobson, and now has three towheaded children, who look the part.
Having drawn the assignment, Bill donned stocking cap to storm Scandinavia in true Norsk fashion, covering more than 1,000 miles in 10 days and finally winding up standing on a pair of skis all alone on a frozen lake above the Arctic Circle listening to what he later could describe only as pure silence. It is all in his story, a unique adventure of a new Viking grandson in an old setting.
To keep the record straight, that is our resident Johnson above—the one on the right with the prop-department helmet and spear. As for the one on the left, we think you will agree that he could only be the original Johnson—which ought to clear up any doubts about Bill's Viking ancestry. The family resemblance is striking.