Carlo M. Sardella, 84, was a part of the press for more than 50 years. He was probably best known to South Jersey residents for his years as a reporter for the Atlantic City Press. He also aired radio commentaries on WFPG and WMID, two Jersey Shore radio stations. He covered everything from homicides to war to the Beatles. He wrote about organized crime and Jersey political events. However, Sardella's passion was the human-interest story. He effectively combined his gift for writing with his love of people.
While still in high school, he began his career at the age of 16 with the Vineland Post in the 1930's. After the start of the Second World War, he joined the United States Army. There, he served as a field correspondent and was based in Great Britain and France. He wrote for military publications including "Stars and Stripes." While in the service, he reported battles, bombings and the liberation of Nazi concentration camps. His interviews ranged from German war criminals to brave nurses serving their country overseas.
After his return to South Jersey, he married his girlfriend Rita. He had met her just before the war while he was writing coverage of her high school basketball games for the Vineland Times Journal. They moved to Atlantic City, where he worked as a day city editor for the Tribune (1945 to 1950). In 1950, he joined the Atlantic City Press. The Press and the Tribune merged in 1954.
In 1952, Sardella covered Marilyn Monroe's appearance in Atlantic City. She was the grand marshal of the Miss America Parade. He interviewed the movie star and it made such an impression on that he wrote multiple reminiscences of the adventure.
When the Beatles played a gig at Philadelphia's Convention Hall (the one at 34th and Spruce), they stayed in Atlantic City. Sardella covered the event for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
While with the Press, he became well known for starting and writing "Resort Ripples," a column highlighting area news including interviews with the region's newsmakers. While with the Press, he won five awards from the Press Club of Atlantic City.
After Atlantic City, Sardella went to the Levittown Press as Managing Editor (1956 to 1958) of their evening edition. From there, he went to the Camden Courier-Post (1958 to 1964) and for most of the sixties, he was a reporter and columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer.
During his career at the Inquirer (1964 to 1973), he was a three-time winner of the annual trophy for best news story of the year presented by our organization, the Philadelphia Press Association. He departed in the Philly paper in 1973 to join Congressman Charles Sandman's campaign for Governor of New Jersey.
After this venture, Sardella became a correspondent for the prestigious New York Times (1974 to 1989). He worked out of his Ventor, New Jersey residence and covered the Atlantic City area. Also during this time, Carlo also wrote for the Atlantic City Press' "South Jersey Living" supplement. He did a little public relations work (the Miss America Pageant) and had a radio program called "Page Three" on WMID-AM in Atlantic City. The show focused on area people and even sometimes, himself. Sardella retired in 1989 after his wife passed away. Then he relocated to Florida where he lived for several years before becoming ill. He then returned to New Jersey to be near his family.
But reporting wasn't Sardella's only passion. He loved to play the bass and was part of several local groups. Dating back to the fifties, he was a sideman with the Eddie Gray Trio and they played at the Beach Club, which was a restaurant and bar. It was on Atlantic Avenue in Margate and was owned by Carlo. Then he performed regularly with the Angie Marindino band. He also was involved with Big Brothers of America and was an official for area high school games of football. Many people saw him daily, riding his bike on the Atlantic City boardwalk regardless of the weather.
Sardella had four daughters; Barbara, Janet, Nancy and Sandra. Carlo Sardella passed away on Sunday, September 15, 2002 from Alzheimer's disease.
From the official archives of the Philadelphia Press Association
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