Walter Matthau

A University of Nebraska student has discovered the writings of actor Walter Matthau, shown here in Los Angeles in 1991, in copies of The Duster, the newspaper of the former Kearney Air Field, where Matthau was stationed during World War II.

AP file photo

A University of Nebraska student has discovered the journalistic history of Hollywood legend Walther Matthau while Matthau was stationed in Kearney during World War II.

Robert Roy Foresman recently unearthed Matthau's writings while transcribing copies of The Duster, the newspaper of the former Kearney Air Field.

While digitally preserving The Duster, Foresman noticed several articles written by "Walter Matthow." Roy knew that some Hollywood stars changed their names to seem more appealing, so he researched and discovered that the author of the articles and the actor were indeed the same person.

Matthau, the star of such films as "The Odd Couple" and "Grumpy Old Men," had changed the spelling of his name at the start of his acting career.

"He wrote a series of articles, and they're actually quite funny," Foresman said. The graduate student said that the highlight of Matthau's writings is a column titled "Fare Enough" that took aim at the bus service that transported soldiers in the area.

"The dilapidated push carts which are erroneously referred to as buses, plus the scant three miles separating Kearney from the Base, hardly warrant the 15 cent fare," Matthau wrote.

Soon after that column was published, the bus fare was reduced to 10 cents.

Foresman hopes that community members with more information will contact him as he continues with his research.

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