LOS ANGELES (KNX 1070) — It’s been more than 23 years since the Los Angeles Herald Examiner ceased publication.
But, unbelievably, the paper technically has one employee left. But not for long.
This Wednesday, Charles — or Chuck — Lutz will leave the building for the last time.
KNX 1070’s Claudia Peschiutta spoke to Lutz about his retirement.
Lutz says, matter-of-fact, “Yes, I am the last Herald Examiner employee.”
He started as a truck driver. And he’s held various jobs over the years.
When the Herald Examiner shut down in 1989, Lutz says he just kept going back to work. “And nobody ever said not to come back.”
He helped close down the operation. And, eventually, he got the title of building supervisor, watching over the Herald Examiner’s former offices at 11th and Broadway downtown Los Angeles. For years, those offices have been used for film and television shoots.
“He’s an old school guy with a lot of modesty,” says Bryan Erwin, with Hollywood Locations, the company that coordinates film shoots there. He says Lutz is a fixture there. “He’s just this modest man in his 60s.”
And, when Lutz – who is 68 — decided he was going to retire this coming week, he didn’t want any fuss.
“Nobody heard about it,” he says, “until they started writing these stories about it. And Bryan opened his big mouth. Otherwise I would have slipped out of here and no one would have known.”
Peschiutta asks Lutz, “Would you have preferred that”? He doesn’t hesitate and laughs. “Yes, I would have preferred it that way.”
Erwin calls all the fuss being made “my going away present to him. He was just going to sneak out. He literally wasn’t going to tell us when he was leaving. And I was like, ‘No, no dude. This is our gift. You counted, you mattered, you existed. You did something really unique and really cool. Don’t you try sneaking out of this place.'”
Lutz says he plans to move to Nevada with his brother and sister-in-law and maybe train horses.
He says he’ll miss seeing the actors who go in and out of the Herald Examiner building. But once he walks out on Wednesday, Lutz says he’ll never return and there is no looking back.” Nope you can’t go back. You can only go forward. Either go forward or die. And I’m going to go forward.”