Pack-O-Fun at 25 years

The following is an introduction to a special edition of Pack-O-Fun magazine published on it’s 25th anniversary:

Remember those musty old photo albums … the ones with pictures of your parents when they were younger than you are now … pictures so fragile you were afraid they’d fall apart in your hands? That’s exactly the feeling I had as we went through the original issues of Pack-O-Fun from Mom and Dad’s (Edna and John Clapper’s) private library to select these articles for you.

The making of Pack-O-Fun was in itself quite a craft project. I marvel at what my folks were able to do, long before desktop publishing. Until many years later they didn’t even have an electric typewriter!

The color pages were all silk-screened. Dad, the engineer, employed his drafting skills and tools to draw the pictures Mom had sketched. Using an Xacto knife he meticulously cut each little detail out of special film then glued the film to a fine mesh silk screen. Individual sheets were printed by squeegeeing colored ink through the film/screen. It was the job of us kids to carry the wet pages to a jerry-rigged drying rack.

The black-and-white (now yellow) pages were quite another story. Dad planned each page using the instructions and illustrations Mom had created.

Then the real fun began. He typed the copy around spaces left for drawings so he knew exactly what words would be on each line. To get both left and right sides even (justified), he counted how many spaces would have to be added to each line, then marked where each extra space would be added. 

The carefully planned pages had to be typed letter perfect – on a manual typewriter – onto a mimeo stencil. (Remember the smelly old stencils and correction fluid?) The illustrations were traced onto the now fragile stencil, taking extreme care not to tear it. Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?!

Every month Mom and Dad produced twenty such pages. In their spare time they squeezed in duplicating, binding, addressing, opening mail, and creating and writing instructions for the ideas on the pages. Did I forget to mention they were also raising us three kids – all under ten years old?

Kinda makes my job today look easy. I hope you enjoy looking through this album as much as I’ve enjoyed sharing it with you.

Lyle Clapper, Publisher

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