Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Plucked from a yard sale, Part 3:
Painting, baseball and Pac-Man

This week I'm writing about the 14 ephemeral items I bought for $1.25 at a neighborhood yard sale...

Item #4: "Paint Without Paints: Our Many Friends"

The activity booklet was published in 1960 by Platt & Munk.1 The "magic" of painting without paints requires only water and a paint brush. (I'm sure you've all done one of these at some point, right?) "Invisible color" was patented by E.E. Brogle and Company sometime in the 1930s.

An interesting thing about this Platt & Munk book is that it's more than just a painting book. Each picture of boys and girls from around the world is accompanied by a page describing those children's lives and cultures. And so it's fairly educational, with descriptions of:
  • Katryn and Jan of Holland, who live in a tiny village by the "Zuyder Zee"
  • Tanya of Poland, who raises geese (pictured above)
  • Ah Ling and Mo-Lee of China, who go buy a kite
  • Ali Basm of Arabia and his camel, who live in the desert
  • Rudi and Veronica of Switzerland, who live in a chalet at the foot of the Alps
  • Christina of Norway, who eats "very plain food"2 and is never scolded
  • Golden Eagle of the Wyandot tribe3
  • Pancho of Mexico, who speaks Indian, Spanish and English and plays guitar

Item #5: "Hurry Home"

"Hurry Home," a 32-page paperback, was published in 1976 by Xerox Education Publications. It's the tale of Tommy Graham, a young baseball player whose father is too sick to attend Tommy's championship baseball game at the park. Tommy crosses home plate with the game-winning run, keeps running and hurries home to see his father.

The most interesting thing about "Hurry Home" is the author, Donald Honig. He's a baseball historian and author who has written dozens of books about the national pastime.

Honig's works include "Baseball When the Grass Was Real: Baseball from the Twenties to the Forties, Told by the Men Who Played It," "Baseball between the Lines: Baseball in the Forties and Fifties, As Told by the Men Who Played It ," "The 100 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time" (co-written with Lawrence Ritter), and team histories of the Boston Red Sox, Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, New York Mets, New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals and Philadelphia Phillies.

Item #6: "Pac-Man and the Ghost Diggers"

Pac-Man Fever included more than just arcade games, a hit song, and an animated series. It also spawned this 1983 paperback by John Albano4, which was part of the "A Golden Look-Look Book" series.

The plot of "Pac-Man and the Ghost Diggers" involves Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Sue5 attempting to dig a tunnel so that they can steal power pellets from the cellar of the Pac-Man family. There are several mazes that Pac-Man, Baby Pac-Man, the ghosts and the reader have to navigate. In the end, the ghosts -- who don't exactly have the tunnel-digging skills of Hilts, Velinski and Sedgwick -- miss the cellar entirely and end up all wet.

If you prefer your Pac-Man literature to be a bit more intellectual, my wife suggests that you check out this December 2010 article by Chad Birch titled "Understanding Pac-Man Ghost Behavior."
On deck from the yard-sale haul: There's more to come this week, including a poster of the totally dreamy Scott Baio.
1. When my wife first saw this, she thought the book's title was "Paint Without Pants." But that would be a much different kind of book. Which would be featured on a much different kind of blog.
2. Christina's diet is described as buttermilk, black bread and cheese.
3. Here's the book's sanitized history of Native Americans: "Hundreds of years ago, the Indians lived this way all over the United States. Then the white men came and settled here, driving the Indians West, North and South. Now the white men and Indians are friends. Indians now live in houses and buy their food from stores. The children go to school where they learn to read and write."
4. Albano, who died in 2005, was perhaps best known as the co-creator of Jonah Hex. He also wrote for Archie Comics, one of my wife's personal favorites.
5. Sue replaced Clyde as the fourth ghost in Ms. Pac-Man, if you're keeping score at home.

1 comment:

  1. What a great find. Time for me to get out there and dig around in those yard sales!