Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Look at "An Open Book" Part 3

One of the things that I enjoyed about An Open Book was Michael Dirda's look at what the Lorain Journal was like while he was growing up. One of the features that he mentioned was "Tell Me Why!", which was one of my favorites.

He describes it like this on pages 50 -51 of his book: "Not least, though, the comics pages also offered A. Leokum's "Why, Daddy" column, later reslugged "Tell Me Why" at about the same time its author's first initial was revealed to stand for the clearly un-American name Arkady. Kids would mail in "scientific" questions such as, "Why does the earth go around the sun?" and Leokum would explain in the simplest possible English. My father, less an actual than a would-be autodidact, judged this feature inordinately fascinating and frequently shared its fascination aloud at the dinner table. "So that's what blue whales eat." As we grew older he urged his inquisitive brood to send in questions, partly for the glory of seeing our names in the paper (if our letters were lucky enough to be chosen), but also for the award of various educational prizes. In due course, the Dirdas received several collegiate dictionaries, an atlas and, eventually, when we'd already outgrown it, a Junior Encyclopedia Britannica."

Another feature that Dirda mentions on the same page of his book is "There Oughta Be a Law", which was another favorite of mine. He points out that it was more of an adult feature, and this example from 1969 proves him right. I wonder – is this strip is still around?


Anonymous said...

I thought the Lorain, Residence Property ad (Lakeview School) was pretty interesting too. I went to Lakeview for Kindergarten and lived on Washington Ave. between 10th and 11th until the ripe old age of 5.

Thanks Dan,

Hoy hoy,

Jeff Rash

Dan Brady said...

I'm glad I didn't crop out the classified ads around the cartoon! (I wanted it to be seen in its proper context.) Maybe Harry Meese, Realtor will post a comment too! (I wonder if his company logo was a meese, er, uh mouse?)

By the way, I'm glad Lakeview School is still there and hasn't been replaced by a new multi-story monstrosity!

Anonymous said...

Great memmories (especially "Tell Me Why"), and a 4 bedroom house for a little more than $10K! The "There Oughta be a Law" cartoon... guess "Sam Schwartz" paid dearly for that contributed idea or was already getting a divorce!


-Alan D Hopewell said...

The Journal also carried "Stranger Than Science", by Frank Edwards, for a used to creep me out as a kid.