Producing the Oracle in the 80s

by Art Mattson, OCM Historian

Back in the dark ages (1980s), the Editor’s job was a lot more complex. We didn’t have fabulous personal computers and sophisticated computer programs with which to put together the Oracle.

Back then we had…..

Oracle Weekend

Yes, it took an entire weekend. Generally, six to eight of us would gather on Saturday morning at the editor’s home and work all day. Most of us would return on Sunday for another full day’s work. Our first editor, Sandra Rosenthal, hosted us in her three-room office in Santa Ana. Help didn’t always come; several times it was just three of us – Sandra, her soon-to-be husband Bob Swanson, and yours truly.

Submissions were mailed in or hand-delivered. Few of us had computers, but no one had email in those days. Almost everything had to be re-typed. Proofreading (Norrma Samuels was superb) was done as we went along. Making corrections to the copy was not as easy as it is today. Corrections were typed on a separate page, cut (using an exacto knife), and pasted into the copy with care.

Huge “boards” were used for layout. The Editor would begin by creating a mockup showing what went where. The typed copy was “cut and pasted” into place on the boards. When Cookie Bakke was editor, husband Russ erected stands on the dining room table to hold the boards erect so that we could see and access them more easily. One could walk around the table to find the different pages, or to see the entire Oracle as it was coming alive.

Photos could not be inserted without being “screened,” a process that prepared them for print. Headlines and titles could not be made by simply increasing the font size on the computers we didn’t have. We used “press lettering” where an individual would “rub on” letters from a sheet of letters to a blank sheet, then cut and paste to get them into the Oracle.

Sandra was succeeded by Nancy Alvarado, David Linwood, Teri Lacher, Brenda ReVelle, Bill Harvey, and Cookie Bakke, who won our first Owl Award from national. Calendar Editors were Bob Swanson, Debe Share, Franci Taylor, Judy Semler, Ellen Hinkle, Alice Buell (Volkert), Sarah Newton-Williams, Norrma Samuels, John Olsen, and Ginny Flanary. Frequent workers included Esther Elizalda, Joyce Farmer, Karol Hawn, Nancy Anger, Ann Harvey, Nancy Bowen, Joe Perel, and Don Green.

Those were the days!!!

Reprinted from the March, 2014, Oracle


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