Your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from Golden State thrift stores, estate sales, and flea markets.
A big ol' stack of Annie's Pattern Club magazines
Date: 1984 to 1986
Publisher: Jerry Gentry Associates, Big Sandy, Texas
Discovered at: Sacramento's great Thrift Center, 2507 Del Paso Blvd.
The Cover Promises: Some kid looked into a mirror and said that clown's name three times.
"Everyone loves a clown! And the only thing better is the great needlecraft featured in this issue! ... With our easy-to-follow instructions, you'll have more fun than a three-ring circus!"I was going to write "I'm afraid that the photo to the right does not quite do justice to the creepiness of the Annie's Pattern Book clown," but after blowing him up bigger for a better look I have to cut that statement down to just the first two words: I'm afraid. Get up and move around, and I swear those eyes will follow you. Also, note the dried, dead Hamburger Helper hand. Anyway, much like that Studies in Crap favorite Mail Box News, Annie's Pattern Club offered a rare, early opportunity for craft-makers to share what would once have been private works with the public at large, or at least with a likeminded subscriber base. Since it was no longer necessary for most American households to bother making much of anything at all, the projects submitted by readers tended to be more whimsical than practical, acts of creative expression rather than of-necessity domestic drudgery. That means instead of patterns for bloomers and culottes, Annie's Pattern Club showcased projects of little practical utility. This first one seemes designed to teach kids how kitties suckle. I think all kids remember their first snot wagon. The dangers of germs are demonstrated by the inclusion of two plague-dead bears. Pattern Club crafters weren't satisfied with simple creations, which means that loved ones sometimes became found themselves having to wear these acts of creative expression. This brooding fellow seems concerned that he might be upstaged by his home-made coon-skin cap. These hats demonstrate one key truth of America in the 1980s: Mr. T was huge. They also demonstrate one key rule of magazine layout: For God's sake, don't arrange black hair in front of a black background. Here, the head ware is upstaged by the models: That guy on the left is a one-man uncanny valley, somehow suggesting Powder, a white mid-career Michael Jackson, and that one main Nazi from Raiders of the Lost Ark. HE SHOULD HAVE WORN A VISOR! Next: More clowns! Plus: The Great Cramming-the-Full-1980s-Into-One-Image Challenge!