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Bowlers Journal At 100 FAWNING: IT WAS NOT BJ’S STYLE

the industry’s small pool of advertising dol- lars.

A more enlightened generation of BPAA leaders began inviting me to a front-row seat at conventions. Several members of our staff have received BPAA awards. And our company now produces the BPAA’s offi cial magazine, Bowling Center Manage- ment, as well as Pro Shop Operator, a maga- zine for the International Bowling Pro Shop and Instructors Assn.

Technology Arrives

By the mid-1970s, the company was sailing along nicely, thanks to an industry-wide resurgence and the introduction of some new technology.

When I fi rst arrived at Bowlers Journal in the ’50s, our circulation record mainte- nance was entrusted to a fi rm called Auto- matic Addressing Co. Housed in an ancient building a few blocks from our offi ce, Auto- matic’s workshop looked like a scene from a Dickens novel.

Dozens of little old ladies typed out addresses and expiration codes for new subscribers on stencils, then fed them into long metal drawers with the rest of our readers’ info. AA would print up long gal- leys at the end of each month and send them to the offi ce. We’d check them and then send them to the printer, who used them as mailing labels.

Over the years, Dressel covered virtually all of bowling’s big events, including the PBA Tournament of Champions. Here, he poses a question to Marshall Holman following the 1986 TOC.

Ed Daugherty, who had assumed my mother’s role as offi ce manager in the early 1970s, eventually convinced me to buy an in-house automated card system. It not only enabled us to print the labels ourselves, it also simplifi ed some of the subscription renewal process.

We eventually dipped our toes into the computer age by buying a big IBM mainframe. A smooth-talking salesman had assured me that this hulking machine would automate all of our circulation and bookkeeping operations. He neglected to mention that there was no existing, off -the- shelf software for the publishing business. We fi nally bought a handmade software package from an eccentric magazine pub- lisher in Montana, and modifi ed it about a dozen times to fi t our needs. Nowadays, you can buy a publishing business pro- gram, slip it into your tidy little desktop PC, and be up and running by the afternoon. It was around the same time that we also decided to embrace a digital editorial system. For more than a half-century, we had relied on a notoriously complicated system that was common throughout the


publishing world: the writers would type their stories on paper, the paper copies would be sent to the printer, a linotype operator would read the paper copies and “set” the type in lead slugs, the slugs would be assembled in “galleys,” and someone would pull a print of the galley and send it back to the writer for corrections. Most of the process would be repeated several times before the publication went to press. To expedite this procedure, several of us would drive every month to the Johnson Press, our longtime printer in Pontiac, III., to “close the issue.” Although we complained about the loss of time, spending a few days in a picturesque village some 100 miles from the offi ce was actually a pleasant in- terlude. We’d bunk at a tiny motel around the corner from Pontiac’s elegant court- house, and have breakfast with the farmers at Paul’s Log Cabin café.

Although Johnson Press boasted state- of-the-art equipment, it was located in an ancient building that had once housed a

shoe factory. There was something very satisfying about roaming through the plant, chatting with the linotype guys and hearing the rumble of the presses.

Those countryside adventures came to a shrieking halt shortly after I bought our fi rst computerized editorial system from Comp- ugraphic Corp. We suddenly had the power to write a story on a computer screen and set it in any size and type style deemed desirable. The early machines had no page formatting option, so it was necessary to paste the type on “boards,” an eye-straining operation that required a lot of patience. The printer would then take a photo of each board and transfer the image to a printing plate.

Now, of course, our editors assemble

entire magazines on their Apple computers and zap the entire product to the printer on telephone lines. Johnson Press still prints several of our publications.

Next month: BJ’s secret weapon, and the dawn of Billiards Digest.

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July 2013

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