Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A check in a box

In the first two years after The Daily Princetonian switched to printing with cold type, Larry Dupraz and I spent many nights in the pressroom putting together the program for ice hockey games. One evening, a colleague of Larry’s from the fire department saw the light in the window and shouted up to us. Larry shouted down, “Hey, you’ve got to come up here and see all this great new equipment we’ve got!”

Larry showed him the machine that turned punch tape into body copy. Then Larry sat down at the separate machine used to make headlines and larger type used in advertising.

“Look at this!” Larry said. “I can make a check! I make a box! I can make … "

“OK,” said the friend. “But can you make a check IN a box?”

Did you make a box first, then backspace, change the point size and make the check?

Or did you make the box, change the point size, then backspace and make the check?

Or did you start with the check, then make the box?

In the next two hours, Larry used up more than $100 worth of pricey film, figuring out exactly how to make a check, perfectly centered, in a box. For the next several months, barely a day went by that there wasn’t at least one ad in the Prince that included a check in a box.

That was in 1972. In 2003, Larry sent me an e-mail that concluded: “During your first 50 years, I too, have learned many things through your knowledge, so you see it works both ways (the check in the box, etc.)”

— John Wilheim '75, sports editor emeritus


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