Wednesday, January 10, 2007

'One of the most important mentors in my life'

Like hundreds, maybe thousands of other ‘Prince’ staffers, I began my education in type, composition and page makeup when I started working as a night editor under Larry DuPraz’s supervision my freshman year, in the fall of 1966.

I think my edit board was among the last that Larry had to put up with in teaching the mysteries of hot-metal composition: setting headline type upside down in a composing stick, finding the “fi” ligature in the California job case, feeling just how much torque to use when tightening the quoins in a chase full of type.

Larry made it clear from the outset that we were a bunch of bums, compared to the class before us, but after a year or so of his watchful tutelage, our edit board had become the new high standard of comparison. Not that we were ever to be trusted with the real hot metal coming out of the big linotype machine …

To this day, as an editor, I still practice the trade Larry introduced to me. It’s amazing to think that one of the best imitations of Archie Bunker I ever met became one of the most important mentors of my life.

I saw him at Reunions in June 2005, when he and I and a fireman or two shot the breeze for a good half-hour about the demise of hot metal and the plight of the volunteer firefighter in the borough, while Larry supervised the burgers and dogs. He was a happy man that day, in his element at the center of the action.

-- Peter Brown ’70, editor emeritus


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