Newspaper Archive of
The Texas Sun
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April 8, 1977     The Texas Sun
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April 8, 1977
 

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6 ii iii! i !i :i!i, "'llcre',s" vour road mal~ . . ." (4) SCREAMS. This game, as its name implies, is really screams. The rules ~re very simple: everybody sits on the front porch and screams. That's all. Everybody just sits there and screams. This keeps up till the cops come. You can even develop~ a sort of inter-party rivalry with this game, the object being to see which party attracts the most cops the fastest. This makes a handy classification for parties afterwards, when someone asks you, "How was the party last Saturday?" "Oh, fair," you say, "it was a three-car party." Janis Joplin began showing up in Rangers in 1963. Here she and Austin Poet Laureate John Clay are caricatured in a handbook of party tips titled "What To Do Until the Cops Come." I;AIW/- The Texas Ranger, the magazine that launched Farah Fawcett, started 1959-60, now a senior Playboy, agrees: "I was prospect of drinking, sex My thing is humor and there, humor in the Daily Texan. weren't many journalism writing for the Ranger the college humor pointed out. "I was in came from pre-med [as craze that swept Shelton], a lot of the people the art department." the nation in the However it happened, the of artists and writers began t early '60s. funniest college magazine in Sales jumped from 4,000 to 7 by J. David Morlaty one issue. The magazine The Texas Ranger, the U.T. student humor magazine, has been resurrected after five years in the tomb. The magazine that launched Farah Fawcett has rolled back the stone, and stands strangely revealed, its shape defined not so much by the light of the present, as by the reflected glory of its past. Fully one-quarter of the feature material is authored by people who wrote for the Ranger 20 years ago, when it was :voted the number one college humor magazine in the nation: Bill Helmer, Gilbert Shelton, Frank Stack, Tony Bell. Besides that, it wasn't the Ranger that had the foresight to grace its pages with Ms. Fawcett. That honor went to a couple of men's clothing stores, which had her modeling bermuda shorts back in 1968 when Levi cutoffs were de rigueur, swimwear when compulsory skinny- dipping was but a few semesters away, and flaunting her Tri-Delta affiliation when sororities were collapsing in the face of another sisterhood that was busy protesting the Vietnam War. In 1968 times were catching the Ranger as well as its advertisers. The students lost their humor during the war, and the Ranger experienced a circulation collapse so profound that the Texas Student Publications Board turned it into a tabloid supplement to the Daily Texan, then killed it. Founded in 1923, the Ranger was already a venerable institution when it started the college humor craze that swept the nation in the early '60s. Lynn Ashby, Ranger editor in 1960-61, now a daffy humor columnist for the Houston Post, insists that there was no grand design that produced the sudden great popularity of the magazine. "We didn't sit around and philosophize about what we were doing," he said. "We just had a lot of good people. It was incredible, the talent that came together all at once: Hugh Lowe, Gilbert Shelton, Lieuen Adkins, Joe Brown, Tony Bell, Dave Crossley; one hell of a good staff." Sex and Depravity And, as Ashby recalls it, the main thing that attracted the talent was the parties. "We started having the staffers sell our own magazines in 1957. The salesmen got 5 cents a copy as their commission. We got .volunteers to sell, then took the commission money--S40 or $50--down to some liquor store and blew it all on booze. Then we'd get everybody together and have a party." Joe Brown, who joined the Ranger in 1961, said he just wanted "to become a member of those wonderful crazies." He characterized the Daily Texan of those days as "boredom ... not very interesting or instructive." And Bill Helmer, Ranger editor from number one in a poll of editors, and was by other humor mags from Part of the success was due to conscious efforts toward tion. "The magazine was oriented," he said. "I turned Bill Helmer from a cliquish, genteel popular commercial publ earlier Rangers were quality, but were more or publications with very artistic people laughing at humor." There was:always a observed, "between artistic tual content and Queers, Sluts, The previous decade had the most repressive and in the nation's afraid of communists, divorcees, bums, and deviance could get you ostracized, or jailed. Young expected to attend college socially useful ~aa3or such law or engineering; beat out their with a major corporation, so afford a home in the suburbs TV, and perhaps a they could marry, support s raise their children right. Young ladies were college in some such as art or home were able to attract a ross provide them with a suburbs, etc. If they did virgins, it was well known would have them. And anyone who