Who says comics can't be not just educational, but vocational? Not Archie Comics, that's who says they can't not! I think! Let's take a look at this mid 1950s attempt by the publishers of America's foremost teen troublemaker as they try to turn the comics medium from one filled with crypt-keepers and axe murders to one filled with helpful, wide-awake young people doing their best to keep America handy.
Have YOU ever wanted to build kitchen aids or improve your model train layout? Sure you have. Let's let Archie and his two giant teeth indoctrinate us into his mystery world of crafty helpfulness.
You can make a realistic roadbed for your Lionel HO-scale track - you see children, back in the day before we had video games or Pokemon, we'd build enormous model train layouts with little electrically-operated trains that would run past little villages and little mountains and trees made of lollypop sticks and pieces of sponge, and we'd spend hours with our model trains, until we discovered girls - anyway, you can make a realistic roadbed out of gravel-coated asphalt house siding, which apparently was a thing, because America really wanted homes that looked like roads. The 50s were a strange time. For your tunnel you'll need some strips of cheesecloth soaked in hot starch (your Mom can show you how to make "hot starch", if you are so dense that you can't figure out how to apply heat to starch).
Disfigure perfectly good aluminum sheets with the simple application of asphaltum paint and muriatic acid! You don't have asphaltum paint and muriatic acid lying around the house? Sometimes I think you aren't serious about being a crafty helpful teen!
Now the next time Dad is under the car and hollers "hand me the pliers!" you can be a wiseacre and insist he ask for the specific type of pliers necessary for the job. Because you'll know. All I know is that I have a lifetime of using pliers and I don't think I've ever seen a "fencing plier" in my life, and that "multi-purpose plier" is an abomination in the eyes of the Lord.
Make your house sign with marbles! Go on! Just remember to cut the board according to the length of your name, and to remember that this is the point at which you want the entire neighborhood to know who lives in your house and that they're crafty, and that eventually you'll be filling the yard with birdhouses, elves, gnomes, those flat painted plywood cutouts of grannies bending over in the garden, and eventually Christmas decorations that never get taken down. That marble sign is just the first step.
And now it's time for CAR KINKS, which is apparently using a version of the word "kinks" that the rest of the world abandoned long ago. Did you know you can use crumpled up newspaper to clean your windshield? Something in the ink, probably kerosene, we don't know, couldn't be bothered to check, something in the ink keeps the glass from streaking. This is actually true, or was back in the day. I don't know how today's environmentally sound soy-based inks will handle the job of cleaning windows.
Our list of "teen-age tycoons" includes a young Hoosier who makes money recording his friends and neighbors. Sometimes he records them when they don't know they're being recorded! THOSE recordings are the REAL money makers.
Only 30 miles from New York City, an enterprising young man is trapping and skinning animals. In the 1950s this was the mark of a young go-getter, but today it just screams "potential serial killer."
Did you know old ties make new umbrella covers? Sure, if you have either exceptionally short umbrellas, or exceptionally long ties. Decorate with beads, buttons, sequins, or artificial flowers, and then throw the whole mess in the trash and get back to work on your math homework.
How "hep" are you on Shop Talk? Can you fake your way through a conversation with your plumber or auto repairman? Maybe you can, maybe you can't. All I know is that any kind of "shop" where people are talking about getting a "rod hot" and putting it into "the pickle" is probably the set of an adult film, and in the 1950s that means an obscenity bust. On the other hand you might meet Lenny Bruce in jail. He's a pretty cool guy.
Keep your skates in shape! Get that ice-skate blade sharp enough to take off a good chunk of thumbnail! There might be less damaging ways to see if your ice-skate blade is sharp enough, but this is the one that might result in bleeding, so we're going with it here at Archie's Mechanics. Remember your band-aids.
Now it's time for science magic! Science tells us that a US five-cent piece weighs an ounce! Science also tells us we can turn an iron bar into a magnet by whacking it with a hammer! Surprisingly enough, this is actually true, although it will not result in a particularly strong magnet, and it is not because "the molecules" get jarred around. Caution: you cannot use sharp blows with a hammer to make anything ELSE magnetic, so quit thinking of using "science experiment" as an excuse the next time you smash something.
So that's it for Archie's Mechanics. Be careful with that muriatic acid, watch it with that hot starch, use caution with drills and pliers and saws, and keep those ice skate blades sharp! See you next time, if you survive!
PREVIOUS STUPID COMICS
NEXT STUPID COMICS
BACK TO STUPID COMICS INDEX
BACK TO MAIN INDEX