TALES OF 40 YEARS #4 – MY FIRST DEADLINE

John Gunnell |

When I came to OCW in 1978 there were around 65 employees in one large room with a receptionist’s counter at the front. Nearly everyone in the room could hear evey phone call and every comment anyone made. The OCW staff sat in cubicles right behind the wall opening for the receptionist’s counter. Now, I had done some free-lance writing, but I did not have a journalism degree or background and knew nothing about putting publications out. I was made the first editor of OLD CARS PRICE GUIDE and since I didn’t understand how deadlines worked, I totally flubbed the first one. The big bosses called me in and said that if the book wasn’t done in two days I’d be on a plane delivering the page proofs to World Color Press myself. This was right before Christmas and I did not want to be taking a flight to Illinois. Bob Lemke was editor of OCW and he and associate editors Chris Halla and Tony Hossain agreed to come in one night so we could all work on the book and get it done. Now 34 years ago, political correctness and corporate rules were a little more relaxed and an advertiser had sent me some liquid refreshment for the holidays. It was wrapped up on my desk and while we were thrashing to make the deadline, somebody knocked it over that night. The bottle broke and the contents soaked into the carpet. We cleaned up the pacvkage, finished the deadline and went home. The next morning when I came to work, the receptionist said, “What did you guys do last night, work on a deadline or have a party?” Of course, nearly all 60 people heard her and there were suddenly giggles and comments from all over the room. And that was my first publication deadline.

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