Tom Terrific was a fun show, which aired on the Captain Kangaroo show back in the late 50s through early 60s. I won’t bore you with all the details, and you can certainly find episodes on YouTube. My main reason for making this post, and not just including this book in with the monthly recap, is because its cleanup was a great example of what I want to illustrate when I talk about the efforts put in to preserving these books. I’ve been wanting to do it for awhile now, but have been putting it off because of the work it would need to bring it up to par. Then I got a special request for it, so at long last it was time to get it done.
As books age, and also depending on the materials used to create them, they can go through varying degrees of deterioration. Not every publishing house uses the finest paper stock and ink to print their coloring books. They know they are going to eventually wind up in the trash after being colored in, so they are mindful on how much to spend on the production run. This book wasn’t disintegrating in my hands, like some have, but it did show a fair amount of fading and ink wear. This can cause lines to become lighter and lighter, and in some cases disappear altogether. Not only did this book have some colored pages, which needed to be undone, but it also had ink wear on a bunch of pages.
Obviously, not every case of fading lines is due to age. Sometimes it can just be a bad print run and no quality check or controls in place to prevent the distribution of such a poor print job, or sadly, they just don’t want to swallow the cost of the bad run and send them out anyway, knowing kids won’t really care if a page is partially unprinted. When cleaning up these books, I have to be cautious since I want to make them look as good, or better, than the initial release, but I also need to maintain the integrity and grit of the book itself. You don’t listen to vinyl records for crystal clear audio. That’s what CDs/ streaming is for. Vinyl has character, and an old record, with its pops and crackles mixed in to the audio from years of enjoyment is what I am also trying to preserve and emulate in to these remasters. It’s why I can’t just use presets and filters. Not every line needs to be sharpened, not every dot is dust that needs to be despeckled, and not all color needs to be removed if it was printed that way. A page can take minutes, or hours, depending on the TLC it needs.