Covers, Contents, and Features Through the Years

I got a request over Thanksgiving from an art student asking about how Ranger Rick changed through the years visually from a design standpoint.  The initial request of copying entire issues would just take too much of my time and I kindly told him I would upload some cover photography for him.  Then leafing through the pages, I decided to add scans of the table of contents, and two features, "Who-o-o Knows?" and "Ollie Otter's Fun Pages" to show how they too changed visually over time.  I didn't think there would be any significant differences, but surprisingly enough, there were many changes over thirty years.  Look below and you will see what I mean.  Click on each image to see it in a larger view.

Kerry, I hope this page helps you out with your art critique of Ranger Rick.


Covers:


February 1967



January 1975



February 1975



March 1986



April 1986

June 1993



No large differences; most covers have close-up photography and that's the way its been for the years up to the 1990s at least.
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Table of Contents:



1960s



1970s



1980s


1990s                                                                                                                


Big differences here.  The 1960s table of contents had a colorful painted border drawn by Lorin Thompson surrounding the text.  It is really gorgeous and this style lasted throughout Ranger Rick's earliest years.  In the 1970s, Ranger Rick's pledge was added to the table of contents, with Rick reciting his pledge as the other animals look on.  By the 1980s, the illustrations of the characters disappeared (though early Alton Langford's tenure, his artwork would randomly have the characters of Deep Green Wood on this page).  The illustrations were replaced by photography, usually taking up the contents page and the opposite page.  The same setup holds true for the 1990s issues, with the large change of moving the Ranger Rick editorial staff listing to the "Dear Ranger Rick" page in the issue.

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Who-o-o Knows? / Ask Scarlett:



1960s



1970s



1980s


1990s
                                                                                                                

Who-o-o Knows with Wise Old Owl did not start as readers writing in questions for the editors to respond to.  Current readers would've been baffled if they saw the earlier incarnations of this educational section of the magazine.  Sometime in the 1980s, the format changed to responding to readers questions.  Along the way, more images were drawn based around the questions asked by readers.  The biggest change was a retitling of the column to "Ask Scarlett" in 1991 (and eventually to "Ask Ranger Rick" around the turn of the century).  The modern day version of this column is very graphic and colorful.

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Ollie Otter's Fun Page(s)



1960s




1970s




1980s



 1990s


Ollie Otter's Fun Page(s) was very much random games which could be anything from trivia, mazes, guessing games, word searches, or crossword puzzles.  You never quite knew what would be there--if anything.  Some issues did not have a game page.  Naturally, the mascot of the page, Ollie Otter was a natural choice given the character's personality of fun and play.  Sometime in the late 1980s or early 1990s, Ollie's name was dropped altogether from the page, and there was simply a game or puzzle posted in the magazine.  Unlike Wise Old Owl and Scarlett Fox with the reader's questions, Ollie never was present on the page bearing his name, except a small drawing in early designs, or ever really communicated with readers that he actually had a purpose on the page.  Therefore, I feel the dropping of Ollie altogether kind of made sense given the fact Ollie was never the focus of the games in any way.                                                                                     


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