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Page 61 text:
50 YEARS AGO: ‘THE MOST TALKED ABOUT BOOK’
Bozeman—1933—it was a very unusual yearbook.
The Montanan of that year undoubtedly is the most talked about publication ever to come out of Montana State University.
To put it mildly, the contents put the university in an uproar. The book, produced by David Rivenes, '35; Chris Schlechten, ex '33, and Bill Rider, a nonstudent devoted little to school traditions, social life or athletics, except in the way of humor and ridicule.
Schlechten, a Bozeman photographer before his death, remembered the book very well. He was an accomplished photographer by the time he went to Chicago to major in art. Rivenes, now owner of KYUS-TV in Miles City, was a long time buddy of Schlechtcn's and when Rivenes was named editor of the 1933 Montanan, Schlechten just had to be part of the action.
"We'd talked about it before in high school and he always said if he ever got to be editor, he'd do something to open their eyes,'Schlechten recalled before his death. "The formats, styles and things had always been the same and uniformity wasn't my fettish, then or now.'
The Depression kept Schlechten out of school that year, but it didn't keep him out of the yearbook. Bill Rider, a local high school student, was recruited as the third unofficial staff member. His major job was to pose as Clarence Mjork, a bearded, grubby looing bum who was superimposed in every group picture in the annual. Mjork was shown as everything all students want to be: master of all trades, sports activities and skills; an officer in every group; trainer of the teams; holder of all six editorial positions on the school newspaper, and editor-in-chief of the Montanan.
Schlechten said during the entire time the annual was being prepared no one else knew of the unusual contents. Rivenes appointed his usual staff, but threw out whatever they wrote.
The first few pages give no clue about what's to come. Rivenes and pals didn't feel they could do much about the formal section with class pictures and administrators.
After all we couldn't louse that up because people had spent S4 for the book and it was mandatory to buy one," Schlechten said.
The guys were into comic magazines that featured college humor.
"It appealed to us and we were looking for a laugh and maybe we were, sophisticated enough that we appreciated that kind of humor,' Schlechten said.
And humor was the theme of the 1933 book.
"It wasn't just spontaneous humor. Sometimes we had to scrape the bottom of the barrel to be consistently funny. Is
surprised that we came up with so many things that actually were funny, and they, sure as hell still are," Schlechten said.
Schlechten knew somethig about layout. So he advised Rivenes the major problem was getting enough copy to fill up the annual. They decided to reprint "The Rover Boys Go To College," which was corn and old hat even in those days, but it filled up the book.
"We all believed no one ever read what was in the yearbook anyway," Schlechten said. "No one is going to read a bunch of whoocy about the fraternities. So we put something in there and if they wanted to read it, fine. We wrote for permission to publish the Rover boys and that took care of that."
Joe Parker, the former editor, was student advisor. Parker didn't have an ink-
ling about what was going on because there had never been any cause for supervision before. The purpose of his position was to see that deadlines were met, and they were.
Since group pictures of clubs were traditional there was no way to ham it up. So Schlechten decided to insert pictures of Clarence Mjork in the pictures. Rider was outfitted in raggedy clothes and a fake beard and photographed in a variety of poses. When they first started with Clarence Mjork, a name thought up because of the many Bjorks attending college at that time, they just inserted his face.
"We soon got smart enough to leave a little space in group pictures for another person," Schlechten said. "We got better and cleverer as we went along."
Because they were poor, Schlechten
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