Friday, February 18, 2022

The Wretched Mess News


The Wretched Mess News, was created in 1962 by ad-man David Bascom, as a jokey little journal about fly fishing and camping. It was silly and cheaply produced with either Mr. Bascom's sketches or "found" art. Bascom was more than just an ad-man, he was president of the Guild, Bascom & Bonfigli, Inc. advertising firm in San Francisco, "the world's most lovable advertising agency." Also: he was one of the founders of Fisherman's National Bank.

"'In times past,' Bascom said the other day, 'some noncultured but well-heeled folk—the sort that constitute prime prospects for an advertising agency—looked upon my Wretched Mess activities as proof that I was 100% nuts and thus singularly ill-fitted to direct, or even to participate in, serious business matters.' At first Bascom tried to convince them that The Wretched Mess News occupied only 5% of his time and thus proved, he claimed, 'that I am not more than 5% nuts.'" -- A Wretched Mess of Type, Mostly About Fishing by Robert Cantwell, Sports Illustrated, December 20, 1965.

The Wretched Mess News was around for a number of years, with informational tongue in cheek articles like 

Is Smokey the Bear a Communist Spy?

How Robt. Fulton, Thos. Edison & Irving Schwartz Did Not Invent Keel Flies

The Wonderful World of Worms

Wretched Wreviews

How I Solved the Earwax Problem 

I always thought it akin to Monty Python or The Goon Show. Just way-out there humor. It's only recently that I found an issue of the The Wretched Mess News ("Vol. 8, No. 4, Fishmas, 1970") and bought it at the flea market in Arundel, Maine. And recenter (That's not a word.) still that I looked into how it was created and who really was Ed. & Pub. Milford "Stanley" Poltroon? As a kid, in Lawrence, KS, I had a Wretched Mess calendar that someone (Dad?) gave me as a present. It was very silly and there were crazy events and an extra month. Fast forward a couple of decades to that flea market, and I saw a complete issue -- along with that "Free Moose" insert. Here's the entire issue.



Orang Basikal said...
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Orang Basikal said...

I remember having a Wretched Mess calendar too, though I did not associate it with this publisher.

al said...

i had a subsciption to all the best stuff west yellowstone had to offer. i wish i still had all of that stuff . funny as moose poop