TITLE: Treasure Chest of Fun & Fact vol. 21, Issue #12
YEAR: February 1966
COMPANY: Geo A. Pflaum, Publisher, Inc.
By Max Pine, Fran Matera, Lloyd Ostendorf, Frank Moss, F.E. Crandall, Henry P. Chapman
From the 1940’s through the 1970’s, George A. Pflaum published and distributed “Treasure Chest of Fun & Fact”, a Catholic-oriented comic book anthology distributed to parochial schools.
Distributed biweekly, one of the long running series was “Chuck White” (later renamed to “Chuck White & His Friends”) created by Capt. Frank Moss, the son of a mixed marriage, Catholic and Protestant and despite the racial turbulence going at the time, the stories featured racially integrated friendships. But the comic book series would feature several stories and also historical facts.
In the first story, “Chuck White and His Friends”, Chuck poses as Joe Bonacker and takes several city boys to a fresh air farm in the country. One of the children, Charlie is a bit of a troublemaker and if he doesn’t accept Joe as a legal guard, the boy will have to go to an orphanage.
Charlie, who loves apples, doesn’t listen to the rule of closing the gates (or else the cows will escape). While getting apples, the cows escape and he blames it on another child. Will Joe be able to set Charlie straight?
In the next story “Where’s Henrietta?”, a man is after a Ford Flivver (an Ford Model T produced by Ford between 1908-1927) named Henrietta and Ruthie and the kids are preventing the man from getting it.
In the story “Archaeology: The Greatest Detective Story Part II: The Golden City of Troy”, Jim and sue Hunt visit the museum to meet with Dr. Wyatt and they are told of the story of Heinrich Schliemann, an archaeologist trying to find out if the City of Troy existed.
The first story was very intriguing of seeing the writers being inclusive with children of mixed ethnicities, two being Caucasian, one African American and the other Latino. Racial tensions were much higher but while showing kids of different ethnicities are nothing new, for the time it was daring. And to my knowledge, I don’t think I would see a mixed group of child orphans until 1974 with the “Brady Bunch” spin-off series “Kelly’s Kids” which was daring but the series confronted the issue of racism with the neighboring bigot. Race doesn’t play a factor in the actual story, and “Treasure Chest of Fun & Fact” kept the stories family friendly.
While “Where’s Henrietta?” mad no sense as it required prior reading of the last story, all I could see is that a group of kids are riding a Flivver, a rich man wants the Flivver, kids get into accident and surprisingly they don’t get busted for the accident or driving underage.
But my favorite story in the entire issue was “Archaeology: The Greatest Detective Story Part II: The Golden City of Troy” and a story that paints a positive storyline of the accomplishments of Heinrich Schliemann and him trying to find the site of Troy but ended up finding another city thousands of years older. While Schliemann can be seen a pioneer in the field of archaeology, I couldn’t think but how archaeology looks at Schliemann today. And because he had no formal education of archaeology, dug an enormous trench on the site, destroying a lot of material. But back in the late 1870’s, no one knew the proper ways of how excavations should be conducted, so one must wonder…did Schliemann destroy significant evidence?
And the issue has pages of interesting historical and scientific facts also worth reading.
“Treasure Chest of Fun & Fact” was no doubt a fascinating, educational series to learn from.