From The Crap Archives: World Week v. 27 n. 7


(Each week, your Crap Archivist brings you the finest in forgotten and bewildering crap culled from area basements, thrift stores, estate sales and flea markets. I do this for one reason: Knowledge is power.)

World Week, Volume 27, Number 7
Author: An all-American staff of fact-loving, kid-informing, Commie-hating bores. Also: Gay Head and the Nestle chocolate company.
Date: October 27, 1955
Discovered at: Estate sale
The Cover Promises: Grey-and-yellow Halloween fun for Eisenhower-era high schoolers, with only the tiny legend “Adapted from American Legion Magazine” betraying the gloomy reality.
Representative Quotes: Page 8: “Look at the map for a fuller picture of Russia’s rich mineral deposits.” Page 29: “Can atomic bombs explode accidentally? That’s a question the Atomic Energy Commission hopes to answer by a series of tests next month.”

World Week is a testament to how much more we once expected of students… and why they stopped paying attention. Worse, it reveals how quick we were to trust advertisers to babysit. A weekly news magazine distributed throughout the public schools, it’s double-stuffed with dense, informative articles on topics like UNESCO, life in Russia and the politics of Iran. It also features ads for Listerine, the Air Force, United Fruit and, in a surprise burst of unwholesomeness, Burrowes pool tables.

This issue boasts:

  • A chilling newsbrief about “an electronic brain” created to cut checks for the government.
  • A hopelessly drab photo spread on “teenage tycoons” mixing up varnish remover.
  • Advice column “Ask Gay Head.”

  • “Sky Girl,” a “Career Club Feature” that shills tirelessly for the United Air Lines school for stewardesses.
  • A 16-page comic book about “the boy from Brazil who came to see for himself that Nestle’s makes the very best chocolate … and found the flavor of friendship around the world!”

Shocking Detail:

“We have high standards for our stewardesses,” Miss O’Connor continued. “Personal attractiveness and and a superior personality are among the requirements. In fact, the girls are so attractive that they marry almost as fast as our school for stewardesses in Cheyenne, Wyo., can train them.”

Highlight: The Nestle comic book tells the story of Jose Silva, a teenaged Brazilian who takes a break from laboring in the cacao fields to visit a penpal in the states. Silva is amazed to discover “how many fine and delicious things come from our cacao beans.”

Jose is especially impressed by a visit to the Nestle factory in Fulton, New York.

In a letter to his father, he shares his new, global perspective.

As the strange fruit of Nestle bars twist in the wind of Jose’s imagination, readers of World Week might have wondered: Is this last panel a celebration or an indictment?

Perhaps they thought again of Jose a year later, when World Week almost certainly reported American outrage at reforms initiated by new Brazilian president Joao Goulart, of the Brazilian Labor Party, who redistributed land and limited the profits exported by foreign companies.

Or maybe World Weekers just ate their candy bars, idly fretted about Reds and dreamed of Gay Head, whose advice is as sound as her name is tough to Google. Either way…

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