Saturday, October 1, 2016

Burning, Man

In the April 1977 issue of Model Railroader, E. L. Moore . . .
. . . finished off The Cannonball and Safety Powder Works ....
. . . by blowing it up!

We'd definitely like to use your article "Cannonball and Safety Powder Works". Please send it to my attention. That photo sequence is great. How about a few words on how it was done?
Model Railroader Associate Editor Russ Larson's 4 April 1974 reply to E. L. Moore's submission of a few pictures of the Cannonball and Safety Powder Works in the process of blowing up.

E. L. Moore's Cannonball and Safety Powder Works holds a special place in my heart. I never built it, and if I did, I'd never have the guts to blow it up - that's not a fake explosion and fire in those pictures - after putting all that effort into it. But, to me it symbolizes a lot of what has been lost in our present era. I'm not celebrating violence, but a spirit to try something outrageous.

The enclosed $120 check, E. L. is payment for your article "Cannonball and Safety Powder Works". Thanks for sending the article to us.
From Russ Larson's 30 May '74 acceptance letter.

In that long ago Larson-Moore 70s era, the associate editor of a mainstream, middle-of-the-road, family-friendly magazine blithely accepts a proposal for an article where the end product is blown up and set on fire, and to top it off asks for instructions on how readers can do the same with their model. And, lo and behold, the article did indeed get published, and did include instructions on how readers could set up their own HO-scale explosion.

Mind boggling.

Mind boggling with regard to both where we're at as a society and in terms of what constitutes the norms of publishable model railroading material. Ok, it was published in an April issue which are known for being more lighthearted, but still, I can't see irreverent articles, not to mention ones with actual explosions, including instructions, being published today.

And Mr. Moore was 76 when he built and blew up this project. I hope I have that spirit when I'm there.

Well, maybe all this isn't that mind boggling as the Larson-Moore era was one when as a pre-teen I could buy this book,
which explains how to build your own rockets, as well as mix and use your own fuels, at a run-of-the-mill chain bookstore in a middle-class suburban shopping mall deep in the heart of Scarborough, and when I showed it to my father he thought it was a good thing. Very educational and all that.

Maybe SCTV hosts Big Jim McBob and Billy Sol Hurok can shed some retro light on the situation . . . 

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