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Prancing Horse Background

Mighty magazines from little newsletters grow | by Casey Clavin

No doubt everyone reading this program knows of Prancing Horse magazine – attractive, informative, authoritative, – a publication so respected and collected that goes onto the permanent bookshelf after its read. Given the Prancing Horse familiar to us now, you might be amused at its humble and convoluted beginnings in 1964.

Ken Hutchison produced the first four issues, actually mimeographing, collating and stapling them himself, then stuffing and addressing envelopes with the help of John and Judy Lundin. By the fifth issue, newsletter production moved to Warren Fitzgerald, the club’s Publications Chairman, with help from Dick Merritt, the club’s Historian. Together they filled the pages of the Horse for the next four years.

Though the physical format was established with the first issue (8.5” x 11” sheets stapled once in the upper left hand corner with 8” x 10” black and white glossy photos slipped between the pages), several key elements waited one, two or three issues before appearing. There was no issue number prior to the Prancing Horse numbered II (Roman numeral 2, mailed in early 1965), but that doesn’t mean there had only been one issue previously published. While the proceeding Prancing Horse (mailed in late 1964) carried no issue number, the one before that (mailed in August of 1964), carried no name at all!

Tempting though it may be to say that a publication without the name was not a Prancing Horse, there is some compelling evidence to say it was. First, it was referred to in an accompanying cover letter by then FCA president, John Lundin, as “our first newsletter.” Second, the next issue (the first one named Prancing Horse) acknowledged a predecessor in its opening sentence, “Since our last mailing, quite a bit has been happening.” Third, it contained an 8” x 10” black and white glossy photo, the inclusion of which became a hallmark of the early Prancing Horse issues (through number 15).

So the chronology goes like this; the un-named Prancing Horse, the un-numbered Prancing Horse, Prancing Horse II, Prancing Horse III, etc. When the club’s color logo was added to the masthead on Prancing Horse IV, the early evolution was complete and that standard was maintained through issue XX, mailed around “Yuletide” of 1968. (It was noted in that issue that membership had passed the 300 mark and, to satisfy the information-hungry masses, the first 15 issues were reprinted and made available for purchase.) Then things started changing again.

Issue XXI carried an orange cover sheet and was stapled twice in the left margin. Then by issue XXVII, PH had become a true magazine: the content was arranged on 11” x 17” pages, folded to an 8.5” x 11” format, and saddle stitched in the fold. Roman numerals were dropped in favor of Arabic at #30 (hallelujah). As the FCA entered its second decade with 500 members, the “largest and oldest Ferrari club in the world,” the Prancing Horse was rescheduled to quarterly publication. It became the club’s “prestige” publication, designated as the repository for material of permanent interest, while dissemination of current material with temporary interest was transferred to the new monthly “News Bulletin.”

Though a bit irregular early on, Prancing Horse has been in continuous publication for 41 years now, steadily growing from the un-named two-page mimeographed newsletter mailed to 39 members in 1964, to the full color magazine now so familiar to the nearly 7,000 members of the Ferrari Club of America.

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