“Highlights Magazine” – A Documentary

by Evelyn J. Mocbeichel

How many of us recall Highlights for Children, the educational magazine, we enjoyed it ourselves or it was introduced to our children? Our first encounter with this beloved publication was at the pediatrician’s office where copies were available for their young patients to read and be entertained. When I saw how much our children enjoyed Highlights, I ordered a subscription to be mailed to our home each month. It was perfect to keep them busy on long car rides because it was fun, encourages children to read and is educational. It has stories, puzzles, crafts, games and each child had a favorite part of the magazine. Whether finding an object hidden in a busy picture, reading a short story or the cartoon about two young boys, “Goofus and Gallant” it was always interesting. Side by side photos showed Goofus doing something incorrectly, compared to Gallant that was doing it right, was a simple lesson, but offered in a humorous way.

Recently my daughter told me about a wonderful documentary she just watched that was made in celebration of Highlights for Children’s 70th anniversary. The film is called 44 Pages, as that is the exact number each edition always contains. The documentary covers the start of the magazine in Honesdale, Pennsylvania in 1946 by Garry Cleveland Myers and his wife Caroline. They had worked for another children’s publication before starting Highlights and came up with the slogan, “Fun with a Purpose.” It now has over one billion copies in print, covering languages all around the globe! What I enjoyed about this documentary was the depiction of every aspect of putting together the editorial content of the magazine. This is a fascinating inside view of how topics are selected, how each issue is conceived with a theme around seasons, science, nature, historical events and all geared to the elementary school aged child. Enhancing a child’s educational experience is taken seriously and the editors, publishers and graphic artists truly believe in their obligation of serving children the best learning experience in print. We watched this documentary on Amazon Prime. Here is a trailer about this “cultural phenomenon”, Highlights. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QX0PoINj90

While on the topic of children, we have come to know many of them that have become famous actors and well known in a certain role or an extended career. See how many you can name through several decades of roles.

  1. Which actor played the role of the boy left behind in the 1990 hit, “Home Alone”?
  2. In the old TV series, Lassie, what was the little farm boy’s name the dog belonged to?
  3. The Wizard of Oz starred what actress?
  4. Can you name the twin little girls on the old TV series, Full House?
  5. What curly haired child actress was the darling of 1940’s musicals and sang The Good Ship Lollipop?
  6. Doogie Howser, MD starred what young actor?
  7. In the Netflix series, “Stranger Things”, who is the actress playing the young girl with superpowers?

Answers: 1. Macaulay Culkin; 2. Timmy; 3. Judy Garland; 4. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen; 5. Shirley Temple, started her career in 1931 through 1949; 6. Neil Patrick Harris; 7. Millie Bobby Brown