Few people have heard of it, yet many consider John Blankenbaker's KENBAK-1 to be the first commercial personal computer.

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Presto Magix - Cartooning For The Artistically Declined

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I've got to be a little suspicious of a plaything that never seemed to appear in any toy store in my neighborhood.  Presto Magix kits showed up in card stores, hospital gift boutiques, and where I grew up; the butcher shop.  Instead of theorizing about some cruel arts & crafts cartel, let's examine the friction based world of Presto Magix.

If you're a model builder, or perhaps worked in the publishing world P.M. (pre-Macintosh), Lukeyou probably remember dry transfer decals.  These thin decals don't require water or solvents.  You simply position the carrier sheet, rub down on the decal with a pencil which transfers the decal to your model or rock zine headline.  Each Presto Magix kit includes a sheet of full color character decals, and a cardstock backdrop to use as a canvas to create your own fantasy scenes.

Presto Magix licensed all manner of movie characters, cartoon personalities, sports teams, etc. so that you and your trusty pencil can create custom cartoon panoramas without really knowing how to draw.  The best part is that once finished, there are usually plenty of transfers left over that you can use to populate your notebooks and folders.  The decals are fragile, so even a tough-as-nails squad of Star Wars stormtroopers can be beheaded with one careless swipe of an eraser.

PrestologoguycropPresto Magix are fun, but I hope that this isn't another plaything that barely passes as "creative".  Granted you get to use some aesthetic sense when placing the little decal people, but all you're really doing is burnishing the little guys into place.  We've written about a lot of DIY projects before here at Retro Thing, with varying degrees of creative value.  Even with paint-by-numbers projects, you do perform the act of painting, and there are opportunities for individuality.

Maybe I'm expecting a little too much from these little project kits.  My fear is that as the label "educational" is applied to more and more inane things, fun and cheap Presto Magix kits could start putting on airs.  I just like to think of them as probably the most fun thing that I ever found at a plumbing supply house.

Paint by Numbers kits
DIY Mona Lisa... sort of
Art-O-Mat - art dispensed by vending machine
Fine art with Crayolas

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