The Hesperia Junior High D&D Club is playing The Keep on the Borderlands in the school library. Love that camo boonie hat. The photos are from the Hesperia Junior High Yearbook from 1982-1983 via Keith Sloane, who posted them in the comments at Joseph Bloch’s Greyhawk Grognard. I posted Bloch’s D&D Club photo here.
Thank you, internet. Thank you so much.
The first photo is from Mira Loma High School in Sacramento, California, courtesy of Mira Loma Alumni and Friends. The guy on the bottom left is doing a pretty good Spock impersonation. The second photo is from Tumblr, and I couldn’t find any details when I traced it back to the source. It’s the same year or damn close. Note that the kid in the front row is holding a Tribble.
Absolute badasses. They ate Betamaxes for breakfast.
The photo is via Scott Hanselman, who is standing in the back row.
The sign is cut off (and `Dungeons’ is misspelled!), but we’re looking at an AD&D club, hence all the core books and Tramp’s Dungeon Master’s Screen on proud display.
That’s got to be a homemade shirt in the middle, right? It’s not any TSR dragon that I’ve seen.
Our teacher rep, the only woman involved in the proceedings, seems quite happy to be there. I wonder what she thought at the time.
(Photo via Story Games forums)
Reedley High School (public) is in Fresno County, California. The illustrations are gorgeous, and telling. Historians generally cite 1955 as the year the Space Race began, and the phrase “flying saucer” dates to 1947 (“UFO” was officially adopted by the U.S. Air Force in 1952). The futuristic Reedley is a great example of the Mid-Century modern aesthetic.
Take some time to read some of the notes when you can. Here’s one from the first page:
I hope you get cheer leader, at least I voted for you. You’re a real cute kid with a personality to match keep it up – don’t get to conceited – have much fun
lots of luck
“Real cute kid” and “real swell girl” come up often, and both sexes use it.
(Photos via eileensbooks/eBay)
You can’t hide from me, Greyhawk Grognard! Every time a portrait of old school D&D geeks appears on the internets, a little alarm goes off on my aging laptop and I spring into action (i.e. I click on my Google homepage and type in a couple of keywords).
All hail the Pingry School Dungeons and Dragons Club of 1984! They can’t beat you on the football field, but they will, if you cross them, destroy you and your cheerleading lapdogs with various applications of black magic, telekinesis, and Lankhmarian-made rapiers.
How many polo animal mascots can you spot?
Two successive years of the D&D Club at Downey High School in California. A Mr. Kruzan was the faculty rep for both years.
One of the kids in the first photo is wearing a Van Halen shirt. Not much else I can make out, except that the turnaround between years one and two is extensive.
More D&D Clubs (and more Van Halen t-shirts) here. There was also a D&D summer camp, if you haven’t seen it yet.
(Photos via Michael Poulin/Flickr)
These are from the 1980 Libertyville (a northern suburb of Chicago) High School Yearbook, courtesy of edenpictures/Flickr. John Olson’s explanation of the game on the first page may be the best one I’ve ever heard.
Interesting how they’re referred to as the Dungeons and Dragons people. Why not players? Or fans? Maybe because no one really understood them. They were those people. They were Goonies.
And what about the crux of the blurb: “The game provides its participants with the action, battle, and adventure they may never find in real life”? Isn’t the act of pretending a real life event? If I imagine that I’m swinging a sword at a red dragon while rolling a d20, am I not finding adventure in real life? It’s a less physical experience than running between the tackles on a football field, but it’s no less real.
Look closely at these kids. They were themselves, and they probably took a lot of shit for it. They were geeks before geeks were cool.