Doodling says a lot about one’s sensibility. Hearts and flowers? Maybe you’re in love. Jagged gashes and heavy, diagonal scribbles? Sorry to see you’re having such a bad day. Snarky, naughty pictures? Well, we know what kind of a fellow you are! You’re the kind of fellow who adorned the jocks on his Pee Chee folders with odd-shaped genitalia (that is, before you scribbled on top of it. Nobody wants to risk detention.) And for many students from decades past, the canvas of choice was the Pee Chee Folder, one of the most fondly-remembered school supplies of all time.
The Pee Chee Portfolio first earned its reputation as doodle central starting in 1943, thanks to the Western Tablet and Stationary Company. school kids were treated to folders that featured cartoon images of kids just like them (though, depending on the owner of the folder, with a more absurd set of physical features.) The kids — sketched by artist Francis Gordon — were depicted having fun (at the soda shop, for example) or working out. They were an easy target for bored students attempting to look like they were taking notes. As the year progressed, more elaborate layers of doodles would overlap from top to bottom, from the stripes on the left hand side to the tackling football players on the right.
School supply giant Mead eventually distributed the Pee Chee line, but after some thirty years of providing distraction and entertainment to bored kids everywhere, the folders were sadly discontinued. Thankfully, the modified sketches still live on in the memories of the lovelorn, the grumpy, and the clowns whose daily doodle took away the pain of whatever boring lecture they ignored.
If you regularly practiced your drawing skills on a Pee Chee canvas from yesteryear, chime in and share your memories of these fondly remembered folders with all of us at Retroland.