Halfway through the past century, the St. Anthony Messenger editors began publishing what many today consider the magazine’s hallmark: “Pete and Repeat.” It was Father Victor Drees, OFM, working with assistant Marie Frohmiller and a new assistant editor, Mary Lynne Phillips. Apparently Father Victor had spotted a similar feature in a German Franciscan magazine and copied it freely. The art originally came from that magazine. Mary Lynne would come up with a rhyme that matched the image, about Pete, a hapless post-World War II stranded sailor. Over the years Mary Lynne, now Rapien, would sometimes create the rhymes at her dinner table, with help from her growing family!
In the 1970s, illustrator Tom Greene was recruited and has been illustrating Pete ever since. In recent years, now-managing-editor Susan Hines-Brigger creates a rhyme each month to accompany Greene’s illustration. Then someone in our art department takes to altering the image for the second frame of missing stuff. When I first started here, this all was done with an artist’s knife. Now, of course, the image is scanned, then altered digitally.
One ground rule: leave body parts alone! Pete changed over the years, from the goofy sailor to a young lad who never got older. Sis (about the same timeless age) came along, and we’ve also included Scruffy, the dog. Both add to the challenge. Some years ago, when printing changes allowed us to go from black-and-white to full color, some of you reminded us to keep the puzzle color-blind friendly.
Researching for the introduction to our small book of “Pete and Repeat” puzzles, I found that ours wasn’t the first use of the Pete and Repeat tagline. Famed silent-film star Fatty Arbuckle incessantly recited a joke about Pete falling off the boat. Over the years there was also a repetitive parrot toy, a few drinking bars, and a rock band.
“. . . But there are changes . . .” A big change happened to the puzzle in the past six months or so. Can you find it?
This was taken from John Feister’s column “Backstory.” To subscribe to this award-winning magazine, click here.