Sunday, January 8, 2012

A magazine called 'Sport and Pastime'

The Hindu, started in 1878, was a much sought-after daily newspaper outside Madras also.  From my great grandfather's dairies, I see quite a few interesting paragraphs he has copied from it - in the early 1930s.  So he had access to it in the Mysore area as well, which testifies its wide circulation.

The Sports pages was very popular for its action photographs and crisp articles by renown writers.  Action photographs was The Hindu's forte.  Collecting Cricket pictures was a favourite pastime with many cricket followers and these action photographs added a lot of value to the collections.  Not many newspapers carried action pictures but The Hindu was ahead.

The Hindu is also probably the first to publish an exclusive magazine dedicated to sports. It started "Sport and Pastime" in 1947 under the leadership of S.K.Gurunathan, who was the Sports Editor at The Hindu.  He was a renown sports journalist, a cricket statistician and a player himself in his younger days. Gurunathan passed away in 1966, but the weekly magazine limped for two years after his death before it ceased publication in 1968.  Sports-following public has always been on the rise and the stoppage of this unique and popular magazine disappointed many.

The magazine was unique because it tried to cover varied hobbies and pastimes besides popular sports events.

Stamp collecting 



It featured even the film festival in 1965.  Sir Richard Attenborough was here!

It had a centre-spread from time to time - in colour.  Here it has B.S.Chandrashekhar who was a rising star in 1965. I must tell that colour pictures were a great attraction in those days.

Demonstration of cricketing strokes with a series of photographs - here it is Don Bradman's cover drive.  Pictures borrowed by them from Daily Mail, London.  People had no access to films of action in those days but such series photographs helped learners of the game.

Cooch Behar Trophy - which was Schools Cricket, also got coverage in Sport and Pastime.
Sunil Gavaskar was coming to limelight in 1966.  This is from the issue dated January 1.

There was an athlete by name Akhande from Kenya who was studying in Mysore and represented Mysore University in the inter-varsity sports.  He was a star in his own right and his name was on people's tongues in Mysore in the mid 60s which I remember. I have very unclear memory of seeing him at Maharaja's College Grounds where at that time, there was a long jump/high jump pit where he used to practice.  He was a runner and also a footballer.  He was also featured on Sport and Pastime Cover [Nov.1965]!!  

Contents list

"Laugh it off" page full of cartoons.  I liked Sporting Sam the best!  It came in "Sportsweek" also later in the 1970s from Bombay, for which I used to subscribe.

Action photographs were its forte.  They were supported and given value addition with beautiful, informative and meaningful captions:

Tennis action:

Varsities cricket and other sports at that level also got good coverage.  Through this, it gave good encouragement to upcoming players.

These magazines are all not mine!  They were given to me by my good friend and our team captain Kashi.  This lot was among a huge collection of cricket pictures which he handed over to me when he left for the USA many years ago.  Here is the pile of the few issues he gave me.

Came 1978 there was a great surprise waiting for sports fans.  Much to their delight, there was sort of a rebirth for Sport and Pastime.  It was to bring a similar magazine out, larger, like a mini newspaper with a new name "Sportstar".  I have the inaugural issue, Vol.1, Issue 1 for which I waited for, went to Newspaper House in Lansdowne Building and bought on the day of issue. It was thrilling.  I used to buy from the pocket money of Rupees five which my father gave me.  Each issue would cost one rupee and fifty paisa.  By month end, I had to use the small savings in the piggy box!   

I have kept the pen to compare the size of the new format. 

The back cover which they called 'mini cover' also had a picture. Look at young Martina Navratilova there!  Wimbledon '78 had just been finished and Bjorn Borg had won the Men's final (see above cover pic).

Of course the publishers needed no introduction!

True to its promise, action pictures continued to delight readers and fans, not to speak of the quality of articles.  I used to buy mainly for its pictures and articles were secondary.  Collecting pictures [cricket] was a hobby among many prior to the 70s.  Afterwards, this hobby has lost popularity.

It has successfully won over competitions from Sportsweek from Bombay and Sportsworld [which Tiger Pataudi wrote editorials] from Calcutta and is still growing strong.  I have stopped subscribing or reading many years ago due to various reasons.  I have many old issues gathering dust.  It is a tough decision to dispose them off for want of storage space and want of interest to bring them down for a re-look/re-read.  But let Sportstar continue to shine.


Abraham Tharakan said...

In my younger days 'Sport & Pastime' was my favorite magazine. It was originally in tabloid size and was later converted to A4 size.

Since you mentioned the Kenyan athlete who represented Mysore U - I played hockey for the Mysore U. In 1954 we reached the finals of the Inter University tournament, but lost to Punjab at Ludhiyana.

ER Ramachandran said...

Very nice to see Sports and Pastime again! Famous Grounds such as Lords,Brabourne Stadiums, Leeds used to be featured in center pages. We used to cut and make an album of those. So also the autographs of cricket players. There was no magazine like S&P although a few came in between.. Thanks for this


How nice to see this magazine again. I never cared for sports so would only read the pages at the back which would have some cinema news and stuff. Wow you do take care o your old stuff, Dinu - you have a veritable treasure in your home.

ninja said...

I am looking for old issues of Sport and Pastime from 1955 to 1966. Willing to pay a very good price. Can you help me in this regard ?

ramnarayan said...

how i miss the sports nad pastime. for asports lover it brought great joy week after week.great writers live ian wolldridge, jack fingleton, brian glanville and our own gurunathan wrote memorable pices. it covered all the sports with very fine photos.couple of pages were devoted to hollywood as well.will some one tell me where one can find back issues of the great magazine?

ramnarayan said...

perhaps the greatest sports magazine which turned up great stuff week after week.where can i get the old issues?

soorajblog said...
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rana bose said...

I will request The Hindu to bring out the old issues of the Sports & Pastime in CD/DVD form as a collector's item.

Rana Basu, Kolkata

Dr.Satish kumar said...

Nostalgic writing..

Rajeev Varma said...

Great webpage, I was still a kid when Sport & Pastime ceased publication, but I recall my uncle used to receive it regularly. I also used to collect cricket pictures when I was a preteen.I still have those on a scrapbook! If only The Hindu would follow the example of magazines here and make all the issues of Sport & Pastime available on a DVD. The National Geographic and The New Yorker and even Playboy have DVDs of their old issues,why we indianns are lagging behind? If copyright issues weren't there, I could buy all the issues from you and get them scanned in Bangalore, I feel old issues should be available free of cost,just for the cost of producing them to all sports lovers from India.

Rajeev Varma

soorajblog said...
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Vasisht said...

I have a few issues of sport & pastime from 1964 and a issue of sportsweek when it was in tabloid format of 1970. I also have every issue published of Sportstar in its 1st couple of years of inception. Wonder what is their value ?

ninja said...

I am interested in buying the old issues of Sport & Pastime and Sportsweek. Please let me know how much you are expecting for the same. You can call me on 09829027925 or 08387095717 or let me know your number and I will get in touch with you. My email is Thanks

soorajblog said...
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Krishnamoorthy K N said...

K. N. Krishna Moorthy, Chennai.

I am a member of Vellore Cricket Club. Sometime, during the 1960s, Sport and Pastime, published an article (I think it was between 1965 and 1967), titled SILVER JUBILIEE OF A CLUB. It was about the Vellore Cricket Club, which celebrated its Silver Jubilee. If anyone can throw more light on the article and period of publication, I will be very thankful and much obliged.

VN Dalmia said...

@Ramnarayan: I have the S&P Annuals of 1961 and 1962. If you are interested, please email me on