Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Fun Finds: Teen Magazine Covers of the 1970s and Beyond

My GOD, things are swirling crazily in The Underworld at present. Still, I don't like to leave my devoted divers with nothing to look at when I am submerged in the tedium of everyday life. Thus, I give you this assortment of vintage teen magazine covers. I stumbled upon these while doing research for a different post and thought they provided ample amounts of camp hilarity (and perhaps even esthetic interest for some of you, though most of these young, long-haired, skinny chaps aren't my own cup of tea.)
These magazines were around for quite a while and were aimed at teenage girls. The granddaddy of them all was 16, established in 1957. It was still going strong well into the 1990s when suddenly its new owner (a conglomerate) inexplicably decided to shelve it. For a time, the covers consisted of the heads of various teen idols attached to animated bodies and interacting with cartoon animals!
These are, needless to say, campy in the extreme.
Sometimes, they are even vaguely homoerotic since there are almost never girls around and the figures sometimes get quite close to one another and sometimes strangely contorted. The Monkees, for example, look awfully snug here.
What's happening on the slide?
And how about Jan-Michael Vincent saying, “See me! Touch me! Taste me!” ??
This format was eventually abandoned for more traditional photo covers, though I doubt Elton John has this unflattering montage framed and hanging on one of the walls of his estate!
You could scarcely pass by one of these mags in the late-'70s without seeing Shaun Cassidy, Leif Garrett, Scott Baio and, notably, The Bay City Rollers on the cover. They had legions of fans, but their popularity escaped me.
See here a 1993 issue of the same magazine with a semi-shirtless Joey Lawrence on the front and a shot of Saved By the Bell's Mark-Paul Gosselaar prior to having his teeth fixed.
Coming along later in the game in 1965 was Tiger Beat. Here is an older issue of Tiger Beat than most of the ones I'll be depicting here. Donovan (lower left) is fine and I dig Bobby Sherman (upper right) okay, but I don't think I will ever get what was so hot about Jack Wild (bottom right!)
I can recall my female grade school classmates poring over issues of this title and pinning up the photos from inside them in their lockers. I would love to know why the headline about Donny Osmond has the first three letters of “PORTRAIT” in yellow while the rest of the word is white.....?
I certainly remember the mania over Shaun Cassidy and Parker Stevenson of The Hardy Boys. This is a fun picture of them in character.
This one is a touch suggestive don't you think? It asks how hot your passion for "Peter" (Barton) is!
This cover is really strange to me, mostly because I never associate Kenny Loggins and Michael Jackson together. (This issue also apparently contains ways of meeting - stalking?? - the stars!)
As you can see here, smooth and lean was the preferred body type for teen idols back in the day (and there were plenty of shirtless and semi-shirtless pictures taken to demonstrate this!)
He scarcely looks it, but Scott Baio (a guy who I must say I never saw the appeal in, then or now) was at least eighteen, maybe nineteen, when this cover photo appeared of him about to undo his pants! Ahhh, the '70s.
Andy Gibb (as shown in this competing rag) was different in that he sported a hairy chest...
...with a treasure trail that went on for days!
Check out all the longish hair and sort of omnisexual facial features of some of these guys. This never did it for me. I was all about slightly older men.
It was all about feathered hair and boyish faces (though Greg Evigan, of B.J. and the Bear, was another one who had some hair on his chest.)
Though he was still smooth-chested, I was far more into the more mature Erik Estrada, of CHiPs, and he was indeed white-hot for quite a while back then.
Even though I didn't watch the show, even I stood up and took notice when The Dukes of Hazzard up and replaced John Schneider and Tom Wopat with these look-alike cousins Byron Cherry and Christopher Mayer. They only lasted a year, though, before the original stars were back in action.
In the mid-80s, Tiger Beat strayed from the usual format and began featuring hot female stars of the day on the cover, sometimes with amusing results. Don't get cut on the angles of Shari Belafonte-Harper's severe expression here.
This cover has a nearly unrecognizable Jennifer Jason Leigh along with Phoebe Cates (now Mrs. Kevin Kline) from 1982's Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
Here we have the apple-cheeked annoyance Lisa Welchel (of The New Mickey Mouse Club and The Facts of Life.)
Isn't this Lisa Marie Presley?!
And we close this segment with the fatally seductive, sexual magic of The Love Boat's Jill Whelan...
There were competitors to the more popular titles which offered up their own selection of temptations. This one focuses on Tony Danza, but I couldn't help but chuckle at the caption in the lower right corner, an emphatic, “People Recognize Me!” from someone I had no recollection of at all!
Special issues cropped up frequently, too. This is one of several that focused solely on David Cassidy and The Partridge Family. I like this shot of Cassidy and his costar Susan Dey.
Here's one that is all about the young stars of The Outsiders. Dillon, Lane and Lowe are still very much in the public eye these days.
Third of the major teen magazines to come along was Teen Beat, debuting in 1967. With all the hyperactive text on the covers, it was not particularly easy to distinguish all these magazines from one another (though I suspect that faithful readers of them were keenly aware of the various subtle differences.) By the way, I know the answer to this issue's question, "What Ever Happened to Nice Peter Frampton?" He lives right here in Cincinnati, Ohio and has for many years!
Again, some of these stars are still popular today. Get this amusing shot of Tom Cruise in the hat when his teeth were still off-center...
Teen Beat lasted until 2007, plenty of time to cover the phenomenon that was The Backstreet Boys. Good lord, the creamy white flesh on these young'ns! Timberlake looks like a baby.
Tiger Beat is still in existence today, every bit as loud in color and headlines, coughing up cookie-cutter covers and stories about folks like Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez and Taylor Lautner!
This is one of the fluffiest and most pointless posts I've had here in a while, but hopefully seeing all this colorful squalor brought a smile to your face until I can get back to our regularly scheduled programming. A-Ha! The END!


  1. Jennifer Jason Leigh looks just like Ann Romney.

  2. What made me laugh the most was the number of supposed stars of whom I had never heard! By the way, the one you thought might be Lisa Maria Presley, isn't she Princess Stephanie of Moanaco?

  3. This selection made me remember and review my 90s habbit of buying teen magazines "for my niece." Boy, that sure brings back memories. Not all of those memories are niece-related!

    Oh! In my humble opinion, Joey Lawrence is one of those rare child actors [or performers] that keeps getting better with age whether or not there is a "Whoa!" in the background.

  4. The guy under the "People Recognize Me!" banner was the villain in the first Karate Kid movie and the hunky jackass swim team captain in Back to School who wore a tiny red speedo that left almost nothing to the imagination. That cover has the best looking guys overall from the post, never understood the chicken armed, twinky teen idols. And the hair! oh the horror of the hair!

  5. Scooter, I don't know who the girl is - I am now having doubts that it's Lisa Marie, she just looked so much like a young Priscilla - but I'm almost sure it isn't Stephanie either... Who knows...

    NotFelix, I completely agree about Joey Lawrence. When he was a kid and "hot" (on Blossom), you could fit my interest in him onto the head of a pin. Later, though, he had a different show with his brothers where he was the eldest and his hair was cropped short and he was all grown up... very cute then!

    Joel, I have never seen Karate Kid (I know!) nor Back to School, but based on your comments I think I need to see Back to School and soon! This actor was also the antagonist in Just One of the Guys, which I had seen not that long ago, but he just didn't stand out in my memory very much...

  6. Another wonderful post that brought back so many fun memories. I actually had a copy of The Outsiders special magazine. That movie was filled with handsome hunks plus C.Thomas Howell was a major crush during my teens. ;) Thank you for all of the goodies stashed here in The Underworld.


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