The Attack of the Killer Fan Mags

Tiger Beat magazine from 1973

Once upon a time, circa 1965, teen idols arose and began dominating the daydreams of young ladies. The media industry picked up on this, and began covering the newsstands with brightly colored magazines with titles such as 16, Tiger Beat, and FaVE.

These periodicals were a source of great consternation to young males, who considered the adoring photographs and articles which paid homage to young male heartthrobs as the height of silliness. Magazines were more properly devoted to august subjects such as hot rods and Alfred E. Neuman.

The teen mags would feature pinups, which would adorn the rooms of the sisters of my buddies. These pinups were often the earliest cause of eye-rolling in the male populace, such reactions being provoked at the tender age of five of six, in many cases.

But they are a memory for all of us, whether we scarfed up the magazines themselves and snuck them into class, or whether we simply acknowledged their presence on the magazine racks, as we dug past them for the more socially significant CARtoons.

The fan mags have an origin which is difficult to track down. Their nature defies conventional postings of their histories. For instance, check out Tiger Beat‘s website. With all of the flashing graphics, the exclamation points, and the OMG!’s, a staunch historical narrative of the magazine’s origin would seem out of place.

The Wikipedia entry tersely states that Tiger Beat was founded in 1965 by Charles “Chuck” Laufer and his brother, Ira.

I do know that 16 magazine began in New York in 1957. However, the author of the article stated that the magazine was still thriving as of the 2003 date of writing. I could find no online evidence that 16 magazine still exists today.

Readers, correct my assumption and I’ll happily change this article.

16 Magazine

FaVE magazine was published by the Tiger Beat folks, but vanished at some point in history. There is a Fave magazine out there today, but if you’re looking for the latest dreamy photos of Donny, David, or Bobby, you may possibly find them, but in the context of a gay publication!

Our fellow female Boomers kept these three periodicals, as well as others, on the magazine racks and making money throughout the 60’s and 70’s. And they also kept their bedroom walls well papered with pinups.

I don’t know if my parents were familiar with the faces on the covers. The Monkees were prominently featured, as were David Cassidy, Bobby Sherman, Donny Osmond, Michael Jackson, Kevin Tighe, Randolph Mantooth, and numerous other dreamboats.

Looking at a recent cover of Tiger Beat featured at their website, I see Jonas, Taylor, Demi, and Rob. I have absolutely no clue who they are! Were my parents as clueless about the subjects of 60’s and 70’s covers?

Tiger Beat survives today. And obviously, young females continue to buy the magazines, or they would have vanished from the shelves.

Boomer ladies, I have thrown down the gauntlet. My own recollections of 60’s fan magazines are quite spotty. What did they mean to YOU?

One thought on “The Attack of the Killer Fan Mags”

  1. I became an avid reader of and collector of 16 Magazine in the summer of 1966, when I was 11, and suddenly enthralled by the pop gods and goddesses featured there; that first issue I was allowed to buy (after my Catholic mom had vetted it!) had pix and articles on Sonny & Cher, the Beatles, Herman’s Hermits, the Dave Clark Five, Paul Revere and The Raiders, and others. I memorized it, couldn’t wait for the next issue to come out, and the fever only raged more fiercely once The Monkees debuted later that summer. Davy Jones was my first heart-throb. The mags were such escapist fun, and more fiction than fact, with fun contests to win merch or photos, etc. I was heartbroken when my USAF family was transferred to a post in South America in January 1967; no chance of getting the mag down there, and at the time, it couldn’t be mailed outside the US. I couldn’t talk my grandmom into buying it and sending it to me, but my dad had to travel often, and he had a standing order to get it if possible. It was a huge part of my tweendom and early teendom, and I still love seeing those old covers and remember the joy that silly, sweet, wonderful mag brought me.

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