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Monday, December 9, 2013

The Past Is A Foreign Country, Part One

In 1969, just a few years before I was interested in such things, the best-selling teen entertainment magazine in America was 16, now defunct. Under the leadership of Gloria Stavers, a woman so hip she had an affair with Jim Morrison, of The Doors, 16 not only had its finger on the pulse of the American teen girl,  it often set the agenda. It has been reported that at one time 16 had five million readers a month. Teen Magazines are still with us, glossier then they were then,  but still following the template that Stavers set in the 1960s.  

Sometime around 1969 (this is my well-educated guess)  16 offered to its readers, by mail order only, a cheaply printed pamphlet called The Adonis Gallery Pin-up Book.  In the regular magazine, The Adonis Gallery was where 16 featured shirtless photos of their fave boys.  I use the word "boys" loosely.  Looking at The Adonis Gallery Pin-up Book today brings a stark reminder that times have changed. 

Some of the gallery's subjects would not appear out of place in today's teen magazines.  The boys in The Cowsills, for instance, do not look much different from The Jonas Brothers (to give a slightly dated example)  and despite his groovy bell-bottom trousers, Jon Provost, post Lassie, could easily be a star on some ABC Family sitcom. 

Davy Jones of The Monkees (at age 24) and Bobby Sherman (26) both look like older versions of Austin Mahone


More after the break.
I totally get the appeal of 25-year-old Jan-Michael Vincent, who was still being cast as teenagers at that time, but what do you make of the likes of Michael Parks, Michael Cole, or Mark Lindsey of Paul Revere and the Raiders?  It almost seems impossible in today's environment that such mature-looking, hairy-chested men would be sold as objects of desire to14-year-old girls .

Now consider Mr. David Selby, who was a star of the daytime horror soap opera Dark Shadows.  He played Quentin Collins, a werewolf.  Here he is, a hairy shirtless man, pushing 30, with some of the worst facial hair I have ever seen on any man ever.  The girls (and some boys) swooned.

Then, Mr. Selby's co-star, Jonathan Frid, jumps out at you.  Not to be too judgmental, but it is impossible to imagine these pictures of a shirtless, 45-year-old man, especially one who looks like Frid, in the BOPs and Tiger Beats of today.  But, it does show that playing a vampire is always the way to a girl's heart.

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