What is it about these vintage Teen Girl magazines that fascinates me so? Sure, they're funny and retro-campy and everything, but I think there's something about their aggressive blandness that is really fascinating to me. Plus, there's the obvious cravenness of the publishers as they attached themselves, remora-like, to the succession of fresh-faced young talent who had no choice but to cooperate. Here's Gloria Stavers, Queen of 16 Magazine, talking frankly about David Cassidy right around the time this magazine was published: "David's passed his peak already, but his effect will last until the end of the year. But that's the game. David was complaining about that one day, and I said, 'David, nobody twisted your arm and made you sign the fucking contract. You wanted this. If the chain fits, rattle it,' I told him. I remember he laughed sheepishly and said, 'rattle, rattle,' There's no crap with David."
So cynical! But Stavers was being straightforward: play along and we can stretch this fleeting wisp of fame out as long as possible. Do you not doubt that Justin Bieber is getting the same lecture on a daily, if not hourly, basis? Speaking of which, that's why Bobby Sherman, sporting crows feet and clearly past 16's prime, but ever the cooperative, malleable subject, still commands the inside front cover even though he was barely working by this point:
"Can you keep up with me?" Probably! Anyway, on the right, above, questions to Gloria, nearly half of which are fakes designed to plug 16's other publications. One reader wants to know about Ian Weighill of Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and Gloria says, "I am sure you'll be hearing more about him." Unfortunately for Mr. Weighill, you didn't hear anything more about him until today. Very young Tim Matheson was a lot luckier. Below, questions about more flashes in the pan, including Kirby Furlong (the kid from Mame) and obscure singer/songwriter Mick Greenwood:
This "Dear Donny" section really shows the formula of how the teen idols were presented. "I'm here for you. All for you. I am here because I want to be closer to you. I don't have a girlfriend, but I'm always looking for that special one. Maybe one day I'll find her. Maybe she'll be YOU." This script never, ever changes:
I wonder if this fake intimacy is what led to the rise of the celebrity stalker? These magazines present almost a textbook case of How to Appeal to the Psychotic. Below, more dull Osmonds questions and, natch, a tie-in publication:
Below, here's one of the unexpected treats in this issue: at home with Butch Patrick during his awkward years! Actually, come to think of it, right now are probably Butch Patrick's awkward years. And again, this spread shows exactly what I was saying about fake intimacy:
Poor Butch! He was barely working at this point. The Munsters was ancient history, and Lidsville? Well, let's not mention Lidsville. And speaking of former Krofft superstars barely working and consigned to the teen idol dustbin of history, here's Jack Wild:
And, of course, more David Cassidy and Osmonds. But who the hell is the embarrassingly-named Wes Stern? I had to look him up. He was later on Rhoda and, like every single other person in this magazine, had a guest spot on Love American Style. OK. Below, can you believe these "spot the differences" things are still with us? I suppose that we, as a culture, will never tire of spotting the missing button:
Below, the lyrics to David Cassidy's solo album! Sample: Our being together is always a very big deal to me. So romantic, that David:
Coming soon in part two: Osmonds! Pickpocketing the Jacksons! And a surprising story about a cute young actor committing suicide! Fun!
16 Magazine 1970 issue!
Tiger Beat 1977 issue!