CAPTION: TV Guide from 1984 with Emmanuel Lewis, star of Webster, on the cover.
By Kevin Williams
I have so many magazine memories while growing up. When I was a kid, my Mom subscribed to People (she still does) which would arrive every Saturday in the mail. For a time, I think, she subscribed to Good Housekeeping. Time and Newsweek were always staples in our home too. Interestingly (just as an aside, to connect this post to the Plain people in some way) German Baptist Brethren always seemed to gravitate to US News & World Report (the Amish typically don't subscribe to any news magazines) The magazine business, like the newspaper industry, has taken a horrific hit at the expense of the internet, but some of the more niche publications survive and thrive. Here are three memorable magazines from my childhood:
CAPTION: My 1977 TV Guide, no clue why it was saved.
I was cleaning in my office the other day and found something in an old box which brought back a flood of memories: TV Guide. I'm not quite sure how these two particular TV Guides managed to survive all my various paper purges over the years. One TV Guide has a photo of the sitcom star of 80s hit Webster on the cover. Not sure why I saved it. I liked the show as a kid, but I don't think it was among my absolute favorites. That TV Guide is from 1984. The one from 1977 I'm completely clueless about, a show called "Rosetti and Ryan". Absolutely no clue. What a survival artist that TV Guide has been, somehow making it through dozens of moves, paper purges, etc. Must have just found a dark corner of a box and parked it there.
CAPTION: Classic TV Guide TV listings, since we lived between Dayton and Cincinnati, Ohio we often got two choices of channels for the same show. Most of the time we watched Cincinnati stations.
TV Guide, at one time, was simply ubiquitous. You just bought it. Period. Newspapers had their own TV guides and at some point, I think, my grandmother began relying on those. But for most of my childhood, TV Guide was a fixture at my grandma's house and our house.
For me, a new week began on Saturday because that is when TV Guide's week began. Ah, what memories, flipping through the 1984 edition, my favorite Sunday night sitcoms of Alice, The Jeffersons, and One Day at a Time, all still on the air. Interestingly, the 1977 version has more of the classic TV listings, by 1984 cable had already begun to clutter up the guide a bit. By the mid-90s I think my parents had basically stopped buying TV Guide. They still sell it in some form in stores. Does anyone still buy it? What is it like? I don't think I have bought a TV Guide in probably 20 years.
READERS DIGEST: This is still around but it doesn't seem the same. My Mom (as I suppose everyone does) had her "way" of reading it, starting with the "Drama in Real Life" stories, etc. I think I always started with the "Quotable Quotes." As a budding writer I found them inspiring and then I branched out from there. They had a little section called Life in these United States or All in a Day's Work of just funny anecdotes and vignettes. Not sure if these are still around?
RANGER RICK: I think my grandparents got me a subscription to this when I was a kid and now my parents have gotten a subscription for Aster. She is so excited to get something in the mail, shrieking with delight when it arrives. And some of my favorite moments of the month with Aster are when we sit down before bedtime and read Ranger Rick. She, too, has her own methodology of reading it, starting with the games. She can't get enough of the games each month in the magazine, including usually a maze and some matching games. What I think I love about this magazine is that it is basically unchanged when when I was a kid and there's something comforting about sitting down with something so familiar, so timeless. There's no news in it, no celebrity gossip, no agenda, just comforting, fun nature stuff. I'm glad some things don't change.....
We have been getting Reader's Digest for 55 years, not as large as it use to be. I always like Humor in Uniform page. This is the only magazine we get. I use to get RAnger Rick for our son, your age. Also got him My Big Back Yard, Aster would love that book, it is for pre school kids who eventually graduate to Ranger Rick and again to National Geographic.
Humor in Uniform, that was always an enjoyable read, thanks for the reminder!
Reader's Digest seems to be pretty lightweight these days, but when I was growing up in the 1960's/1970's, it was one of those magazines that always seemed to be around. Thus, I read it often. Always liked "Life In These United States".
Currently I'm going through an assortment of early 1950' to mid1960's Reader's Digests, purchased at a thrift store for a quarter each. It's interesting to see that many of the political/societal ills thought so terrible back then are still with us then.
But some of the humor is horribly dated - reading some of it, one can understand how "women's lib" came to be!
I agree with you about RD becoming lightweight these days, the ones in the 60s and 70s were much more substantive!