Teen Magazines Of The '60s and '70s: Mad About The Boys!

By | May 29, 2019

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Mickey Dolenz catches up on his reading with 'Tiger Beat's Official Monkee Spectacular' on the set of the television show 'The Monkees' in May 1967 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Magazines like 16, Teen Beat and Tiger Beat were fixtures of grocery-store checkout aisles and magazine racks of the '60s and '70s. From strategically placed magazine racks, the handsome and wholesome faces of The Monkees, The Beatles, Herman's Hermits, Bobby Sherman, David Cassidy, Leif Garrett and more stared at their young female fans, who had an insatiable hunger for inside knowledge of their celebrity crushes. Cluttered covers promised features on and interviews with dozens of heartthrobs of the music, TV and film scene. At the height of their popularity, these magazines practically flew off the shelves thanks to the access they offered young women to their favorite stars.

These magazines had interviews, gossip, and centerfold posters of the cutest boys of the day. Photos and mentions in the pages of teen magazines were part of the well-oiled celebrity-building machine, and for those who played ball, stardom awaited. For young women, longing for a personal connection with stars they might never meet in person, stacks of treasured teen magazines were the next best thing. 

'Tiger Beat' Was A Major Influences On Girls In The '60s And '70s

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Boy-crazy Tiger Beat covers from May 1967, January '66 and November '72. Source: Pinterest

Magazines targeting the teenage girl market have been around in the United States since 1944 when Seventeen magazine published its first issue. Seventeen was quite ahead of its time, though, as the concept of "teenagers" who have their own culture and purchasing power didn't gain momentum until the 1950s -- but when it did, publishers saw a goldmine. If these young girls could afford to buy '45s and albums and concert tickets, and had a limitless attention-span when it came to their favorite male actors and musicians, surely they'd buy magazines hyping these same subjects. And these young female fans did just that, as expected. Teen magazines were big business, and competition was intense. 

The most popular was Tiger Beat. Founded in 1965, the magazine cemented the idea of the classic teen mag. There were softball interviews with celebrities, gossip articles, and cute guys on the cover. According to the founder of Tiger Beat, Charles Laufer, the magazine was filled with “guys in their 20s singing 'La La' songs to 13-year-old girls,” which is exactly what 13-year-old girls wanted. Well done, Charles.