**Click Here for FAQ & links to previous threads**
The Saturday Evening Post has been running since 1821 and is still going today, albeit now only published bimonthly. With the majority of the readership being the American middle class, the magazine is a solid time capsule of what we would nowadays call middle-American values and folksy Americana. The Post’s website is one of the nicest I’ve ever seen for a vintage publication, and their digital archives are impressively robust.
Here’s our familiar Fab Four, photographed for The Post by John Launois. I’m hoping the intent was to show them as both extremely British and vaguely threatening, as they look about ready to beat someone down with their umbrellas. “Extremely British and vaguely threatening” is generally how the press saw them at this time, as they were horrified by the screaming and violent crowds of girls that the band attracted and were at a loss to rationalize why anyone would like them so much. The bowler hat that George is wearing in this photo had a second life as an auction piece that sold for nearly $7,000, and from that site we learn that Ringo looks so miserable on the cover because he was very ill with tonsillitis during the photoshoot.
Beautiful layout as always. CAN Goldwater win? This week I’m including Saroyan’s rare foray into journalism as he covers the 1964 Republican National Convention, which is actually really hilarious.
Evidently the previous month’s article set off a massive firestorm of response, since the Post dedicated all of this month’s space to publishing reaction letters from readers. The article in question was about Madalyn Murray, who founded the American Atheists and was instrumental in stopping forced prayer in public schools among other things. Madalyn and her family were kidnapped and murdered in 1995. Her Wikipedia is a DOOZY and definitely one of those why am I only hearing about this NOW? stories. Anyway, the readers responses here are all pretty interesting. Shout-out to the Reverend Richard E. Wager from Illinois for being a good Christian and a decent human being!
This is great and all, but WHO NEEDS THIS MUCH HAM??
(The Saturday Evening Post website has done a much nicer full scan of this article than what I’ve got, so if you would like to read it in much higher definition click here.)
There’s a lot to summarize here:
– The Beatles are probably indirectly responsible for the crowd-related deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of people.
– John Lennon makes a comment about black people that would completely destroy him and the band if it were printed today.
– Liverpudlians are small, malnourished, gremlin-like people who all play in bands and like to destroy train seats in their spare time.
– New Zealand is a drag.
– Fancy society people and literal royalty keep inviting the Beatles to fancy society parties, even though they clearly all despise each other.
– John Lennon won’t stop hitting on Brian Jones from the Rolling Stones.
– They are both the anti-christ and the messiah, according to their press agent.
– There were some really stupid bands on the Mersey scene in the 60s.
Note that there’s barely any mention of their actual music.
A genuinely nice article on Julia Child. Even though she had only hit the big time a few years earlier, this article goes into the lasting impact that she was already making on the average American. “You don’t have to use liquor, but it’ll taste more French if you do.” Wasn’t she the best? I miss her.
I’m not really into baseball history, so I for one am thankful that they put a little answer key at the bottom. But how times have changed – when athletes could get endorsement deals for cigars!
Since it’s World Series time, here’s an article on the Phillies’ manager Gene Mauch.
It wouldn’t be 1964 if there wasn’t a saturated color full-page ad for something utterly revolting and made with lethal amounts of corn syrup and mayonnaise!
Speaking of which…I share this ad a lot around here, because it just leaves me speechless every time. I can’t make this shit up, people.
I love how pissy and defensive this ad is about being forced to call their cigarette component “tar”.
These aren’t actually too bad, for once. At least their punchlines all make sense. They’re about on par with what you’d roll your eyes at in the funny papers today.
Note the one with the kid singing the Beatles song in church, because as we have established from this month’s featured article, people are losing sleep over the looming threat that they pose to the very fabric of society.
William Saroyan’s coverage of the 1964 Republican National Convention in Daly City. It’s very in-line with his style and humor. He’s clearly way out of his element and making the best of it. The gist of his conversation with a black delegate from Kansas re: Barry Goldwater: “As a Negro, I don’t trust him. As an American, I think I’m afraid of him. I know I don’t like him.”
Were Peggy Olson a real person, she would have totally written this ad.
Nowadays young people come to my door selling magazine subscriptions so that they can raise money for their college tuition.
This is a little hard to swallow when you consider the persistence of sugar ads and tobacco ads that paid for a significant chunk of this very magazine.
I’m sorry Del Monte, you tried, but I just don’t think you can make canned tuna look photogenic. Points for resisting the urge to smother the tuna in mayonnaise and Jello!
Mr. Astronaut in his sassy space suit for an insurance company. I never realized until now that old-school astronauts had shoes with laces on them. That seems really unnecessary somehow.
And we close this week’s thread with this very flattering ad for Dial soap, in which the subject looks like she’s being ambushed in the shower by some creepo with a camera.
Next week’s Old Magazine thread will be on the new Avocado website, as I will be traveling out of the state on Friday. I am eager to try out the scheduled post feature, so look for the post to show up around noon. I would like to ask for a volunteer or two to be my town crier and make a post in the Day Thread with a link to the post when it goes up. If you’d like to be that person, let me know – I’d really appreciate it. You won’t want to miss next week, as we will be looking at Woman’s Own, a British homemaker magazine, from 1956.