First, the election note:
"During the presidential campaign, the Associated Press acquired exclusive rights to a tree. Located across the street from Ronald Reagan's Pacific Palisades, Calif., home, the tree was leased to the AP for 50 cents a day by one of Reagan's neighbors and was used by the AP to hold its telephone. The phone allowed AP reporter Brian Bland to file stories on Reagan's important activities, such as going to the grocery, without having to drive a mile to the nearest pay phone. Other news organizations had their own outposts: NBC had a maid's quarters, ABC rented a garage, CBS used a fence. The AP telephone had an unlisted number and was kept in a locked box, perhaps to prevent the tree from being tapped."
This from the November/December Columbia Journalism Review. Greenback Grief
Face it: Money is on everybody's mind.
"The deadly duo -- inflation and recession -- has driven some normally law-abiding Americans to try a novel solution to their financial problems: crime. Banks, collection agencies, security companies and law enforcement officials all report a dramatic increase in first-time offenses among solid citizens with previously 'clean' records."
So says the November Money, even as the Nov. 10 Forbes brings this monetary tidbit:
Lawrence Klein, the University of Pennsylvania professor who pioneered the use of a computer model to track the economy, found himself richer by $212,000 when he was awarded the Nobel prize for economics. And what is the master of economics going to do with his windfall? "It's going to sit in a money market fund for a while," he says.
Meanwhile the Nov. 17 Fortune has this familial financial report:
"Last November, Calvin Klein Cosmetics persuaded Frank A. Shields, 39, sales vice president of Helena Rubinstein and son of Frank X. Shields, the late tennis player, to switch sales force. Two weeks later Barry Schwartz, chairman of Calvin Klein Ltd., abruptly decided to fold the two-year-old cosmetics company and fire all its 100 employes. But Schwartz resisted making the termination payment provided for Shields by his contract. The angry executive sued and ultimately collected $24,000.
"Shields' daughter by his first wife is the 15-year-old movie star and model Brooke Shields. One day Shields, who is now a vice president of Handy Associates, an executve recruiting firm, met his daughter for lunch in Manhattan and mentioned that he was suing the Klein company. 'Brookie said, "I know, Daddy,"' he relates. Later he asked his daughter what she was doing the following day, and was surprised when she seemed uncomfortable. At last she said, 'I wish you hadn't asked that, Daddy. I'm shooting six 30-second TV spots for Calvin Klein.' She sighed: 'He makes the only designer jeans I like.'"
And parents may or may not balk at the November issue of Parents, which claims the cost of raising a child to age 18 is now $254,000, not including a college education. Wood and Plenty
The nonprofit foundation that publishes CoEvolution Quarterly and The Whole Earth Catalog has gone into debt -- and now, you too can be part of the reason.
Simply send $14 -- the price of a year's subscription to CEQ -- to Box 428, Sausalito, Calif., 94966 before Dec. 21, and your first issue will be the all-new 608-page Next Whole Earth Catalog, a 5 1/2 pound monster that contains more information than any single human can possible use.
Let us note, for instance, that the initial printing of 140,000 copies of this baby consumed 6,160 trees. Self-Contained
And speaking of mammoth publishing ventures, how about the new kid in town: Regardie's Business and Real Estate Washington, a $5-a-throw, 160-page bimonthly that has owner Bill Regardie's name written all over it -- including on the cover.
It's one thing to name a magazine after yourself. It's another to permeate a publication and then pretend to be invisible. Should this man be listed as publisher, or is he an ersatz editor who decided to give himself a fancy professional calling card?Three pages of photographs puff on the new Clydes? An article that touts WAVA-FM as the hottest station in Washington, without ever mentioning the topranked WRQX-FM? A two-column blurb on women car dealers that just happens to fall right next to ads from the two dealerships mentioned? Sure Footing
And now, for all you obsesive joggers, here are the top-ranked training shoes from the Runner's World Sixth annual October rating: Brooks lady Nighthawk, Brooks Nighthawk, Autry Cloud Nine, Brooks Vantage, Brooks Hugger GT, Brooks Lady Vantage, Brooks Lady Vantage Supreme, Etonic Men's Eclipse Trainer (endorsed by The Magazine Column), Brooks Lady Hugger GT, Etonic Women's Eclipse Trainer, New Balance 620. Top Ten
And more lists. The 10 most admired black Americans as voted by the readers of Ebony: Andrew Young, Jesse Jackson, Barbara Jordan, Bill Cosby, Alex Haley, Cicely Tyson, Coretta King, Muhammad Ali, Thurgood Marshall and Stevie Wonder. Christmas Presence
Literally, a blind item: What editor or a major national sports publication is posing as Santa himself to hawk Christmas subs of said mag? End Play Occasional bread eaters will be happy to note that The Roman Meal Company of Seattle, Wash. -- could they be under the influence of volcanic fallout? -- has studied demographic trends and will soon introduce to America The Roman Meal Half-Loaf, which will contain 10-12 slices as opposed to 22-24 slices, not to mention only one end.
The "overwhelming opinion was that a 20-ounce loaf contains too much bread for today's households," reports the October American Demographics.
What kind of a country is this? Half a loaf better than one? Only one end in every loaf . . .
The hook! Tube Tops
Better Looking Dept.:
Finally, somebody is doing something right at Panorama. And we suspect it is David Sendler, former editor of TV Guide, who was pulled over to the sister publication a few months ago to help the floundering magazine.
Sendler has given the monthly something it lacked until now. Maybe it's focus or character. The three most recent issues have taken tough looks at "60 Minutes" and shady deal-making in Gollywood; explored what bothers people about cable TV; offered theories from mystery writers P. D. James and John D. MacDonald on who shot J. R. and why; examined sex and television, and rated video games. Science Faction
Once a pulpy little dwarf that gave shelter to reprints, Science Digest has expanded to a slick 8 1/2-by-11-inch magazine filled with orginal articles. hThe Hearst bimonthly (it will go monthly early next year with its March cover date) seems to Omni, right down to the short terms in the front of the magazine printed on odd-colored stock. Topics range from the surgical use of lasers to the mysteries of marsupials to the melding of man and machine. If the new Science Digest falls short of the standards being set for popular science magazines by Science 80, it still represents a vast improvement over its own antecedent. Picks of the Litter
Pamela Ridder's wonderfully anecdotal "There Are TK Fact-Checkers in the U.S." in the November/December Columbia Journalism Review. Fact-checking is a tedious task that falls upon magazine specialists who must confirm that every silly fact in an article is correct. To wit, this from The New Yorker's Peter Canby:
"For one 'Talk of the Town' piece I had to determine the number of Ritz crackers in a huge New Jersey supermarket. I called the general manager of the store, who then shouted to an assistant over their PA system. mThe assistant went to count the number of Ritz boxes on the floor while the manager and I tried to estimate the number of crackers in a box. We then went through the same process with hot dog packages."
Ridder also reveals this chestnut:
"In a now legendary episode at The New Yorker, a checker left 'the late' before actor Eric Blore's name. Blore was actually in a nursing home, and a friend read the piece and wrote the magazine, requesting a correction. A correction appeared in the next issue -- but Blore died before the issue hit the stands."
An easily understood examination of the northerly march of the killer bees in the November Life, which also includes a report on the new lure of heroin for middle-class whites and an extraordinary photo essay on a religion-tinged high school football team;
An oddball glimpse of model rocketry championships in the November Discover;
A nice blend of quotes and photos about election years in the November Geo, along with a haunting view of bastard children left behind in Asia by U.S. servicemen and a bizarre panorama of palaces along the Persian Gulf built with petrodollars;
Roger Rosenblatt's delightful essay in the Nov. 3 Time on the new meaning of horror for the '80s. For example:
"Hi. My name is Jeff, and I'm your waiter. The chef has prepared a bluefish today, with a . . .
"Yes, I've written a novel. And you're in it."
You get the idea.
Frightening revelations about Benedictin, a drug alleged to be as dangerous as Thalidomide, in the November Mother Jones;
Southern Exposure's exhaustive and enlightening fall issue on growing up in the South, punctuated with many oral reminiscences; $10 a year or $4 for the copy from Box 531, Durham, N.C. 27702.
Thomas Whiteside's somewhat belabored but illuminating overview of the book-publishing industry in the Sept. 29, Oct. 6 and Oct. 13 issues of The New Yorker;
A riveting photo essay on brain surgery in the November Science 80, which also contains an article on reuniting twins, not unlike an article on reuniting twins in the November issue of Smithsonian, not unlike an article on twins in the November/December Science Digest.
Who said there are too many science magazines? Fortune's Smiles
Time Inc. has published a delightful volume of reminiscences by 19 former Fortune staffers (such as John Kenneth Galbraith, Dwight Macdonald and Archibald MacLeish) to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the magazine. The $15 volume includes these reflections by the late John Jessup, who was a writer and editor:
"Eric Hodgins could express acute dismay with a first draft he didn't like. Of one he declared, 'This manuscript contains nothing to appeal to any of the five commonly recognized senses.' Of another, 'This draft subtracts from the sum total of human knowledge." Coming Up
Prospects, a compact little weekly, provides film and television companies with pre-publication single-paragraph plot summaries and one-line character descriptions of books in progress, along with the names and phone numbers of agents for the annointed works.
How's this, from the Nov. 3 premiere issue:
"Soho is a fast-paced glamorous novel about the lives of the inhabitants of Soho, the chic and trendy New York neighborhood, and delves into the corruption and aspirations of the contemporary art world, encountering people of every sexual and social persuasion. . . Against this backdrop, a subplot of horror and suspense unfolds when the children of Soho begin to disappear. . .
Susan: Early 30s. Lovely single-minded gallery owner. Unwed mother.
Gil: Early 30s. Long, lean Texan architect, bored with his wife."
All this from Box 580, Canal Street Station, New York, N.Y. 10013, for a mere $500 a year $25 for a single four-page issue.
Hey, this is Hollywood. Inquiries about film rights to this month's Magazine Column should be addressed to the Ziegler-Diskant agency on Sunset Boulevard.
Penny Power, from the publishers of 2.6-million circulation Consumer Reports, would like to evevate the collective consciousness of the Ronald McDonald set. The new bimonthly is aimed at pre-adolescents, and the debut issue will help Junior decide who sells the best hamburgers ("The Big Mac was a little Chewey and the Whopper had some Gristly meat . . .") and who makes the best electronic toys (Mattel Electronic Baseball was "the best of the baseball games tested"). All this and a pattern for making a "Big MacWhopper Pillow" for $7.50 a year from Box DCB, Consumer's Union, Mt. Vernon, N.Y. 10550.
The Oak Report, named after parent Oak Publications, is an intelligent, broad-minded quarterly on music and musicians. The premiere issue examines vintage instruments, small record labels and sound volume, and also presents interviews with Stephane Garpelli and Yehudi Menuhin on reading and improvising; $7 annually from Bellvale Road, Chester, N.Y. 10918.
Beach World, a strange but true collection of full-color, somewhat teasing photos of women -- and a few men -- in bathing suits, published in Gaithersburg by Ron Grandis. Maybe this is what it was like for Hef in the early days. Whatever gets you through the night. John Lennon said that; $24 a year from 467 North Frederick Ave., Gaithersburg, Md. 20760.
Country is a decidedly local-looking but nonetheless informative monthly with solid pieces aimed at the Washington, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania crowd. Want to know about small post offices, wood fires, the hunt, country furniture, and nice estates that can be yours for the right price? It's all $15 a year from P.O. Box 246, Alexandria, Va. 22314. Bric-a-Brac. . .
TV Guide is now perfect bound, which means it will sit vertically as well as horizontally atop a TV set. The magazine endorsed a presidential candidate (Ronald Reagan) for the first time in its 27-year history. . . The Oct. 13 Newsweek managed to separate two columns of a book review by 13 pages of ads. . . Ziff-Davis has purchased The Runner, the magazine begun by New Times publisher George Hirsch. . . Swift Lockard, former associate publisher of New West who failed in a bid to purchase the magazine for Knapp Communications, has left New West to become a director of special magazine projects for Knapp. . . Terry McDonell, former editor of Outside and Rocky Mountain, becomes managing editor of Rolling Stone on Nov. 15.
Boy, there's plenty of money to be made in magazines: Last year the 155 mags that compose the Magazine Publishers Association sold 2.5 billion copies and had a nice profit rate of 8.27 percent.
Finally, falsehood can now become the mother of invention. Omni magazine is looking for the best unconfirmed rumors (such as, "During the Eisenhower Administration, a UFO crashed and killed its occupants. The green bodies are now on ice at Wright-Patterson Air Force base in Ohio"). A hundred bucks for the best and $25 to runners-up. Mail entries to 909 Third Ave., New York, N.Y. 10022.