Friday, March 2, 2012

Fun Finds: Teen Screen Magazines

Well, yes, it's me again with some more vintage magazines to share with you. On yet another of my recent scavenging expeditions, I came upon two magazines from the mid-1960s called Teen Screen. To my delight (though neither one was in stellar condition), the seller only wanted $2.00 apiece for them and what's more, that particular booth in the antique mall was offering 50% off of everything when paying with cash, so I wound up getting both of them for only $2.00! (I know I'm a broken record with this, but you never know who's new here... You will likely have to open these pictures in a new window or tab - by right clicking them - in order to see them correctly.)

Strangely, for a periodical called Teen SCREEN, the content is far more heavily geared towards music, with photos and features of many of the hot singers and bands of the day. If you come here much, you know that I am primarily into TV and movie stars and scarcely have anything to say about musical performers. I've got nothing "agin" 'em. I just happen to be so interested in actors and actresses that I rarely focus on them in The Underworld.

The first issue is dated October 1965. In the gossip section, there are rumors about possible marriages for Elvis Presley and Priscilla as well as Ann-Margret and Roger Smith. In 1964, Elvis and A-M had costarred in Viva Las Vegas with great results and had been rumored to have been more than friends. Priscilla had been installed at Graceland since 1962, but her extreme youth had prevented a formal relationship with "The King" from being publicized. Meanwhile, Ann-Margret had begun dating Roger Smith. The columnist in this magazine speculates that perhaps each couple was secretly married, but in fact Elvis didn't even propose to Priscilla until Christmas of 1966 and they were married in '67, the same year as Ann-Margret and Roger Smith.

In this same column is a photo of young Mick Jagger hanging with quite an unlikely pal. He's shown with child star Eddie Hodges. Hodges played Winthrop in the original Brooadway production of The Music Man, then portrayed Frank Sinatra' son in 1959's A Hole in the Head, famously singing "High Hopes" with Ol's Blue Eyes. His 1960 version of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was another hit. He had a brief period as a singer as well. By 1965, though, he was nearing the end of his career. After domestic service in the U.S. military during The Vietnam War, he worked a few more times and then retired from the biz. (He did, however, pop up in a bit role on one 1996 episode of Law & Order!)

Another star mentioned in this column who was nearing the end of her principal career was Annette Funicello. A newlywed in 1965, the magazine announced her pregnancy here. She would go on to have two more children with husband Jack Gilardi, though the union ended in 1983. She only did a couple more movies after 1965 before receding into domesticity and the occasional concert or peanut butter commercial. She married her second and present husband Glen Holt in 1986 and was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis the year after that.

Annette's Beach Party movie series pal Frankie Avalon is also shown and discussed briefly, looking handsome and healthy in his photo. Interestingly, Jill Haworth is touted as being a part of the upcoming film The Oscar (profiled here elsewhere in The Underworld), but that never came to pass. Then there's mention of Richard Burton's ex-wife Sybil owning a rock 'n roll club at which her new, younger husband performs!

If you're a Beatles fan, there is a selection of minutiae about each one of the four members. Interestingly, there's an item about a nameless TV producer who suggests that hit shows Shindig! and Hullabaloo will be toast within a year's time and, sure enough, both of them were cancelled in 1965. Also, such stars as George Maharis, Edd Byrnes, Russ Tamblyn and Troy Donahue are mentioned in a "whatever happened to" fashion. If the question was being posed in 1965, it's no wonder that many people today have no inkling as to who they were! Oh, and don't miss who is playing piano for singer Donna Loren at the top. It's child star (of The Birds) and later busy character actress Veronica Cartwright!

One thing I loved about this first magazine was a color section on the upcoming TV season and the new or returning shows that would be hitting the airwaves. This first quartet of pictures feature Debbie Watson in Tammy (a television version of the Debbie Reynolds - later Sandra Dee - movie franchise), Roger Smith (the aforementioned husband-to-be of Ann-Margret) in Mr. Roberts (another show inspired by a movie and the play it was based upon), young studs Ryan O'Neal and Chris Connelly from Peyton Place (yet another series based on a movie and the book that came before it. And do check out Ryan's nicely packaged trousers!) and Robert Vaughn of The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

The caption for these photos is on the next page and there is a hilarious typo! Debbie Watson is listed as "David Waston!" Not only is the name wrong - first and last - but so is the gender! Proofreading anyone??!! The fact that U.N.C.L.E. will now be in color is demonstrated by an appropriate pic of David McCallum. Then at the bottom right is a shot of young Miss Sally Field in Gidget (yet one more TV series based on previous movies!) Gidget was unceremoniously cancelled before the network realized just how much teen girls adored it. When an avalanche of mail came in protesting its demise, the sets had already been destroyed so instead Field was rushed into The Flying Nun, a series she despised, but which wound up being a considerable success ratings-wise!

Other folks looking for success in the upcoming season included dreamy Robert Conrad in The Wild Wild West (which ran for four seasons, ending in 1969), Natalie's little sister Lana Wood in The Long, Hot Summer (based on the movie - with Wood in Lee Remick's part - and which only lasted the one season) and young Dick Kallman in Hank. Here is one very sad tale. Kallman was a comedic actor from Broadway and late-'50s TV who was given the lead in his own sitcom. Hank centered on a young man whose parents are killed in an accident, leaving him alone with a young sister. Rather than give up their freedom and risk separation, he disguises himself as various people to keep them afloat, working and attending college. The series only lasted one season (and in a rare occurance, its storyline was wrapped up in the final episode), but afterwards the gay actor had trouble securing steady work. He went back to Broadway, toured in theatre and landed a couple of roles on Medical Center, but ultimately exited the world of acting. He eventually went into the clothing business as well as becoming an art and antique dealer, but was viciously murdered by gunfire in a drug-induced robbery at his home in 1980 at the age of forty-six. His business partner was slain with him while his life partner had been out of the city on business, devastated to return home to this news. The rubber-faced funnyman was unable to reach his full career potential, but his brief show is fondly remembered even now by fans. This photo of him at left is not from the magazine, but one I found in order to further illustrate who he was.

This next page was sort of fun in that it gives a night-by-night break down of which new shows were going to be broadcast in the coming season. Several of these programs didn't know it at the time, but they would eventually become fan favorites, some of which are still shown today nearly half a century later or else enjoyed on DVD by fans old and new. Others have slipped into the tides of obscurity. Note how The Wild Wild West is listed as "The Wild West."

If you happen to be a fan of the music group Herman's Hermits, you will enjoy the two-page center photos of them that are in both this issue and the second one. The original owner of these magazines clearly held onto them because they liked the Hermits (or perhaps one of the other groups who happen to be in both issues.) This time frame (1965-1966) was just about the peak of Herman's Hermits' popularity, though they continued to make an impact until the late 60s. Lead vocalist Peter Noone departed by 1971, thought the group continues in some form even now.

Look at these two! This is Sonny and Cher in the early days of their career. ("I Got You Babe" came out in 1965.) For folks my age and younger, this version of Cher is one we only know from old pictures, album covers, TV shows, etc... She's been put through a fair number of overhauls since this, reemerging every so often to plant a hit song on the charts, always coming through with another surprise just about the time she's been counted out. Cher and Sonny divorced in 1975. In the late 1980s, after having stopped singing and having enjoyed a middling acting career, Bono became interested in politics, eventually becoming elected to the House of Representatives in 1994! Sadly, he was killed about a month before his sixty-third birthday in a skiing accident in 1998.

One segment of Teen Screen which I enjoyed reading was the one called "New Faces... Going Places." A selection of brand new performers were highlighted (with the subtitle "Their success is up to you!") along with a photo and small bio. Since quite a few of these folks are utterly unfamiliar to me, I have to blame Teen Screen readers for not generating the proper level of success for them! Ms. DeBord, shown here, did time on General Hospital and appeared in a couple of movies, but was out of the biz by 1978. Tommy Cooper doesn't appear to have made any significant inroads in the music business from what I can tell.

On the next page of this feature Bill Sampson is shown. Despite appearing in three teen flicks in 1965, he was never seen again in a movie, nor on any television series! Likewise, Kim Brewer's screen acting career wasn't able to get off the ground. Her only credits are as a driver in The Love Bug and as a guest star on one episode of The Beverly Hillbillies in 1970. I presume it was back to Peoria after that...

A Swingin' Summer was the name of one of the (many) teen-geared beach flicks that were so hot in the 1960s. With songs provided by The Righteous Brothers, The Rip Chords and Gary Lewis & the Playboys, it starred James Stacy and Quinn O'Hara. It's most notable, however, for being the first credited role of Raquel Welch! She received "Introducing" credit in it. Sadly, her name is misspelled twice as "Welsh" in this two-page photo spread. Fortunately for the publishers of Teen Screen, Miss Welch was not yet the strong-minded diva she would later become or she might have marched into their offices and given them "what for!" One year after this, she appeared in Fantastic Voyage, playing a scientist shrunken to a microscopic degree and injected into a dying man's bloodstream. Attacked by clinging antibodies in her skintight wetsuit, she gained plenty of attention. That same year she played a fur bikini-clad cavewoman in One Million Years B.C. and her career skyrocketed from then on. Oh, do note James Stacy's then-wife in one photo, Miss Connie Stevens, a very popular star in her own right.

Anyone out there a fan of 1980s General Hospital? If so, then you will likely recognize Chris Robinson who portrayed Dr. Rick Webber from 1978 to 1986 and again in 2002. Rick was the step-father of Laura and was for a while engaged in an affair with Monica Quartermaine. I recall racing home from grade school to see the result of a storyline that had Monica's enraged husband Alan blowing up a room that was to have Rick and Monica in it, but which actually had all three of them inside!Anyway, back in '65, Robinson was about to costar in the prime-time series Twelve O'Clock High, based on a hit 1949 movie. The show had begun in 1964, but he was added to the cast in the second season, staying there until it ended in 1967. He was the subject of a mail-in contest in which fans answered questions about his part on the show, the grand prize being a personal visit from him to the winner's home town! A variety of secondary prizes (100 in all) were offered as well.

The second issue I found is dated January 1966. A headline on the cover refers to Sonny & Cher being "ON TRIAL!," but when you read the article, it means that their mode of dress and hairstyles are still being opposed by some parents... a whole different type of trial. (Could they have chosen a more awkward photograph of the hitmaking duo?) A young Bob Dylan is depicted on the cover as well and, of course, Herman's Hermits.

The gossip section of this issue amusingly mentions that Dean Martin will be "co-starring" with Nat King Cole's daughter Carol in The Silencers. Number one, I didn't even know that Cole any children besides the ever-present Natalie! Number two, Carol Cole's "co-starring" role in The Silencers was as an uncredited waitress!! Still, the young lady did have a teensy bit of a career in the late-'60s and early-'70s. Perhaps her biggest claim to fame was playing the title character's daughter in the short-lived sitcom Grady, a spin-off of Sanford and Son. Sadly, she died of lung cancer in 2009 at only age sixty-four. And Nat had three additional children to Natalie and Carol!

The section continues with updates about various stars, many now obscure such as Pat Morrow (of Peyton Place), Donna Loren, Randy Boone, Robert Shore and Brenda Scott. More interestingly, to me anyway, is the rather rare photo on the next page of Patty Duke and Anne Bancroft (former stars of both the Broadway production and the film version of The Miracle Worker) being reunited on the set of Duke's most recent film Billie.

A profile of some up and coming musical acts features a photo of (later) silver fox country singer Charlie Rich when he was young. Who knew that he had once been so handsome and with such pretty eyes? It would take a while (1973, actually) before he'd really hit it big with hits like "The Most Beautiful Girl" and "Behind Closed Doors." I must say I have never heard of The Leaves, but they did have a hit in 1965 called, "Hey Joe, Where You Gonna Go." Likewise, I am not familiar with The Castaways, but their hairstyles are fun. Debbie Harry later covered their sole hit, "Liar, Liar" and I am familiar with that recording.

I thought any fans out there of 1960s rock would enjoy this color spread which features shots of Bob Dylan, The Beach Boys, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles. I especially like the color photo of The Beatles in uncharacteristic clothing and a rural setting.

Another two-page poster of Herman's Hermits was contained in this issue. I'm smiling at the expression Peter Noone (top left) has on his face. Check out the mouth... Readers my age might recall their hit song "I'm Into Something Good" being featured prominently in 1988's The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad as Leslie Nielson and Priscilla Presley got to know one another better.

The color scrapbook continues with shots of such varied musical acts as Bobby Goldsboro, Glen Campbell, Sonny & Cher, The Righteous Brothers, Chad and Jeremy, Tom Jones (wearing a mullet?), Bobby Sherman and David McCallum (whose foray into record-making featured not his voice, but his instrumental renditions of hits from that period!)

The final page offers up a shot of McCallum's The Man from U.N.C.L.E. costar Robert Vaughn, Paul McCartney (hideously holding up a roast pig head! and what's with his middle finger?), Mick Jagger, Marianne Faithful, The Kinks and Jackie DeShannon, among others.

I got a real hoot out of this issue's "New Faces... Going Places" section, especially in light of the lack of permanance of the previous issue's names. This time Miss Lainie Kazan is front and center! Kazan had worked a bit on Broadway before acting as Barbra Streisand's understudy in Funny Girl. After an eighteen-month run, Babs had to miss two performances due to a severe throat issue. Her mother, knowing that Lainie would be performing, alerted the press to this fact and she won rave reviews. She quit the show and proceeded on to a roller coaster career of ups and downs. More recent work has included My Big Fat Greek Wedding and a five episode run on Desperate Housewives. The gentleman shown below her, Don Keeler, was later to revert to his real name Joey D. Viera and continue with a sporadically notable career. He had a role in 2000's The Patriot with Mel Gibson and still works today.

Lauree Berger did not one more thing on screen after her debut movie The Fat Spy until 1981 when she made a return to the biz by acting on TV as a guest on shows like Archie Bunker's Place, One Day at a Time and Father Dowling Mysteries. Her last credit was in 1994, however. Steve Harmon only made three more TV appearances after the television version of Mr. Roberts was canned. He also had a part in 1968's The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band, but that was his final credit. Indus Arthur fared marginally better, eventually winning roles in William Holden's Alvarez Kelly and MASH along with TV guest parts and a role on General Hospital, but she exited the acting biz in 1973. She morphed into a professional harpist, but was claimed by skin cancer in 1984 at only the age of forty-three.

This next page in interesting for two reasons. One is a letter from a teen fan explaining how generous Rolling Stones member Brian Jones was in replying to a letter from her. Little did she or anyone know that in just three year's time, Jones (who had a major problem with drugs and other misadventure) would be ousted from the Stones and one month after that, found dead in his swimming pool! There have been theories ever since about possible foul play, but nothing that ever stuck. The other interesting thing is the fit on Mr. Jagger's pants. Jesus!

This magazine had a feature in the back promoting upcoming movies. Here we have a hilarious letter from the editor apologizing for having recommended Village of the Giants in a prior issue! It's a third of a page, practically ripping the film to shreds for its incompetance! Next to it is an advertisement for make-up disguised as a beauty advice column. This practice is still in place today in ladies' magazines (which I come across sometimes in the lunchroom at work.)

Here is the section of this issue devoted to said movies. When the Boys Meet the Girls was the final feature film of Connie Francis. Her acting debut had been in 1961's Where the Boys Are and two years later did Follow the Boys. With a third film in between (Looking for Love), she did this one, seemingly reluctant to work in a movie that didn't include "Boys" in the title! She did one TV acting gig before giving that aspect of her career up. A tumuluous life followed with a vicious rape, many failed romances and marriages, the murder of her brother, manic-depression and even the loss of her voice, which was mostly restored (but only after several operations.) A decade-long attempt to bring her life story to the big screen proved futile.

Additional movies The Spy Who Came in From the Cold and Never Too Late are also promoted, with all three movies (which this time were screened beforehand!) warranting a small blurb from the editor after the synopsis.

In the letters section, you can get a feel for what it was like back then with regards to readers' mindsets and their communicating with one another. Pen pals were a major part of fan interaction as telephoning outside one's area code was inordinantly expensive and there was nothing at all around like the Internet yet. There's also a picture of Luke Halpin, costar of the TV series Flipper. His popularity then was significant, but he retains a loyal cadre of fans even now who fondly recall his adventures with Flipper the dolphin.

Finally, there's an article and full-page photo all about The Byrds (one of their chief hits was "Turn, Turn, Turn.") If the guy second from the left looks at all familiar, he's David Crosby who later gained even more fame as part of Crosby, Stills and Nash (later Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.) He was ousted from the group The Byrds in 1967 over personal clashes, something that occurred in many, many musical acts over the years and crops up even now. Crosby, Stills and Nash (and Young) was punctuated by various tensions and blow-ups over the years as well, but they are actually together still today and will tour part of the world this year.

The very last thing I have to share is rather risky on my part. I say that because it threatens to expose a very personal side of myself, one that is generally protected by the anonymity I possess as Poseidon, Ruler of The Underworld. But, since this post has a lot of music in it, I decided to toss my own meager contributions to the field out there for your enjoyment (or revulsion!) My best friend and I cut a CD last Christmas as a gift for her mother. It was very hastily done as studio time costs money and adds up quickly! Two of my solos have been posted on as (very!) rudimentary videos. (Regular visitors here know how inept I am with technology and the www in general!) I've received a lot of good feedback about them, though truly they are just meant for my friends and family, not in the vain hopes of "making it" or anything! I just thought it might be fun for some of my regular readers to hear me trying to do my thing. (If you hate them, you are welcome to keep that fact to yourself! LOL) So here are the links! and I'll be back soon with more celebrity profiles and kitsch!


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