I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again- I love a good teen mag! The fashions and stories are so amusing to flip through. This issue is TEEN Magazine- The Magazine for Young Americans from December 1956.
When looking up the background of this magazine, I was having trouble finding anything. Then I found why- the name changed over time. Beginning as Coaster Publications, the magazine was started by a California teacher Charles Laufer in the 1950s who wanted to create a magazine for students. The name was later changed to Teen, and then in 1965 launched into the popular Tiger Beat Magazine. This issue primarily focuses on teen high school students in California.
One of the parts that I enjoy about the magazine is it is just generally for teens- both boys and girls. Theres a little something for everyone. Both male and female fashions and dating tips are shared, and articles on sports, celebrities and music are mixed in with the trendiest clothing ads.
One of the main highlights of this magazine is “The Search for the NEW James Dean”, published a little over a year after his death, it promises one lucky “hopeful” a full scholarship to Pasadena Playhouse College- if they think they have what it takes to be the next James Dean.
There is also an article called “The Many Face of Brando” where they show different roles Marlon Brando has played- including an Asian man “Sakini” which states he uses “greasepaint” and a Mexican man “Zapata” which boasts he used “plastic rings to flare his nostrils”. This was quite uncomfortable to read with a 2020 lens.
My favorite part of the magazine is an article titled “Don’t Be Glamorous” written by the late Natalie Wood. I chose to highlight this issue now because of the recent news on Natalie Wood’s daughter publishing a book on her mothers memory. In the article, Natalie, who was 18 at the time of publishing, urges girls to see that beauty comes from within, and if you take care of yourself and your personality you will shine.
Overall, this magazine is such a fun look into what a typical middle class, white teen in the 1950s was interested in. From fashion, to sports, to celebrities and more, Teen magazine has me now craving a soda pop out of a paper straw!