I note the passing of Davy Jones, certainly one of the icons of my distant youth. (which gives you some notion of how distant that youth was.) It’s interesting that I should learn he had taken the last train to Clarksville on the same day that we had one of those donations of something people almost never donate to the Book Fair. There are millions of them out there—I’m sure of it—and yet somehow, even though people drop off candles, souvenir Dr. Pepper cans, and grade school graduation pictures, they never bring us Tiger Beat.
In case anyone out there has somehow missed seeing Tiger Beat, it is a magazine launched in 1965 with a big picture of The Righteous brothers in the middle of an extremely busy cover. It is dedicated itself since then to supplying primarily girls whose age has recently gone into double digits with the birthdates and favorite colors and Girl Scout cookie flavors (their faves) of the latest pop icons (the readers’ faves. I think they coined the word “fave” for favorite, and did at least have a sister magazine called Fave for a while.)
The issues I have been given are about halfway between The Righteous Brothers and Justin Bieber, and I see that one of the biggest heart-throbs in all of these issues is Michael J. Fox, though Michael Jackson and Madonna get their share of coverage. Like the issues of 1965 and 2012, it is earnest about current fashion necessities, the relationship problems encountered by the middle school crowd, and how Valerie Bertinelli handles her fan mail. This kind of information never gets old. It never gets all that new, either, which must be some consolation to the editors. It must be possible to take the same articles that were written in 1965 and just change the names.
And it is one of those things that, somehow, people never bring us. There must have been millions of copies of Tiger Beat (and its subsidiaries, like Bop, and its rivals, like Teen Beat) in the greater Chicago area. But no one drops them off.
There are other things that must be out there that never come in, like old blues records. But they don’t surprise me. People do not let go of their blues 78s, even when they have been played so much that the grooves have practically worn off, because they hold special memories or because they are believed to be of great value. (Many of them are. We actually did get a tiny collection of blues 78s this week as well, worn almost smooth, and why did you have to break Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf?)
But Tiger Beat is, um, well, still regarded as disposable literature, to judge by what happens on eBay every time I try to sell ‘em. You’d think nobody cared about Brooke Shields’s favorite ice cream sundae or Kristy McNichols’s dating strategies any more. Maybe I don’t see them coming in to the Book Fair simply because they were cut up so all the pictures of Kevin Tighe could be pasted in a scrapbook covered with little pink hearts, or so that all the color pictures of Mike Nesmith could be taped to the wall. Or maybe they were simply read to death, passed from hand you hand by all the members of the Highland Park Bay City Rollers Lovers Club and rolled up to be stuffed into a backpack. Still, this doesn’t keep you from sending in your back issues of People.
It isn’t as though I WANT a lot of Tiger Beat donations (where do I put ‘em? Show Biz? Music? History?) Still, they were a nice distraction this week from a record collection comprising some ten boxes of solid packed Viennese operetta recordings. I didn’t know Viennese operetta still exercised that kind of pull on people’s minds. I haven’t opened all the boxes yet. I’m kind of afraid I’ll open one and turn up the Belle Epoque issues of Der Tiger Beat, telling me what Franz Lehar’s favorite kind of torte is.
In the meantime, you might go online and make a memorial donation to The Newberry in honor of Davy Jones. This is not an official request and is not sanctioned by The Powers That Be. But, being a daydream believer myself, I’d like to see how they cover that in the Annual Report.