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A blast of Dynamite.

Some wormhole yesterday led me to the Wiki entry for Dynamite magazine … and boy, did that bring back four or five vague half-memories.

(It feels like I’ve written about just about all of my strong pop-cultural memories. Now I’m writing about things I vaguely sorta recall. Maybe it’s time to stop?)

Anyway, I was a touch too young to have read ur-’70s cover stories like “The Bee Gees vs. the Beatles! Who’s The Greatest?” or “Mork and Mindy: TV’s Out-Of-This-World Comedy!” when they were fresh off the press.

But I remember reading them anyway … perhaps a few years later, probably in bags of handed-down books from neighboring families who realized the book-hungry Blumenau boys might be good audiences for their outgrown kid-lit.

It’s also possible that I bought an issue or two through Scholastic book fairs, which were to early-’80s elementary school students what the Sears catalog was to prairie farmers. I don’t remember reading any of the early-’80s cover stories, though. (I’m pretty sure I would remember reading “Joanie Loves Chachi: And Dynamite Loves Them Both!”)

Dynamite apparently lasted until 1992, which is longer than I would have guessed, as its satin-and-neon image in my mind is pretty firmly hitched to a period roughly between 1977 and 1981. By the end it was giving cover stories to Urkel, Paula Abdul and Beverly Hills 90210.

I wonder if a magazine like that could exist today, even for a pre-teen audience. Is there still room for a non-threatening, friendly, written-straight-off-the-press-release cover story in a world where the foibles of famous actors and musicians are instantly shared with everyone online — sometimes by the performers themselves?

While I chew on that, I’ll end with some riffing:

10 ’70s Cover Stories
I Wish Dynamite Had Gotten Around To Writing

1. Bear Leaves B.J. Behind for An Exclusive Interview!

2. Lou Reed‘s Metal Machines: Far Out!

3. Taking It To The Stage with Funkadelic!

4. Bon and Angus: Those Lovable Devils from Down Under!

5. A Dynamite Saturday Night with Walter Mondale!

6. Gil Scott-Heron: What’s the Word?

7. Black Sabbath: A Friendly Bunch of Geezers!

8. Becker and Fagen Go to the Movies!

9. All Aboard the Supertrain!

10. Sid!

2 responses »

  1. Brian L Rostron

    That Bee Gees vs. Beatles cover story is remarkable, even for its source. Given the publication and the article’s timing, I assume that they listed a series of virtues for each group and concluded that their merits were so close that they couldn’t declare a definitive winner.

    I just wonder if there was any kind of differentiation between Dynamite and its sister publications such as Bananas, Hot Dog, and Peanut Butter? (Mmmm, bananas, hot dog, and peanut butter) Perhaps some of those were geared to younger reader?

    • In my dim memories, the Bee Gees-Beatles article is tied to or inspired by the Sgt. Pepper’s movie.
      But in the words of Billy Gibbons (who *also* should have been on Dynamite’s cover), I might be mistaken, a-hmm hmm hmm hmm.

      And yeah, I imagine that they came to the wondrously ludicrous conclusion that they just couldn’t pick a winner.
      (Or maybe they left it at: “The Beatles hold the edge for the number of records sold, but millions of Bee Gees fans will tell you their faves are the Number One ever!”)

      I saw mention of the other three mags in the Wiki article but have no memories of any of them. I would guess from the farcical names they were aimed at younger readers.
      Still, Dynamite was running cover stories on Charlie Brown and Snoopy, so clearly they were aiming pretty young as well.


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