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Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Sometimes I Like to Think of This Site as Misanthrope Magazine

 
Please Forgive The lateness of this post, but I've spent nearly the entire day in my own broadband-deprived Gethsemane. But my internet access has been restored, and I've already cut the crazy person beard and hideously long fingernails I immediately started cultivating while I waited for my connectivity to magically reappear. Onto today's topic...

People Magazine, longtime purveyor of "personality journalism," is turning 30 years old.

Obviously, any institution with that kind of staying power is going to have had its share of missteps. Here's a list of some of the magazine's darker, celebilicious moments, which almost certainly won't make their anniversary issue.


* A 1977 profile of Donny and Marie Osmond's tight-as-thieves brother/sister relationship featured a photo revealing that one of Marie's breasts, visible because of her low-cut blouse, had escaped the confines of her brassiere. The accidental breast appearance was not nearly as embarrassing to the Osmond clan as was Donny's google-eye, laser-locked gaze on the runaway areola.

* Fueled by one of People's notorious "three drink" lunches, a top editor demands a cover story proclaiming Downs Syndrome-stricken Life Goes On star Chris Burke as heir to Sly Stallone's action hero throne. A savvy copy desk staffer brings this to the attention of the editor when he sobers up, and instead they run a cover of Princess Di eating hot cakes off a commemorative plate depicting her wedding to Prince Charles. Circulation goes through the roof, leading to 84 subsequent Lady Di covers.

* In an attempt to prove that his relationship with medical school skeletal system demonstration prop Calista Flockhart hadn't dulled his leading-man edge, Harrison Ford poses for a photo spread in which he's splayed on Flockhart's couch like a 1950's cheescake model. In one photo, a sparkling stud in his left earlobe is prominently displayed, framed nicely against the embroidered "I Love My Tabby!" throw pillow in the background.

* Back in the early days of his career, Tom Cruise absentmindedly strangles to death Hubbard, his lhasa apso, when a People reporter asks him an un-preapproved question about the lipstick collection that dominates the south wall of his sitting room. Uber-publicist Pat Kingsley (with whom Cruise has recently parted ways) "accidentally" stabs the scribe in the eye with a fondue skewer, reminding him that he definitely didn't see any lipstick tubes and to make sure to note in his piece that Cruise's rottweiler, Genghis, had playfully distracted them during their entire conversation.
(Note to the Cruise legal team: Yesterday I saw Cruise at the Sunset Blvd. Coffee Bean, having intimate, incredibly heterosexual relations with any number of would-be starlets [read: female!] while having a latte.)

* A recent spread of post-Grammy party photos contained a caption misidentifying Elton John and Little Richard as "Unknown partygoing dandy and crazed, homeless companion."



About this site

This is the internet home of Mark Lisanti, a Los Angeles writer sometimes known as Bunsen. He is the founding editor of Defamer, a weblog about Hollywood, where he now serves in the nebulous capacity of "editor-at-large."
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