On the first page of PEOPLE’S first issue, founding editor Richard B. Stolley explained what we were up to. “There is nothing abstract about our name,” he wrote. “PEOPLE is what we are all about. Week after week, PEOPLE will focus entirely on the active personalities of our time—in all fields. Our attitude toward our subjects is amiable and perhaps a little skeptical. We hope to be fair, informed, informative. We hope never to be cruel or awestruck or gushy. Believe us, quote us, enjoy us.”
Fifteen years later, hippies are yuppies, Watergate has given way to Iran-gate and Cher is an Oscar-winning actress. And PEOPLE, ex-upstart, has become one of the most successful magazines in history, with a weekly circulation of more than 3 million copies. In putting together this anniversary collection of favorite characters, quotes and pictures from past issues, it struck us that we had stayed fairly close to that original premise through all these years: to be amiable but never gushy, skeptical but fair, and always interesting. We hope you agree.