This issue of PEOPLE, besides being Volume 1, Number 1, has some other distinguishing features.
PEOPLE is the first national weekly magazine to be started in 20 years. Our flourishing sister publication SPORTS ILLUSTRATED had the last big national launch in August 1954.
PEOPLE is a magazine whose title fits it perfectly. There is nothing abstract about our name. PEOPLE is what we are all about.
Journalism has, of course, always noted and dealt with people. But we dedicate our entire editorial content to that pursuit.
Week after week, PEOPLE will focus entirely on the active personalities of our time—in all fields. On the headliners, the stars, the important doers, the comers, and on plenty of ordinary men and women caught up in extraordinary situations.
You can see what we mean by leafing through this issue. Headliners: the Randolph Hearsts.
Stars: Mia Farrow in Gatsby.
Doers: Stephen Burrows, the sensational black stylist. Comers: Annie Dillard, the rising young author. And for ordinary men and women caught up in extraordinary situations: the MIA family that picketed the White House, and the overweight women who literally had their mouths locked shut.
As we say, we will concentrate on individuals rather than issues, on the force of personality, on what’s happening to human beings and how those human beings react. In this issue, for instance, there is Marina Oswald telling her feelings 10 years after the assassination of President Kennedy. And William Peter Blatty, author and producer of The Exorcist, giving his reactions to the movie’s critics and the audiences’ behavior.
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. This attitude, we think, is peculiarly American—and particularly at this time.
We think of PEOPLE as a very contemporary magazine, one attuned to the free-wheeling. ’70s and its mood of burning curiosity, wry detachment and tolerance for other people’s manners and morals. We want PEOPLE to reflect the times.
We want PEOPLE to be a magazine that is fun to pick up and both easy and worthwhile to read—page after page, cover to cover. We don’t want readers to put PEOPLE aside until they’ve got the time, because that extra time so often fails to arrive. We think PEOPLE is going to be talked about and quoted. We aim to be the indispensable guide to those millions of aware Americans who cheerfully acknowledge that what interests them most is other people—especially the above average, the important, the charismatic, the singular.
We think PEOPLE embodies an editorial idea whose moment has come, in somewhat the same manner that marked our predecessors in the Time Inc. family of magazines: TIME in 1923, FORTUNE in 1930, LIFE in 1936, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED in 1954 and MONEY in 1972.
Does PEOPLE bear a relationship to our other publications? Some of our staff was drawn from those magazines (although more than half is new to Time Inc.). The exclusive pictures of Palm Beach personalities in this issue were taken by Harry Benson, a LIFE alumnus, and LIFE’s famed Alfred Eisenstaedt photographed Gloria Vanderbilt in her home. We hope to call on them often, as well as on other present and former Time Inc. staffers.
In our prepublication months, there was some outside speculation that PEOPLE would be a revived LIFE. Not so. As you know, we published two LIFE Special Reports last year, and we will publish one or two more in 1974. But the magazine in your hands is an entirely different venture. PEOPLE embodies a new concept and new format.
PEOPLE will be sold only at newsstands—in supermarkets, drugstores, airports, terminals and neighborhood stationery stores. At more than 100,000 locations in all. New every week.
Editorially, we hope to come at everything fresh. To reappraise, to ask “Who is this person” and give an honest, up-to-date answer. To reassess the old familiar faces. To welcome the new and eager. To peer into the lives of the hitherto undiscovered. And to do all of this with zest, sensitivity and good humor.
Believe us, quote us, enjoy us.