The 1968 Exhibit: Coronet, September 1968

It's probably been a while since you've given a thought to Coronet. *This small-format magazine--it was meant as a cheaper, smaller spinoff of its parent, Esquire, which seems incongruous today--was published from 1936 to 1971. *It was a digest, like Reader's but supposedly hipper.

coronet-1968This issue sports one of 1968's most popular cover girls, Debbie Reynolds. *Ever since the Cleopatra/Liz-and-Dick/Eddie-and-Debbie brouhaha, this perky actress (was she ever NOT described as "perky"?) was always in the public eye. *In the aforementioned scandal, she came out looking pretty good-- the put-upon, jilted good girl vs. the predatory, house-wrecking temptress. *And it didn't hurt that she was blonde, attractive in a wholesome mid-American way, and actually quite talented.

Debbie's face--if it wasn't going to exactly launch a thousand ships--was going to sell a lot of magazines. *So here, in Coronet, is a little puff piece about her latest movie, a mild sex farce with James Garner called*How Sweet it Is. *In just a few pages of this tiny magazine, there are 12 photos of Debbie in various states of undress-- the theme being that this movie marked a daring departure from her more innocent days.

The rest of the issue has an almost predictable lineup of stories: *the how-are-we-going-to-get-out-of-Vietnam article (this one by Irving Kristol); an article about the "new Negro" on TV in the fall (Diahann Carroll as Julia); an article about "our kids" (protesting college students) and how they are being pushed too hard (by pushy parents); an article about the new fad of jogging; and a story about the wit and humor of presidential candidates ("hilarious stories about American politics"). * Another sign of the times: *a full-page ad for L. Ron Hubbard's Dianetics, the Bible for Scientologists. *("Here you will find an easy route to follow which will lead you to TOTAL FREEDOM!") * 1968 was the year that Scientology took off -- its "Freedom" magazine was published for the first time-- and it will be worth revisiting them in a future post.