RIP Mr. Laufner

This morning, as most of my mornings begin, I checked out Facebook and saw that Charles Laufner has passed away.  Who is Charles Laufner, you ask?  Well – for a good many of you, if not most of you, he is whom we have to thank for our “wallpaper” back in the 80’s.  Mr. Charles Laufner was the founder of Tiger Beat, and he died in Los Angeles at the age of 87.

Tiger Beat was one very good reason I insisted on accompanying my mom to the grocery store each week.  As she would shop I would make a beeline for the magazine aisle, knowing that I had a good 20 or 30 minutes to look over each magazine, read the articles in the magazines I couldn’t purchase that particular week, and daydream about the day that Roger Taylor would come to rescue me from my life in suburbia.  Ah, to be 12 or 13 again….  There was hardly a time where Duran Duran wasn’t somehow featured on the front page – and most assuredly there were pictures contained within, if not full pin-ups.  I would spend hours scouring each issue, making sure to read every single word when it came to a Duran Duran article.  To this very day I remember an interview the magazine had done with Nick Rhodes.  Most of the interviews were very basic, and the answers were always very PG – at the time I never noticed how squeaky clean all of it was, interestingly enough. (call me naive if you must….and I was!)  In this one interview, the magazine asked Nick if he’d ever consider dating a fan. Nick’s answer?  He once dated a 1969 German air conditioner – if we had to know!   I don’t know why that stupid question and answer still stick with me, but to this day, when I see Nick – I think of that silly article!!

There’s no question that celebrities and bands alike have to thank magazines like Tiger Beat, and publishers like Charles Laufner, for their success.  Duran Duran utilized that market to the best of their means, regardless of whether we look back at that strategy with a sense of nostalgia or disdain.  Yes, critics always seemed to laud Duran Duran for appealing to teens like myself rather than going after the “serious” music crowd – but isn’t it funny that it’s teens like myself (and probably many of our readers) who continue to stick by the band, now in our mid 30’s and 40’s, as the core fan base?  Serious music consumers indeed.

Of course, Tiger Beat wasn’t the only teen magazine on the market – but it was among the first.  His first magazine was Teen, and his son Sean has continued the empire by buying Tiger Beat’s parent company in 2003 and continues to publish Bop.  Back in the day when I was a consumer of Tiger Beat – the magazine was one way, if not the only real way, that I could really indulge in my crush (the entire band…of course).  I could read the articles, learn about them, fawn over the pinups, put them up on my wall, and of course kiss them goodnight if I so chose, which I did.  (don’t tell anyone!)  It’s been many years since I last bought Bop or Tiger Beat – no really, I swear, but I have to wonder if the purpose of the magazine is still what it once was.  The internet has really shortened the distance between fan and “interest”, Twitter and Facebook have made it possible to even interact with celebrity in a way that I couldn’t have ever even dreamed back when Tiger Beat pinups covered my walls.

Mr. Laufner is responsible for opening my eyes and expanding my world back in the 80’s.  Without his magazine I would have never have become the fan I am today (and perhaps some would have appreciated that!), and I think it’s fair to say my life wouldn’t have turned out the same without Tiger Beat.  Thank you!

-R

3 thoughts on “RIP Mr. Laufner”

  1. No, she doesn't – actually I don't know anyone who really does, to be honest. I know they still sell them – I'll go down that aisle at the grocery store and see the teen magazines sitting on the shelves, but I never see anyone reading. It's funny because I can remember running into friends at the grocery store when my mom would go, and we'd all be reading Tiger Beat or Bop or whatever else was out on the shelves! 😀

  2. Oh I love how you posted on the PG rating of their activities… the ones they allowed us to see. I remember seeing some footage on Sing Blue Silver of John looking disheveled (sp?)and refusing to open his door to an early morning interview. At the time I thought they were just tired. We all know now they were hungover/high/whatever. I am so glad they are all done with that stuff now.

    Really, at the peak of fame, they were barely beyond college age, with tons of money and fame thrown at them. It is no wonder they went off the rails.

    Amanda

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