Shaun Cassidy, 2005
I heard on the radio this morning that Shaun Cassidy turns 52 today. They played part of one of his tunes and it took me back. It also made me think about the whole phenomenon of teen idols. I guess ever since the invention of movies, records, and fan magazines, there have been teen idols. If it wasn’t Elvis or the Beatles, it was Bobby Sherman and Davy Jones, David Cassidy and Donny Osmond, Leif and Shaun…a few years later, it was the New Kids on the Block and Mario Lopez. My sister, 10 years older than me, covered her cork bulletin board with photos of Peter Noone from Herman’s Hermits. My oldest niece, 17 years my junior, once had a giant poster of Neil Patrick Harris as Doogie Howser, MD above her bed. Geez, those magazines will pounce on just about anything with a pulse! And I think because of that, there is also the phenomenon of “teen idol backlash”. When stars are pushed in your face so much, some of us rebel.
It’s sad—Justin Bieber does have talent, but because he’s promoted so heavily, my daughters can’t stand him, and based on what I’ve read on the Internet, many other teens echo their feelings. It was the same for me, David, and Donny. Today, I’d pay to see them perform. But when I was ten, I spent time defacing their “centerfolds”. I laughed hard a few years ago after finding something similar on Emmie’s bedroom floor—she and Allison had friends sleep over the night before, and they’d taken a Sharpie and spent lots of time (and giggles) drawing (among other things) devil horns, a moustache, a beard, high heels and numerous speech and thought bubbles on a “lifesize” poster of Zac Efron. Ah, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree…
But if that’s the case, then Allison may be having a real teen idol crush coming along at any minute. Because 10th grade is when I finally lusted after a teen idol… Yes, after everyone had long ago put away their pop star magazines, I started buying them again. I couldn’t help it—one look at Shaun Cassidy singing “Surfin’ USA” on a “Hardy Boys Mysteries” TV episode and I was hooked (and I remember the exact moment, where I was and what I was wearing when it happened…). I hadn’t even been a fan of that show, but it happened to be on the screen when I walked into the house one evening—and the rest is history.
My feelings faded slightly faster than his star, but it was fun while it lasted. It was fun listening to his albums, fun waiting to see him on TV each week and fun snapping up the latest issue of Tiger Beat and 16 as soon as they appeared on newsstands. Amazingly, among the few things that I’ve saved from my Wonder Years are four issues of Tiger Beat and “16” Magazine, ranging from 1970-1977. So in honor of Shaun’s birthday, I decided to dig them out of a cabinet and share some of the contents from the one with his photo on the cover.
From a “Tiger Beat Super Special”, circa 1977 (price- $1.00):
-The cover headlines: SHAUN: Singer, Actor…Heartthrob!; FARRAH- The Most Popular Angel?; Goofing off with THE ROLLERS!; and The Jealous Side of LEIF!
-It also stated on the cover that this was a Giant Photo Issue! (Aren’t they all?) “More Than 400 Pictures Inside!” Wow!! What were they? Well the four-color, slick ones were Leif Garrett on the ski slopes (featuring his autograph, printed by a machine!), The Bay City Rollers (I actually liked them, too but that’s a whole other story); Donny and Marie (check out those teeth!); The Jacksons (without Michael); Shaun (of course) and Parker Stevenson (but the Shaun part was cut out); Charlie’s Angels; and Robby Benson. The rest of the “400” were all on black and white newsprint, which, after 33 years, I was worried were going to disintegrate in my hands…
-The inside articles: six on The Rollers, four about Charlie’s Angels; three articles on Leif (yes, Leif sang “Surfin’ USA, too); three on Shaun; “The Many Faces of Valerie” (Bertinelli); “John Travolta: Meet His Mom and Dad”; the favorite soups of about 15 different stars (who knew Tony DeFranco liked Minestrone?) with special serving tips for when you’re fixing “your special guy” dinner (“for something different, try the coffee table in the living room instead of the dining room table”) and complete menus for “what if” you were fixing dinner for your favorite star (darn, if only I’d fixed a Polynesian dinner for Shaun); and an article entitled, “Marie the Mother: Can You Picture Marie as a Mother? She Can!”. Among the 90 pages was also “Donny’s FREE Day” (How he spends his time); “Starsky and Hutch: Tired of Each Other?; “621 Super Facts about The Captain and Tennille”, and all about Kaptain Kool and the Kongs (a Sid and Marty Krofft-made Saturday morning band—anyone remember them?)
-Some tidbits from a two-page spread entitled “The Newest Scoops from Hollywood!”:
Diana Ross to star in “The Wiz”!
Barbra Streisand sticks out her tongue at a busload of tourists!
Kate Jackson is steady-dating Warren Beatty!
Lindsay Wagner voted “The Most Watchable Actress in America” by the International Society of Girl Watchers!
Mackenzie Phillips is being groomed for a recording career by her famous father!
Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys is making a comeback after staying in his bathrobe and bedroom for almost three years!
Neil Diamond not nominated for a Grammy even though his latest album, Beautiful Noise, sells over 2 million copies!
Alice Cooper is working on a movie with Mae West!
Jodie Foster wishes people would quit calling her a child actress!
John Denver will write the theme song for his new movie, “Oh, God!”
David Hasselhoff, star of the drama “The Young and the Restless”, makes his singing debut on The Merv Griffin Show!
Okay, okay, enough page turning for now. Better go put the magazines back in their Ziploc plastic bags before they self-destruct. Many Happy Returns, Shaun!