Pamplin Media Group – EDITOR: Happy 200th anniversary to America’s most historic magazine
This month, the publisher hails America’s “most historic magazine” – it just turned two hundred years old
There are probably publications in the United States dating back over 200 years – a few competing farmer almanacs come to mind – but none were more related to our country and what it has become over the years. than the Saturday Night Message.
Some of us who lived it for a while grew up with it when it peaked in popularity around 1960, reaching a weekly draw of almost seven million subscriptions. It made its newspaper debut on August 4, 1821 – published on Benjamin Franklin’s printing press shortly after his death, and inspired by his “Pennsylvania Gazette”. With a very brief hiatus from 1969, it was published continuously for 200 years.
Some of those reading this will be surprised to learn that it is still in the process of being released! Yes, it is now by a nonprofit organization called the Benjamin Franklin Literary Society, and instead of being a weekly magazine, it is now bimonthly and appears six times a year. But anyone who knows the magazine in its heyday will recognize (and appreciate) it today.
If you want to read a brief history of the publication, you can find it here: www.saturdayeveningpost.com/history-saturday-evening-post
Those who grew up with the magazine will fondly remember its illustrated covers, still collectable today, from the work of Norman Rockwell. Stephen Spielberg and George Lucas are both among those who collect these covers today. And they might remember fiction – because all the best writers of the past two centuries wrote for the Saturday Evening Post. Your editor remembers his parents interested him in reading from an early age, reading him the Post’s regular comedic stories involving the tug Annie, who ran a tugboat in the northwest port of “Secoma,” and Alexander Botts, the worm tractor. salesman, whose stories overcoming various problems with selling earthworm tractors were always written in the form of a series of letters to the home office.
Single-panel cartons were still sought after by those who received the magazine the second Saturday mail delivery (yes, until the mid-20th century there were two mail deliveries per day, Monday through Saturday). One of these cartoons was developed as a successful TV sitcom – “Hazel” by cartoonist Ted Key. Case in point: The very first major report warning of the consequences of human-induced climate change was published in the Saturday Evening Post! The article was titled “Is the World Getting Warmer?” And it appeared in the July 1, 1950 issue!
The Post covered L. Ron Hubbard’s new “religion”, Scientology, in the March 21, 1964 issue. This kind of journalism was not unusual in the magazine, and generally anticipated problems long before. that they are not recognized elsewhere in the popular press. So, happy 200th birthday to the Saturday Evening Post! In the meantime, we conclude this year by marking an important anniversary for this humble Southeast Portland newspaper. We celebrated our 117th anniversary in September. THE BEE exists thanks to a successful but somewhat radical concept developed by the Saturday Evening Post around the XX’s turn of photos, and many pages per issue – all cost more than the magazine could charge per copy. Until then, most publications were funded almost entirely by subscriptions and copy sales, so costs had to be low, and the number of pages was as low as possible, which meant few illustrations, and no photos, among others. Just a page full of fine print! To create the magazine its publisher wanted as the calendar turned to the 1900s, its legendary editor at the time – George Lorimer – believed that the extra costs should be paid for by advertising, and spend that money to improve the magazine would pay off to attract more readers and more subscribers. He turned out to be right, and the American edition was completely altered by this concept. This is how you can read a newspaper like THE BEE today: the cost of its creation and delivery is almost entirely paid for by advertising revenue. Our advertisers are hoping for your business, and we hope you will thank them for their participation and support to THE BEE.
And the result is a newspaper capable of giving in-depth coverage of what’s going on in the Southeastern Portland interior every month – the news, good and bad. If you want to find out what’s going on here, this really is the one place you’re going to find it all. It’s a pleasure to do it for you, Happy Holidays, and thank you for “Reading The Bee”!
You depend on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Good local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.