Monday, December 20, 2010

Get Lost Inside the Los Angeles Magazine Cover Archive

Los Angeles magazine's new cover archive is easily one of my new favorite Internet spots. I've already spent plenty of time going through the covers, year by year, taking in both the magazine's changes and Los Angeles' post-war evolution.

The archive actually begins with the short-lived city mag "L.A." in 1958. Los Angeles magazine officially traces its roots to the July 1960 launch of "The Southern California Prompter" (which began its life with an illustration of City Hall on its cover). The magazine, now celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, morphed into "Los Angeles magazine" by 1961.

Interesting highlights: A 1962 cover piece on the real story on how Chavez Ravine became the home to the Dodgers; a 1963 cover line asking whether our aerospace industry would eventually depart (the answer, of course, was yes); a story on Wilshire in 1963 featuring the subhed 'Midtown grows up' (that 'midtown' term never caught on).

Another 1963 cover line asked whether the old downtown should be saved. Quite a few magazine covers from back then featured buildings being built, as the construction boom took hold.

Meanwhile, has there always been a touch of gloom-and-doom here? A 1967 cover piece describes how to "save" the city.

A 1969 cover chronicles the rise and fall of MGM -- and funny, 40 years later the remants of the old MGM remain in play. And in 1970, the magazine asked, can L.A. use three newspapers? (The answer: No.)

I do wish there was a way to read these stories. Go check out the archive here.

(Photographs by Larry Underhill.)

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