Exciting NoRMMA news + Photoplay covers, 1912-1980

Things have been a little quiet on the NoRMMA blog of late, partially due to the PhD thesis of the NoRMMA blogkeeper reaching its final stages – but we return with a bit of exciting news. We’re very happy to announce that, following the “Turning The Page”-conference in November, we recently signed a contract with the University of Iowa Press to work on an edited collection on fan magazines. We’re very excited about this project and will, of course, keep you all posted via the blog and our Facebook page!

As an additional treat to our readership, though, and as the main reason behind this post, I come bearing the gallery below – containing a grand total of 69 covers of Photoplay magazine (US). The covers range in date from 1912 to 1980, one for each year, and they really allow for reflection on the evolution of the magazine’s cover design.

Over the course of these seven decades, we see the focus on the face of the star materialise very quickly – as well as the emphasis on female rather than male stars, even if this is not exclusively true, and major male stars like Rudolph Valentino and Clark Gable, as well as certain star couples, are also occasionally featured. The focus on the face of one or more stars then develops further in the sixties and early seventies, as increasingly, candid (or semi-candid) photographs of particular stars or groups of stars are used as cover images. Text, too, proliferates over the course of the decades, and by the late 1970s often takes up as much space as the image.

It would be interesting to compare the covers of a number of different magazines across the decades, and this is certainly a future plan for this blog – but for now, enjoy!

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