When Cover Lines Collide: Mixed Messages From LIFE Magazine

“There’s an art to writing magazine cover lines — those enticing blurbs of text that, when all goes well, tell readers what stories or features to watch for inside. Editors agonize and argue not only over what articles make the cover, but how to best highlight those articles that make the cut. The cover story itself, of course, gets an awful lot of attention, but quite often there are two or three (and sometimes more) features that merit prominent mention.

Finding a way to somehow, simultaneously, create a hierarchy among the various cover lines — this one is very important; this one is perhaps a tad less so; this one, meanwhile, is just kind of cool — while also making sure that all of the stories get noticed is among the trickiest balancing acts in all of  publishing. When it works, it’s beautiful. When it doesn’t … well, things can get confusing, and unintentionally comical, right quick.

On April Fools’ Day, LIFE.com takes a friendly look at a number of LIFE magazine covers through the years that featured some jarring — and frequently humorous — disconnects between cover photos and cover lines for other stories in the very same issue. Marilyn Monroe and UFOs? A slow, huge-eyed primate and Winston Churchill? Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis and germ warfare? Here, in all their oddball wonder, are early examples of media mash-ups that, decades later, still have us scratching our heads — and smiling.”

Winston Churchill vs. a slow loris. The loris wins

“As an added bonus, for no other reason that that we like it so very much — and because it’s so very strange — we’ve also chosen to include the cover of the April 26, 1937, issue of LIFE: the only cover among literally thousands published by the venerable weekly not to feature the distinctive red and white LIFE logo in the upper left-hand corner. The reason for the logo’s exclusion? According to a note from the editors that appeared on the issue’s table of contents page, the LIFE logo “was not boldly superimposed on this week’s cover because that would have spoiled the composition” of Torkel Korling’s striking portrait.”

the cover of the April 26, 1937, issue of LIFE

“All these years later, we find it impossible to argue with that logic. The White Leghorn Rooster — proud, defiant, inscrutable, unblinking — stands alone.

Well played, LIFE. Well played, indeed.”

Read more: http://life.time.com/culture/when-cover-lines-collide-mixed-messages-from-life-magazine/#ixzz2PwAmQiJb

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Author: ASHOK M VAISHNAV

In July 2011, I opted to retire from my active career as a practicing management professional. In the 38 years that I pursued this career, I had opportunity to work in diverse capacities, in small-to-medium-to-large engineering companies. Whether I was setting up Greenfield projects or Brownfield projects, nurturing the new start-ups or accelerating the stabilized unit to a next phase growth, I had many more occasions to take the paths uncharted. The life then was so challenging! One of the biggest casualty in that phase was my disregards towards my hobbies - Be with The Family, Enjoy Music form Films of 1940s to mid-1970s period, write on whatever I liked to read, pursue amateur photography and indulge in solving the chess problems. So I commenced my Second Innings to focus on this area of my life as the primary occupation. At the end of four years, I am now quite a regular blogger. I have been able to build a few very strong pen-relationships. I maintain contact with 38-years of my First Innings as freelance trainer and process facilitator. And yet, The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.

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