Got my 75th-anniversary issue of Esquire in the mail a few days ago, and I’m looking forward to plunging in. The issue’s theme: the 75 most influential people of the 21st century, which turns the backward-looking theme of the magazine’s 50th-anniversary issue - “50 Who Made a Difference” - on its head.
Looking at that 50th-anniversary issue - a 616-page giant dated December 1983 (which, yes, I saved) - showcases some of the remarkable cachet Esquire has maintained. The focus then was as much on the writers of the essays about the 50 notables as it was the notables themselves, and what writers: Saul Bellow, Roy Blount Jr., Truman Capote, Alistair Cooke, Frances FitzGerald, Richard Ford, David Halberstam … and I’m not even halfway through the alphabet.
That’s the thing about Esquire. Though it has occasionally flagged, the magazine has remained devoted to good writing (and smart art direction, too). Its 1960s heyday alone offers enough for an entire run of other magazines; during that era, the magazine published Norman Mailer’s “Superman Comes to the Supermart,” Gay Talese’s “Frank Sinatra Has a Cold,” Tom Wolfe’s “The Last American Hero Is Junior Johnson, Yes!” and John Sack’s “M.” And those George Lois covers - amazing.
Most readers (including me, sadly) don’t have the patience for several-thousand-word profiles anymore - and the occasional celebrity profile can be embarrassing (what was with that Mike Myers piece a few months ago?) - but Esquire is still well worth reading, thanks to a masthead that includes Tom Junod, Charles P. Pierce and Thomas P.M. Barnett.
The writing remains strong, the fashion tips impeccable, the Answer Fella amusing and the women still worth loving. So is Esquire.
Happy 75th, Esky.
– Todd Leopold, CNN.com Entertainment Producer
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