I'mErica Online

It was 16 years ago today...

16 Magazine, November 1984One of the strange things about moving back to the house you lived in as a teenager is finding things you haven't seen in many, many years. For me, this means my 16 Magazine stash. I hadn't seen these in the better part of 8 years. This one is dated November 1984. That is 16 years ago! Man, do I feel old.

Of all the ones for me to pick up out of the pack, this one is quite a time capsule. This was a big year for me -- I made the move from Los Angeles County to Riverside, aka The Boondocks, and from Michael Jackson to Duran Duran.

Who can forget the hair, the clothes, the shoes and the music of 1984? It was all so rad!

As is visible on the cover, John Stamos was pretty darn popular at the time. I can't remember why, but then, I didn't watch soap operas much.

I find it so amusing that Ricky Shroeder is on the cover, too. He'llWho didn't want to experience The Ricker? always have a special place in my heart, between The Champ and Silver Spoons, how could he not? I didn't even start watching that show purely for it's Ricky appeal, but because I'd been a big fan of "Best of the West," which starred Joel Higgins, who played his dad on the show.

Even though he's a 30 year old man with a bunch of kids who kicks some serious ass and says really dirty words on "NYPD Blue," I still think of him as cute little Ricky Shroeder. Actually, that's not quite true. I still think of him as The Ricker, his character's persona once he lost the bowl cut.

Apparently, I even entered the contest in that issue to win a (non-speaking) part on "Silver Spoons." Who knows how my life would be different had I won? It would just be me and The Ricker living in a nice, country house somewhere.

It's also strange to see Michael Jackson on the cover, before he got too damn weird for teen fandom. The headline is eerily prophetic, isn't it?

This is right about the time I stopped liking him. I was starting to Michael Jackson:  the Boy vs. the Man!think of him as Big Gay Mike and the glove thing was getting silly. He wasn't very cool, compared to what else was out there. I think I got out in time. It's really going to date me, but, in my memories, Michael Jackson is actually black.

Even so, I was more than happy to see MJ live with all of his brothers that October, right around the time this magazine arrived. We'd mailed away for our Victory tour tickets in the spring, when I still adored MJ, at a then-hefty $30 each. We sat in the third tier at Dodger Stadium. Horrible seats. It was bitter cold that night and, as I recall, my Big Red gum and Dodger dog froze. My best friend Rosie (with whom I've just become reacquainted after almost a decade) and I were hoarse from screaming the next day.

Somehow, I wasn't ashamed of carrying around the Cabbage Patch kid we'd decked out in Snoopy's old black tuxedo (though with his own pants that one of my mom's coworkers made for me, since Snoopy's had a hole for his tail). I'd carefully sewn white sequins on the dickie (shirt front), black sequin's on the lapels of the jacket and silver sequins on his socks. We couldn't find a glove his size (though we could've used a sock, come to think of it), he had a little lapel pin in the shape of a white glove with glitter on it. Amazing how novelty companies get right on top of fads like that.

. . .

I had been reading a lot of Star Hits over the summer at my Doorand, Doorandgrandma's house and watching MTV on a daily basis for the first time (we'd had it off and on, depending on the whims of the cable company). I clearly remember walking to Linder's, a family-owned ice cream shop that made absurdly large malts and buying other teen rags.

When I came home that summer, the tide had turned and it was all about Duran Duran. Somehow my mom knew this and on my bed the very day I returned were copies of Rio and 7 and the Ragged Tiger. Already, John Taylor was my favorite. We moved into this house that fall and the first close friends I met were Durannies. Kristi soon became my best friend, even though we argued constantly about who was going to marry JT. That was as big as issues got in our lives at the time.

For better or worse, so much of our identity was rooted in which teen idol we admired. In fact, this copy of 16 is falling apart because I used to exchange pictures with some of the stoner chicks. One in particular loved David Lee Roth like you wouldn't believe. She'd have non of our pansy British new wavers and gladly gave up piles of pictures in trade for the few Van Halen pics that popped up in 16 or Bop.

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No 16 Magazine retrospective is complete without feauring the cast ofThe cast of Breakin'! "Breakin'." I don't know what happened to Special K, but Shabba Doo and Michael "Shrimp" Chambers, as you no doubt recall, went on to make "Breakin' 2: Electric Bugaloo."

This was big news in Carson and Wilmington, where I'd lived and started junior high, as these were local folks. I still remember Michael Chambers' cousin chasing me through the halls and Coco, the littlest breakdancer in the movie, splashing me in the pool at the public park across the street from our old apartment. In case you somehow missed out on the cultural phenomenon that was "Breakin'," Coco was also the tiny little breakin' boy in David Lee Roth's seminal "California Girls" video.

. . .

Scott Baio:  Just a boy from BrooklynI guess I missed the Scott Baio thing. He never appealed to me. Well, maybe when he was 11 and on "Happy Days."

He always seemed far too old. Adrian Zmed was also in this issue (pictured with his newborn son) and he was probably 30 by then, which was just too damn old for me to even get hot over. It always seemed creepy when they put anyone over the age of 25 in these magazines, considering the cover teengirl masturbatory rags they were.Ralph Macchio gives Dick Clark a run for his money

Ralph Macchio, however, was a different story. Though he was already 50 years old at the time, he scarcely looked 13. I bet he lookes exactly the same today. He was also forgiveable because he was in one of my favorite movies at the time, The Outsiders. I remember my whole junior high had done something great, I think we sold a ton of candy that year or maybe we were well-behaved when there was an important visitor. At any rate, our reward was a special screening of The Outsiders instead of 5th and 6th period. There could be no greater reward.

I remember Macchio did a play around this time and it seemed the furthest thing from my world. Little did I know that 14 years later I'd live in New York and see a handful of shows on Broadway.

. . .

I *heart* John TaylorIf you thought the Michael Jackson thing was embarassing, this order form will blow your mind. I filled it out for 6 buttons, one for each member of Duran Duran, complete with their nick names, and one that says "I <3 Duran Duran."

I cannot for the life of me remember why the Andy Taylor button, had I followed through and sent the order in, would've read "Andy Taylor, aka 'Sniffer'." I wonder now if we'd read this was his nickname in some silly article and immediately adopted it as his nickname. The funny part is now I can't help but wonder if it was a sly drug reference.

Among the buttons the girl is wearing are "I Love Guys," "I love Someone Special," "I Love Robby," "I Love Van Halen," and "I Love Michael Jackson," which seems to be stretching things quite a bit. For emphasis, I guess, some of the pins appear on her person several times.

Her big eyes and mouth kinda creep me out.

. . .

Sometimes I joke about never having left the '80s. I guess it's natural that everyone has an era they feel was their time. I'd sayill-fated actor Jon-Erik Hexum 1984 was the most '80s year there was. So many significant things happened, both in the world at large and in my little 16 Magazine skewed world.

I think Jon-Erik Hexum's untimely demise was probably the first time I really thought about death. I'd forgotten how breathtaking he was. The grand prize for this contest was a phone call from Hexum himself. My memory is that this issue came out just after he died (I seem to recall 16 Magazine coming a week or so before the month the issue was labeled with began. Based on a little web research, this seems to hold true. I always wondered how they handled that contest.

Silence of the Heart:  Chad Lowe and Charlie SheenCoincidentally, that same issue had a feature on "Silence of the Heart," a TV movie about teen suicide.

I remember seeing this movie at the time and really falling for Chad Lowe. (I don't remember Charlie Sheen registering on the radar until Platoon, about 2 years later.) When Chad Lowe did Spencer later that year, I was an avid viewer. I had a crush on a kid named Spencer, probably in large part due to this show.

I thought he was so cool, but though we hung out a lot, he tended to make fun of me and that got on my nerves. Then one day he showed up at my house and my mom had an especially weird tone when she said, "One of your little friends is here." He had showed up with a classmate's kid brother, both wearing walkie talkie headsets. What a nerd!

. . .

It's amazing how our tastes have changed and yet how much has The other Rick:  Springfieldremained the same. I don't know if it's just me, but these guys seem a lot more manly, yet in a non-threatening way, than today's heartthrobs. Maybe it's because I'm older now than any of these teen idols were then, so the boy bands today really do look like boys to me.

Rick Springfield was my one exception to the over 25 rule. He was such a babe! I really felt dated when that cell phone commercial with him at an amusement park came out and the fans were only there to bring their kids and he just happened to be playing that day. See, to me, Rick Springfield isn't a has been, he's still Rick Springfield, for crying out loud! You just know he's singing "Love Somebody" in that picture, right? Oh, baby.

. . .

Boy George meets Robert Mitchum -- WTF?This issue was full of surprises as well.

Like, why on earth was Boy George ever in proximity of Robert Mitchum? Can you think of an odder pair at a party? What would they talk about?

"I tried to schtup Marilyn Monroe."

"Really? What a coincidence! I try to do my make-up like hers."

The mind boggles.

. . .

hello....Ricky Martin!One little heartthrob that escaped my attention at the time was a not-quite 13 year old Ricky Martin. He was a wee 80 pounds of love I just couldn't get into at the time. The irony, of course being he was my own age.

He had the non-threatening teen idol part down, alright. Blame it on girls maturing sooner than boys, but he just wasn't quite man enough for me then.

I suppose the more things change, the more they stay the same.