50 years of history
Perceptive readers of our special 50th anniversary section, which dominates this issue, will note that the section ends rather abruptly, with an observation of how much the U.S. Navy has contributed to the magazine’s growth during the last 20 years. We therefore add an ending at the beginning – right here – thanking all those, living and dead, male and female, human and non, who have supported us in what at times has been a roller coaster ride. We are particularly touched by the impressive lineup of congratulatory ads that appear in the section. Some of them come from advertisers who appeared in our first issues from 1965 to 1970. They pre-date us. Yolanda Maurer launched the magazine, originally known as Pictorial Life (incorporating Sun Colony), about this time of the year in 1965. We arrived in 1970. Advertisers, such as Maus & Hoffman, Causeway Lumber, Saks Fifth Avenue, Mayors Jewelers, the Mai-Kai, Lago Mar and Carroll’s Jewelers, make us look like newcomers. They are among the handful of companies that deserve recognition for their long history of success in South Florida.
There are many others – notably banks, financial services firms and hotels, which are still here. They may even be in the same buildings they occupied in 1965, but the names have changed through mergers and acquisitions. Like descendants of distinguished families, they may not bear the names of their ancestors, but their contributions to the remarkable growth of South Florida will live on through generations.
We were conscious in preparing this issue – work on it began several years ago – that without realizing it, we have become a magazine of record. People ask for articles or photos that appeared decades back. On one occasion, the Sun-Sentinel asked for a copy of an early 1970s issue that had a piece on the history of the paper. It seems our story was more complete than anything in the newspaper’s files. Therefore, in the name of historical accuracy, not everything in our issue reflects favorably on our own past. We made mistakes, and made some of them twice. One chapter deals with almost a decade of turmoil that a juiced-up Hollywood script writer would have difficulty matching. So what? It happened.
We are proud, however, that we tried throughout to act with integrity. We quickly realized that we could not turn a social-affluent lifestyle publication into the one we had left in Philadelphia. Philadelphia magazine had achieved a national reputation for gutsy journalism, routinely taking on local newspapers, and tackling controversial subjects, such as the Kennedy assassination. Our challenges were more mundane; one of our first tasks was to legitimize our circulation. Although it was not put in writing, sales people told the market we had twice our actual numbers.
That has long remained a sore subject. Back in the ’70s, we urged the Florida Magazine Association to insist that all members document circulation claims. We got nowhere with that. And we were annoyed by a recent article in The Miami Herald, which mentioned dozens of glossy magazines, but ignored us – the oldest and most successful magazine company in South Florida. We suspect the writer knew nothing about our 50-year history. And she did not seem interested in challenging the ethics of some of the publishing companies she mentioned. It is expensive in this business to be honest.
We are, however, in an infinitely stronger position to man our guns compared to 50 years ago. Perhaps that is the challenge for the next 50 years.