Monday, September 23, 2013

Rerun Week: Weekly World News (1981)

Hey guys! I'm on vacation in Jamaica, but She Was a Bird never sleeps! I'll be rerunning some posts from months and years past that are just as fresh as when I wrote 'em! I hope you are entertained (possibly for the first, possibly for the second) time by these archived items! Next week I'll be back with news from the sunny Caribbean! Take care!

This post originally appeared on the blog Thursday, November 15, 2012.

Good morning!

Well, the Roky show last night was just extraordinary-- he even played "Two Headed Dog" as an encore! Standing in the crow's nest style balcony area of Exit/In, the sound of his backup band was thundering and his changed-but-still-magnetic voice was the very focus of the whole show.Between the weirdo strange-o imagery in his song lyrics and the utter, devastating lack of sleep I've had as a result of the show getting out around midnight, I think it's possible that I'm in exactly the right frame of mind to be just plain delighted that I found out Weekly World News is available in Google Books from 1981- 2005. It's just what I needed to get myself through this coffee-IV-drip of a morning shift.

Behold! The TRUE news:

From the opening line of this article: "Only a miraculous twist of fate prevented nature from creating humans in the form of hideous green lizardmen uglier than any space alien, a famous scientist believes." I love that they used his own picture, the scientist's, to compare with the model of a hideous lizard he's concocted. PLEASE, TELL ME MORE, WWN.

I remember when I was a kid, Weekly World News was about the closest the inquiring young mind of a child eccentric still had to Creepy or Weird Tales, just in People magazine rather than comic book format. Much like comic books, I fostered no dim hope that my parents would ever give me money to buy the trash lit glaring at me in newsprint from the magazine stand near the checkout at Kroger's, but by golly, it couldn't keep me from speed reading the best of it when we were trapped in line behind someone with forty two items in the fifteen or less aisle (what was life like before self-checkouts? Do I even remember?).

Looking back on these snippets from 1981 (about a decade before my peak curiosity in news of the bizarre), they are much unchanged from what I remember! The kind of articles a precocious nine year old would know had no basis in reality, but couched in just enough faux science to plant a tiny seed of doubt. "Why DON'T we look like horrible lizards? What do you think a man-sized big bird would eat?"

UFO's seem an almost quaint concern in 2012 but for the very most conspiracy theory minded of us-- I'm much more worried about global warming causing catastrophic weather events that will destroy the planet than extraterrestrials using humans for food. And yet! UFO's were a real concern to the 1981 readership of this publication. Look at the absolutely awful "artist's impression of the incident" above, and the image of an alien from a "suppressed C.IA. document" below, and tell me this is not entertainment at its finest:

I included this clipping just because I love that the advice columnist is called "Babs" (so close to Bab! Or Barbra Streisand!) and has hair that I love. But while we're at it, why are you sixteen years old dating a guy in the Navy? Don't you have to be ((looks it up))...ok, the minimum age to join the Navy is 17, but there's no way I'm making a three and a half year commitment to my teenage sweetheart when he's going to be sailing all over the world, to exotic isles, on a boat with a bunch of other dudes who will probably be daring him to French kiss Tahitian women (I think all of my knowledge of the Navy could be expressed in one short montage of my memories of From Here to Eternity, which is set in Hawaii but I don't think even involves the my apologies to any service men who are reading).

This clipping reminds me of all the times my grandma would be like, "No, it's TRUE! I read it in a magazine! They have glasses for blind people to be able to see! So there's no reason anyone should be blind anymore. I guess unless they just don't know about the glasses...but someone should tell them!" And my mom would rejoin, "I don't think you read that in a news magazine. What kind of magazine did you read that in? Are you even sure you read it?" Cue my grandmother reaching for a Rubbermaid tote in which she kept newspaper clippings she wanted to read at a future date (there's a touch of hoarding in every branch of my family tree... I was obviously doomed).

Look. At the guy. In the background. I think he's supposed to be her also-slimming-boyfriend, but he just looks like someone from Dateline Investigates to me. And NOT the anchor reporting the story.

The kind of story I live for. Gimme the words "death-like coma" and "screaming in stark terror" and I'm in.

A montage of pieces from the rest of the issue, including a man with a robot dog, and not one but TWO stories about ghosts:

I think the guy in the lower right hand corner was selling horoscopes by mail. I want you to look deeply into his haircut, beard, glasses, and MONDO OVERSIZED BOW TIE before you pass judgement.

Do you love trashy news? Do you secretly or unsecretly miss tv shows like Inside Edition and Hard Copy (are either one of those still on air)? Do you remember any crazy headlines like "Bat Boy" from back in the not-really-news-news-magazine day? Share, share!

If you want the real deal experience all to yourself, here's a link to the original issue. Enjoy!

I gotta go put my head down on the desk and pray that this day ends swiftly. Keep a good thought for me, and I'll see you guys tomorrow for Photo Friday!


  1. This will be fun for us to revisit prior posts in reruns or discover others we may not have read before in prime time! Not as much fun as being in Jamaica, but appreciative of your efforts to keep us entertained! Hope you are doing nothing but enjoying yourselves!!!! Catch you when you get back!

  2. Actually I think that dinosaur person is quite attractive, and not "more hideous than any space alien"; it certainly isn't any uglier than those creatures from"Avatar". But then WWN always tended to "lay it on with a trowel".



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