Of all the magazines created for young people in the 20th century, Tiger Beat and 16 remain the most memorable. Rivals from the start, these two titans of teen publishing provided a steady diet of idol fare for four generations of pubescent fans.

16 came first. It debuted in May of 1957, as a answer to the Elvis craze. 16 intentionally went after a younger audience, and wrote primarily about pop stars and actors. It was aimed specifically at young girls and their prepubescent fantasies.

Tiger Beat debuted in September of 1965, started with money publisher Charles Laufer earned for selling his fame-and-fashion themed Teen magazine. Laufer saw the entertainment part of his previous publication as the more marketable part, and set out to create a music magazine. After recruiting TV dance party host Lloyd Thaxton, the first year of Tiger Beat was dedicated to rock bands and the British Invasion as well as advertising Thaxton's syndicated show. When Thaxton decided to leave his TV show (after nine years on the air) hesevered his deal with Tiger Beat .

Although Tiger Beat and 16 scooped up material from the same pool of young music and TV stars, they took very diferent approaches. Tiger Beat was a slick publication with color pin-ups and a squeaky clean delivery of its articles. 16 had a tendency to be more sensational, and a bit more stark in its presentation. While Tiger Beat lined up an exclusive deals with The Monkees and later, The Partridge Family, 16 was reporting on Jim Morrisson and Alice Cooper (respectively). Although both publications printed many pictures of shirtless, young idols, 16 had a way of making the pictures more provocative,often on the verge of soft-core porn.

The first twenty years of 16 generally used spot color printingon its pin-ups; more economical, but not quite as classy as Tiger Beat's four-color pocess. 16 made up for it with their large "pop out" posters stapled to thecenter of their magazines in the height of production in the early ’70s, though Tiger Beat also included bonus posters in the golden age of teen idols (the early ’70s).

Even with its cheaper look, 16 was the top-selling teen magazine on the market from the late fiftes until early ’70s. Tiger Beat took the lead in the mid ’70s, though early in the decade, both publications were boasting circulation of one million copies a month.

In January, 2000, Primedia Publications bought both magazines, as well as many other popular titles like Bop and Teen Beat. Though they credited 16 with being their #1 teen publication, the end of 2001 found Primemedia experiencing financial trouble. Production of 16 was haulted, and Tiger Beat was reduced to a quarterly scedule.

In 2004, the Lauffer family bought the Primmedia Teen 'Zine catalog. Scott Lauffer, Charles' son, is now head of Tiger Beat, and 16 has been laid to rest, In the end, it seems Tiger Beat won the war.

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