Size: 89.3 MB
Los Angeles Confidential - May/June 2016
English | True PDF | 166 pages | 89 MB
Confidential was a magazine published quarterly from December 1952 to August 1953 and then bi-monthly until it ceased publication in 1978. It was founded by Robert Harrison and is considered a pioneer in scandal, gossip and exposé journalism.
The first Confidential issue was dated December (released November) 1952 under the caption "The Lid Is Off!" Its circulation was 250,000 copies. But when the breakup of Marilyn Monroe's marriage to Joe DiMaggio was reported in the August 1953 issue ("Why Joe DiMaggio Is Striking Out with Marilyn Monroe!"), the circulation jumped to 800,000. The quarterly magazine then became bimonthly and was the fastest growing magazine in the US at the time. Harrison would claim its circulation reached four million, and because every copy was estimated to be read by ten persons, it might have reached a fifth of the US population.
Contrary to the popular legend that the magazine double-checked its facts before publishing its articles, as well as being vetted by Confidential's lawyers as "suit-proof," the later 1957 court case would show otherwise. Despite spending over $100,000 a year having a Manhattan law firm, "Becker, Ross, and Stone to vet each story," Harrison would still ignore the lawyers' warnings, as in the case of the article on Maureen O'Hara. But Harrison had further safeguards in place. In addition to articles being vetted by lawyers and sworn affidavits or photographic/audio proof of claims, Harrison compartmentalized both the printing and distribution channels. Though the editorial content was prepared in the New York offices, the magazine itself was printed in Chicago by an independent contractor (Kable Publishing of Mount Morris, Illinois). The copies were sold before they came off the presses and neither Confidential Inc. nor the printer had any corporate connection to the chain of "distributors, wholesalers and retailers that provided Confidential to all those people who claimed they only read it at the beauty parlor or the barbershop."
Harrison soon started making approximately half a million dollars per issue. By 1955, Confidential had reached five million copies per issue with a larger circulation than Reader's Digest, Ladies' Home Journal, Look, The Saturday Evening Post or Collier's. That year Harrison shut down all his men's magazines except Beauty Parade and Whisper. Beauty Parade would cease the next year and Whisper would continue as Confidential's sister publication, which recycled variants of Confidential's stories.