Earlier this year, I joined a Facebook group for Look-In, a magazine I clearly remember enjoying from my childhood. As I looked over the fantastic covers it occurred to me that whilst I thought I was closer to 8 or 9 when I started reading it, the earliest ones I could remember were from 1976 (when I was 7). I can only imagine now that what drew me in was The Six Million Dollar Man which, I’ve been assured, was my absolute favourite programme on TV. Back then, you have to remember, there wasn’t an Internet - everything you knew about TV shows and films came from whatever was on the news and Look-In changed all that. It was designed and written for kids and it featured the major film stars, pop acts, sports people and TV stars of the day. For me, it was worth buying because it not only had posters of Lee Majors (which went straight up on my bedroom wall), it also had a comic strip of his adventures plus occasional behind the scenes articles (on stunts, special effects and what Majors was doing next). In fact, thinking about it, maybe it’s Look-In that’s responsible for my enjoyment of behind-the-scenes articles!
|Might as well get the Lee Majors geeking out of the way first - here's a selection of posters (all 1977, apart from the lower right, which is 1978) from Look-In that all ended up on my bedroom wall!|
|Some favourite things - Return Of The Saint (from September 1978), The Man From Atlantis (from December 1977), Blondie (from March 1979)|
|from left - Grease (from July 1978), Logan's Run (from April 1978), CHiPs (from June 1979)|
|The Six Million Dollar Man, written by Angus Allan|
and drawn by Martin Asbury, from December 1977
When Fennell left in 1975, the-then art editor, Colin Shelbourn, took over as editor and stayed in the position until 1992. Although he made minimal changes to the magazine’s direction in the 1970s, in the 1980s he took a strong view on violence and made Angus Allan write his action strips with few or no weapons and as little fighting as possible.
|from left - The Famous Five (from July 1978), Smurfs (from October 1978), BJ & The Bear (from July 1979)|
|from left - one of the earliest covers I can remember (from October 1976), Superman (from January 1978), Raiders Of The Lost Ark (from August 1981)|
|from left - The New Wave (from July 1977), ladies in pop (from November 1977) and The Specials (from December 1979). Extensive Abba, Bay City Rollers and Flintlock coverage not shown...|
|Bond makes the cover - from left, in July 1977, in June 1979 and June 1981|
|Music makes the cover - from left (since I couldn't leave them out), Abba (from February 1978), Elvis Costello (from April 1978) and Jimmy Pursey & Debbie Harry (from May 1980)|
|from left - On The Ball with Brian Moore (from April 1977), Action Argentia (from the Summer Special 1978) and Stewpot's Newdesk (from July 1977)|
|Gerry Anderson discusses Star Wars - 11th March 1978 edition|
|TV Listings from December 1978 - look at all |
those wonderful logos!
Look-In originally featured photo-based covers (often taken especially for the magazine) but these were replaced with striking painted covers that must have made the magazine stand out from the shelves of the newsagent.
These were mainly produced using acrylics by Arnaldo Putzu, an Italian artist working in London who created cinema posters in the 1960’s including ones for Morecombe & Wise (The Magnificent Two and That Riviera Touch), Hammer (Creatures the World Forgot and The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires), the Carry On series and Get Carter. Though other artists sometimes contributed, his cover reign ran from 1973 through to 1981.
|"Star Wars" is coming... (from December 1977 - it opened in the UK on 28th December, I didn't see it until February 1978)|
|from left - More Star Wars! (from March 1978), some of the Letraset from that issue, The Empire Strikes Back (from May 1980)|
By the 1990s it was catering for a younger audience, focussing less on comic strips and more on features and posters. The magazines popularity waned quickly and the last issue, with Mark Owen of Take That on the cover, was published on 12th March 1994.
|Me, looking as chuffed as it's possible for an 8-year-old to|
look in 1977 who's just received the Starsky & Hutch
Gran Torino AND the Look-In annual for Christmas.
In 2007, Carlton Books published “Look-In: Best Of The Seventies”, a hardback compilation reprint that did well enough to be followed up the next year by “Best Of The Eighties”. I picked up the first reprint and really enjoyed it but decided not to bother with the 80s one. Re-reading those old strips was a pleasant experience - they were well crafted and drawn - and there was also a lovely nostalgic rush to them.
I understand progress and generally embrace the digital age and social media, but I also wish there was still room for something like Look-In - or am I just being wistful?
A “selected” list of strips that appeared in the magazine can be found on Wikipedia (here) but these are the key ones I recall (and clearly mark out the generation of reader I was):
Doctor at Large / at Sea / On the Go (May 72 - late 78)
The Tomorrow People (Jul 73 - Apr 78)
Bless This House (Dec 73 - Sep 75)
Kung Fu (Mar 74 - Jun 75)
The Adventures of Black Beauty (Jun 74 - Sep 75)
The Benny Hill Page (Jan 75 - Jan 81)
The Six Million Dollar Man (Jun 75 - Mar 79)
Space: 1999 (Sep 75 - Mar 77)
Man About the House (Oct 75 - Jul 76)
The Bionic Woman (Aug 76 - May 79)
Just William (Apr - Oct 77)
Man from Atlantis (Feb - Jul 78)
The Smurfs (78 - 79)
The Famous Five (Jul 78 - Feb 80)
Logan's Run (Aug - Sep 78)
How the West Was Won (Oct 78 - Apr 79)
Mind Your Language (Oct 78 - Mar 80)
Dick Turpin (Mar - Oct 79)
Worzel Gummidge (Apr 79 - Sep 82)
Bionic Action (May - Nov 79)
CHiPs (May - Jun 79, May 81 - Feb 83)
Sapphire & Steel (Aug 79 - Apr 81)
Battlestar Galactica (Oct 79 - Oct 80)
Charlie's Angels (Nov 79 - May 81)
Mork & Mindy (Mar 80 - Mar 81)
Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (Oct 80 - Jan 82)
Magnum, P.I. (Jan - Jul 82)
Danger Mouse (May 82 - Nov 85)
The Fall Guy (Jun 82 - 84)
|Plenty of bionic action - from left The Six Million Dollar Man (from January 1976), The Bionic Woman (from May 1978) and Bionic Action (from June 1979)|
|from left - The Man From Atlantis (from March 1978), Logan's Run (from May 1978), Charlie's Angels (from August 1980)|
|Very British strips from left - Benny Hill (from April 1977), Worzel Gummidge (from August 1980), The Famous Five (from January 1980)|
|from left - Battlestar Galactica (from October 1979), Mork & Mindy (from August 1980) and Sapphire & Steel (from January 1981)|
* Alan Fennell, the original editor, died on 10th December 2001, his 65th birthday.
* Angus Peter Allan died of cancer on 16th July 2007.
* John M. Burns still paints.
* Mike Noble has retired.
* Martin Asbury is a much-in-demand storyboard artist and has worked on all the Bond films from “Goldeneye” up to “Skyfall”
* Arnaldo Putzu died on 1st September 2012.
The Look-In wikia
Mag A Zone
scans courtesy of the Look-In Facebook group