Linda Ronstadt, Doctor Strange, Captain America and C-3PO were the supergroup of the 1970s? – Pizzazz #5
Marvel’s variety magazine didn’t break a great deal of ground. Combining the fluffy soft journalism of People with the fanzine-type blurbs of its in-house FOOM, it never really tried to. But that didn’t stop Pizzazz from being a fairly enjoyable little read back in the day. And really, with a cover like the one above, how could you resist picking it up? Linda Ronstadt belting out a tune, with Doctor Strange laying down some sweet guitar licks with his magic fingers, Captain America slapping out a funky one on the bass, and C-3PO slamming the skins. It’s not “Coonskin Cap Apes” or “Punisher Dangles from Helicopter and Stabs Amidst Flurry of Cash,” but Bob Larkin certainly grabbed your attention with the above image — if this isn’t the very definition of pizzazz, then good luck figuring out what the hell is.
We’ve covered a Pizzazz issue here before, one that proved that Marvel bent over backwards to try to be an impartial arbiter of all things pop culture. This earlier edition isn’t much a of a departure from that format, aimed at readers young and old. There’s of course an incredibly fuzzy profile of cover star Ms. Ronstadt, who was at the height of her crooning fame at this time, long before she gained 800 pounds and became a Debbie Downer foil to Robin Quivers. There are short prose stories and strips, most interestingly a Star Wars feature — hence Goldenrod’s cover presence. And there are the usual reviews — more like reviewlets — of TV shows, movies and books:
I’ve seen the Richard Dreyfuss-infused Goodbye Girl, for which he won an Academy Award. (An actor playing a struggling actor makes Hollywood types salivate at the chance for self-adulation/congratulation.) It’s a film most memorable for its play-within-a-movie production of Richard III, in which the eponymous monarch is, thanks to a clueless director, played by Dreyfuss’s character as a flamboyant, lisping, cartoon homosexual. And the movie’s breathless advertising tagline — Thank you, Neil Simon, for making us laugh at falling in love…again — was a venerable meme on Mystery Science Theater 3000.
Can’t say that I’ve read Confessions of a Teenage Baboon. Speaking of MST3K — any relation to Michael Landon’s I Was a Teenage Werewolf?
Star Trek had by this time — 1977/78 — fully transitioned into its cult classic status, having disappeared from the airwaves at the close of the previous decade, and still two years away from a semi-triumphant return in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. It would take a diehard Trek fan to squeeze any pleasure out of this “jokey” two-page trivia quiz — they miscolored Sulu’s shirt! (Or maybe they’re going by his “Where No Man Has Gone Before” attire. I’m ashamed beyond words that I even know that. Also, please note the prototypical “Trekki” spelling):
And of course there are puzzles and games. A “Mardi Gras Word Search”:
And a Doctor Strange maze:
Is Stephen’s magic really all that if his “bolts cannot go through a solid line”?
Pizzazz long ago went the way of the dodo, and the rest of the print magazines are now following it into extinction. But thanks to the Marvel connection, old issues maintain a bit more interest for readers in this new millennium, certainly more than the wafer-thin celebrity journalism of old-timey Peoples. And how many magazines — old, new or figments of imagination — can boast a cover as preposterous as this one?