Charles Laufer, the founder of the teen magazine Tiger Beat, passed away earlier this month in Northridge, Calif. at 87 from heart failure.
The idea for the magazine came when Laufer, a journalism graduate from the University of Southern California, was a high school English, journalism and history teacher, trying to get his students to read more.
Early on he knew what students were interested in and decided to hone in on the niche, creating a magazine targeting teenage girls obsessed with their favorite young movie and music stars.
The magazine started in 1955 as Coaster and then became Teen which was sold in 1957.
The New York Times reported that Laufer created Tiger Beat in 1965, a glamorous picture infested magazine geared toward 8-14 year olds that was centered on “guys in their 20s singing La La songs to 13-year-old-girls,” Laufer said in a 1992 Seattle Times interview.
Charles’ brother Scott told the Los Angeles Times,”The readers of these magazines, they’re becoming consumers for the first time, falling in love for the first time.” In 2003, Scott’s company purchased Tiger Beat and also publishes another teen magazine, “Bop.” “We’re trying to make it a positive experience for them. It’s pretty wholesome fun for teenage girls.”
“Let’s face it, we’re in the little girl business,” Laufer told Parade magazine in 1979.
According to The New York Times, as many as 50 exclamation points on a page of the magazine were used to add emphasis.
Today, Laufer’s magazine continues to attract the same niche age group. However, it’s not Beatles fans anymore but Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus that dominate Tiger Beat headlines.