Most 1970s kids in the US will remember Dynamite magazine, but do you remember its older brother, Bananas? It was a similar Scholastic magazine with eye-catching covers featuring familiar 70s pop culture faces such as the Bee Gees, Mork & Mindy and Shaun Cassidy. It was meant for an audience a tad older than the Dynamite crowd; primarily pre-teens.
The magazine featured all your favorite 70s celebs like The Fonz and KISS, and was filled to the brim with humor (albeit humor meant for the middle-school set). Let’s have a look inside a few issues, starting with the issue #16 (cover above) from 1977….
This is pure gold. This issue begins with a parody magazine looking a lot like National Lampoon’s brand of humor (yet age appropriate).
From the “Lies” parody magazine is this article on every 70s boy’s favorite band – KISS. “We think our music speaks for itself without any phony gimmicks like makeup. Don’t you agree?”
This issue’s mini-poster: Wings.
If you doubted that Bananas was the ultimate magazine for pre-teen boys, well doubt no longer. This issue of Bananas delivers a taste of the new KISS comic book.
An interview with John Ritter. Bananas was great for short-attention-span 70s kids, with each article being no more than a single page.
It may be objectively un-funny, but it’s a great glimpse into the odd pop culture landscape of 1977.
A bit of fashion advice from Bananas – try out a $15 lumber jacket.
Ah, yes. The “It Never Fails” comics that appeared in most every issue. Not exactly gut-busting humor, but definitely relatable to the young readers.
Let’s take a step back in time, and have a look at Bananas #2 from 1975. Robert Blake (as Baretta) graces this cover.
“What’s Your Dating I.Q.?” For those that scored low, Bananas recommends “you confine your social activities to playing with your toes in your room, as you have been doing.” I’m so glad they said “toes”.
A Pulitzer Prize winning expose on socks.
Another Nation Lampoon-esque magazine parody – this one of teen magazines.
In this parody magazine, the winner gets to have Tony Orlando’s mustache.
“Ads of the Future” – KFC “regular recipe” and “extra crispy” chicken tablets.
This issue’s mini- poster: Frankenstein’s Monster
On to the next issue (#49) from 1981…
Everyone was Dukes of Hazzard crazy around this time…or at least the middle-school crowd was feeling the love for the Duke Boys (and the mega-hot, Daisy). It combined everything we loved in the world: car chases, idiotic humor, Daisy Duke, and more car chases.
Hey, it was no MAD magazine, which parodied cinema and television like no other, but we loved it nonetheless.
If you remember these comics in National Lampoon, you were no doubt expecting the girl to take her top off in the last panel.
Yep. Had one of those. We’ll end it here, even though we’ve barely covered the tip of the iceberg of pop culture goodness that Bananas offered us back in the day. For a similar read, check out our articles on Pizzazz (Marvel’s Pizzazz magazine (Feb 1978) and An Ode to the Marvel Kids Magazine Pizzazz) Cheers.