Tales of Menudo and Macchio: A Look at 1980s Teen Magazines

Let’s take a look at a few American teen magazines from the 1980s. Be prepared for an overdose of Macchio, Hasselhoff, Stamos, Schroder, Lowe, and LeBon. Do you think you have what it takes? If so, let’s go!


Super Teen Magazine (October 1984)


I’m old enough to remember Duran Duran before they became teen heartthrobs. I recall the risque “Girls on Film” video and their songs being a bit avant-garde, not exactly stuff for middle-school girls to lap up. If you listen to “The Chauffer” from even the Rio album, you get an idea.

Next thing you know, they’re sharing a teen magazine cover with Menudo.



Not that Duran Duran was ever Hawkwind or King Crimson – I shouldn’t be a total surprise they’d end up sharing photographs with Rockwell – one of the most talentless figures to ever grace the top ten. This page is at least redeemed by a pic of Drew Barrymore and Mr. T. (And subsequently taken down a notch by a shirtless Michael J. Fox).




Funny to see Charlie Sheen listed as an up-and-comer among all these future nobodies.   I would be remiss not to supply a Sheen quote:

“I was banging seven-gram rocks, because that’s how I roll. I have one speed, I have one gear: Go….. I am on a drug, it’s called Charlie Sheen. It’s not available because if you try it you will die. Your face will melt off and your children will weep over your exploded body.”



What would a 1984 teen magazine be without a poster sized photo of Ricky Schroder?



Jo from The Facts of Life dishes out some bland advice. These celeb advice columns are highly suspect – I sincerely doubt these actors and actresses took time to write these ridiculous pieces. But then, who knows? And an even bigger question – who cares?



Ugh. What a low point in television: Glitter, Cover-Up, Paper Dolls, Streethawk and Who’s the Boss. Garbage every one.



I can’t help it. I find this fascinating. Glenn Scarpelli (a regular on One Day at a Time and tons of Love Boat type appearances back in the day) is the son of Henry Scarpelli, a comic book artist.


TS (Teen Stars) poster magazine (Fall 1985)


It’s interesting to see where these 1980s teen heartthrobs ended up a few decades later: Michael J. Fox with Parkinson’s, Brolin a respectable star, Guttenberg thankfully vanished without a trace, etc.



A bitter reminder of the low point Hollywood had reached in the mid-eighties.  I suppose he was okay in Police Academy, but that’s where my fondness for “The Gute” begins and ends.



Ah, to have been a fly on the wall as Estevez and Hall go clubbing in the 80s.    At least Hall was smart enough to cover the cocaine powder no-doubt under his nose for this photograph.


Teen Idols (November 1985)


How quickly Leif’s androgynous good-looks had gone to pot by 1985 – a mere eight years after the infamous C.H.i.P.s roller disco episode. “Welcome to the Jungle” could have very well been Leif’s autobiography – of Hollywood providing you every vice your brain-stem could want, and then spitting you out like yesterday’s news when they overwhelm you. Imagine being 15 with all the money in the world, girls throwing themselves at you, and bales of cocaine thrown in your lap…. who among us would have taken the high road as a teenager? And back then child stars didn’t come equipped with the legal protection they do today. Hence, Drew Barrymore doing lines at Studio 54 with nary a finger waved.


According to Leif, he did it because he was simply bored. Imagine performing to thousands of chicks screaming your name…. then having to sit idle in a hotel room or tour bus playing pocket pool. Sad to read about him trying to kick the habit back in 1985, and then hear that he’s still struggling to this day .



Now here’s a guy you could never say was born under a sign. Rob passed from teen idol to adult male celeb without that awkward “fat stage” or “drug addled stage” or “claiming bankruptcy stage”. If I could have been any Brat Packer, it would’ve been Mr. Perfect – Rob Lowe.

Although, I do recall hearing on KROQ back in 1988 an Emilio Estevez prank call to Rob Lowe. Rob answered the phone (not knowing he’s on the radio) and proceeds to tell about this three-way he’d just had.   It wasn’t long after Rob Lowe got caught with a girl under age on tape.


“Hey, kids. Smoking is cool!” Can you even imagine seeing this in a teen mag today?  I’d love to see it.

Also take note of the question from the continuation of the Leif Garrett interview: “You’ve also had a problem with people thinking you’re gay, haven’t you?”



Another casualty of Hollywood: Corey Haim. His story still makes me sad.   It’s one thing to be a prom king and then end up forgotten and alone. It’s altogether another to be quite possibly the most “popular” teenager one Earth and then become forgotten and alone. His stay in the limelight was brief, but enough to make the rest of his life seem woefully anti-climactic.



Soap opera stud, Jack Wagner. I actually liked his song “All I Need” – I think it came out around the same time as Motley Crüe’s Shout at the Devil. I liked both.



“To what do I owe this dubious pleasure?” – the famous line from Fright Night‘s Evil Ed. For some reason Stephen declined to appear in Fright Night II, and then went on to star in gay porn – yes, you read that right.


Teen Talk (March 1985)


His name is Ralph Macchio, not Maccio. But I’ll overlook the misspelling when the pop culture nostalgia is this good. This mag really hits me in my wheelhouse, delivering the year of 1985 as I knew it perfectly condensed into one magazine. I saw Purple Rain in the theaters and listened to the record endlessly; I played Huey Lewis on my new boombox, and Duran Duran were freaking everywhere.



One musician that wasn’t freaking everywhere…. in fact, he was freaking nowhere was Marlon Jackson. It’s kind of sad to read all his grand future plans knowing that Marlon will succeed in none of them.

Favorite quote: “I cut myself and musical notes jump out.”



Perhaps you caught that episode of Community where the question is seriously asked – Who was the boss? Was it Angela or Tony? A very academic, mathematical solution is put forth by Abed who comes to the conclusion that Angela is indeed the boss. Do you agree?

There’s a path you take and a path untaken. The choice is up to you, my friend.



Take note of the guy on the far left. You are looking at an extinct species. The unpolished, uncool looking rock star.  If you watch their video for “Eye of the Tiger”, the band members are introduced one by one in a dramatic fashion. Watching it is like “badass! badass! badass! system administrator!” No one looks like this anymore – indeed, their type died out with the advent of music videos. There was a similar lookin’ fella in The Little River Band – in fact, most bands of that era had a member or two that had no business getting in front of a camera. Christopher Cross is their official spokesman.



It’s interesting for me to read the press on upcoming films that would go on to be legendary. Mock me if you will, but The Breakfast Club is one of the greatest films to come out of this decade. It’s funny, well acted, engaging, and more than anything it resonated with a generation.

Dear Mr. Vernon:

We accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. But, we think you’re crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us: in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But, what we found out is that each one of us is: a brain . . .and an athlete . . .and a basket case . . .a princess . . .and a criminal.  Does that answer your question?

Sincerely yours,
The Breakfast Club



Sheesh.  These gals don’t look anything like the MTV babes I knew and loved.  I guess their new record label spit-shined them a bit for mass media consumption.


Super Teen (August 1985)


Back in ’85, I was more into Hit Parader and Circus magazines than teen heartthrobs…. but that’s neither here nor there.  Let’s have a look at one last magazine before bidding Ricky Schroder and Duran Duran adieu.


Peter Reckell, "Days of Our Lives"

Peter Reckell, “Days of Our Lives”

The odds of finding a soap actor in a teen magazine past the early 1990s is pretty slim. Teens don’t watch them anymore, and they haven’t for a long time (as evidenced by the near extinction of the soap opera). Back in the day, it wasn’t uncommon for girls to rush home from school to catch the latest soap wedding, or to see the girls lockers plastered with soap stars.

And speaking of soap stars, here’s Jack Wagner again…


Damn, shorts sure were…. er, short back then.

My recommendation: Print this picture, frame it, and put it in a prominent position in your office. Meditate in front of it daily and pray that it may bestow upon you some of Wagner’s mojo. In this way, you shall become sanctified in coolness.



How is it possible that Michael’s homosexuality was even up for debate? I guess, in the 1980s girls chose to ignore that many of their heartthrobs were playing for the other team.



Yes, this picture is actually taken from this magazine (page 29 to be exact). I don’t imagine this image was hanging in too many girls’ lockers. I presume these odd looking creatures are men (?)



How hilarious is it to see these teen pop acts (Madonna, Lauper and Roman Holiday) next to Euro-metal act, Accept? If you aren’t familiar – think ‘Scorpions’. (You may also recall “Balls to the Wall”.)



This is one hell of a motley mix of eighties celebs, is it not? You’ve got the young Drew Barrymore between cocaine fixes hanging with Laura Branigan’s brother and (gulp!) Phoebe Cates. Also note that Eddie Van Halen looks scarily like Valerie Bertinelli.

I hope Charlie Sheen was a good influence on young Chad Lowe – I’m sure he kept him on the straight and narrow.  Another Sheen quote is in order:

“I was banging seven-gram rocks, because that’s how I roll. I have one speed, I have one gear: Go.”


Notice “Robert Downing” before the fame, the subsequent drug infused fall, and the following rise to even bigger fame. “He’ll go far, for sure!”

Well, that’s all for now.  Until next time – Hasta Luego!


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