Bananas: A Scholastic Teen Magazine from the 70s and 80s

Bananas: Scholastic's 70s and 80s Teen Magazine

The first issue of Bananas Magazine 1975
The first issue of Bananas Magazine 1975

If you were a kid during the 70s and 80s, and into reading teen oriented magazines like Tiger Beat, Teen Beat you might have also been reading Bananas, a magazine published by Scholastic, Inc that was their attempt to get into the teen magazine area.

Bananas magazine had colorful eyecatching covers, articles on popular celebrities of the day, pin-ups and even centerfold posters, too. It also had humorous articles, comic strips, jokes and such, which possibly was their attempt to be like Mad or Cracked magazines. I was more interested in the celebrities than the attempts to be funny.

The editor was Bob Stine, who would go on to gain fame as writer R.L.Stein famous for a variety of scary book series like Mostly Ghostly and Goosebumps.

Bananas magazines have become highly sought after collector's items in recent years. What you will find here is a collection of covers of the magazines with some commentary about it, maybe even some info on the articles found inside as well.

Bananas #2: Baretta Goes Bananas

Bananas Magazine: Issue #2 Tough Undercover Cop Tony Baretta (Robert Blake)
Bananas Magazine: Issue #2 Tough Undercover Cop Tony Baretta (Robert Blake) | Source
  • This is the second issue of the magazine and features a nice color photo of Robert Blake on the front cover. At the time, he was starring as undercover cop, Tony Baretta, on the show Baretta that ran for three seasons beginning in 1975 on ABC.
  • Robert's career began back in 1939 when, as a child actor, using his real name of Mickey Gubitosi, he appeared in the Our Gang series of short films for MGM as well as doing 22 appearances in the Red Ryder films.
  • Sadly, when Robert's name is mentioned nowadays, most folks associate him not for his work in films or television, but for the fact that he had been arrested and tried for the death of his wife Bonny Lee Bakley in 2001 for which he was eventually found not guilty in 2005.

In this issue:

  • Cars of the Fifties
  • The Many Faces of Frankenstein
  • Weird Unsolved Mysteries
  • Robert Blake:Hollywood's Bad Boy Makes Good
  • Dr. Demento Interview
  • Stevie Wonder Comes of Age
  • A Frankenstein poster.

Bananas #10: Starsky and Hutch

Bananas Magazine: Issue #10 David Soul and Paul Michael Glaser Cover
Bananas Magazine: Issue #10 David Soul and Paul Michael Glaser Cover
  • This edition featured a really nice photo of Starsky and Hutch (Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul) on the front cover. Inside was a comic strip take-off on the show titled Husky and Starch. An interview with Paul and David. An article on Peter Frampton as well as a poster of Frampton.
  • Starsky and Hutch ran for four seasons (75-79) and both David and Paul became 70s teen idols.
  • During the run of the show, David released an album that produced a Number One single, Don't Give Up on Us. Some might assume that he was just another actor who was afforded the chance to sing because of his hit show status, but the truth is that David always preferred singing over acting and in the 60's he appeared several times on the Merv Griffin talk show as the Covered Man, wearing a mask while performing his songs. Sadly, David was never able to put another song on the American music charts after his first hit, but, he did have several more big hits in Europe and in 2004 he became a British citizen.

Bananas #12: Horshack Speaks Out!

Issue #12 Bananas Magazine with Ron Palillo on the front cover.
Issue #12 Bananas Magazine with Ron Palillo on the front cover.
  • Ron Palillo played Arnold Horshack, the goofball, class clown on the series Welcome Back Kotter. He was known for his “Ooh-ooh-ooooh!” whenever he raised his hand to answer a question and the truth is that he was probably the smartest kid in Kotter's class.
  • After the show ended, Ron went on to do guest spots on various television series as well as voice work for cartoons, but he would eventually comment that his role as Horshak did typecast him and damage his career.
  • Ron was a gifted artist and did the illustrations for the book, The Red Wings of Christmas written by Wesley Eure (that’s right, Will from the classic Land of the Lost, a 70′s Saturday morning kids show) and A Gift for the Contessa written by Michael Merle.
  • Sadly, Ron passed away August 14, 2012 at age 51 of a heart attack.
  • This issue features photos and an article on Ron, also write-ups about Reggie Jackson and Jack Nicholson.

Bananas #14: A Talk with a Real Angel! Jaclyn Smith

  • Lovely Jaclyn Smith graced the cover of issue 14 of Bananas.
  • She gained her fame as Kelly Garret on Charlie's Angles, and was the only actress to stay with the show for it's entire five season run. Her character, Kelly, was often called the most beautiful of the three angels, even though Farrah got the lion's share of publicity. She was a cross between Sabrina and Jill in that she was smart and athletic.
  • Before becoming an overnight sensation because of the show, she did guest spots in a variety of popular 70s shows like The Partridge Family, Switch, Get Christie Love, and The Rookies to just name a few.

Bananas #17: Chery Ladd The Human Angel

Bananas Magazine Issue 17 has lovely Cheryl Ladd on the front cover.
Bananas Magazine Issue 17 has lovely Cheryl Ladd on the front cover.
  • What a stroke of genius on the writers and producers part, to make the replacement for Jill Monroe (Farrah) her younger sister, Kris (Cheryl Ladd). I mean how could you hate Jill’s little sister? Apparently not many could and Cheryl, as Chris, became an accepted angel, unlike poor Shelley Hack, who is spotlighted on issus #31′s cover.
  • Do you know that Cheryl was the singing voice for Melody Jones on the classic cartoon, Josie and The Pussycats and she was credited under the name “Cherie Moor”.
  • Do you also remember that Cheryl released two albums here in the US? Her single,”Think It Over” from the first album, peaked at #38 on the Billboard chart.

Bananas #21: The Bee Gees

Bee Gees

Issue 21, 1978 Bee Gees front cover
Issue 21, 1978 Bee Gees front cover
  • I remember when the Bee Gees became very popular with their music being used on the John Travolta film Saturday Night Fever and while I was never a Travolta fan, I did enjoy a lot of the Bee Gee’s music, in fact, I was a member of their fan club for about a year. I still have some of the photos I got for being a member.
  • It’s really nice to see a photo of the brothers, together. With the passing of Maurice in 2003 and his twin, Robin, in May of 2012, it brings back wonderful memories.

In this issue:

  • Grease "Behind The Scenes at Grease! A Really Slick Flick." (John Travolta, Olivia Newton John)The Teens of Ferret High
  • You'd Be Better Off In Another Class When...(illustrated by Bob Taylor)
  • 25 Mistakes I'm Not Going To Make This Year
  • What Charlie's Angels has done to TV (illustrated by Sam Viviano) (this is cartoons...not an article on the show "Charlie's Angels")
  • 20 Things You Can Do With Bananas
  • Teenage Hall of Shame
  • Comix by Bob Taylor and Bruce Day
  • Are the Elvis Imitators a Disgrace? (Dennis Wise, Alan Meyer, Rick Saucedo, Bill Haley)
  • Fascinatin' Rhythms (illustrated by Katheryn Holt)
  • Weird Unsolved Mysteries (illustrated by Charles Shields)

Bananas #22: Suzanne Somers

  • Suzanne Somers graced the cover of issue 22. At that time she was enjoying success as vapid blonde Chrissy Snow on the successful comedy series Three's Company. Things were going well for her until she decided that she deserved a huge pay raise and a percentage of the show's profits because of her popularity. She also boycotted appearing in several of the 5th season's shows claiming to have health issues. The producers decided to not play her game and simply cut her screen time in the remaining episodes. When her contract was up they simply decided to not renew it. Her character was replaced, but the show didn't really fully recover from her loss.
  • She went on to work in several other television series as well as to make television movies, too, but her biggest post Three's Company success came as a business woman writing self help books on beauty and fitness.

In This Issue

  • Photos of Abba, Bob Seger, Jaclyn Smith, Jimmy and Kristy McNichol. Andy Gibb, Mickey Mouse and Walt Disney
  • The Teens of Ferret High
  • Bananas Complete Guide To Physical Fitness
  • Meet Mister Universal Amazing Large Body
  • Teenage Hall of Shame
  • You Know You Got a Bad Deal When...(illustrated by Rick Meyerowitz)
  • Extraordinary Burials for Ordinary People (illustrated by Arnoldo Franchioni)
  • Fantastic Island (illustrated by Sam Viviano)
  • Comix (illustrated by Bob Taylor, Diane Dawson, Bruce Day)
  • Talking in Your Sleep
  • Tie Game (illustrated by Teresa Anderko)
  • Weird Unsolved Mysteries (illustrated by Abe Echevarria)

Bananas #24: Farrah is Back!

  • The 24th issue of Bananas has a lovely photo of Farrah Fawcett on the front cover. This photo was used on bottles of Farrah's shampoo that hit the stores in 1978 or 1979. Did you buy her shampoo and stash it away for when it would become a collector's item?
  • Farrah was thought of as nothing but eye candy especially on Charlie's Angels. But, we had to change our thinking when she gave a fabulous performance that earned her an Emmy nomination (the first of four nominations) in the television drama The Burning Bed.
  • A few of the things you will find in this edition of the magazine: a really nice article on Donna Summer with photos, an article on Shaun Cassidy and of course an article on Farrah plus nice photos of her too with a beautiful pull out centerfold.

Bananas #28: Cheryl Tiegs

Cheryl Tiegs

 Bananas, Issue #28
Bananas, Issue #28
  • Cheryl is probably one of the most easily recognized of the super models. She is, in fact credited as being the very first super model She began her modeling career at age 17, appearing on magazine covers and she has appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition three times.The first in 1970, again in 1975 and finally in 1983.
  • And, here she graces the cover of Bananas, Issue #28, looking as lovely as ever. In 1978, Cheryl released a poster through Pro Arts, the same company that gave us the famous Farrah bikini pose. I have read, but have never been able to find any real conclusive proof that Cheryl’s pose rivaled Farrah’s in terms of units sold. Can anyone verify this?

Bananas #31: Hello, Shelley! Goodbye, Kate!

Shelley Hack on Bananas issue 31 from 1979. Also has articles on Jerry Lewis, Gil Gerard, Gary Coleman
Shelley Hack on Bananas issue 31 from 1979. Also has articles on Jerry Lewis, Gil Gerard, Gary Coleman
  • Lovely Shelley Hack had the fortune (or misfortune, depending on how you view it) of being chosen as the replacement for Kate Jackson, who was departing her role as Sabrina Duncan on the successful Charlie's Angels.
  • Shelley's character, Tiffaney Welles was from Boston. She was refined and poised and didn't seem to fit in well with Chris and Kelly (Cheryl Ladd and Jaclyn Smith). Ratings declined and sadly, Shelley was blamed, but I am not sure if it was really her fault or if viewers were just tired of losing their favorite characters. She lasted for one season and was replaced by Tanya Roberts.
  • This issue features stories on Shelley, of course, Jerry Lewis, Gil Gerard, Kristy McNichol, Suzanne Somers and more.

Bananas #32: Erik Estrada

  • Erik Estrada made the cover of issue 32 from 1979.
  • He was a 70s male teen idol, along with co star Larry Wilcox, thanks to their work in the series. C.H.i.P.S.
  • Erik's film debut came in the 1970 film The Cross and the Switchblade based on the 1962 book of the same name. He then began to get work in episodic television and his big break came in 1977 when he was cast as Frank "Ponch" Poncharello, a California highway patrolman in the series C.H.i.P.S. The series lasted until 1983.

In this issue:

  • Susan Anton, Jimmy McNichol,Brook Shields,Erik Estrada, Bill Murray
  • The Dukes of Hazzard (a nice color centerfold)
  • The Black Hole (Yvette Mimeux)
  • Comix (illustrated by John Holmstrom, Bob Taylor, Diane Dawson, Bruce Day)
  • Amazing Tales:Dan Brannigan of the Space Marines (by Ardmore Terbayne and illustrated by Walter Velez)
  • Teens of Ferret High
  • B*A*S*H (illustrated by Sam Viviano)
  • Granny Meatloaf
  • The Beast News (illustrated by Bob Taylor)
  • Teen Gangs of the 1950s
  • Discovering Discs (Video Picture Takes a New Spin!)
  • Unsolved Mysteries (illustrated by Les Katz)

Bananas #39: Bo Duke and Bo Derek

  • John Schneider gained 70s and 80s teen idol fame as Bo Duke in the series The Dukes of Hazzard. The series ran on CBS from 1979-85.
  • Schneider began a successful singing career while on the show. His debut album (It's Now or Never) in 1981 went to Number 8 on the country charts and produced a Number 4 hit (It's Now or Never) on the country charts. He would eventually go on to release 10 albums and has four Number One hits to his credit.
  • Bo Derek gained her fame as the perfect 10 from the Blake Edwards film 10 co starring Dudley Moore and Julie Andrews. Even though Bo was only in the film for short time she gained a huge amount of media attention and she dethroned lovely Farrah Fawcett as reigning pin-up and sex symbol for the 1980's.
  • Bo was married to John Derek who had been married to two lovely ladies previously, Ursula Andress (the quintessential Bond Girl) and Linda Evans (from The Big Valley and of course, Dynasty).
  • While the media, at first, seemed to be in love with Bo, it didn't take long for them to turn on her, implying that she was simply a puppet-on-a-string, controlled by her much older Svengali husband. John, who exploited her beauty for his own gain.

In this issue:

  • The Dupes Of Hazzard
  • A Bananas Look At Good Night Kisses
  • The Teens Of Ferret High
  • An Empire Strikes Back centerfold

Bananas #44: Here's Loni!

Issue #44 has a lovely color photo of Loni in the front cover
Issue #44 has a lovely color photo of Loni in the front cover
  • Loni came to our attention as receptionist Jennifer Marlowe on WKRP in Cincinnati, a show about a struggling rock and roll station.
  • Surprisingly, the producers of the show made her into a woman of intelligence which went against stereotype of beautiful blonds. Loni went on to do a few other TV series as well as a movie biography about blond 50s sex symbol, Jayne Mansfield.

In this issue:

  • It Never Fails
  • WKLOD in Cincinnati - WKRP Spoof
  • Don't You Wish
  • The Beast News
  • You Know You're In a Tacky Supermarket When ...
  • Loni Anderson article
  • Peter Criss leaves KISS
  • Diana Ross, Greg Evigan, Priscilla Presley
  • Lily Tomlin - The Incredible Shrinking Woman
  • Tom Wopat - The Dukes of Hazzard
  • Mini-Poster of Larry Hagman from Dallas
  • Comix
  • The Teens of Ferret High
  • Granny Meatloaf's Old-Fashioned Americana Almanac
  • The Chance of a Lunchtime (fiction)
  • Fun 'n' Games puzzles
  • True Unsolved Mysteries - William MacDonald 1896
  • Headlines - answers to questions about mind and emotions
  • What's Happening
  • The $ale of the Century
  • Full Poster of WKRP Cast - Loni, Howard and Jan Smithers

© 2014 Glory Miller

Did you read Bananas magazine? 1 comment

FatFreddysCat profile image

FatFreddysCat 23 months ago from The Garden State

Ahh memories!! I was in grade school in the 70s and remember the teacher passing out the monthly Scholastic Books order form/flyers. I believe if you ordered 3 or more books at a time you'd get an issue of "Bananas" as a free bonus. If memory serves, I had an issue with the cast of "Battlestar Galactica" (my favorite TV show at the time) on the cover.

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