Friday, 12 December 2014

It's alleged to have been reported by reliable but as yet unconfirmed sources that...

...fill in the rest of the headline yourself, the wackier the better because you'll be competing with the masters of the genre at the Weekly World News who produced gems like: The Statue of Liberty is getting a boob job; The Last Supper was a paint by numbers picture; E.T.s phoning home is costing taxpayers millions; Man's brain sucked out by vacuum cleaner! My favourite is: Crop circles appear in men's chest hair!

The book reproduces some of the funniest pages from the tabloid supermarket weekly. Started in 1979 by Generoso Pope Jr who was reluctant to junk an old black and white printing press so he created the weekly, it managed to sell about 1,200,000 in the eighties and then sales slowly declined until the print edition closed in 2007. Over the years the old favourites kept on and on, Elvis, Bigfoot, UFOs, Hilary Clinton and from 1992 onwards Bat boy was a real regular. It's not just the wild headlines and heavily airbrushed photos that grabbed the readers because the stories ran to hundreds of words which did their best to maintain some sort of credibility despite the fantasy.

Considering the bizarre nature of the material I found it odd that unlike British tabloids the WWN didn't go in for off-beat headlines, there's nothing to compete against the Sun's 'Why a salesgirl tried to batter flashing fishmonger's codpiece' or 'Crumpet voluntary bandsman 21 has bit of oompah with pal's wife 45' but of course these stories only really ran because some copy-editor came up with a great headline. American papers tend to play it straight though the daily New York Post, in an edition from April 1983, came up with 'Headless body in topless bar'.

The book is nicely produced and fortunately all the text is readable despite the reduced page size from the original tabloid and you'll get a free page because 92 is repeated on page 253.

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