Ladies' Home Joyful (U.S. Military Academy Pointer) - January 16, 1959 (32 pages)

This parody of Ladies' Home Journal was an ambitious undertaking for the cadets of West Point.  The humor is uneven (and sometimes non-existent) but there is a certain amount of credit that should be given for the effort.  Military academies are generally seen as unfunny places and parodies such as this do much to dispel that impression.

The cover of "the magazine women bereave in" features a very unattractive woman with a wart on her crooked nose.  Inside are several very short stories ("He Cheated at Polo", "Helpful Casanova", etc.) of the type that might appear in Journal, and five ad parodies.  The magazine is introduced by the droll "Caught in the Act" column that warns about the inappropriateness of chewing gum in front of an officer, wearing a hat while walking the stoops, displaying a tin can (Jiffy Pop) on a window ledge, sloppy dressing and taking food from the dining hall.  The message is: don't do it.

The best of the short stories is "Can This Marriage Be Saved?" by "Cadet Tamqwzzxtindewplknxz" (call me "Tam").  In this letter to his doctor, Tam asks whether he should have given his wife roaches from the dump, and whether his wife should have replaced his pet hedgehog with a platypus.  He was also asking his doctor to help him mitigate his wife's shock when she learned that he had only four toes, three on one foot and one big one on the other.  My guess is that this particular marriage cannot be saved.

The ad parodies are for "Bullroar" (scale with matching hamper), "Dry Ice" (home facial), "Nevo Shine" ("Active Ingredients: Nitric Acid 20%, Tetramethyflora Glomp 5%, Dish Water 65%, Dynamite 10%, You Name It 5%"), "Bod" (roll-on deodorant at 98 cents per bucket) and "Wreck Scalp Set Mess".  The best of the ad parodies is Wreck, the full-page parody of "Breck" on the inside-back-cover.  The ad features a bald model and promises that it "removes all hair the instant it appears."  The Wreck product is "available at all hardware stores" for $23.79 (5-ounces).

Certainly the LHJ parody is not comparable to magazine parodies produced by Harvard, Yale, Stanford, etc. during the same period, but I am sure that it achieved its goal in 1959 by appealing to the senses of humor existing in the West Point classrooms.  [JAM 8/10/2009]