Media buzz of 1978: a new Los Angeles alt-weekly

Clay Felker's New West Magazine briefly made a splash in Los Angeles (and San Francisco) before falling into the hands of Rupert Murdoch, then morphing into California magazine, fading away and finally closing in 1991. Former New West staffer Michael Kurcfeld was leafing through an old issue and found this clip from July 3, 1978, disclosing plans for a new alternative newspaper to fill the void left by closure of the Los Angeles Free Press. The new alt weekly was being planned by the former Free Press publisher and editor Jay Levin. He was trying to raise $250,000 (!) for his new "mixture of journalism and cultural arts, anchored by a thick entertainment guide." Working title for the new creation: L.A. Weekly.

Levin did go on to launch LA Weekly and run it for a long time. There's some other interesting stuff in the Intelligencer column of that issue, including a scheme to build on the success of "Saturday Night Fever" and "Grease" by grooming the next John Travolta: bubblegum singer Shaun Cassidy. Click the clip to make it bigger.

new-west-731978.jpg

Kurcfeld went on to serve as arts editor at the Weekly from about 1985-89. Felker died in 2008.


More by Kevin Roderick:
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