Teen Magazine #4: 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 - arrested in 2006.

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. (Anyone remember the DJ "The Poor Man? - he used to ride his motorcycle down the freeway to the radio station in the morning ..... but I digress). 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? Justin Beiber holding a Camel between his fingers.  I'd love to see it.

Also take note of the question from the Leif Garrett column: "You've also had a problem with people thinking you're gay, haven't you?"  What kind of question is that?

Another casualty of Hollywood: Corey Haim.  With Europe in a crippling recession, the Middle East on the verge of apocalypse, and a host of other high-order problems in the world, it's hard to give two shits about yet another Hollywood cast-off.... but the Corey Haim thing 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.

Jack Wagner looks really effeminate here.  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.  This was an early indicator of my wildly varied tastes in music - a fact that you listeners to Retrospace Radio are well aware.

"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.

The Man with One Red Shoe was a dud.  But then, what did you expect when starring in a movie with Jim Belushi, the world's worst actor.  The Godfather, Taxi Driver, Schindler's List.... all could have been ruined by the mere presence of Mr. Belushi.  Let us all be thankful that Coppola, Scorsese, and Spielberg had the good sense to make Belushi-free films.

To wash the taste of Belushi from my mouth, I'll end with a movie poster from the back cover of this magazine.  I don't remember it, but 1985 was the height of my ninja obsession and I very likely saw it.  Ninjas are still cool, but they will never be as cool as they were in '85.


  1. Don't know why Leif Garrett in in a 1985 edition of Teen Idols. I was 15 back in 1985 and lemme tell you, Leif Garrett was a nobody to us Duran Duran/Tom Cruise/David Lee Roth/Bryan Adams/Def Leppard/Adam Ant/Don Johnson etc. obsessed girls.

    Sorry Leif :(

  2. Maybe Spielbergio made J-I-M Belushi-free films, but he didn't make john Belushi free films. 1941 would have been a great movie of the week, but as a feature release nationwide, it was a dud. Blues Brothers is still the gold standard for drama-free romps with the studios cash and features walk-on after walk-on. Studio party gold. Jim's a good guy, had breakfast with him in my college years. Great post as always Gilligan.

  3. Amazing stuff here. It's always interesting to look back at who was such hot stuff and how they're looked at now.

  4. "Ninjas are still cool, but they will never be as cool as they were in '85."

    Amen, brother... the same could be said of life itself.

  5. I can verify your KROQ story - I remember being on the way to school, busting up laughing while hearing it. Estevez calls up Lowe, possibly wakes him up, and Lowe immediately starts in talking about this redhead - I'm remembering that it was like the girl was still in bed with him at the time.

    A few years later, he got in trouble with his sex tape with an underage girl...I remember the clip being replayed (on KROQ morning drive!) Too funny - I wish I could find that clip on the web...somewhere!