Jacob Bernstein‘s “The Great Interview Magazine Caper“, a N.Y. Times “Style” piece (6.16.18), is a thoroughly reported, concisely written history of a high-fashion, celebrity-focused monthly that really seemed to matter from the early ’70s to early ’80s. To me anyway and others in my Manhattan journalist circle. Particularly, I would say, during the mid to late ’70s, and especially the Studio 54 heyday (’77 to ’80).
Launched by Andy Warhol in ’69, Interview folded last month after nearly 50 years in business.
I forget exactly when I realized that Interview had lost that special aura of downtown coolness, but it was probably sometime in the mid to late ’80s. It was clear to one and all that the edge factor was gone by the early ’90s. I’m amazed that a past-its-prime version of Interview limped along for a quarter-century, but it did.
My one and only visit to Interview‘s editorial offices was in early ’78. I had written up an interview with Sterling Hayden for Fairfield County magazine, and was trying to sell it to a Manhattan publication. (Zero overlap.) It was just a so-so profile, and yet executive editor Robert Hayes didn’t blow me off. As I sat by his desk he unfolded a copy of my article and read it line by line. He didn’t skim — he actually read each sentence. He said it was “good” but let it go at that. I didn’t expect that much would happen, but Hayes made me feel welcome and conveyed a certain peer respect.
We chatted about various critics who were around at the time. He described one as an “easy lay” — the first time that a big-league New York editor had confided that kind of opinion to me. I was flattered. A few years later Hayes died of complications from AIDS. I never forgot his graciousness and good manners.