Wednesday, September 25, 2013

September 1967

The first issue of this monthly gay magazine premiered in September of 1967.  Like many good ideas, it was published as a local newsletter, by the activist group PRIDE (Personal Rights in Defense and Education) in Los Angeles. The need for it was inspired by a police raid on a Los Angeles gay bar called the Black Cat Tavern.

Built in 1939, the Black Cat  was the site of one of the nation’s earliest documented gay rights demonstrations...happening more than two years before the Stonewall Riots in New York City. Located at 3909 W. Sunset Blvd, I'm hoping that VGMH's resident expert on California gay history, Mike (Studio City), might be able to share any information he knows about this place/it's location in Hollywood?  Now back to how it helped to create The Advocate...
Richard Mitch (using the pseudonym "Dick Michaels") and Bill Rau (under the name "Bill Rand") joined PRIDE and, along with artist Sam Winston, the trio transformed the activist newsletter into a real newspaper, which they titled The Los Angeles Advocate.

By early 1968, PRIDE was struggling.  It's reported that Mitch and Rau paid the PRIDE  group $1 for ownership.  In 1969, the newspaper was renamed simply The Advocate and distributed nationally. By 1974, Mitch and Rau were printing 40,000 copies for each issue.

It attracted the attention of David Goodstein, an investment banker from San Francisco who bought the publication in 1974. Under Goodstein's direction, The Advocate transformed into a national news magazine covering events important to the gay community.  Here's a sampling of covers through the decades.  

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