Page 21 - Gay Pioneers: How Drummer Shaped Gay Popular Culture 1965-1999
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Jack Fritscher             Introduction                        3

             first five years at the end of 1979, by chance of good fortune, I had edited
             half of the Drummer issues in existence.

                            SHOULD AULD ACQUAINTANCE BE FORGOT

                    “What rollicking reopen old friendships and even some
                ancient hostilities of that golden age. To be a bystander to those
                vibrant talents and hear again those voices.... Can you imagine the
                pleasure in being able to put one’s arms around some of those peo-
                ple, just like you maybe should have done back then when they were
                still around and available?”
                    “What happened in 1977 could fill a book. We hired A. Jay’s
                friend, Jack Fritscher, as editor-in-chief, and bought a building on
                Harriet Street.”
                —John Embry,  Manifest Reader  33 (1997) and  Drummer  188
                (September 1995), 20th Anniversary Issue

                With a 42,000 copy press run for each issue in the 1970s, and with a
             pass-along rate of at least one reader in addition to each subscriber, approxi-
             mately 80,000 people handled each issue of Drummer for an estimated
             total nearing twenty million people. The mobbed Folsom Street Fair in
             San Francisco hosts 100,000 leather guests every September. Even if pub-
             lisher Embry, the self-appointed antagonist in this history, exaggerated his
             claim of 42,000 monthly copies and did a press run of only 21,000 copies,
             each issue of Drummer would have passed through the hands of nearly
             50,000 people. In gay book publishing, 5,000 copies sold is considered a
             best seller.
                Drummer was a people’s magazine that helped invent modern gay pub-
             lishing as we know it. First came the magazines in the 1970s and then
             the book publishers in the 1980s. More eyes have likely read one issue of
             Drummer than have read any one book by any deeply established GLBT
             author on the top hundred list of best-sellers in the gay literary canon,
             including James Baldwin, John Rechy, Rita Mae Brown, Edmund White,
             and Larry Kramer.
                A book is published once while a magazine renews its lively connection
             to readers monthly. That’s why, having been a young and tenured univer-
             sity professor and a founding member of the American Popular Culture
             Association in 1968, I added the tag line to the masthead of Drummer 23
             (July 1978): “The American Review of Gay Popular Culture.”

                 ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—post: 03-14-17
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