Saturday, January 26, 2008

Not an ad but the first issue of Corvette News magazine

I started at Campbell-Ewald in Jan. 1958 as an art director in the sales promotion group. I was hired by Jim Hastings and worked for Harry Borgman who was the sales promotion head art director at the time. One of my first assignments was to do the first issue of the "Corvette News". It is not a Chevy ad but if you happen to have one of these in pretty good condition, you have a real treasure. This is Volume 1, No, 1 of a magazine that is still being published today as "Corvette Quarterly". You can even buy it at almost any store with magazines. The first issue was produced with a very tight budget and had only two colors. All the illustrations were picked up from the GM photo archives. The stories were written by any copy writer that had time to become involved. It didn't have any ads like todays magazine and no circulation other than to those lucky owners of a new Corvette and those who might be thinking about buying one. I am not sure but each Chevy dealer may have been given an issue too. Our account guy was a very nice fellow named Wally Overhardt who married a lady who drove a Corvette. The client was Joe Pike who was very much responsible for most of the good things that happened to Corvette in the early days. He was named the editor of the magazine and did much to point the direction it would take. For a picture of Joe and a nice review of his contributions visit the NATIONAL CORVETTE MUSEUM on the internet. Anyone interested in Corvette will be delighted. When the museum opened I donated a bunch of Corvette ads and promotional material that may still be on view.

This is the third issue devoted to the introduction of the 1958 Corvette. The big news in the styling was the duel headlamps. I always thought the single lights looked better but the duel idea was being used on everything. Again, there was no budget for original photography so pictures from GM Photographic were used. Walter Farynk and Don Sudnick were two of the best photographers at GM Photo at the time. They made most of the photos that were used in press releases for all GM Divisions. Copy was by various guys in the group. The magazine was now established and I continued to put it together for about the next year or two. Any of the first year issues are very valuable and worth preserving should you have one.


scothocul said...

my father was the art director for corvette news mag in the mid 70's. he started at JamHandy(?) and then worked at GM Photographic. His name was David Culling. I am trying to find info about him and the magazine in that time period.

Jim Bernardin said...

I didn't know your father. Campbell-Ewald had the magazine for many years before GM Photographic took it over and produced it for many years. That is the time period your father must have worked on it. Sometime around the mid 80s or a little later I made a presentation to Chevrolet that brought the magazine back to C-E. We proposed to reduce the cost of publishing by selling advertising and eventually putting the magazine on the news stands. Both have worked out very well. We also proposed many editorial changes--I think it became Corvette Quarterly then .
Someone at GM Photo may have old copies and information about your dad. If you have any of the old magazines you could look to see who some of the writers or other contributers were and try to contact them. Also you might try looking at the GM site and check the old photos they have for sale--if you know about some of the pictures your dad made or art directed you might find examples there. I found a bunch of the things I did there and bought a few. Wish I could be more helpful.