The latest issue of any magazine is in a sense a composite of all the issues that have gone before. Although this Olympic issue is notably special, it could not possibly be what it is if it were not also the sum of 308 others, beginning with Volume 1, Number 1, August 16, 1954. That was a happy event, as birthdays should be, and one reason for recalling it is no less happy: with this issue SPORTS ILLUSTRATED is 6 years old.
When SPORTS ILLUSTRATED was born its readers did not know the magazine, and it did not know its readers. Nevertheless, 450,000 were present for the occasion, giving SPORTS ILLUSTRATED the largest circulation any weekly has ever started with. Now, on its sixth birthday, the circulation has more than doubled, and the families, almost a million, who buy SPORTS ILLUSTRATED know SPORTS ILLUSTRATED; and SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, thanks to their answers to some searching questions we have been asking them, knows them very well. So if this issue may be regarded as a composite, it suggests another—the family who subscribes to it. This family may not be exactly yours and not quite your neighbor's. But in many respects it should be familiar. And in all respects it is far from average.
Comprising 3[4/5] members, it owns 1½ automobiles, 1[9/10] cameras, 1[1/5] TVs and 1[9/10] fishing rods. Out of its $10,835 annual income it buys, among other things, 10[4/5] rolls of film, 7,665‚Öî cigarettes and 1,080[1/5] gallons of gas, which it burns up in 16,228[7/10] miles of auto travel. It carries life insurance to the amount of $27,462. Each month it entertains 20¼ guests, who are likely to have been invited over 1¾ telephones.
The lord and master of the house is 42[2/5] years old. Chances are seven out of 10 that he's been to college and four out of five that he owns the house. Like the rest of his family, he is a most active person who likes to go where the action is. If it weren't for his slightly cumbersome fractions, he would have made it to our birthday party. But his wife arrived in one car. He started in the half a car she left behind and succeeded in getting only halfway. But I'm sure he's here in spirit with all the rest of you.