This special Olympic issue is the thickest, and heaviest, magazine ever put out by Time Inc. It's 540 pages long and contains, we fondly trust, just about everything you'll need to enjoy the Games—short of a seat at the finish line in the Los Angeles Coliseum.
Produced under the supervision of assistant managing editor Peter Carry, the issue has been in the works since January of '83, when he began making assignments for the cornucopia of Olympic features on the pages that follow. Some things didn't work out as planned—the Soviet-bloc boycott, for distressing example, necessitated several changes—but nonetheless the finished product is what we hoped it would be, something for you not only to read but also to use while viewing the biggest sports event ever staged in the U.S.
There are 18 stories on personalities and events of the '84 Olympics, and the 1932 Games, held in Los Angeles, were the inspiration for two other features. One is a photo essay by Brian Lanker—who also got the evocative quotes accompanying his pictures—that begins on page 109; its subject: living winners from the '32 Olympics, a group of individuals who remain remarkable 52 years after their golden triumphs.
Another '32 gold medalist is the subject of a retrospective by William Oscar Johnson (pages 137-159). An American named Clarence Crabbe won the 400-meter freestyle in L.A. to become the only non-Japanese to get a gold medal in men's swimming. Better known as Buster, the handsome Crabbe, who died suddenly in April 1983 at the age of 75, had taken a Hollywood screen test shortly before his victory, and he went on to star in Tarzan the Fearless, westerns and the unforgettable Flash Gordon serials that enthralled kids for decades.
July 17, 1984
Crabbe's dual career reminded us that the 1932 Games were, in a sense, Hollywood's Olympics, and Daniel Fuchs, who among other writing distinctions won an Oscar for the best motion picture story for the 1955 James Cagney film Love Me or Leave Me, tells us in a charming memoir (pages 162-193) what it has been like to live in Los Angeles in the years between the Games.
Coming back to 1984, you may already have noticed that page 241 is printed on heavy stock. It marks the beginning of the S.I. Olympic Handbook, a section that includes our picks to win gold, silver and bronze medals, tips on what dark horses to watch for and how various events may unfold, and a TV schedule. The stiffer page is designed so your magazine should more or less pop open to the picks whenever you settle down to watch the Games.
So, read. Enjoy. And use.