Tiger Beat was founded in September 1965 by Charles “Chuck” Laufer, his brother Ira Laufer, and television producer and host Lloyd Thaxton.
Marketed primarily to adolescent girls, the magazine featured teen idol gossip and articles about movies, music and fashion.
Tiger Beat kept its content strictly PG — there was never a hint of scandal or smut, just dreams of holding hands.
The magazine was unabashed in its embrace of the teen audience and their sensibility: Every headline, even the most banal, ended with a flourish of punctuation, such as “David ordered a steak!”
During the 1960s, The Laufer Company leveraged the teen market dominated by Tiger Beat with similar magazines, including FaVE and Monkee Spectacular.
When it became clear that Partridge Family star David Cassidy was the hot new thing, Laufer partnered with the show’s production company to ensure a steady, and mutually beneficial, stream of publicity.
When Cassidy’s appeal began to wane, Laufer opted to make his own stars. When a group of siblings from rural Ontario sent Tiger Beat their picture, he dubbed them “The DeFranco Family” and put 13-year-old Tony, who had “the look,” all over the magazine, effectively launching them to stardom.
Each edition of the magazine was chock full of offers for fan clubs ($3 for David Cassidy), offers for readers to complete their Tiger Beat collections through the purchase of back issues (75 cents each), an Osmonds sweatshirt ($5) and Donny cap ($5), the Tiger Beat Super Annual ($1.25), the Star Address Book ($1.25), selections from the Tiger Beat Paperback Library ($1 each for titles like The Secret Lives of Girl Stars, Brady Bunch in New York Mystery, and Stars & Their Pets), and “An Osmond Love Gift” ($2).
Those handfuls of crumpled dollar bills sent through the mail became hundreds of thousands of dollars, and in 1978, Laufer sold the magazine for a reported $15 million, with circulation cresting at 800,000.
Over the next 20 years, the magazine changed hands multiple times and in 1998, Tiger Beat was sold by publisher Sterling/MacFadden to Primedia, which sold the magazine to Scott Laufer, Charles’s son, in 2003.
Since 2015 Tiger Beat has been published by Los Angeles-based Tiger Beat Media, Inc. Since 2018 it has been an internet-only publication.