February 2, 1959
Mr. Bernhard M. Auer
TIME, The Weekly Newsmagazine
540 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago 11, Illinois
Dear Mr. Auer,
I got your nice note today and wanted to thank you for it before I forgot. As you probably remember you suggested that now was the "right TIME" to save on the purchase of TIME, because "Never before in history has the news been so urgent and thought-compelling, so packed with surprise and excitement as it is today.... As you probably already know," you wrote me, "college students prefer TIME to any other magazine. So do business leaders, statemen, up-and-coming young professional men.
"The reasons are very clear. TIME puts you at ease in any conversational circle, whether the talk evolves around Khrushchev or Kerouac...Rickover or Rockefeller...Bernsteing or Bardot...You'll use the facts you find in TIME dozens of times each day."
Well, Mr. Auer, you were right. I admit that I doubted your word and went out to buy a copy of the magazine before subscribing. But I'm convinced now. I have found your February 2 issue just chock full of facts, and I was able to use them at least a dozen times today. For instance, I was in a conversational circle today that was revolving around Bernstein (Estrella Bernstein, our cleaning woman) and I just usually dropped the fact that Cecil B. DeMille was dead. You remember--your latest issue devoted nearly three-quarters of a page to his career as an "epic-maker." My, was I surprised, when Estrella told me he'd been dead since January 21--12 days. But I won out anyway by dropping one of your writers' bon mots to the effect that "The DeMillenium was over." Well, sir, I can promise you that Estrella was dumbfounded by my wit.
Then later at the pool-hall I got into another conversational circle with some up-and-coming young professional men from the Syndicate. They were all talking about the South, but I was able to join in easily with an off-hand remark about Governor Almond's blowing "off his mask of cool legality" and taking "to the air waves like a latter-day Faubus." Then one of my business-leader friends told me that Almond has acquiesced to the court orders and had persuaded the emergency session of the Virginia legislature to go along with him in destroying massive resistance. Well, of course, I knew better, because your lead article had quoted Almond: "I will not yield to that which I know is wrong,' cried he." The other fellows wouldn't believe me until I showed them the story, but it really shut them up.
Another thing I like about TIME is the way it makes everything in Washington so clear, so that a fellow like me can know for sure who the good guys and the bad guys are. Like for example your story about the missiles where you show that "Defense Secretary Neil McElroy, backed by the best intelligence there is" has it all over "Democratic Presidential Aspirant Stuart Symington who was...Secretary of the new Air Force (1947-50), when the U.S. was asleep at the missile switch." This political mess sure is ugly, but TIME makes it easy to see where the blame rests. I must say I was pretty amused to see by the papers recently that McElroy, too, is considered a possible Republican Presidential candiate.
But the best thing about TIME is that it doesn't take all that "urgent and thought-compelling" twaddle so seriously that there isn't room for a little news about the lighter things in life. I sure liked that page-and-a-half spread you gave to that scandal in France about those rich people trying to knock one another off. Oh, those French, eh, Mr. Auer! And I can hardly wait to see how TIME covers that other scandal that broke last week in France about the government officials and the nude dancing girls. I guess the issue was a little too crowded to squeeze that in too. But I am glad you could give two-thirds of a page to the rumors about the Shah of Iran and that exiled Italian princess and a similar amount of space to that Polish refugee novelist Hlasko. He sounds like a real interesting guy and I'm glad to see some coverage of his activities in Germany rather than any of this dull stuff about German reunification. The same goes for the story on the princess. Who wants to read about a cabinet resigning anyway?
So I just wanted to thank you, Mr. Auer, and all the folks who work for TIME for the pleasure you brought me and all those useful facts. I don't know what I'd do in my conversational circles without TIME, and I know that all my fellow college students feel the same way. We're grateful, sincerely and deeply grateful. Yours, Alfred Friendly, Jr. Cambridge 38, Mass.
P.S. Enclosed is my $3.87.