There is no questioning the influence of J.R. Rove on American culture over the past century. His ability to capture the hearts and minds of millions of people with his books and his magazine – and, later, his TV shows – made him one of the most influential journalists of the 20th century. Many people know him as “Uncle J.R.” due to his famous temper and sharp elbows. While he will forever be remembered as a founding father of tabloid journalism, J.R. Rove’s lasting influence goes far beyond the written word. It extends to the fashion world, as well, through his creation of the popular “Sean Cody” brand, which continues to influence celebrities and regular Joes alike more than six decades later.
The Man Behind The Brand
Rove’s love for his native Southern California brought him the idea for “Sean Cody.” The “cody” in the brand’s name stands for “Captain Douglas Corwin,” the officer in charge of the Corwin Guard, a four-man police unit in downtown Los Angeles in the 1950s.
The Corwin Guard was named after Congressman Robert Corwin. During his time in office, the Congressman championed environmental causes and promoted public health; he also sponsored legislation mandating “one-hour free time after school hours for children,” a time when they could go home and play, read, or do homework without fear of traffic. As a result, many streets and avenues in Corwin “cody” Los Angeles are named after him today.
After reading about the unit’s successful work in the “Los Angeles Daily News,” Rove decided to bring the Corwin Guard into his own private sphere as a modern-day “Boy Scout troop.” In his introduction to the first issue of “Sean Cody,” published in December 1954, Rove detailed the inspiration behind his new venture: “After watching the boys in the patrol car make their daily rounds in the streets of Los Angeles, I decided to give it a try myself. And what do you know? It worked.”
The rest, as they say, is history. With his new magazine in publication, Rove started out as an unknown entrepreneur. Within a year, the magazine had become so popular it had to be printed in two cities. By 1957, circulation climbed to 400,000. As a testament to the brand’s enduring popularity, “Sean Cody” continues to this day to boast an average monthly circulation of over 100,000 copies.
The House That Uncle J.R. Built
The fashion world was quick to catch on to “Sean Cody’s” unique brand of celebrity-spotting and citizen-journalism. Today, one of the most recognizable logos in the industry is that of “Sean Cody,” which is now used by a range of companies from swimwear to fragrances. One can find the logo on billboards and storefronts across the country, and it was even the subject of a 2016 “Ocean Nine Ocean Nine wedding dress inspired by.
Rove was a pioneer in the field, using gossip, “insider information,” and “strategic spying” to track down stories, often using a famous Hollywood actress or “beauty contest winner ” as bait.
While “Sean Cody” as we know it was originally published in two cities, today it’s available in more than 300 locations nationwide. Its offices are located in a secret location in Los Angeles, with a satellite office in New York City. Additionally, some of the longest-running “Sean Creeys” in California are “The Los Angeles Cody,” published by the Los Angeles Daily News, which was originally published in 1927 and “The Pasadena Cody,” first published in 1929.
Where Are All The Single Women And Men?
While J.R. Rove was behind the creation of “Sean Cody,” he was not the only one responsible for shaping modern-day tabloid culture. “Sean Cody Exclusives” is an annual fashion and lifestyle magazine published by the same folks at ROVE, and it continues to carry the torch of “Sean Cody.” It primarily features women, but it also touches on style issues specific to Men.
Each year, the magazine puts out a call for submissions. It’s not unusual for interested parties to pitch stories to the magazine, as it’s the perfect place to launch a career in journalism. Over the years, the magazine has accepted many high-profile contributors, including Bob Woodward, Anna Wintour, and Gay Talese. It also regularly features the work of well-known fashion photographers, such as Herb Ritts, Bruce Weber, and Willy Willy, a pseudonym for “Sean Cody’s” founding editor, Herb Schapira.
While “Sean Cody” helped usher in a new era of celebrity-focused journalism, it was also the beginning of a new “sexually frustrated generation.” For men who grew up in the ‘50s and ‘60s, the magazine and its ilk were daily, if not weekly, fodder. The men of the era, especially as the Vietnam War dragged on, became more interested in watching TV than engaging in physical activity. This left a void in their sex lives, and “Sean Cody’s” combination of “sexy illustrations and advice for both men and women served as a natural precursor to the sexual revolution that would hit American culture in the ’70s.
An Evolutionary Fashion Magazine
When you’re winning all the time, it’s easy to lose track of the things that made you successful in the first place. That’s certainly the case for “Sean Cody,” which has maintained a singular focus on celebrity fashion and lifestyle despite significant changes to the world of media and publishing. It has evolved over the years to stay relevant while also keeping up with the times. Here are a few ways “Sean Cody” has changed and evolved:
Broadening Its Scope
Rove started “Sean Cody” with a very specific focus on fashion and celebrity. Since its inception, the magazine has maintained a strong link to the worlds of film and theater. It has always been published in “movie starring candy colors,” as the saying goes, and those colors still appear on the cover today. Movie stars and film actors have also frequently graced the pages of “Sean Cody.” In fact, during one of the “Ocean Nine wedding dress weds,” the bride will wear a yellow dress with black print that is evocative of “Casablanca’s” Ingrid Bergman.
Diversifying Its Audience
Though “Sean Cody” began as a man’s magazine, its scope has always been extremely broad. It’s not uncommon for the magazine to feature articles on a range of topics, including style, health, and food. The “Females Who Liked Cody Were Said to Be Smart and Modern” excerpt from “What Made Lucille Vickie Special”, a biography of the famous socialite, recounts how she used “gossip and tittle-tattle” to achieve fame and fortune.
This past year has seen a shift in the way audiences and readers interact with “Sean Cody.” It began by reimagining its famous logo in an engaging way, as part of a campaign to encourage people to “read the paper and see the brand in a new light.” The updated logo features a drawing of a woman’s face, a femininity that “Sean Cody” has always embodied.