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Bravo turns 65: memories of the magazine

S.he shaped millions of young people in Germany: Bravo. On Thursday the magazine, which was founded in 1956 with the subtitle “Die Zeitschrift für Film und Fernsehen”, will be 65 years old. The editors hit a nerve at the time: within three years the circulation rose to more than half a million copies. In addition to exclusive access even to international stars like Michael Jackson, Bravo also attracted its readers with advice for their love life. Since 1969, under the heading “Dr. Sommer “Questions about sexuality and relationships answered by professionals. This was followed by subsidiary magazines such as Bravo Girl and Bravo Sport, a television program, the Bravo Hits CD series and an audience award of its own, Bravo Otto. In 1991 the sold circulation reached its highest level with almost 1.6 million copies, around 6 million people leafed through the Bravo weekly.

For the 65th birthday, however, a lot of the Bravo no longer looks so rosy. The print edition only appears once a month – only 82,000 copies are sold. The Munich editorial office, where die-hard fans used to wait in front of them in the hope of meeting a celebrity, was closed at the beginning of the year. Since then, an editorial office in Cologne has taken care of the content. The magazine still reaches around 568,000 and 271,000 subscribers via Instagram and Tiktok, mainly with celebrity gossip and surveys.

Reason enough, on the occasion of the anniversary, to look back rather than forward: Nine FAZ employees remember their youth with Bravo.

Did Marylin's curves get married too?  The cover story of the first Bravo on June 26, 1956.

Did Marylin’s curves get married too? The cover story of the first Bravo on June 26, 1956.

Image: Picture Alliance

The “booklet”

For me the Bravo had the charm of the forbidden. Similar to drinking cola. My parents wouldn’t allow me to do that either. They thought the “booklet”, as they contemptuously called it, was stupid and superficial and wanted me to read books or newspapers. But they only had black and white photos and didn’t tell anything about the lives of the pop stars I adored in the early 1980s. So I secretly bought the Bravo with my pocket money, hid it under my bed and dug it out in the evening after saying good night to everyone. I read all about the careers of Kim Wilde, Nena, and Billy Idol, and expanded my knowledge of other important things in life by reading Dr. Sommer’s column. But I was denied one thing: plastering the wall of the nursery with Bravo star cuts. Instead, I successfully kept up the façade of the good girl with horse posters. Anke Schipp

The Bravo? So what is that?

It must have been towards the end of the 1970s. A girl from the neighborhood asked my mother about parenting issues for a school project. One of her questions: “Do you think it’s good when your children read the ‘Bravo’?” My mother asked back: “What is that?” Yes, in the Sauerland you didn’t even have to be a mother of five children between ten and eighteen years of age know such newfangled things. Why should we read this too? We had everything: the “Westfalenpost”, the “Dom” (the “church newspaper for the Archdiocese of Paderborn”) and the “Landwirtschaftliche Wochenblatt Westfalen-Lippe”. We didn’t really need more to grow up. Alfons Kaiser

Arjun Sethi
Passionate guitarist, gamer and writer. Lives for the perfect review, and scrapes texts until they are razor-sharp.


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