Once upon a time, TIME and NEWSWEEK magazines were considered the pulse of America, and LIFE and LOOK were considered its heartbeat. Reflecting our daily lives like no others could, this quartet of publications was the most accurate collective exposure one could get of an American family snapshot.
Nothng today can compare -- even the current incarnation of TIME, with its sometimes bilious political affectations or the vapid, dead-beat celebrity-strewn pages of US WEEKLY or PEOPLE can come close to the journalistic sophistication of LIFE.
During the 50's and 60's , if you made it into LIFE, you were really something. You had to be pretty popular or unique at the moment to find yourself in its pages. After all, this was a national magazine and it seemed to have an uncanny, predestined sense that it would end up being an American icon.
It's really wasn't much of a surprise, then, when Maila Nurmi, a.k.a. Vampira, the first -- and some say, finest -- TV horror host, appeared in the pages of LIFE on May 31, 1954!