THE WEEKLY WORLD NEWS
1979 – 2007
The world of publishing received a major shock this week when it was announced that the legendary tabloid Weekly World News is ceasing publication! The final edition of what is possibly the most unique weekly periodical in history will hit stands on Monday August 27th, 2007 although other reports say that it’ll be August 3rd, 2007. This story gets stranger and stranger – doesn’t it? This is horrible news for pop culture fanatics, the lovers of the weird and strange, and Appalactian hillbillies who depend on the Weekly World News as their only source for what is “really” going on in the world.
World Weekly World News began it’s odd publication history in 1979 when tabloid publisher American Media switched it’s even more legendary National Enquirer to color printing and wanted to continue to offer a cheaper black and white tabloid on the market. While The Enquirer offered people wild and fantastic rumors and lies about their favorite celebrities, The Weekly World News offered even more crazy stories of alien encounters, end of the world predictions, werewolf women, Bigfoot, yetis, sea monsters, miracles, sightings of Jesus and Satan and other odd stories. Probably the two most famous stories that The Weekly World News gave the world of pop culture was the popular story in the late 1980s that Elvis Presley was still alive and living in Kalamazoo, Michigan and possibly the paper’s most popular character, the Bat Boy.
So did I ever read The Weekly World News? Sure I did! Did I ever buy it? Hell no. I wouldn’t waste my money on that crap, but as a student trying to work my way through university by spending long nights at a local corner store, I often passed the time by flipping through The Weekly World News. My real thoughts on the paper was actually how poorly written it was, but then it had to be easy to understand so that morons who actually bought it for a source of news could understand it. Best not to use big words or complex thoughts.
However, there is one story about The Weekly World News that really affected me. When I was a kid The Weekly World News scared the hell out of me. As I stood in the checkout line at the grocery store with my Mom, the headlines and pictures gave me something to panic about. The end of the world! Satanists! Aliens! Hitler’s brain in a jar! Holy shit! Were any of us actually safe? Anyhow, there was one image and headline that really burnt it’s way into my brain when I was about six years old. The picture on the cover was of four young girls, all dark skinned and possibly of Mexican descent, sitting in what looked to be like a trench of some sort and in chains and shackles. The headline read “CULTS USING RUNAWAY GIRLS AS SACRIFICES TO SATAN” Something about the way the girls looked so victimized and the idea that they were going to be sacrificed to the devil really upset my fragile child mind. I had trouble sleeping that night. I mean, something had to be done! Why wasn’t the FBI on top of this? Anyhow, years went by and the image never left my mind. Every now and then when I was looking at tabloids I’d think of that picture and that headline. However, imagine my shock, not to mention amusement, when twenty five years later I saw the EXACT SAME picture on the cover of The Weekly World News! This time the headline read “IRAQ USING AMERICAN TEENAGE RUNAWAY GIRLS AS SEX SLAVES!” I’m sure that The Weekly World News reused pictures a lot, but I could help but be amused that my child hood trauma was popping up under another headline.
Anyhow, The Weekly World News has carved it’s own unique place in the pop culture journey and it will be missed. Yet, do not fret dear readers, because while The Weekly World News is no longer going to be being published, it is not forever gone. The Weekly World News will still be offering it’s unique brand of weirdness each week with new articles at it’s official web-site at www.weeklywordnews.com. It’s not quite the same, but if you love this publication at least it’s not over yet. Just like Elvis, it’s still alive….somewhere.