1.12.2022

NICKELODEON Magazine Premiere Issue, 1990

Yo, kids! Are you ready for a wacky, outta this world adventure of totally rad music, movies, shows, video games, comic books, and contests (courtesy of The Only Network For Kids)?! Then let's bail and leave the homework behind cuz you're gonna meet Pete & Pete, chill with the New Kids, and maybe even get slimed! (No parents allowed.)

I gotta lotta magazines, so if I go through the trouble of bringing one to your attention, you'd better believe it's something special. Suffice to say that any issue of Nickelodeon Magazine is bubbling with specialness, but this is the "Premiere Issue" - released, I'm guessing, in early 1990. It was sold in stores for $1.95 and also available for free at Pizza Hut (which is such a fun and charming sentence to write). It's 50 pages of juvenile sorcery; a brash celebration of literally everything of that specific moment - in content, in context, and in craft. It's uncanny how they managed to translate the channel into print form; even in the pre-SNICK days, it was still a wild kaleidoscope of video art and fruit snacks. 

"Goldmine" may be overused, but that's what this thing is. I'd love to just send you all a .pdf download and be done with it, but I wanna share this with you, together. I've compiled what I found to be the most compelling pages of this publication, and when I have to, I'll tell you why. Please: click, tap, zoom, expand - drink these in and let the flavors dance on your tongue. Your mouth will thank me. 

- Paul


Personally, seeing Chevy on the cover in a comforting and obvious connection to Nickelodeon in 1990 while the first few seasons of Saturday Night Live were part of the Nick at Nite lineup. But objectively, out of the colorful cast of characters at their fingertips, this is a truly odd choice. One would expect someone like Marc Summers or Alyssa Milano to kick off Issue #1 - but I guess they thought kids wanted to see Fletch get slimed(?).


I used to rent these from the video store from time to time - which was a tough choice: to piss away the week's video rental on a show I watched all week. But when I would bring 'em home, the novelty of watching a show at any time of the day, as many times as I wanted, was just exquisite. I look at these now and I realize that I have them - all of them - on DVD, and I feel safe.



Just a heads up: Hey, Dude jumped the shark when Jake joined the cast. 


I could've done 500 words on this page alone. Instead I'll just point out that the fact that "Madonna with dark hair" is on the Bottom 10 illustrates the lack of credibility of this list.











At this point in time, Pete & Pete aired on the network as 60-second shorts during commercial breaks. It wasn't until 3 years later that they got their own half-hour episodes in their own series. The more you know...





The truth is, at this stage, the programming Nick at Nite had to offer was infinitely more interesting to me than any of the regular daytime stuff. In hindsight, that makes a whole lotta sense: Laugh-In and Bewitched had a lot more staying power than Dr. Snuggles or Fred Penner. That's why this bathrobe/bowling shirt duo is the sexiest thing here. (Although I'd do dirty things for a Count Duckula t-shirt.)



...But not as filthy as I'd get for any of these shirts. If this were my entire wardrobe, it would be all I'd ever need - including pants or food. 


That's about half of this rag, but if you're at all like me, you'll seek out your own to hold in your hands and brag to your friends how you're cooler than them. (Unless they have an original Richard Marx shirt -- then they've got the high ground.)

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