05 September 2012

David Letterman & David Mercer Giveaway


You'll have to work for this one. Somewhere on the above David Letterman "M" cover is a clue to the future of the magazine. According to a staff member at the time, it was secretly added by an employee of the art department.

The first reader to correctly identify the hidden clue by commenting wins a $130 Mercer shirt courtesy of another great Dave -- David Mercer -- One of the nicest guys you'll ever have the pleasure of talking to and stealing shirts from. However, you want a collar button, pocket flap, pop-over or some other whiz bang treatment -- You'll have to cough that up on your own.

You have until this Friday (7 September 2012) at 9:00AM EST. Relatives of John Tinseth, M Magazine staff (then and today), powerHouse Publishing employees and legal residents of California are prohibited from playing.

88 comments:

FLW said...

I'll take a shot...

You said art department and that makes me look at typeface and layout. The best I could come up with was the resemblance of the M logo to the University of Michigan. Perhaps this was a sign of the magazine's turn towards the more stereotypical masculinity and away from clothes and culture. I know they shuffled content and formats near the end, trying to find a niche and beat GQ (which most men at the time found "too gay")

Just a guess...

Brohammas said...

The date on the shipping label says August but the date on the cover of the mag says Nov.

GSV JR said...

Looks like they altered the "M" to resemble the typography of the Univ. of Michigan's "M." Was the mag moved to Ann Arbor?

Anonymous said...

Serifs on the M?

cjgreg said...

That distinctive M leads me to guess that the Magazine moved to Michigan (perhaps even to Ann Arbor) soon after. It seems the art department wanted to say, "Go, Blue!"

Titus said...

Here's a complete shot in the dark: the "M" looks very much like that used in University of Michigan branding (and very unlike the "M" on the sidebar), so I'm going to say that the "M" is the clue and indicates . . . that the periodical would be published out of Ann Arbor? Run by Michigan alumni? I didn't say it was a good guess.

Chuck said...

The M is different than the one they usually use. It is the same M used by the University of Michigan, including the background color of the cover.

Andrew said...

I'm going to go with the acrostic "T-W-o" formed by "The Wrath of..." Was this perhaps the second-to-last issue of the magazine?

Tom Buchanan said...

It looks like someone substituted the Michigan M for the old M. Is this related to the fact that Conde Naste is in Michigan?

D.Law said...

I'd have to say the mailing date (AUG 1993) differs from the issue date (NOV 1993), both of which seem to be the next year after publication ceased: "The last issue appeared in 1992."*

Just a guess though. Great work, keep up the blog - you help me get through the work week.



*http://www.nypost.com/p/news/business/magazine_makes_comeback_rBEyYfbSjYmnAnM6SQF1xH (also from your previous Trad Blog post)

Oyster Guy said...

Is it the "see ya" (CYA) on Dave's argyle ?

dukeandduke29 said...

The words 'good bye' are knitted in Dave's sweater!

dukeandduke29 said...

The words 'good bye' are knitted in Dave's sweater!

dukeandduke29 said...

The word 'goodbye' is knitted in Dave's sweater.

Michael Richardson said...

"goodbye" is written in the stitching of Dave's sweater, right to the bottom right of the "e" in "Wrath of Dave".

Michael Richardson said...

(and just to be 100% clear it's actually "GOOD BYE" not "goodbye")

Christian_Ace said...

Hee seems to have a very large right front tooth?

Makaga said...

I can't make out what it says, but isn't there something written in the stitching of Dave's sweater? "Expire" perhaps?

Bean gal said...

It'll be a video mag; I have a box of old M's, GQ's , Esquires from 79 up - nice work

Bean gal said...

it will be a video magazine - have that and all the other M's in my attic

JJ USA said...

The right side of the M (the leg) is larger than the left. Legal California resident so I keep my amateur Status.

Brian Luscombe said...

It looks like gumby or some figure waving goodbye in the ash of the cigar.

Brian

Brian Luscombe said...

The cigar ash has gumby or some other figure in it waving goodbye.

Brian

rayherrera@me.com said...

Does not say "for the civilized man"on the cover, under the "M"

Unknown said...

In the line of the Argyle design on his sweater (left middle of the page) you can make out the words "Good Bye" (or something similar).

Jack Dunn said...

This is purely a guess. The hidden clue is the 'M' is in a new font. Maybe the font is the one GQ's logo was written in at the time?- Jack.

Jack Dunn said...

My guess is the 'M' is in a new font, maybe the font of GQ's logo at the time?- J

William Sweetnam said...


It's the University of Michigan "M" and it lacks the phase "The Civlilized Man" below the M.

Bill from DC

Anonymous said...

Oh my. Dave's right ear [at our left] has been goobered with. First I thought both ears had been exaggeratedly Spock-ified; but now I think I see phallus erectus in the right ear only, along with a darkening of the outer ear just above to have it appear as though we have some effing in progess.

-F

Charlie G. said...

Just in case my last post didn't go through. The omission of "The Civilized Man" and the change to a Michiganesque plus serif "M."

Anonymous said...

PS. Forgot to add your "future of the magazine" phallus-in-the-ear symbolism translation ie, the magazine effed itself.

-F

Dallas said...

civilzed man was removed from the "M" logo lockup.

Zachary said...

Hello Sir,

Looks like the stitching in Dave's sweater says Good Bye in the black triangle below the "e" in Dave.

Yours, zac

Zachary said...

Hello Sir,

It looks like the stitching in Dave's sweater has been changed to say Good Bye in the black diamond under the "e" in Dave.

Yours,
zac

J. said...

Lurking green blob next to letters T and W! Scary enough.

Mark S said...

The magazine would become Cigar Aficionado, so the Cigar was artfully placed in Dave's mouth.

Makaga said...

Not sure if my other post was gobbled up by the internets, but I think there might be some adjustments on the stitching of the sweater thread to spell out something? I just can't make out what it says (if it says anything at all)

Daniel said...

Is that a middle finger being flipped on the right side of Mr. Letterman's hairline?

Enzo AGC said...

The "M" is a serif font, not sans serif like usual.

Dave T said...

I've blown the photo as much as I can. So, here's my take: The "M" is in the cigar ash tip. It was a good try.

Just said...

The fron of his hair is shaped into an "S" to form Ms.
Cheers Justin

Just said...

The front bit of his hairstyle has been altered into an "S" shape to form the word Ms.
Cheers
Just

Patrick said...

The cover doesn't have "The Civilized Man" printed under the M.

LAC said...

Hidden in the argyle is "GOOD BYE," in reference to the end of the magazine.

SJK said...

I'll take a stab. The M, now with serifs, has it's right "leg" wider than the left, morphing into an "I" presaging the change of name to "M, Inc".

no hype. said...

rape, sex ed, seven footers, cigars, lambswool v necks over tennis shirts...

whats going on with this issue?

Grishka said...

Is it the stitching on the sweater? It looks like it says "GOOD BYE."

ryanerik said...

"GOOD BYE" written in the argyle stripe?!

ryanerik -at- gmail -dot - com
//rew

ryanerik said...

...just in case my previous comment didn't go through. ;)

"GOOD BYE" in the argyle line?

//rew

Fred Johnson said...

"the civilized man" tag appears to be missing from the M logo.

Anonymous said...

Reference to an angry man for an angry age...this was eventually translated to The Civilized Man...

Mike G
Atlanta

Jeff P. said...

Playboy Bunny logo in the hair...

Anonymous said...

The pattern of intersecting lines in the argyle have been modified to create letters, an act suggesting the employee no longer fears for his or her job because of the magazine's imminent demise. Is it simply Kry? Or a name? Kary or Katy? A stylized broken heart? Or perhaps an unkind commentary on the subject of the photo such as kook or a similar word with, ahem, fewer vowels?

mark said...

Hmmmm. Is that a "£" at the end of Letterman's cigar? Money going up in smoke?

Unknown said...

Is it something to do with the "M"? I don't know what it is - but this is the only thing that stands out to me.

tintin said...

Unknown- No, nothing to do with the M.

s.wade said...

I have looked at this cover for nearly an hour, trying to find a pattern in the type. I have googled it extensively. I have compared it to other covers of the same era. I am truly at a loss here. But I want to take a guess here so my time isn't spent without at least a hail-mary.

I am going to guess that the barcode was changed to that of a GQ barcode, giving hint that subscribers would soon have their subscription swapped out for GQ. Probably not, but I thought I would give it a go.

s.wade said...

I have studied this cover for what seems like an hour. I have googled the subject extensively. I have compared this cover to other covers of this era. I am at a loss here, but I thought I would throw a hail-mary so as not to make it a complete waste of time.

My guess is that the barcode on the cover is actually a GQ barcode from the time. This would hint that the subscribers would soon have their subscriptions swapped out for GQ magazine.

Shot in the dark, but thought I would try. Cheers!

Makaga said...

Hmm, my comments don't seem to go through. I'm thinking the stitching on the sweater spells out something. I can't quite zoom in enough to read it though. "Expire"?

Mark S said...

The cigar placed in his mouth was added later, as the transition to Cigar aficionado began.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the stitching in the intercrossing diagonal lines on the argyle sweater is made up of tiny letters (especially near the "e" in Dave), but I can't zoom in on the image with the right resolution to read what the letters say.

Anonymous said...

An image similar to the main figure in Edvard Munch's The Scream of Nature commonly known as "The Scream" appears in David Letterman's left ear. FG

randall said...

Oh. I thought for sure it had to do with the letter, man.

Anonymous said...

There is some script written into the left side of his forehead (looking at the cover) right near his hairline. However, can't read what is says. Used a magnifying glass and still no luck.

Brian Luscombe said...

gumby or some figure in the ash of the cigar waving goodbye

Brian

LAC said...

"GOOD BYE" hidden in the sweater argyle, in reference to the end of the magazine's run.

LAC said...

"GOOD BYE" hidden in the sweater argyle in reference to the end of the magazine's run.

Anonymous said...

Does 'Letterman...an angry man' have anything to do with any USPS rate increase which may have led to the demise of the magazine?

William Sweetnam said...

It doesn't have the phrase "For the Civilized Man" on the cover. And Letterman doesn't look quite civilized in his picutre.

Bill

Matt O said...

The downward arrow.

Anonymous said...

A tie-in between "an angry man" on this cover and "the civilized man" tag line to come?

Mike G.

Bean gal said...

It's a video magazine

Anonymous said...

The word "Inc" is incorporated into the letter "M".

no hype. said...

Rape, sex ed, seven footers, cigars, winking, lambswool v-necks over tennis shirts...

whats going on with this cover?

mixture6mail said...

ashes on the cigar

The Pinehurst Land Rover Society said...

They dropped the "The Civilized Man" from the defining "M" masthead logo. Also the font was changed on the "M".

Maybe a coincidence but this font resembles the font used on "Inc." magazine. "M" later became "M Inc." No relation.

The Pinehurst Land Rover Society said...

He dyed the eyebrows. Dyed, died. You decide.

Anonymous said...

The full name of the magazine isn't on the cover?

Anonymous said...

Something to do with its transition to another name or it's eventual demise ?

The lines in the argyle sweater look touched up as they are not symmetrical ......but cannot make the connection

Fred

ryanerik said...

My answer from yesterday didn't make it through maybe... I'll try again:
"GOOD BYE" in written in his sweater?

Michael said...

I can't be sure of the exact lettering, but there is definitely a message hidden in the line stitching on the sweater to the SE of the "e" in "Dave." It looks a bit like "Good bye" (though the optimist hidden somewhere inside me has also suggested the more congratulatory "Good eye").

Corey J Cryer said...

My only guess, and it's a reach, is the fold in the sweater meant the magazine was going to fold soon.

Rich Fader said...

The good news is I figured it out. The bad news is I live in California. Buggery.

mark said...

Is it the "£" symbol at the end of the cigar suggesting the finances going up in smoke?

dukeandduke29 said...

I think it might be the "goodbye" knitted in dave's sweater.

dukeandduke29 said...

I think it might be the "goodbye" knitted in Dave's sweater.

tintin said...

dukeandduke29 is the first comment with the correct answer, Good Bye, inked into the argyle pattern of Dave's sweater.

tintin said...

dukeanddule clocked in at 10:49 AM on 5 Sep. A post will go up this morning with details. Congratualtions, dukeandduke. Please email me at the.trad@yahoo.com.