If you were a kid of the 70s and 80s, there’s a pretty good chance that you remember Dynamite magazine. One of the most popular kids-oriented publications of the era, Dynamite was where you learned about your favorite celebrities and teen idols, played games and puzzles, and got some really cool stuff, like a 3D King Kong poster (glasses included).

Published from 1974-1992, and distributed by schoolteachers through Scholastic Press, Dynamite was a magazine that most every kid wanted to check out for at least a few minutes, and if you didn’t order your very own issue, you tried to borrow (or steal) a friend’s copy.

Dynamite existed in the literary realm somewhere between Highlights for Children and People magazine. Sure, there were plenty of activities such as puzzles, kid-friendly recipes, stickers, baseball cards and such, but each magazine also featured the then-current celebrities that kids really cared about at the time – think Fonzie, the Bay City Rollers, Star Wars cast – that sort of thing. For a great collection of former Dynamite covers, check out this Flickr page.

For its efforts, Dynamite magazine was a resounding success for Scholastic Press, and actually saved the company from financial distress at the time. Of course, anything that popular is going to have imitators. It wasn’t long before similar magazines such as Bananas and Wow were on the market, hoping to compete for those adolescent dollars. Each did respecfully well for a short time, but none is as fondly remembered as this engaging little publication that, back in the day, every kid was seemingly desperate to read.

Were you a regular reader of this beloved magazine of the 70s and 80s? Do you still own any copies? Share your recollections of Dynamite with all of us at Retroland, as we pay tribute to this one-of-a-kind publication from our childhood.

11 Responses to “Dynamite”

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  1. HardyGirl66 says:

    Oh, of course you put a SHAUN CASSIDY issue up, knowing full well The HardyGirl is going to comment. Yes, I am a BIG fan of Dynamite, and I have this issue, along w/ lots more. When I was in 4th grade, our teacher knew that some kids couldn’t afford this really popular mag. (you weren’t anybody at book order time w/o it!) So, she used to order like 4 or 5 extra copies and drew names. (I think I got picked twice) Fast forward to about 10 or 12 years ago. I was at a local flea market, and a lady had 25 issues, selling for $5. I had run outta money, but she said I could pay her back next week. I tried paying her back for 3 straight weeks, but she never came back. I got a kick outta reading the old issues, and using some of the puzzles and features w/ my class. They really liked the “Bummers” and Count Morbida’s Puzzle pages. (also my fave features!). Anytime I pick up a copy, I feel like I’m in Mrs. Weissman’s class all over again.

  2. Lisa says:

    Loved this magazine! I always ordered it from the book club! :)

  3. D-Rock says:

    My brother ordered a couple of issues of Dynamite back in the 70s. It certainly did seem like it was one of those magazines that all the kids wanted! From looking at the old covers on the above link, I know for a fact that we still have the “What’s Happening” issue, and perhaps the one with Epstein on the cover. I’d have to go back to my parents’ house to be sure. I think I even bought a later issue that had a feature on “The Empire Strikes Back” right before it was released.

    Dynamite is definitely a great time capsule of my childhood!

  4. princessdiana says:

    I loved Dynamite Magazine.

  5. Dawn says:

    I LOVED Dynamite Magazine too! I used to order it from the Scholastic book order forms at school… Takes me back to my wonderful childhood.

  6. Lorraine Hopping Egan says:

    That’s where I got my start as a writer! I was a teenaged intern sifting through giant burlap bags of letters—bummers and other jokes and contest entries—and they let me write a few of the articles. Since then, I’ve written a ton of books and created games and puzzles and fun stuff for kids.

    Did you know that R.L. Stine (“Goosebumps”) and Jovial Bob Stine are the same guy? Bob edited a companion humor magazine called Bananas. He wrote most of it, too, as I recall. Fun crew. Fun times. :)

  7. ari rottenberg says:

    What a flashback. Actually, I’m not sure if I’m remembering “Bananas” or “Dynamite”. But I do remember all that 70’s angst – Shaun Cassidy posing with Chewbacca, Charlie’s Angels, Jimmy Walker, Lou Ferrigno. My strongest memories were the stories – horror stories towards the back of the magazine. My favorite was “The Man Who Sold Rope to the Gnoles”. I don’t even know what a Gnole is, but the point got itself across. There was another story about a girl who disappeared in a house and could only be seen in the reflections of water in sinks and bathtubs. I couldn’t understand any of that as a kid. But who needed to understand, it was all very scary or funny enough (or both) for a kid of 10.

  8. I had quite a few issues, wish I still had them–did find the January 1979 issue with Mork & Mindy on the cover, great articles about Robin Williams and Pam Dawber. Will have to scour eBay for more…

  9. John says:

    I loved Dynamite! I remember every single issue in the picture above. The Chewbacca & Shaun Cassidy issue was by far the most remembered. Hey, it was Star Wars and Shaun. There was nothing bigger that year. God what a great time to be alive!

  10. elizabeth says:

    I think I remember one of the magazines had as the centerfold the Penssic War for the SCA. Does anybody know which issue that was? I’d love to find that one again.

  11. Shannon says:

    My brother used to help out in the library at out elementary school and on the last day of his sixth grade year he stole all of the Dynamites from the storage room, he brought home like eighty of them, I was probably seven, it was maybe 1985, we read those things a million times that summer, they were awesome!

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