Wednesday, May 22, 2024

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Now it Can Be Told: Westporter Involved in Time Cover Switch

Westport artist Miggs Burroughs today provided a bit of Time Magazine history he says has not been told before -– the last minute switch of a 1973 Watergate cover he did depicting Bob Haldeman and John Ehrlichman.

WestportNow.com Image
The original July 30, 1973 cover is at left and its replacement is on the right.  Contributed photos

“It was to be the fifth cover I did for Time Magazine in the early 70s, most of which portrayed aspects of the Watergate scandal,” he wrote in a Facebook posting.

“My assignment was to portray Bob Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, Nixon’s personal counsel in the White House, who were complicit in the ‘coverup’ of Nixon’s impeachable crimes. I put their heads together, sharing an ear, to further convey the media’s and public’s perception of them as one inseparable and evil force in the Oval Office.

“I was told to leave room for the headline but had no clue what it would be. The cover was printed and wrapped around a few hundred thousand issues of the magazine, ready to be distributed, before cooler heads at Time prevailed and had the entire issue pulled and destroyed for its offensive headline. A first in Time’s history, and never revealed until today. This may be the only remaining copy of that cover.”

“They did a very quick switch at the last minute with one of the many covers they have in their ‘bank’ for just this kind of situation,” Burroughs said in an email to WestportNow.

“I did over 20 assignments for them during Watergate and only four ended up as covers, but they told me that for each cover story they would commission several possible cover options, including art, photography or just typography.

“The crazy thing is that there was no Internet so some artwork would be flown to their Chicago printing plant by private jet. For rush assignments they used send photos or ideas to me via a New York Yellow cab from their Sixth Avenue offices to my apartment at the Penguin. I would hear a horn honking and there would be a Yellow Cab in the driveway.”

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