On the third floor of the Museum of Modern Art in Midtown Manhattan rests a tribute to Esquire's glory years -- a collection of 92 covers from the 1960s and early 1970s that have become, in the museum's words, "essential to the iconography of American culture."
That illustrious history hangs over the magazine's effort to celebrate its 75th year. Its attempt to add to the annals of museum-worthy covers includes a nod to the digital age: an electronic cover, using admittedly rudimentary technology, that will flash "the 21st Century Begins Now," when it appears on newsstands in September.
"I hope it will be in the Smithsonian," said David Granger, Esquire's editor in chief, in a recent interview while showing prototypes of the cover -- an early version has a cord sticking out that attaches to a battery pack.
If it does wind up in the Smithsonian, it will need a power source; on its own, the magazine will run out of juice after 90 days. Mr. Granger knows some will see the cover as a gimmick -- but he says he thinks the technology behind it, which has been used for supermarket displays but never embedded in a magazine, speaks to the possibilities of print.