Here we really begin the story. Gardner Cowles was a member of the Midwest’s most notable media family - since dismantled and gone from the public mind. Don’t think Gardner - known as Mike - was sitting in the top office at WMAX, though; he was off doing other media things. One of his creations:

Based on responses to the photo coverage in their newspapers and the sale of photo features to other newspapers, Mike Cowles decided in 1936 to start a national picture magazine to be called LOOK, a name suggested by his mother.

He was born the year his father bought the Des Moines Register, and died a week after the family sold it.