Inside People

updated 11/28/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/28/1994 AT 01:00 AM EST

WE ADMIT IT, 1994 HAS BEEN A year filled with nostalgia for people—and for PEOPLE. Celebrating our 20th birthday, we festooned the occasion with a best-selling anniversary issue, a highly rated ABC-TV special, a picture book, an almanac and a special issue containing all of our 1,038 covers. And that was before we clicked on our computers.

Last May a crew of PEOPLE editors and writers teamed up with a group of designers, producers and programmers at Voyager, a leader in multimedia publishing, to develop our first CD-ROM, People: 20 Years of Pop Culture. Mixing text with audio and video clips, color photos and those eerily entertaining graphic transformations called morphs (you'll see, for example, how Michael Jackson has evolved over time), the disc allows the user to surf through two decades of the fads, fashions and events that fascinated America. "Instead of recreating the magazine," says Voyager executive producer Maryam Mohit, "we wanted to develop something new that would still capture the essence of what defines PEOPLE."

Navigating the disc, the user has scores of options. All of our covers, and the full text that ran with each of them, can be viewed chronologically or by subject matter. Or do you want to know what Liza Minnelli and John Travolta have in common? Click on the Star Map and discover the link between them as well as connections between more than 100 other stars. Dazzled by Diana? Check out the Di-O-rama, a time line of the princess's royal ups and downs that includes video and audio clips of her wedding, an audio of the infamous Squidgy tape and interviews with biographers Andrew Morton and Lady Colin Campbell duking it out over, among other things, Diana's virginity. "We've tried to use this technology in a lively, fun fashion," says Maria Wilhelm, PEOPLE'S editor of new media. "This is the first truly mass-market CD-ROM, something we believe will influence the direction of the industry." People: 20 Years of Pop Culture is compatible with both Macintosh and Windows and is available in stores nationwide at a suggested retail price of $29.95. To order directly, call 1-800-470-2001.

This week's Where Are They Now? cover and special section, which begins on page 71, also taps into PEOPLE'S past. "Our readers have been pleading with us for years to revisit their favorite stars," says managing editor Landon Y.Jones. "It just took us a while to conclude that they were right." Our search for those who achieved fleeting fame led us from '70s teen idol Leif Garrett to Claus von Bulow's former ladylove Andrea Reynolds. One of the more elusive subjects proved to be actress Linda Manz, best known for her role as the 12-year-old migrant worker in the 1978 film Days of Heaven. "Nobody knew how to get in touch with her," says L.A. correspondent Stanley Young. Manz no longer had an agent, and the last published article on her was from the early '80s. Eventually a casting director told Young that the only way to reach Manz was through a gas station near her home in Lake Hughes, Calif. (pop. 800). "Communication was always a problem," says Young. "Every time we had to change the time of an interview, it was like sending stuff to the moon. Smoke signals would have been more efficient." Nevertheless, Young persevered. The result is a poignant portrait of an actress still a bit wistful for her Hollywood glory days.

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