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Classic Covers: Life’s a Beach

Some people are in heaven at the beach. Take the pretty lady on the left in Kurt Ard’s August 1958 cover. To her husband, who must burn and peel easily, the beach seems more like that other place. But coated with a variety of potions and covered up to the chin, he is making the sacrifice for her. Perhaps she’ll return the favor tomorrow and settle for a shady spot.

What that man has discovered, the young lady in the July 6, 1929, cover is just finding out: Too much sun can be painful. Or, at least, inconvenient, as we see from the tan lines of the lady in Albert W. Hampson’s September 27, 1941, cover. The stripes of her bathing suit do not line up with the lovely backless dress she wants to wear. (Oops.)

The best way to enjoy the beach is to find a nice secluded spot away from the madding crowds. What usually happens, though, as in George Hughes’ August 8, 1953, cover, is that others soon find that perfect spot, after which, alas, is not so perfect.

We bet you thought crowded beaches were a modern-day phenomenon. J.C. Leyendecker’s September 3, 1932, cover shows a joyously crowded beach with all kinds of characters, topped off by a strapping lifeguard. Not so joyously crowded is the beach scene showing a confused family trying to find their car on the August 1, 1959, cover. Mom thinks it’s this way, but Dad and junior are inclined to think it’s that way. We hope they find it before everyone gets fried.

You have to love the die-hards. Take Smiley (we’re pretty sure that’s his name), on the June 17, 1961, cover. He’s gung-ho about plunging into the posted 52-degree water in spite of the covered-up lifeguard who clearly thinks he’s nuts. Life is short. You have to take advantage of beach days.

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  • katie

    I bought what I thought from sight was a Norman Rockwell. At further inspecting I saw that Kurt Ard was the artist. It is “Boy in the Dentist Chair” It is framed nicely and at the bottom of the print is 3 stamps depicting “dental health, International year of the Child and Health Research”. I’ve tried to see what it might be worth, but have had no luck. Anyone know of a website I can check out?

    Thanks, Katie

  • Jon

    I saw one I thought was a Rockwell illustration. It was on the back of a old Reader’s Digest (04-06..?) The family w/o tans are making thier way to the beach, wearing more cloths than the ones they pass and quite out of thier element, it would appear. I thought the title was; “Tan Lines”. I always wanted to know who the illustrator was.