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Classic Covers: Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Published: August 8, 2009

American poet and educator Henry Wadsworth Longfellow perhaps said it best: “Into each life some rain must fall, some days must be dark and dreary.” The rainy days on our Post covers show the dark and dreary, the frustrations along with the humor that accompanies a downpour. No fair weather friends, our cover artists!

Dating Rule No. 1: If trying to impress a girl with your fancy convertible, be sure a downpour isn’t in the works. In Albert W. Hampson’s 1936 cover, the young lady is clearly not impressed—whatever the make or model—when the rain comes. The expression on the young man’s face clearly says, “I have so blown it.” Well, at least she wasn’t wearing a lovely hat to ruin, such as the pretty lady in Douglass Crockwell’s April 8, 1939, cover. But she’s a clever lass—she’s pulling down the handy Post cover for protection!

Amos Sewell<br /><em>Boy Walking Under Mother's Raincoat</em><br />April 24, 1954

Amos Sewell
Boy Walking Under Mother's Raincoat
April 24, 1954

Also showing good ol’ American ingenuity is the young boy on Amos Sewell’s April 24, 1954, cover. Since mom’s raincoat is clear plastic, he figured out a way to walk in the rain, see where he’s going, and keep himself quite dry—well, at least the top half.

Downpours help us discover speed we didn’t know we had. In the 1950s, you not only worried about getting the top up on your convertible when a Midwest storm blew in, you had to scurry to get the laundry off the line. Artist John Falter remembered the “hair-curling lightning and thunder” in that part of the country from his boyhood, and his April 26, 1952, cover shows that Mother Nature clearly plans to take no prisoners. Also dodging raindrops are three charming ladies on John LaGatta’s colorful April 2, 1932, cover.

Rainy Barbeque<br />Constantin Alajalov<br />July 2, 1955

Rainy Barbeque
Constantin Alajalov
July 2, 1955

Let’s visit the local drive-in. Or is it the local float-in? On John Falter’s May 13, 1961, cover, our real-life hero protects burgers and shakes from the pouring rain as he scurries through the puddles to nourish his hungry troops. Rain or shine, the show must go on! Much more difficult than negotiating puddles to feed the family is cooking food in the rain, as seen in Constantin Alajalov’s July 1951 cover. You would think one of the slackers on the porch would at least hold the umbrella for the poor cook.

John LaGotta<br /><em>Ladies Running From Rain</em><br />April 2, 1932

John LaGotta
Ladies Running From Rain
April 2, 1932

Sarah Stilwell-Weber, who delighted Post readers in the early 1900s with her beautiful paintings of children, shows a girl walking in the rain, balancing schoolbooks and an umbrella on the October 9, 1909, cover. Having less luck with his umbrella is the gentleman in Robert Robinson’s March 18, 1911, cover. Holding on to your hat and an inside-out umbrella at the same time takes dexterity.

Another trio of beautifully dressed LaGatta ladies are getting splashed by a passing car in the May 20, 1939, cover. But leave it to a Post cover artist to find irony, as in one of our favorite rainy-day covers from October 2, 1948. Three pedestrians are being splashed by a passing truck. But not just any truck, dear friends, a delivery vehicle for the local dry cleaners.

On the bright side, our cover research found someone happy about the storms! Stevan Dohanos’ April 1946 cover shows gentlemen from the New York weather bureau delightedly noting the lightning storm outside. While there’s no fun getting wet, there’s a certain pleasure in getting it right!

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  • Jesuit

    Appreciate the earlier nostalgia-in-pastels.
    What started out as mere illustration, seems–in this sterile age–to be lavish art.