As we all know The Saturday Evening Post is famous for memorable holiday covers. But what about the “post”-holiday covers? After the many exciting days of anticipation and preparation, all we can say is, “Thank goodness that’s over!”
This is your house, right? Not the top panel in the 1958 cover, with the kids running to open their gifts (that was yesterday). Not the middle panel, where everyone is enjoying the process (ditto). Admit it, your house looks like the bottom panel with gifts, wrapping paper, and ribbons strewn everywhere. The sound of reindeer hooves on the rooftop is a distant memory. This cover by artist Ben Prins sums it up: It’s all over but the clean-up.
“You’re not going anywhere young man, until you thank Grandma for the ice skates,” Mom seems to be saying in the 1960 cover by artist George Hughes. “Geeze, the pond might melt before I finish these letters,” the boy thinks. These days, you might hear: “You’re not playing any video games until you e-mail Grandma and thank her for the Wii games.” Maybe a sweet Tweet will do.
It ain’t over till it’s over. Not yet able to breathe a sigh of relief is the harried clerk in the exchange department that appeared on our January 11, 1941 cover. This young lady is due for a day off.
Scrooge in the form of the IRS? Finding a notice from the Treasury Department among the Christmas cards is just not right. The editors didn’t want to be accused of creating “an image of the abominable postman,” but hey, he did leave a special delivery package in the snow. Not wanting to reinforce that image ourselves, we give you Ben Prins’s postman of 1940. The guy has worked hard indeed, and is enjoying a pipe and hot bath for his tired feet. These days, we’ll just skip the pipe, and the footbath may plug in, but we say the hardworking postmen (and women) deserve any rest they can get.
Art and illustration critic David Apatoff takes a closer look at the men and women who created many of the Post’s most memorable covers. He also reviews other well-regarded illustrators and shares stunning but rarely seen sketches and paintings.
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