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Classic Covers: The Art of Speeding

Published: August 21, 2010

So you’re feeling sorry for yourself because you got a speeding ticket. Well, maybe it will help to know that speeding is nothing new. Okay, maybe it won’t help, but you’ll have a great time looking at these old Post and Country Gentleman covers.

Speeding Oldsters by Wm. Meade Prince

A speeding older couple is about to be pulled over by a traffic cop.

Speeding Oldsters
Wm. Meade Prince
July 18, 1925
© SEPS.

“Henry! I TOLD you we were going too fast!” Who knew there were motorcycle cops in 1925? Well, there’s one in this rear-view mirror. The Country Gentleman magazine was a sister publication to The Saturday Evening Post. On this cover, Henry is clearly having the time of his life, tooling along at thirty miles per hour. Fun’s over, buddy.

Elderly Couple in Automobile by Robert Robinson

An older couple driving an early 20th century automobile.

Elderly Couple in Automobile
Robert Robinson
January 11, 1913
© SEPS.

What is with the oldsters these days? At least the men. We’ve shown you some delightful old codgers by artist Robert Robinson in the past, and this one has a lead foot. And he’s scaring the wits out of the Mrs. She has a restraining hand on his arm, but seems too scared to say anything. But just wait and see if the old fool gets his supper tonight.

Exhilaration by Norman Rockwell

Exhilaration
Norman Rockwell
July 13, 1935
© SEPS.

Who’s enjoying the speeding now? Rockwell turns the tables and shows a young lady who is thrilled at the wild rumble seat ride. The dog, too, seems to enjoy the wind in his ears. The poor guy, however, is just trying to hang on to his hat. If you slow down enough to read the cover notes, you’ll see that the Post boasted some pretty impressive writers, too.

Excuse My Dust by Norman Rockwell

A family drives a Model T.

Excuse My Dust
Norman Rockwell
July 31, 1920
© SEPS.

This family is pretty impressed that their Ford is outrunning the fancy-schmancy, more expensive car. The models were the Campion family from New Rochelle, where Norman Rockwell lived. Rockwell often used friends and neighbors for his paintings. Dave Campion ran a news store. We would have loved to see the customer’s faces when they purchased their copy of the Post with Mr. Campion speeding by on the cover! We’ll see him again.

World’s Fair or Bust by John E. Sheridan

As two cars pass, their drivers wave to each other. Both vehicles have the worlds "World's Fair or Bust" written on their chassis.

World's Fair or Bust
John E. Sheridan
April 22, 1939
© SEPS.

Love this colorful cover. Apparently there was something going on in New York in 1939, and the men in the yellow car are in a hurry to get there – “World’s Fair or Bust”. The lady in the other car evidently didn’t “bust,” we’re happy to report, and is returning from the fair. Let’s hope the speeding guys don’t get bust–ed. Okay, that’s a reach, but I couldn’t help but notice that the long arm of the law awaits (below).

Welcome to Elmville by Norman Rockwell

A traffic cop waits for speeders behind a sign.

Welcome to Elmville
Norman Rockwell
April 20, 1929
© SEPS.

Meet the long arm of the law. Look familiar? The squinty eyes threw me off, but it’s our old buddy Dave Campion, taking time off from his newsstand once again to pose for Rockwell (see Excuse My Dust above). The idea for the painting came from a real-life incident. Rockwell was traveling through Amenia, New York “back in the days when towns paid their taxes with speeders’ fines, and the Amenia cop really nailed me—right along the welcome sign!” So as you bemoan your speeding ticket, dear reader, remember that you are in good company.

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