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Classic Covers: The Neighborhood Nonconformist

The 1950s and ’60s were a time of conformity, right? Well, leave it to Post cover artists to find the odd ones.

Painting the Patio Green – Thornton Utz

Painting the Patio Green by Thornton Utz

Painting the Patio Green by Thornton Utz, May 2, 1953

The way Harry figures it, you can spend all summer planting, mowing, and watering—or you can just paint the dadgum patio green and relax in your hammock for the duration of nice weather. Admit it, you wish you had thought of it. This was by cover artist Thornton Utz, who apparently had a thing about yardwork.

Spring Yardwork – Thornton Utz

Spring Yardwork by Thornton Utz

Spring Yardwork by Thornton Utz, May 18, 1957

Thornton Utz, the artist who painted the above cover, has yet another option to yardwork. Just let the darn thing go. While industrious neighbors are raking, shoveling, planting, and so forth, Joe just sits back, communing with nature and catching the game on his portable TV. Well, communing with crabgrass. If you click on the cover for a close-up view, you’ll see he even has a fan rigged up to blow cool air from a large block of ice. Hey, when watching the game in living black and white, no comfort is overlooked.

The Tuba Next Door – George Hughes

 Tuba Next Door by George Hughes

The Tuba Next Door by George Hughes, September 27, 1952

“I’m all for free spirits,” thinks the blonde lady leaning out her window, “until one moves in next door!” What’s moving in next door is a big bass drum and tuba. What, you got something against music, lady?

Violin Practice – Richard Sargent

Violin Practice by Richard Sargent

Violin Practice by Richard Sargent, February 5, 1955

Perhaps nosy blonde lady above can learn something from the kid down the street. Billy is not yet enamored by the sounds of the violin, but was told he has to practice an hour a day. According to the timer on the chair, he has so far gotten in about five minutes. The ear muffs should help.

I’d Rather Be Golfing – Thornton Utz

I’d Rather Be Golfing by Thornton Utz

I’d Rather Be Golfing by Thornton Utz, May 20, 1961

I’d Rather Be Golfing shows us a neighbor saying to heck with yardwork by, guess who? Yes, apparently cover artist Thornton Utz used much of his artistic creativity in devising ways to avoid lawn maintenance. One has to admire a man like that.

Cold Water Swimmer – Richard Sargent

Cold Water Swimmer by Richard Sargent

Cold Water Swimmer by Richard Sargent, June 17, 1961

The water temperature is 50 degrees and even the lifeguard is bundled up. But there’s always one guy, isn’t there? Otherwise, there would be no need for a lifeguard on this nippy day. I’m thinking old Smiley here was the same kid who, just before the bell rang to dismiss class, would remind the teacher she hadn’t assigned homework yet.

Comments about your favorite Saturday Evening Post covers are always welcome.

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