“When Stevan Dohanos said that he searched far and wide for a special type of motorcycle to paint,” wrote Post editors in 1951, “we got set for some fearfully technical details.” The artist’s specifications? “I just had to have a blue-and-silver one.” The object of pre-adolescent lust he found was owned by “Tex” Keeler of Georgetown, Connecticut (hence the name of the painting). Not surprisingly, motorcycle buffs love to buy reprints of this handsome cover.
Three young cowboys, six-shooters at the ready, are looking at the wanted posters in the local post office. Never mind the amusement of the postal employee observing the scene—the bad guys don’t stand a chance. Dohanos didn’t have to go far to find the young male models. They were his sons.
Dohanos, who painted 123 Post covers, was born in Lorain, Ohio, the son of Hungarian immigrants.
If you were a child of the female variety in the 1950s, one of your favorite playtime activities was probably playing house. This was what girls did before girls’ soccer and computers. The refrigerator carton is dressed up to make a perfectly lovely domicile, and every considerate hostess made sure the dollies got their share of tea and goodies. Do little girls still play house? I suppose there’s now an app for that.
“Doing Dishes at the Beach”
This is called “Doing Dishes at the Beach,” but I prefer to call it “Whose Vacation?” Clearly Dad is relaxing, and the kids are enjoying themselves. Heck, even Rover is having fun. Looks like Mom got short shrift. I have to love Dohanos for seeing male/female inequities even in 1952.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, this Dohanos cover tells a gentle story. The lighthouse keeper is trimming the weeds while the push lawnmower and the clothesline help define the times. The striking lighthouse on this 1945 cover was the West Quoddy Light, Lubec, Maine.
“Stop and Pay Toll”
Life’s little stories include life’s little irritations. Admit it, your blood pressure is rising a bit just looking at the woman holding up the line at the tollbooth. There’s change in here, somewhere. Well, we hope. Heaven help the people behind her if she left her change purse at home. But if they have a problem with that, they can take it up with the extra-large dog.
Unfortunately, by the 1960s photographs were taking the place of art on the covers of the Post. Dohanos shifted his considerable talent to a position as chairman of the National Stamp Advisory Committee. He is quoted as saying, “Artists are always interested in seeing their work reproduced. Imagine seeing your work reproduced 4½ billion times.”
“Toddler Empties Purses”
My favorite Dohanos cover has always been this toddler from 1952. Through the bedroom door, we can see the grown-ups having a pleasant get-together, but what they cannot see due to the stack of coats and fedoras on the bed is the toddler having his own rockin’ party. Unfortunately, he is having all this fun with the ladies’ purses, opening and scattering the contents: compacts, keys, cigarettes, sunglasses, money, and so on (click for close-up).
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