Rockwell Files: A Quick Fix

Norman Rockwell's "The Plumbers" depicts two incongruous figures who couldn’t be more out of their element.

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Rockwell carefully sets the stage for our June 2, 1951, cover, The Plumbers. We are left wondering how long before that blow torch or pipe wrench leaves permanent marks on the curtains, frilly vanity, or white carpet.

Center stage are two incongruous figures who couldn’t be more out of their element. Rockwell didn’t have to look far for his models. His studio apprentices Gene Pelham and Don Winslow already had the look of a famous comedy team.

On the right, Pelham suggests an Oliver Hardy figure. And the beneficiary of the eau de toilette is Winslow, whose squinting eyes and close-lipped grin make him a dead ringer for Stan Laurel.

This article appears in the January/February 2023 issue of The Saturday Evening Post. Subscribe to the magazine for more art, inspiring stories, fiction, humor, and features from our archives.

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  1. She didn’t. She had to run a quick arrand so they decided to explore on their own. If I was her pet and saw those two bozos in the room I wouldn’t want to confront them either.


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