Classic Covers: Life’s a Beach

Some people are in heaven at the beach. Take the pretty lady on the left in Kurt Ard’s August 1958 cover. To her husband, who must burn and peel easily, the beach seems more like that other place. But coated with a variety of potions and covered up to the chin, he is making the sacrifice for her. Perhaps she’ll return the favor tomorrow and settle for a shady spot.

What that man has discovered, the young lady in the July 6, 1929, cover is just finding out: Too much sun can be painful. Or, at least, inconvenient, as we see from the tan lines of the lady in Albert W. Hampson’s September 27, 1941, cover. The stripes of her bathing suit do not line up with the lovely backless dress she wants to wear. (Oops.)

The best way to enjoy the beach is to find a nice secluded spot away from the madding crowds. What usually happens, though, as in George Hughes’ August 8, 1953, cover, is that others soon find that perfect spot, after which, alas, is not so perfect.

We bet you thought crowded beaches were a modern-day phenomenon. J.C. Leyendecker’s September 3, 1932, cover shows a joyously crowded beach with all kinds of characters, topped off by a strapping lifeguard. Not so joyously crowded is the beach scene showing a confused family trying to find their car on the August 1, 1959, cover. Mom thinks it’s this way, but Dad and junior are inclined to think it’s that way. We hope they find it before everyone gets fried.

You have to love the die-hards. Take Smiley (we’re pretty sure that’s his name), on the June 17, 1961, cover. He’s gung-ho about plunging into the posted 52-degree water in spite of the covered-up lifeguard who clearly thinks he’s nuts. Life is short. You have to take advantage of beach days.