My childhood neighbors, mysteriously known to us kids on the block as “The Bachelors” paid someone to clean out their basement–the same year I had just started my career in photography as an eighth grader with an eye for old gear at garage sales.
Like my dreams of a career as an architect, I was deeply affected by one show–and in 1979 was influenced with the Brady Bunch episode as Greg savedthe football season with darkroom heroics that proved the touchdown–or it was the 35 mm camera that Mr. Pedotto gave me. Either way, I knew what an enlarger looked like and when the pile of stuff was out for the trash I headed right over.
In addition to grabbing the 1937 Leitz beauty (with no lens), I noticed a couple bags of magazines. My Mad collection was already in high gear and when I saw the red border I dove in. But it wasn’t Alfred E. Newman but Jimmy Hoffa who greeted me. Oddly enough, the two piles of Time magazines were from just two years: 1937 and 1958–so odd.
I had high hopes of retiring early with these musty archives; surely there was a millionaire out there interested in those days before eBay and Facebook Marketplace. So I bagged them, went to Dave’s Comics in Royal Oak only to be told there was no such market. Dave was lying, obviously, so I kept them, flipping through the pages occasionally–usually when I’m either avoiding real work or waiting, like last Saturday, for paint to literally dry.
The May 24, 1937 issue opened up a time-capsule I’d never really paid attention to–perhaps because as an eighth grader legendary race horses and English monarchs didn’t concern me . This time, I really had time to kill so I thumbed through each page, noticing tiny news-pieces and odd advertisings I’d generally blow right by since the font was so small.
The cover features Cosmo Gordon Lang, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1928-1942, whose legacy is a mixed bag as he supported appeasement and Britain’s non-involvement in the Spanish Civil War supporting the non-fascists as well as supporting to the free-pass of Chamberlain’s disastrous Munich Pact–a day of “thanksgiving” for the “lifting of a cloud.” Yet he was strongly humanitarian, rescuing from concentration camps 60 rabbis from Germany before the war and standing strongly for “limited” contraception and strongly against the death penalty.
But he was also the real star for the first televised British coronation (as illustrated in detail in The Crown) as he was vehemently opposed to newly crowned Edward VII marrying American Wallace Warfield/Simpson–leading to the abdication if David couldn’t have his newly divorced love for his queen.
The Archbishop would become notable too for fumbling the crown in the “fizzle” referred to below when Edward’s younger brother “Bertie” became King George VI with his eldest daughter Elizabeth smiling to the crowd–in the same setting where she would be crowned herself in just 15 years.
Just two weeks prior was the disastrous explosion of the Hindenberg and the issued feaured some follow-up on the investigation and the victims, ironically (or on purpose) beside Douglas’s TWA ad for the convenience of air travel…
Frustrated Delano Roosevelt
And probably the thing that I find most fun is reading about FDR as a sitting president–exhausted by an annoying Congress, instead of the history book legendary architect of the WWII allies and the voice of optimism with his New Deal.
And Under Time‘s “Races” byline…
It’s a jolt to see “Jim Crow” referred to not as an obviously racist series of laws (that still to make our news in our voters’ rights debates)–but it’s even more incredible to see them listed as a working-title series of laws, affecting a Black congressman from Chicago in his travels to Arkansas–and to see him referred to as “taffy colored.”
Truth & Consequences in Advertising
The full-color ads are often my favorite part, especially the Golden Gate Bridge’s grand-opening at the end of the month and the gold old days of smoking before those ugly white surgeon general warnings told you about cancer, birth deffects and all those other downers…
At the Movies…
The movie fan in me likes to comb the upcoming announcements (beside ads for construction pine and ads for gin five years after the repeal) for works in progress that would become classics (and bombs), including the upcoming forgettable Clark Gable film Idiot’s Delight which would eventually premiere in 1939 the same year of his Oscar-winning role as Rhett Butler. My 1930s favorite actress, Myrna Loy, is also working on the sequel with William Powell in their long-running and sharply written Thin Man series. But I knew her first as Frank’s long-suffering wife in Cheaper by the Dozen and its sequel Belles on their Toes.
Triple Crown News
Checking on the Sports section, you’ll even see a brief story on Seabiscuit’s future nemesis in the next year’s “Match Race of the Century” and the year’sTriple Crown Winner War Admiral. Like Seabiscuit, the Admiral was named nautically in honor of his sire Man O’ War who was also owned by Samuel Riddle.
And the bright red cherry in the issue for me is the artwork in this gorgeous climb up a seaside hill in a beautiful new $1,550 Cadillac.
But it’s time to jump ahead 85 years and put on the second coat of paint.