Gallery: The dark look in the pages of the post
Victory seemed increasingly likely in the final year of World War II. Americans’ attention began to turn to life in peacetime, and their support for the war began to wane.
The government wanted to remind them of the risks their soldiers still faced and the need to keep buying war bonds. So government censors began allowing the media to show images of injured and dead GIs, according to Richard Lingeman’s book, The dark forties. Hollywood began to produce more grim, brutal, and realistic war films, though the endings were almost as happy as when the war began.
From this new sensitivity were born fictions and films with a darker and more threatening side. Along with comforting movies like It’s a wonderful life (1945) and Miracle on the 34the Street (1947) were released, theaters screened more sinister-looking films, such as Double Indemnity (1944), The big sleep (1946), and out of the past (1947).
A French film critic described this new look in films with the French word for noir – noir. It’s become a genre in film and fiction, an outgrowth of the gritty tales found in pulp fiction magazines.
Some of these atmospheric crime stories appeared in The Saturday evening post. And, as Bob Sassone says in his recent article in black city magazine, they were made into movies.
He mentions several black history artists, including John Henry Crosman, who illustrated “Prescription for Murder.”
Another one Job The illustrator was William A. Smith, who was a veteran of the Office of Strategic Services and the president of the UNESCO International Art Association. He was considered a “serious” artist as well as an illustrator, and his works hang in several major galleries.
Austin Briggs illustrated advertisements for years until he got the chance to do magazine illustrations. His work has appeared in popular magazines like Collars, Red book, and The Saturday Night Post. Briggs also drew the Flash Gordon comic.
Artist Perry Peterson was known for his illustrations of mysteries.
The work of these illustrators marked a new era in the Post’s illustration of its fiction. From this point on, the story’s artwork would show a new emphasis on drama and atmosphere.
Featured image: Perry Peterson’s illustration for “Stolen Goods” in the June 25, 1949 issue
Become a member of the Saturday Evening Post and enjoy unlimited access.