Aug. 14, 1944
The tough, haggard man on the cover is one of the thousands who are winning the battle for France. He is Lt. Kelso C. Horne of the U.S. airborne infantry. Men like Lt. Horne saw their hardest fighting on June 6, when many of them were landed behind German lines in Normandy with parachute troops. In the great breakthrough in France, airborne troops are probably being used as infantry shock troops.
What the postwar bathroom will look like in another racy ad (by 1940s standards) from Cannon Towels.
The Saturday Review of Literature celebrates its 20th anniversary by asking readers to pick the best novel and best author to appear in the last 20 years. Readers named “Arrowsmith” as the best novel and Ernest Hemingway as the best novelist. Other best novels from the previous 20 years were, in order, “A Farewell to Arms,” “U.S.A.,” “The Grapes of Wrath” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls.”
Unfortunately, Life published a photo of the books rather than listing them and some of the titles are illegible. How many have you read?
Life also features Chester Gould and his comic creation Dick Tracy. Did you know there was a villain named Redrum?
“Arrowsmith” is my least favorite Sinclair Lewis novel. (I will take this opportunity to plug a very interesting early work, “The Job,” which has a number of plot points totally surprising in a 1917 novel, including the idea that a woman can purposely choose to become a single mother.)
(And that it could be a positive decision.)
1. A LOT of cheesecake in this issue. Not complaining; au contraire, mon ami. 2. Color photos of dead soldiers? 3. “Home, Strange Home” does a good job of describing the experiences of 1.3 million WW2 vets coming home. 4. I’ve read all 5 books. 5. Curious about John Steinbeck’s war correspondence.
“Redrum” is the faceless fellow in the Tracy illustration, also known as “The Blank.”
Gould went through a phase in the late30s/early40s where he named characters through backward spelling. Other examples are a killer named “Junky Doolb,” a “Professor Emirc”, and a midget named “Jerome Trohs.” I think he was stretching things a little when he included a Bandleader named “Rudy Seton” (“notes” spelled backward).
By the time the strip was really hitting its peak in the WWII years, the villains were conceived more through physical characteristics than word games and became much more memorable.
I’ll add that when The Blank was finally unmasked as “Redrum,” Gould based the villain’s face on Lon Chaney’s makeup from The Phantom of the Opera.