A Taste of the Holidays: Saturday Evening Post Illustrators Added Their Own Special Seasoning to Thanksgiving and Christmas Celebrations

Article excerpt

Were our talented cover artists as handy in the kitchen as they were at the easel? We doubt it, although some of them claimed a certain skill on the backyard grill. But when it came to cooking up delicious holiday covers, they all knew the basic ingredients: plum puddings, apple pies, roast pig, and stuffed turkeys with all the trimmings were a good way to put readers' taste buds in the holiday spirit.


J.C. Leyendecker, who painted dozens of Thanksgiving and Christmas covers, had a special fondness for roast turkey, not just for painting but for eating as well. So when Norman Rockwell wanted to meet the famous illustrator and his brother Frank, he invited them over for a Thanksgiving-style turkey dinner in July. The evening began awkwardly, Rock well recalled in his autobiography, until they were called in to dinner. As the cook emerged through the kitchen door with the turkey, she slipped on the rug and the turkey went rolling under the table. Rockwell crawled under from one side, and Leyendecker from the other, meeting over the turkey, which was laying on its side with the stuffing coming out. "That smells good!" Leyendecker declared, sticking his finger in the stuffing for a taste. They put the turkey back on the platter, enjoyed a delicious meal filled with laughter and conversation, and their friendship lasted for more than a quarter century. Now we invite you to a holiday feast-for-the-eyes provided by the Post's greatest illustrators.



Who Let the Dogs Out? might be a good title for Leyendecker's slightly late (December 2) Thanksgiving offering of 1933. The famous illustrator had once complained to Norman Rockwell about the difficulties of painting a convincing roast turkey, but he seems to have mastered it in this cover The dog theme was recycled from Leyendecker's 1926 Thanksgiving cover of dogs chasing a little boy coming home from the market. …