Hordes of expressive little folks doing stuff in postwar booze ads

A delightful post on Phil Are Go! looks at the postwar Calvert Reserve ads, boozy portraits of suburban life populated by a surprising number of expressive little people doing surprising things.

Calvert wanted to be the official drink of the relaxed, fun-loving suburbs, so they commissioned this illustration of idealized suburban Americana as their image of recommended sophistication. Who'd they commission? I can't tell. Somebody whose initials seem to be "CB". The Research and Googling team came up empty-browsered after a rigorous three-page search for the identity of this artist. Reader assistance is appreciated.

Even though the figures in the illustration are really small, there's a lot of personality and expressiveness to be found. You just have to skillfully arrange the character's silhouette. The first thing I notice is the sense of urgency in all the little people who need to get to the party. How did the artist do that? Well, Wwhen people are hurrying comically, they bend at the waist in a kind of rushed hunch. It makes it obvious that they really need to get where they're going. This Calvert-fueled party is THE place to be!

Calvert Reserve - Country for old men



  1. could CB be none other than
    Chesley Bonestell?
    early in his career
    he was an architect and architectural illustrator
    the style is not that far off
    and he made his breakthrough into space paintings
    right at the end of wwii
    will investigate further

    1.  I’ve never seen his name associated with advertising, but these Calvert Reserve ads used to run as the back cover of some of the SciFi mags like Thrilling Wonder Stories. Searching brings up THRILLING WONDER STORIES AUGUST 1949 VOL. XXXIV NO. 3 for example.

  2. That’s an interesting house!  It appears to have a ballroom, a two-car garage, maybe a kitchen, and not much else…

    1. It’s a club.  They’re all men.  And all those men are rushing to escape their wives and drink themselves into oblivion.

  3. My great grandfather was an illustrator for many magazines. His initials were “BC” for Bradshaw Crandell. He did work for Lord Calvert (same brand as Calvert) “Over the years [the Calvert Label] sold as Lord Calvert, Calvert Special, Calvert Reserve, Calvert Extra, and a 100% Canadian version called Lord Calvert Canadian.” At the bottom of this page, 
    http://www.americanartarchives.com/crandell,bradshaw.htm, you can see the add. Hope this helps.   

  4. That’s Thomas “CB” Kinkade, painting with light again.  (He was into amateur radio when very, very young).

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