CSotD: Thanksgiving 75 Years Ago

My goodness but 1948 was a fabulous year for cartoons! We were emerging from the war and feeling pretty good, but not yet arrogant, about ourselves. And newspapers still featured things like cartoons that their readers wanted. Fancy that!

As a result, this will be a longer than usual posting, and I hope you enjoy it!

We’ll let the LA Times set the scene, and note that, when they speak of being able to criticize both the President and the Governor of New York, they are referencing that recent close race between Harry Truman and Thomas Dewey.

Yeah, that one.

As H.M. Talburt put it, we’d come up with a way, against all expectations, to make bipartisan results happen. Charles Addams had done his classic skiing-on-both-sides cartoon in 1940, so it was an homage, with Joe Stalin as the mystified onlooker.

In Australia, Stuart Peterson saluted the Marshall Plan, signed into law in April to help rebuild our shattered allies and former foes in Europe, despite Joe Stalin’s flying around and attempting to downplay the growing influence of the US in world politics.

It was, as Herblock suggested, a fraught time, as East and West contended for influence and much of the world looked on with little influence but much interest.

Nor, as this illustration suggested, were Americans unaware of the world around them and the fortunate place in which they found themselves. Parents told their kids to clean their plates because “children in Europe are starving,” and they were. The end of the war had only brought one type of peace.

We were, Ding Darling pointed out, in a generous mood. However much the US could, now that it’s all over, be criticized for having held out from the war until the last minute, our generosity and rebuilding afterwards was acknowledged and appreciated and, on our side, made part of our identity.

We felt pretty good about ourselves, as Dorman Smith suggested, and why not? It would be decades before selfishness and isolationism regained their foothold on the national conversation.

But only 25 shopping days before Christmas.

Or buy a gift the whole family can enjoy! Even women and children!

And it was a lovely time for cartoonists, as seen here:

Apparently, complaining about kids on their cell phones is nothing new. Just the specific technologies.

Penny, BTW, was modeled on slim Katherine Hepburn.

And here’s a reminder that having the magic team doesn’t necessarily result in commercial success:

They weren’t the only comic book creators having a rough time .

But it should also be noted that newspaper cartoons were not confined to the Funny Pages and were a major feature on the sports page. Because people like them and they matter.

It should also be noted that, while the mainstream went its separate way, the black press had its own agenda after the war. One victory had been earned and another beckoned: Times were changing and there was a whole new world about to open up.

Stand by, America.

14 thoughts on “CSotD: Thanksgiving 75 Years Ago

  1. Thanks for this. $335 for a television in 1948? Wow! I wonder what that would be in today’s dollars. I was surprised to realize that so many of the comic strips we read were little soap operas. Whoa! There’s the coal truck. Haven’t seen one of those lately. And look! 1948’s Blondie wasn’t nearly as slick and funny as today’s. Thanks for the reminders!

      1. Shared connection, fairly common in rural areas where stringing a line would be expensive but a cost-saver elsewhere as well. If the other party had a call, you could listen in, though it was considered tacky.

        And an inflation calculator makes that TV cost $4,234 in 2023 dollars. For probably three or four stations in stunning black-and-white, all going off the air at midnight or sooner.

  2. Wasn’t just in the country. In our railroad town in Pennsylvania, we had a party line until 1951 or -52.

    1. I lived in Levittown, PA One of the first big housing suburbs. We had party lines into the 1960’s.

  3. Nice 1948 memories, and 2 years before Beetle Bailey and Peanuts came to comic strip land.

  4. Geez, I forgot how dialog-heavy old comic strips are. It’s like every strip back then was Judge Parker or Sally Forth.

    1. You have to remember, though, that they had a lot more room to work in. If you see the actual strips on a full-size 1940’s page, you realize they were justified in setting up more complex dialogue and storylines.

  5. My dad actually bought and restored an old porthole-screen TV, and set it up so you can watch DVDs on it.

    It really is amazing how much technology has improved in less than a century. Those old electronics where 90% of the device was just paneling and knobs, nowadays the screen takes up 90% of the device and there are few to no buttons at all.

  6. RE: the Neighbors by George Clark
    ‘Apparently, complaining about kids on their cell phones is nothing new. Just the specific technologies.’
    Mike, this is great. As you point out; *the more things change, the more they stay the same…
    And, it is important. Thanks for reminding us that even though many say “‘merica ain’t racist'” we are still far from banishing many types of bigotry. Another manifestation of the above adage*
    As the Hopi member of our org. would say (half kidding), “Happy Invader’s day you white turkeys!”

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