Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Raymond Sheppard and Picture Post (Part Three)

Picture Post 24 October 1953 p20
John Bull steps into the soft drink era by Brian Dowling
It's difficult to tell if Sheppard created the photo/illustration montage or the background was dropped in by an editor, but the topic "John Bull steps into the soft drink era" describes how at the end of sugar rationing the war of soft drinks in the UK was about to hot up. The article's author Brian Dowling doubts that we are looking at a 'Coca-colonisation' - an early use of the phrase, I'm sure,  but "Four of America's biggest firms have consolidated their bridgeheads over here. But the British soft industry, with over 1,200 manufacturers is well established over here as it wasn't in other countries". Little did he know!

The Execution of Private Slovik by William Bradford Huie

This sweet image of Princess Anne belies
a terrible story mentioned on the cover!

Wikipedia tells us that Eddie Slovik's story is unique as "Although over 21,000 American soldiers were given varying sentences for desertion during World War II, including forty-nine death sentences, Slovik's death sentence was the only one that was carried out" - for purely military reasons (as opposed to rape, or murder).

Picture Post 19 June 1954 p16
Sheppard depicts this by showing 12 American soldiers aiming at their target on the 31 January 1945. This four page article shows photos of Slovik's marriage and shows his older brother who 2 years after Slovik's death married his widow. Wikipedia now tells us the conclusion of this story, where the widow fought till her death in 1979 for a pardon and for the remains to be shipped back to the USA. The latter happened under Ronald Regan's term as President but the former have never happened.

The man with a scar by Somerset Maugham
Picture Post 14 August 1954 p31
This story by Maugham reads rather like a Hemingway short story. It tells of a Nicaraguan exile who begs at the bar in the Palace Hotel at Guatemala City. A fellow drinker with our narrator tells the story of how the beggar was lined up for the firing squad for being on the opposing side in a Nicaraguan coup and how he escaped that death. When asked, at the end of this exciting story, just how he came by the enormous scar on his face, the man explains "Oh, that was due to a bottle that burst when he has opening it. A bottle of ginger ale."

That brings us to end of Sheppard's illustrations for articles in the Picture Post. I've looked through every edition and the only other illustrations are shown in the next blog article.

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