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Tuesday, August 14, 2018


Yes, it is hot outside.  It’s August after all, but enough is enough.  For a break from the sizzle, let’s conjure some cool rain.  Remember rain?  Here are some classic umbrella images of New York City’s Times Square over the years.

This iconic photo of the late actor James Dean walking in the rain along NYC’s Times Square was snapped by Life magazine/Magnum agency’s Dennis Stock in 1955.  For an article on how the photo came to be click here.

That’s a 1952 Oldsmobile splashing through the night rain.  The couple is about to be run over by a bus but looking at the man’s face under the umbrella you can see the traffic light was red.  It’s 8:30 am on the Chevrolet clock and soon someone will fix the Hotel Astor neon sign.

Photographer John Vascon with the Office of War Information strolled along Times Square on a rainy March day in 1943. Several of his images are blogged below. Glance down the street to the theatre marquee showing William Saroyan’s “The Human Comedy.”  It starred Mickey Rooney and was a hit.  Saroyan in late 1941 took time off from his theatrical activities to write that film scenario in Hollywood. He turned the script into a novel, which became his most successful book.

Guessing from the DeSoto Checker Cab on the left side of this wonderful image the date is 1936-37?  New York cabbies usually operated the lastest model cars.  The other cars in the image are circa 1930s.  See image of DeSoto cab (below).

Two women just missed a 1936 DeSoto cab but the photo was taken eight years later.  Proof being the film “Hollywood Canteen,” shown on the marquee, was released in December 1944.

Rained all night sometime in March.  John and Ethel Barrymore star in Rasputin and the Empress, which was released March 24, 1932.

Pigeons take over Times Square on a rainy day.   Judging from the two-tone Chevy and Marlon Brando’s name on the theatre marquee it has to be after October 1954.

It’s 1947, a Joan Crawford flick is showing at the Paramount while outside it’s snowing.

Rainy day and a perfect time for umbrellas and to take in an Ida Lupino movie “The Hard Way” at the Strand Theatre or Disney’s “Saludos Amigos” showing at the Globe.  War? What war?  Only hint of that is the Camel cigarette billboard “Shipmates.”  Both films were released in February 1943. Image: John Vaschon, Office of War Information.


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