Consuming Passions

illustration 1950s couple dreaming of material goods

This homage to the American Dream appeared on a Saturday Evening Post Cover exactly 14 years to the day from that August day when Americans from coast to coast were celebrating the surrender of Japan. Until late in the night of August 15., 1945, people snaked danced, formed conga lines, tossed tons of paper confetti though office windows, as a frenzy of kissing occurred.

The frenzy of celebration lasting 24 hours would soon open up a frenzy of pent up consumer desire that had no end in sight.

The end of WWII left us with no restrictions of how much happiness we could buy. We entered the post-war world as ardent consumers and it wasn’t long before there was a spontaneous combustion of red-hot excitement that was fueled by accelerants provided by Hotpoint, Frigidaire and General Electric.

Dreaming The American Dream

In 1958 the Space Age star struck young couple on the Saturday Evening Post cover gazing into their future- a future filled with an abundance of consumer items- were living in the future we had looked forward to at the end of WWII.

The illustration “A Moonlit Future” by artist Constantin Alajalov perfectly captures the spirit of the American Dream filling the moon lit sky with a constellation of sparkling consumer goods from televisions, percolators, and power tools, stereos, station wagons and refrigerators to fill their new suburban ranch house occupied by  crew cut little league boys and  pig tailed piano playing little girls.

The Post offered its readers this description of the illustration:

“They’re in love, they’re going to be married, and tonight, as you can tell by that remarkable constellation, they are ecstatically moon -dreaming.

“Artist Alajalov, soaring skyward with the lovers, at first started to pint among the star spaces some filmy ethereal castles in Spain; but then thinking how practical and knowledgeable today’s young people are about outer space, he came down to earth with their dream.

“A bit cynical? No, because it takes as much moon magic to create a 2 car domicile as it does to whip up an air castle.”

“In essence what the young romantics want is happiness and since they have each other, their dream will come true.”


Copyright (©) 20012 Sally Edelstein All Rights Reserved

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