Today's Tidbit... 1940 Lon Keller Program Covers ($)
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I wrote about Lon Keller and his role in developing football program art and added another story after acquiring a catalog of his football and other sports posters. I recently picked up a circa 1940 catalog offering his program artwork.
XX1940 Don Spencer Progam Cover Catalog, p. 1 Cover
If you want to understand Lon Keller's position in the pantheon of football cover artists, check out the first article mentioned above since I will not repeat it here. Nevertheless, below are five blank covers from the catalog paired with covers found in the wild during the 1940, 1941, and 1942 seasons.
The first image is a classic passer preparing to throw. Since the image is from 1941, he probably played halfback or fullback rather than quarterback, but the Cottom Bowl liked it enough to use it for their cover.
This cover mixes artwork and photography, a new process at the time. The player looks more like he played for Chicago’s team -Northwestern- rather than the Bears or Cardinals.
Another Chicago Bears program provides a foretaste of future visits by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during their Creamsicle days.
I almost missed this matching pair since the cover for the APFA game between the Paterson (NJ) Panthers and the Frankfort (PA) Yellow Jackets was black and white.
Patriotic fervor was stirring in the States when the program was designed, but the U.S. did not enter the war until more than a year later, and the cover saw use nine months later in West Virginia.
Each of these covers saw use at numerous venues from 1940 on, with the Spencer company designing and printing the covers centrally and shipping them nationwide for overprinting with local information and program contents. The process put great-looking artwork into the hands of football fans across the country.
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