Tag Archives: ed vebell

Ed Vebell to America: You’re sexier than you think!

vebell 1954 sexier

Ed Vebell illustration to “You’re Sexier Than You Think!”, Sunday Mirror Magazine, March 7, 1954.

Between the late 1940s and the early 1950s, mass-circulation magazines often used premiere illustrators to provide art for feature stories. Ed Vebell was one of the best, and we frequently come across his work in our Sunday Mirror Magazine archives, including many original artboards.

The above illustration was for an article titled “You’re Sexier Than You Think!” and it appeared in the March 7, 1954 issue of the magazine. The long article that accompanies it is about famed psychologist Dr. Albert Ellis and his views about pop-cultural images of beauty.

The cutline just below the illustration: “The standards of beauty and perfection personified by movie queens are ‘phony and illusory,’ a noted psychologist contends, and assures the average woman she’s more attractive than she thinks.”

I think the picture says it all.

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About Ed Vebell:

Vebell grew up in Chicago, the son of Lithuanian  immigrants. He began attending art school at age 14. He launched his career with a busy Chicago ad agency.

Vebell was a combat artist during WWII, doing illustrations, cartooning and photography for Stars and Stripes. In 1945 he participated in the Nurenburg War Crimes Trials as a courtroom artist.

After the war, Vebell settled in Connecticut and became a leading freelance illustrator, creating paintings and drawings for Readers Digest, Time and Sports Illustrated.

Vebell is also a distinguished fencer and participated in the 1952 Olympics.

Now 93, Vebell has amassed the largest collection of military uniforms and military memorabilia in the U.S.

Here are some other samples of his work from our archives:


vebell summertime phonies smm 062754




ed vebell hollywood 122753




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Filed under From the archives, Hollywood

VINTAGE TRUE CRIME: The Law’s Zombies (3/3/1947)

zombie artboard

 Waving to his wife, the man swam out to sea and disappeared until a few weeks after the courts declared him dead. And the ruling till stands. (ART: Ed Vebell)


Sunday Mirror Magazine, March 3, 1947

First appeared in ReMIND Magazine issue 4.6


“The Zombie is a human corpse, still dead but taken from the grave and endowed by sorcery with mechanical semblance of life.”

Thus the late W.H. Seabrook, greatest of all authorities on voodoo, is quoted by Webster’s International Dictionary on the fascinating subject of the reanimated dead.

The law courts of the United States have created many a legal zombie — by the simple process of pronouncing missing persons legally dead. This is usually done on the application of some relative or other interested party to facilitate settlement of estates. There are, of course, minimum time limits that vary from seven to twelve years in different states. But once a person has legally been declared dead,  legally coming back to life presents many more difficulties.

Where life insurance payoffs are involved, the companies usually oppose court action in declaring missing persons dead. They hire legal batteries for this purpose, and staffs of private investigators to track down the suspected living dead. Although they will publicly deny it, insurance company executives privately admit that there are thousands of such legal zombies walking around, many of whom don’t even know they’ve been interred by the courts.

About ten years ago, a young New York couple went for a day’s outing to a resort on the New Jersey shore. As his spouse sunned herself with their small child on the beach, the husband plunged into the surf and swam out to sea. He turned once, smiled, waved, then continued plowing powerfully through the waves until he was no more than a speck to those on shore. A number of bathers commented that he was dangerously far out. But his wife smiled confidently and remarked that her husband was a strong swimmer and was accustomed to going out a mile or more.

After a reasonable time, when he didn’t return, his wife became alarmed. By nightfall, the Coast Guard patrol was searching for his body, but no trace of the missing swimmer could be found.

Last year, the widow finally won her court battle to have the missing husband declared dead. The insurance companies, which stood to pay out $50,000, contested. But the verdict of the New Jersey court was that the husband had drowned.

A few months after the widow had collected the money, two unsavory characters appeared, demanding half the take. Their attempted shakedown was based upon a threat to reveal that her husband was actually alive. The woman, who wanted no part of either fraud or blackmail, notified the insurance people. The racketeers were jailed. But the resulting investigation turned up proof that reports of the husband’s death had been greatly exaggerated.

He had, it was learned, decided that he hadn’t loved his wife, and had just swum away from it all. Furthermore, he considered any attempt to resurrect him was an invasion to his right to privacy, for which he would sue the insurance companies if they tried. Before any court action could be brought, he again disappeared. You can’t, it seems, legally restore life unless you produce the body. So the court has created a zombie who prefers whatever hereafter he has found to the used-to-be he left.

On evidence of the War Department’s report that a certain G.I. was killed in action in the Pacific, two insurance companies paid a bereaved widow’s claim for policies totaling $27,000. Two days after payment had been received, investigators, making a routine check, learned that the woman had sold her house and disappeared with her two children.

They traced the woman to San Francisco, to Honolulu, and from there to an island in the Pacific. Further work by sleuths attached to the Hawaiian office of one of the companies produced proof that the “widow” had joined her legally deceased husband on a tiny atoll they had bought and over which the United States has no jurisdiction.

Every so often, an insurance man stops to call socially, and tries to sell this War Department’s legal zombie on the idea of returning to the States, where he can be sued for the return of the money. But the deadbeat prefers to sit on his island veranda—drinking, no doubt, double zombies.

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Filed under Beach Party, Vintage True Crime

Hot Social: Anatomy of a Tumblr Post

ed vebell lonliness is dangerous

Ed Vebell illustration to “Loneliness is Dangerous,” a story by Harry Coren. Cutline: “Alone in the midsts of millions, the girl, who longed to talk to someone, stood on her fire escape as the voices of others, enjoying the companionship denied her, drifted up through the night.” Sunday Mirror Magazine, August 14, 1955.

We’ve kept up a ReMIND Tumblr blog called Funnster since early 2012. It’s a great place to share a lot of the cool images we’ve pulled out of our archives, and there are some really hip people at Tumblr who have been doing the same for a lot longer.

In Tumblr, visitors can either Like or Repost one of your images; the two options are both tallied in the Notes count. There’s definitely a popularity pecking order–images of Marilyn Monroe or Elizabeth Taylor get passed around like hot tomatoes, as do rare images like candids from movie sets.

This magazine cover of Elizabeth Taylor from a Sunday Mirror Magazine cover from Dec. 31, 1950, was posted a few weeks ago and has so far received 458 notes:

Elizabeth Taylor smm 123150

Elizabeth Taylor, cover of Sunday Mirror Magazine, Dec. 31, 1950.

Frequently we’ll post a scan of a magazine illustration from the 1950s from our archives, and some folks seem to like them. This one posted last April has received 244 notes:


Illustration by Victor Guise for true crime article, “Clue At The Ringside” — “The Young Boxer Handily Beat HIs Opponent, Only to Find His Profession Had Led Police to Him,” Sunday Mirror Magazine, Feb. 25, 1951.

Tumblr is a social medium that is awash in oceans of images, so it’s not surprising that stuff that you might think would be popular gets missed, like this one:

M Monroe SMM 032154

Marilyn Monroe, Sunday Mirror Magazine cover, March 21, 1954.

Total notes for a vintage and what I would think rare Marilyn:  Five.

Go figure.

(For a peek at pix from the inside spread, click here.)

* * *

So last September I posted the Ed Vebell illustration that leads this post, and it got hardly a flicker of attention, maybe 10 or 15 notes. Then last Wednesday, something weird happened. I started seeing notifications of activity (likes or re-posts) of that image again and again. By day’s end there were over 1,000 notes.

By the end of the next day, 3,000 notes.

By the end of Friday, 5,000 notes.

Current tally: 6,225 notes.

What is it about one image that catches the social wave? I’ve posted many others like it. It’s not especially artful (I scanned from newsprint archives in this case, where in others I have the original artboard).

Tumblr seems most popular with young women. Maybe there’s something in the vibe of retro ennui that is archetypal.  You know — that there were lonely women in the city Back Then adds a certain retro grace to the fact that many still feel that way.

Maybe it got picked up on a popular Tumblr site that flung the image up into one of the big social waves

Maybe it was just pure random luck.

Comments, anyone?

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Filed under Social Media Hoodoo, Vintage Illustration