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Good Old Guckenheimer: 1938

Good Old Guckenheimer: 1938

December 1938. "Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Christmas tree over the door of a bar on Market Street." Medium format nitrate negative by Paul Vanderbilt. View full size.

 

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The composition is correct

My first thought was this photo needs some snow on the eave, the blinds raised and a small houseplant in each window, and the lights on inside so you can see Christmas decorations and a friendly bartender. But no, it's 1938 and the Great Depression is in its ninth year. To make the bad worse, 1937-1938 were years of a recession with high unemployment within the depression. Paul Vanderbilt (not one of THE Vanderbilts) knew what photo he wanted.

Victim of Prohibition

The original Guckenheimer Rye whiskey was dead and gone by the time the picture was taken, a victim of prohibition. Another distillery had bought the name at that time. It's possible a bottle of the real stuff could still be found by 1938, but most likely, it was a whole different whiskey with a Guckenheimer label. This long-winded article has a lot of detail: http://www.ellenjaye.com/guckenheimer.html

Charlie Brown called --

You know the rest.

Good Grief!

Hey Charlie Brown! We found your Christmas tree!

Cousin

John Jacob Jingleheimer Smith was a celebrated relative.

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