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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Four Freedoms and Bing





 During picture study yesterday, we looked at Norman Rockwell's Four Freedoms (1943). Rockwell was inspired by Roosevelt's Four Freedoms speech (1941).  He wanted to help with the war effort, but was too old to enlist, so he decided to paint.  Problem was, the government wasn't interested in his paintings.  Yet.  Rockwell's old friend, The Saturday Evening Post happily picked up the paintings.  They paired each one with an essay by some interesting names:
Freedom of Speech - Booth Tarkington
Freedom to Worship - Will Durant
Freedom from Want - Carlos Bulosan
Freedom from Fear - Stephen Vincent Benet
Guess what? Rockwell's Four Freedoms set new publishing records. Now, the  the U.S. Treasury Dept. saw dollar signs in the form of war bonds.  So, showcasing Rockwell's paintings,  the Four Freedoms War Bond Show was launched, touring 16 cities and raising over $130 million dollars for the war effort.  Rockwell really did help, didn't he?

My family was already familiar with Roosevelt's Four Freedoms.  I'd like to say it's because we've studied this period in history or we because we know famous speeches by presidents during war time. Sorry, nothing as erudite as that.  We know about the Four Freedoms because of Bing Crosby.  You see, Holiday Inn (1942) is one of our favorite Christmas movies (albeit a bit schmaltzy), and Bing sings the following Freedom Song for the Fourth of July segment. It's interesting to note that the bombing of Pearl Harbor occurred during the shooting of this film. Check out the Four Freedoms war montage in this excerpt.  Now you won't forget them, either!

11 comments:

  1. Love Norman Rockwell. My mom picked up a big old book of all his works from the N.R. Museum. He does not just paint a still life. He takes us to a time, or moment, theme or personality. We relate and it's as if we step into that painting and identify with it.

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  2. I agree, Pam! His paintings have power. I am thoroughly enjoying studying him with our group, and am learning so much!

    Bobby Jo

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  3. This is really fun! My kids enjoyed the video. Love it!

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  4. Oh, my girls did love the video too...(I don't know if as much as I did ;-)

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  5. Norman Rockwell and Bing Crosby are the best of the best. It's time to watch "Holiday Inn" -- I have the colorized version as well as the black and white.

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  6. Thanks for submitting this to the CM carnival. It is helping to enrich a theme I found with the entries for this edition. Don't miss reading the carnival this time....great stuff.

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  7. Thanks Nancy. This gives another interesting aspect of paintings, in that they can be used to communicate powerful messages about current events.

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  8. I had no idea that these were together with essays! I learn something new from the blog carnivals all the time. I love how you presented it all together. It really helped me to have a deeper appreciate of an artist I already enjoyed. :-)

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  9. My mother loved Normal Rockwell, and I never thought about using his work in our CM picture studies. Now I'm excited, and I actually think my son will love this!

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  10. I am with some of the other moms, I did not know these paintings were displayed with writings to cause them to be a big hit. I have got to use this in my lesson plans for next year's schooling, thanks.

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