Sunday, February 1, 2009

TIME Will Tell

I'm surprised at how many movie stars graced TIME magazine's cover during the 1930s-50s. Considering that many who appeared on it over the years were supposed to be important yet are totally forgotten today (men of industry, government, business, etc.) makes me wonder just how "important" people in those fields actually are. They may have been essential folk back in their day, but we're still talking about the movie stars. Sorry, Clarence K. should have preserved your life's work on film.

Ginger Rogers April 10, 1939

Bette Davis March 28, 1938

Audrey Hepburn Sep 7, 1953

Elizabeth Taylor August 22, 1949

Katharine Hepburn September 1, 1952

Ava Gardner September 3, 1951
The timing of these cover shots is interesting. Ginger and Bette were at their career peak when they made the cover. Audrey, Ava, and Liz were at the beginning of theirs; Audrey had just made her film debut in Roman Holiday and Taylor was just beginning her career as an adult after a successful run as a child actress. Kate Hepburn was still going strong-- and yes, her cover sketch is far from the most flattering I've seen of her, (it's during her Pat and Mike period, a film I've never liked all that much--considering the director, George Cukor, is revered here at Hollywood Dreamland as are the movie's stars, Spencer Tracy and Kate Hepburn).

I haven't read these issues to determine the substance of the articles, but I'll guess that they were "state of the cinema" pieces, reviews, or personal profiles. In the case of the Ginger Rogers cover, it's about Astaire & Rogers' final 1930s film, The Story of Vernon & Irene Castle and includes a Ginger profile. If a performer made the cover because of their onscreen work rather than any charitable or offscreen accomplishments, but it has gotten me interested enough in TIME's journalistic history to take a closer look at how movie stars were covered in the national, non-movie mag press.

I guess appearing on TIME isn't the immortalization they'd like us to think it is. Maybe popularity is the pocket change of history, I don't know. At least not as far as these movie stars are concerned. Anyway, take a look through TIME's cover archive and see how many people you recognize-- and how many you don't.


  1. It is amazing how many "stars" are mainly forgotten today. Especially, when you compare some stars that had somewhat long working careers to a star like James Dean who had such a short working career. It makes you wonder which stars of today will even be remembered a few decades from now.

  2. Both Hepburns have less-than-flattering pictures here. But it is cool to see these covers, thanks for sharing.

  3. Except for Ginger, I don't believe Time quite seemed to capture these lovely stars in their best light... ☺

    Thanks so much for interesting!


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  5. I think Gershwin (George, that is) also made the cover of Time.

    The arts and their practitioners live and breathe long beyond their "time".

  6. Those are wonderful covers. I love all of them. I'm especially fond of the ones of Audrey and Ava. That's probably due to the fact that I'm such a huge fan of both of them.


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