Postcards of questionable merit. (Not to be confused with a previous Highlight of generic landscape postcards.)
Of course I'm being completely disingenuous– each of these has its own rare charm, and merits closer inspection...
At top, a View of the Electrification on the N. & W. RY., Bluefield, W. VA. Stupefyingly dull and suffering from too many needless abbreviations, this postcard could prompt snide comments about West Virginia.
U.S.O. Building, Lawton, Okla. The USO (United Service Organizations) is cemented in my mind with brief film clips of Bob Hope entertaining the troops but evidently USO clubs and community centers were the GI's "Home away from Home" and quite cherished. I'm impressed with this card's fine artistic tinting, which expertly enlivens the row of cars at front. Note that most of the cars are of the bulbous ca. late-1940s vintage except for one model T and a woody station wagon. Also note the wonderful, slightly Bauhuasian lines of the building.
Lower Manhattan Skyline, New York City. Color Photo by Milt Price It is the genius of Milt Price that he can take the dynamic New York skyline and render it a grey, static backdrop for shipping containers. On the reverse is a tourist slogan I'd never heard before: Visit New York– The Wonder City. The scalloped edge, a vestigial throw-back to older photographic prints, is particularly nice. [Does anyone know why the scallop edge photograph came about and why it ended? It's still so iconic that evidently there are products out there to mimic it on your own photos.]
Gordon's Crab & Oyster House /America's Largest Crab Steaming Plant/ One Whole Block/ Baltimore Md.
This is my favorite card– where to begin? The surreal purgatorial limbo this building seems to inhabit is fascinating. It also appears amazingly small for the Largest Crab Steaming Plant in America, no? It is possible, I suppose, that the place is One Whole Block deep and about 12 feet wide. The building (and sidewalk) teeters downward to the left but is shored up with a sprightly yellow band at bottom, which appears to be what is called "artistic license." One would think, artistically speaking, it might have been nice to highlight the logo of the restaurant rather than covering it over in the same "wood tint" of the facade, but one would be wrong. Finally, the outrageously miniaturized evergreens grandly flanking the entrance are superb.