What do Stonewall and Santa have in common?

Posted on December 24, 2009 by

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… Haddon Sundblom. It’s probably common knowledge to many in the Civil War blogosphere.

Personally, whenever I see a Haddon Sundblom Santa image adorning a Coca-Cola bottle or Coca-Cola advertising, I can’t help but recall my favorite image of Stonewall Jackson. It appeared on the cover of Civil War Times many, many moons ago (well, May of 1972 to be specific), but it captured the attention of a seven-year old boy (me!) when I got my copy (and I still have it, by the way). I often think it was the depth of color he used, combined with that green border the magazine used. I know, I know, there are a few things in the  painting that are a little irksome, historically speaking, but it’s still an awesome piece. I also think Stonewall looks a lot taller in this piece than anything else I’ve seen… and he looks like he might be spending some time at the gym… lending yet more credibility to the buffed Stonewall statue on Henry House Hill at Manassas… 8)-

The Stonewall piece first appeared as a Coca-Cola advertising piece in the 1930s and was used as one of the images in the “Pause that Refreshens” slogan campaign. That slogan, by the way, was started in 1929, but it was used for several years thereafter, along with other slogans that weren’t quite as successful along the way. So, after being used in the 30s, it’s interesting that the image was put back in circulation years later, for use in CWTI. The ironic part of the appearance on the cover in May 1972 is that, well… another Sundblom image graced the front cover of yet another magazine later that year. In fact, his ties with Santa Claus imagery reached another level in December 1972, when a “special” Santa image appeared on the cover of… drum-roll please… Playboy (the “Enjoy our Gala Christmas Issue”, using the traditional Coca-Cola script). You can see an image of the cover of that issue of Playboy attached to Sundlom’s biography in Wikipedia.

Actually, Sundblom did a number of pin-up images. Most were rather mild by comparison to the piece for Playboy… excepting one other piece that can be found relatively easily on the Web.

Oh, now this is just great! It’s one thing to have a “hyperlinked memory” (the fact that when I see Sundblom’s Santa images, I think about Sundblom’s Stonewall), but not I’m starting to hear “Stonewall Baby” in lieu of “Santa Baby” … and I’m actually thinking about alternative lyrics to go along with it!  :-)

Bottom line, Sundblom was talented in more than just Santa imagery, but here’s to him as I think about his Santa Claus art, raising a bottle of Coca-Cola on this fine Christmas Eve!

On that note… here’s hoping everyone has a pleasant Christmas Eve tonight…

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