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!