LANA TURNER was staring back at me

Imagine opening a box that had sat in your closet for years and finding this staring back at you. I don't even know how or when I got this magazine. But finding it in the bottom of a box in the back of the closet had me dumbstruck. I simply couldn't believe I owned this and had no memory of it. Time to get past my mental block and deal with reality.

Bradshaw Crandell_Lana Turner_tatteredandlost
Click on image to see it larger.

This is Lana Turner on the cover of the March 1942 Cosmopolitan, illustration by Bradshaw Crandall.

John Bradshaw Crandall was born on June 14, 1896 in Glen Falls, New York. Following high school he moved to Chicago where for 6 months he attended classes at the Art Institute. He then enrolled in Weslyan University until the U.S. entered World War II. He then enlisted in the Navy and served as a machinists 1st mate. Following his discharge he moved to New York City where he began studying at the Art Students League. These studies, like those in Chicago, were only for a few months.

Crandall's first major work was a cover illustration in 1921 for a magazine called Judge. I have not been able to find this image online.

Eventually Crandall was producing cover art for various major magazines such as The Saturday Evening Post and Colliers.
In 1925 he opened "shop" at 405 Lexington Avenue and simply called it John Bradshaw Crandell Studios. Crandell himself only recalled producing one editorial or "story" illustration. That was produced for Redbook magazine "early in his career." There were countless advertising illustrations produced for a variety of "elite" clients and products. The images usually depicted an attractive woman or couple engaged in some glamorous or exciting activity. He became widely recognized for his Old Gold ads and point of purchase displays. Crandell's depictions of beautiful women were the staple for Palmolive skin soap advertising campaigns during the early 1930's. However, it was his Cosmopolitan magazine covers that made Bradshaw Crandell a household name.

By 1935, Crandell dropped the "John" from his name,moved to a new penthouse studio at 400 East 52nd Street (he would maintain this location until August of 1965), and was at the beginning of his 12 year run as the cover artist for Cosmopolitan. He also produced covers for Ladies' Home Journal and various other "Curtis" publications. During WWII Crandell produced a variety of war effort illustration art. In 1939 he provided the artwork for the Salvation Army fund drive, and also produced numerous illustrations for General Motors Pontiac Division, depicting workers and their roles in producing aircraft.

Cosmopolitan was known for it's beautiful covers portraying Hollywood's most popular and attractive movie stars. It was imperative that these depictions not only be recognizable, but more beautiful and glamorous than the camera or "real life" could present. There was an abundance of infinitely skilled illustrators in those days. Few however had the ability to draw and paint a "pretty face" like those produced by Bradshaw Crandell. In fact, over the years there have been but a handful of artists with this uniquely aesthetic ability.

When Carole Lombard posed for Crandell in 1935, she was at the height of her acting career and popularity. In the image conscious movie industry of the 1930's to the 1950's anything less than perfect would not be tolerated nor accepted. This alone is a testament to Crandell's considerable abilities and influence within the studio system of yesterday. Movie stars of today are forced to embrace the public's fascination with candid reality. Somewhere along the line, the elements of fantasy and innocence have been lost.

By the late 1940's Bradshaw Crandell had turned over the reigns of producing the covers at Cosmopolitan to Jon Whitcomb. Crandell himself had been Harrison Fisher's beneficiary in the 1930's. However the decade of the 1950's brought a new direction for Crandell. Throughout his career, Crandell had used pastel as his primary media for it's spontaneity and lack of a required drying time for managing deadlines. However he was ready for a change. He had taught himself to paint with oils, and with his unwavering dedication was producing work that would rival his magnificent pastel illustrations.

Crandell was now in his preferred element. Although he achieved immense success as a cover artist, it was only after he left the commercial field and began to concentrate on painting portraits, that he truly felt happy. He loved working with people directly. Crandell's models sat for him. He did not work from photo reference. He instinctively knew that was the only way to make a great picture. Crandell never analyzed a subject to bring out the true nature of the sitter. He painted what he saw, where the real person came to life. Choosing to only see the good in people, he would capture his subjects at their best.

(PHOTO SOURCE: Smithsonian Institute)

In 1954, Crandell made Madison, Connecticut his permanent residence. It had been his summer home for many years. He would maintain his East 52nd Street studio in New York for another eleven years. It was during this time that his status as a renowned portrait artist was established. Now instead of movie stars, his commissions were numerous Governors; heads of state; and society women. His career had come full circle. He was now fulfilled, producing art in the tradition of the masters he had long admired.

Throughout his life and career, Crandell had been at the top of his field. He received many of the accolades due a man and artist of his caliber (among other things you could walk into The 21 Club, or The Stork Club and order concoctions titled "Red Head" and "Bachelor Girl", inspired by Crandell's work). Along with many associations, he was a member of The Society of Illustrators (quite remarkably, Crandell has been overlooked for this institution's Hall of Fame); the Artists and Writers Association; and the Dutch Treat Club. Crandell was also an excellent and skilled chef. He was a member of the American Society of Amateur Chefs; as well as serving as President of the Property Owners Association in his hometown of Madison, Connecticut.

Sadly, by 1965 Bradshaw Crandell had contracted cancer. Reviewing letters written by him at this time, one finds no remorse or bitterness as a result of his condition. There is merely grateful appreciation for the innumerable admirers of his work. He passed away in the comfort of his home January 25, 1966 at the age of 69. (SOURCE: Helium)
To see other examples of Crandell's beautiful work click here. Crandell was inducted into the Society of Illustrator's Hall of Fame in 2006.

As to lovely Lana Turner. For anyone who doesn't know who she was I simply say run don't walk to rent the film The Postman Always Rings Twice starring Turner and John Garfield.
Born Julia Jean Turner in Wallace, Idaho, she was the daughter of John Virgil Turner, a miner from Hohenwald, Tennessee, and Mildred Frances Cowan, a sixteen-year-old Arkansas native.

Until her film career took off, she was known to family and friends as "Judy". Hard times eventually forced the family to re-locate to San Francisco, where her parents soon separated.

On December 14, 1930, her father won some money at a traveling craps game, stuffed his winnings in his left sock, and headed for home. He was later found dead on the corner of Minnesota and Mariposa Streets, on the edge of Potrero Hill and the Mission District in San Francisco, his left shoe and sock missing. The robbery and murder were never solved. Soon after, her mother developed health problems and was advised by her doctor to move to a drier climate. With her ten-year-old daughter, she moved to Los Angeles in 1931.

Mildred and Lana were very poor, and Turner was sometimes separated from her mother, living with friends or acquaintances so that the family could save money. Her mother worked as a beautician to support them. After Turner was discovered, her mother became the overseer of Turner's career.

Turner's discovery at a Hollywood drug store is a show-business legend. As a sixteen-year-old student at Hollywood High School Turner skipped a typing class and bought a Coke at the Top Hat Cafe located on the southeast corner of Sunset Boulevard and McCadden Place (not Schwab's Pharmacy), where she was spotted by William R. Wilkerson, publisher of The Hollywood Reporter. Wilkerson was attracted by her beauty and physique, and referred her to the actor/comedian/ talent agent Zeppo Marx. Marx's agency immediately signed her on and introduced her to film director Mervyn LeRoy, who cast her in her first film, They Won't Forget (1937). She also appeared as an extra that year in A Star Is Born—a part of the crowd at a boxing match, and in the Andy Hardy movie Love Finds Andy Hardy (1938).

Turner earned the nickname "The Sweater Girl" from her form-fitting attire in a scene in They Won't Forget. In late 1937, she signed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and graduated high school in between takes. Her first starring role for MGM was scheduled to be an adaption of The Sea-Wolf, co-starring Clark Gable, but the project was eventually canned.

Turner reached the height of her fame in the 1940s and 1950s. During World War II, Turner became a popular pin-up girl due to her popularity in such films such as Ziegfeld Girl (1941), Johnny Eager (1942), and four films with Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer's "king of the lot," Clark Gable. The Turner-Gable films' successes were only heightened by gossip-column rumors about a relationship between the two. Turner even had a B-17 Flying Fortress—the Tempest Turner—named after her.

After the war, Turner's career continued successfully with the release, in The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946), which co-starred John Garfield. The now-classic film noir marked a turning point in her career. Reviews of the film, and in particular, Turner's performance, were glowing. While not exactly giving up her pin-up credentials, Turner established herself as a skilled actress.

Turner was well known inside Hollywood circles for dating often, changing partners often, and for never shying away from the topic of how many lovers she had in her lifetime.

Turner was married eight times to seven different husbands:

Bandleader Artie Shaw (1940) Married only four months, Turner was 19 when she and Shaw eloped on their first date. She later referred to their stormy and verbally abusive relationship as "my college education".

Actor-restaurateur Joseph Stephen Crane (1942–1943, 1943–1944) Turner and Crane's first marriage was annulled after she discovered that Crane's previous divorce had not yet been finalized. After a brief separation (during which Crane attempted suicide), they re-married to provide for their newborn daughter, Cheryl.

Millionaire socialite Henry J. Topping Jr. (1948–1952) Topping proposed to Turner at the 21 Club in Los Angeles by dropping a diamond ring into her martini. Although worth millions when they married, Topping suffered heavy financial losses due to poor investments and excessive gambling. Turner finally divorced Topping when she realized she could no longer afford to keep them in the lavish lifestyle to which they had grown accustomed.

Actor Lex Barker (1953–1957), whom she divorced. In a book written by Cheryl Crane, Crane claimed that he repeatedly molested and raped her, and that it was after she told her mother this that they divorced.

Rancher Fred May (1960–1962)

Robert P. Eaton (1965–1969); who later went on to write The Body Brokers, a behind-the-scenes look at the Hollywood movie world, featuring a character named Marla Jordan, based on Turner.

Nightclub hypnotist Ronald Pellar, also known as Ronald Dante or Dr. Dante (1969–1972). The couple met in 1969 in a Los Angeles discotheque and married that same year. After about six months of marriage, Pellar disappeared a few days after Turner had written a $35,000 check to him to help him in an investment; he used the money for other purposes. In addition, she later accused him of stealing $100,000 worth of jewelry.

She later famously said, "My goal was to have one husband and seven children, but it turned out to be the other way around." (SOURCE: Wikipedia)
Looking at this illustration I can't imagine why anyone found her attractive. Seriously, this illustration is stunning! To read more about Lana, including the murder of her thug boyfriend Johnny Sompanato, click here.

I think I need to go digging a little deeper into that closet. Who knows what I'll find. I mean, Lana Turner and Archie the Boy Wonder. What a weekend!

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