1950s Magazine Art

   I’ve been blessed by having numerous (male) heroes in my lifetime, beginning with Hero Number One… JESUS!  Then of course there was my father, Hendrix Murphy, and his father, Matthew Murphy, and mom’s father, Patrick Murphy.  Over the years I learned to admire and respect (in no particular order) Winston Churchill, John Wayne, Red Skelton, and numerous ‘aviation greats’ such as Chuck Yeager, Jimmy Doolittle, Douglas Corrigan, and Bob Hoover.  

   My passion for model airplanes introduced me to another… a super talented aviation artist who created the covers for Model Airplane News Magazine, and other publications, for many years.  His name is Jo Kotula, (1910-1998).

   Jo was Polish.  He and his family immigrated to the U.S. in 1910, when Joe was but 6 months old.  By the early 1930s his work was appearing in national publications like Saturday Evening Post, Colliers, Newsweek, Air Trails and Popular Science.  He began painting covers for Model Airplane News in 1932, continuing for 38 years, creating more than 400 dramatic paintings.  He also illustrated for Air Force training manuals during and after World War II.  He was among the first aviation artists who mastered the difficult technique of portraying reflective bare metal in bright sunlight.  One of this personal features was not to depict the sky as simply bright blue filled with puffy white clouds!  Yellow, as seen in the illustration, appeared to be his sky-color of choice, appearing often in his work.  

   I found this copy of his 1950 work for Air Trails on-line and downloaded it.  Next, I imported the file into Paintbrush and painted out the wording.  The original magazine must have been old, as there were a couple of tears and folds, in addition to a mark or two… all of which I did my best to repair.   I now have a framed copy of this ‘restored’ tribute to Jo Kotula hanging on my office wall.  If only I had an original of his work! 



A very old friend

This old Bible is rather ragged and worn. There are a few green paint stains on it also! This Bible was given to me as a high school graduation gift in June of 1959. It became my ‘go to’ source of inspiration, comfort, information, wisdom, and spiritual understanding. It’s a product of Word Publishers, and has the very best center column reference of any Bible I’ve ever owned! This make if a very treasured study Bible!

The wear you see looks more like abuse that simple wear and tear. Not so! But the green paint that I mentioned earlier came about at the same time that the spine damage occurred. The vehicle our family owned at the time (sometime in the early 70s) was a Ford station wagon, a very inexpensive, stripped down, economy model. It had NO CARPET, so the entire rear deck, with the seats stowed, was bare metal! We’d been doing some work around the house, and there was a can of green paint in the back. Oops.

That Sunday Night after church, our family of six piled into the Ford. Someone (probably me) opened and then closed it… but it was NOT firmly closed. After everyone piled in, and we did a quick head count, we headed home. We made it out of the parking lot successfully, but in accelerating onto the busy street, the tailgate flew up and open, while at the same time the paint can spilled, and that Bible of mine, which had been laid in the rear of the vehicle, slide across the slick rear floor, thru the green paint, and OUT THE OPENED DOOR and onto the street! Fortunately, no kids slid out also!

There was a lot of screaming and yelling, and we stopped in the middle of the street to survey the damage. My Bible lay in the street, battered, bruised, and looking like an abandoned cast off. I picked up the tattered remains. All the pages were there, just no long firmly attached. I cried, I really did.

I still tried to used this Bible, but I had to do so very carefully. I was ashamed to carry such a tattered example of God’s Written Word to church. I immediately began to search for a replacement.

I’m not sure what the publisher’s reasoning was, but search as I did… I could never find another like this one… not with it’s unbelievably amazing center column reference. Oh I found plenty with ‘ok’ references, but they were always references backwards… or references forwards. This old Bible has them BOTH WAYS!

For years, any time I happened to be in a book store, I search for my old Bible’s twin. I asked. Dozens of helpful clerks assisted me, but to no avail.

And then… less the ten short years ago, Carol and I were in what we call a ‘junk-tique’ store. You know the place… really old stuff, nothing really ‘valuable,’ just stuff a degree or two above worthless. And there on the shelf, shamefully priced at less than a dollar, was an IDENTICAL COPY of my treasured Bible! I’d found a true treasure! Ain’t God good!


My Son’s Bleeding To Death!

I’ve said it before, and it’s worth repeating: It’s no small wonder that I survived childhood!

I give you MERCUROCHROME, a common home remedy found in 99% of homes in the 1940s. Yes, it contained trace amounts of mercury. Yes, mercury is poisonous. And yes, mercurochrome is not seen around much anymore.

It was mostly used on cuts and scratches… and it also containing alcohol…and it burned like the dickens! But some mothers, mine included, used it for other purposed also.

In addition to having mercurochrome, in the 1940s, most doctors still made ‘house calls.’ This was an amazing thing where the doctor CAME TO YOUR HOUSE, instead of you going TO THEIR OFFICE! Crazy, huh? Well, on this particular day, my mother’s little boy, maybe 3 or 4 at the time, had a sore throat. Since it cured most everything, out came the mercurochrome. Using a ‘Q-Tip’ Mom ‘mopped my throat’ with this foul tasting red stuff. You’d get better in self-defense if nothing else!

I must have gotten better. Mom must have forgotten about my sore throat… and her treatment. But don’t you forget, mercurochrome was red… blood red.

Yes! In front of her, I coughed up some bright red stuff! Racing to the phone, and in sheer panic, Mom called our pediatrician. Come quick! Billy’s coughing up blood! Hurry!

I think that’s why we have ambulances today, otherwise one would have been called. Anyway, the doctor raced from North State Street down south to Doodleville and to 802 Evergreen.

Today I must assume that mercurochrome probably had a distinctive smell, because it didn’t take long for the out-of-breath doc to piece together the true story. ‘You just mopped the kid’s throat, didn’t you?’

I’ve often wondered if the doctor charged Mom double that day. I probably would have!



    I believe that God’s greatest disappointment in the Christian Church is our lack of solid unity.  Know one knows who originated the phrase, ‘Divide and conquer,’ but they were spot on!

 Oh what we could have accomplished for The Kingdom had it not been for a divided church!

    How did this division come about?  Basically, it all boils down to personal opinion!  At some point in time, there was a scribe, a monk, a vicar, a priest or what ever, who read a text and decided for himself that: this is what God’s Word says… but this is what God actually means.   We may called that event ‘interpretation,’ but the truth of the matter is: interpretation really means ‘This is what I assume and therefore believe that this text is actually saying.’  And so the spiral toward division began! 

    Fast forward two thousand years.  Now what are we to do?   God gives us the answer to this dilemma in 2 Timothy 2:15 

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  

    I see several interesting word usages in this passage.  Study tells me that I’m not simply to read scripture, but to ponder over it, to delve deeply into it to and to discern exactly what it is telling us.  Approved tells me that I am gaining the approval of God by making a diligent effort to understand exactly what He is telling me through His written Word.  Ashamed speaks to me of failure, and recognition of that unacceptable, wrongful, and even hurtful act of failure.  Finally, dividing speaks to me of separation, removing error and casting it aside, and understanding and embracing only truth! 

    We are blessed to be thought of as the ‘Children of God.’  But in truth, although we may be adult in age, we are still children in spirit.  And as ‘childish’ children, we continue childish and immature thinking long into adulthood.  As children, we are easily led astray.  Our very carnal world of today is filled with ‘Pied Pipers’ at every turn, attempting to lead us not to — but away from God.  And these modern Pipers use every trick in the book.   And the oldest trick of all is making the ‘bad’ to appear as ‘good’ and leading us away from God’s will while causing us to believe we are heading into His will.

    This is why more than ever we must all study to show ourselves approved unto God, rightly dividing the word of truth, workmen that need not to be ashamed!  

    The second chapter of 2nd Timothy goes on to say in verse 23:   

But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.  

    The question is, ‘What is a foolish question?  And, who determines if it is or is it not, foolish?  The verse above certainly implies that we should know the difference!

    God always reveals the truth!  We often think that he’s slow in doing it, yet He always works within His own time frame-work… and that always proves to be right, best, and the best for us all.  Our knowledge of truth is usually a process!  Our responsibility is to ‘allow’ God to work His way and His will with patience.  We have a strong ally to make our ‘burden’ of patience lighter, and that is prayer.

We must remember:  It is God who does the ‘real’ work, we are but His ‘helpers.’  His truth SHALL reign!