Children get into the drollest situations, which their parents remember for years afterward and beginning about the second year afterward, are able to laugh at. Well, what's to be done about the little sailor on the wrong side of the bulkhead? Maybe after papa has run out of panicky ideas, he will just walk down the cellar stairs and turn off the water where it comes in from the water company, causing the child to cease his infernal noise so he can be told how to open the door and come out of there. More likely the fire department boys--if they are not rescuing a cat from a tree--will have to hasten here and make with a ladder or an ax. Memo to John Falter: in the future, please don't paint bathrooms with newfangled locks--just stick an old slide bolt six feet up on the door.
December 24, 1955
ADOPTED BY: MATT MOREHOUSE IN MEMORY OF JULIE FALTER MOREHOUSE
'Tis the dawn before Christmas, and all through the house little creatures are stirring, still as a mouse. And that, you'll agree, is enough of trying to say this is rhyme. Well, at 6:11 A.M. by John Falter's clock this house will rock with cries that Saint Nick had been here. And mother and dad, who stayed up awfully late helping him come, will stagger blurry-eyed downstairs, looking as if they had indeed just settled down for a long winter's nap. Their eyes will clear, though, catching the bright glow from their children's eyes. For this mystic moment at Christmas sunrise is so joyfully animating with its bright feeling that the world is made for love. As the Jolly Old Elf didn't quite say when he flew up the chimney: Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good morning!
“LATE FOR THE PROM”
April 21, 1956
ADOPTED BY: ROGER & PATTY KIEKHAEFER
Mary is glad her beau and her parent are so companionable, but not very glad. And now, pretty one, will you excuse us a moment while an unfavorable crack is made about the vernal equinox, colloquially known as spring? It's a sham, a delusion; the true rebirth of life comes one moon later, the baseball equinox. Sure, the gentle zephyrs whisper before then, the blooms unfurl, the bluebirds carol themselves blue in the face; and so what? That's like the pop of a champagne cork, which is O.K., but not so O.K. as the nectar yet to be sipped. Spring's nectar is a song heard in the land, the thrushlike tones of umpires trilling, "Play ball!" To Mary: how can you be bored with all those books to read? To John Falter: who you picking to win the old gonfalon, boy?
“SWINGING BY SAN FRANCISCO”
May 26, 1956
ADOPTED BY: DIANE LANGAN COLLET IN MEMORY OF VINCE & MARY LOU FALTER LANGAN
If a small boy, when at play, is not doing something perilous, he must be sick. So, regarding that lad who is aviating out over San Francisco Bay, let us rejoice that he is in good health, and close our eyes until he gets back. When John Falter was risking his boyhood, he used to take off on a bag swing from the roof of a shed, part of his joy being to see if he could avoid demolishing his bones against the shed on the way back. Recently when Falter was strolling along Belvedere Island, admiring the grace of Golden Gate Bridge across the azure bay, he happily discovered that modern kids still relax in the mellow old hair-raising way. Falter's cliffside home is two blocks to the right of the painting, but he doesn't bag-swing from it. The poor fellow must be getting old.
June 30, 1956
ADOPTED BY: THE ROTARY CLUB OF FALLS CITY
The scene is out of John Falter's boyhood, and from the hilltop that looks like an ugly fire. But Falter, having added a modern chemical fire truck which he feels certain will save the barn, reflects that when he starts a fire, he can put it out. Seriously, this evokes a fervent thank-heaven for telephones, gasoline motors, new-fashioned antifire devices, and the know-how and courage of volunteer smoke-eaters. Falter didn't ride a horse bareback to his long-ago fire; his horse ran away and Johnny dismounted into a passing haystack. Then, finding himself alive, he proceeded on shanks' mare. To return to 1956, three volunteer boy-models, one on a horse, helped the painter by careering down a steep California hill again and again, which astonished onlookers, as there was no fire.
July 21, 1956
ADOPTED BY: SARAH JOHANSEN
Space-flight gear, a conch shell; in new and old ways youngsters savor the glamour of imaginative play. That lad is not long for this world; soon he'll dream himself away on a junket to the moon. Behind him on earth the lass will listen to seashore breakers that always roar inside conch shells, thanks to whoever put them in there. Doubtless she is hearing the coast of China, for she can tune in the local ocean with her unshelled ear. John Falter heard the Pacific that way when a boy in Kansas.* But he's wrong in saying conchs also make good doorstops; they creep, and the door goes wham! A brick is better. That coast-side porch is near Falter's California home, but the water is the Atlantic, off Maine. No use trying to understand painters.
*Falter grew up in Nebraska.
“AUTUMN IN ATCHISON”
October 27, 1956
ADOPTED BY THE ROTARY CLUB OF FALLS CITY
Blazing trees and golden sun shafts and here and there a forward pass--autumn in our landPoets bicker about the seasons; one claims that "in June, if ever, come perfect days," another says June is O.K., but "ye cannot rival...October's bright blue weather." Sometimes ye also cannot rival October's dull black weather. Anyhow, what is so rare as a maple tree in gridiron season. John Falter has painted the bottom one third of a century-old maple in Atchison, Kansas, which is widely famous for it's towering, symmetrical loveliness. Mr. J.H. Mullins owns this beauty, and every day he gets out a hose and affectionately waters the roots of his old friend. If Falter had painted the whole tree, the Post would be three feet tall this week, and we just can't have that sort of thing.
“MR. TINKELPAUGH (FALTER) ON PIANO”
December 1, 1956
ADOPTED BY: SUZANNE FALTER IN MEMORY OF TEAL BARNS, JOHN FALTER’S GRANDDAUGHTER
Mr. Tinkelpaugh has suffered a relapse into the jazzmania of his youth, and the young folks hope he will recover rapidly and return to his chimney corner. No doubt he was quite an operator with the Dixieland rhythm of the era of The Collegiate 7, but that was circa 1928, and now there's a new circa; from a new generation the pent-up sound effects of the progressive beat yearn to find expression against ceiling beams. Let The Rumpus Room 4 remember this, in case one of them feels like rendering an outmoded parental recital around 1980. Those superb jazzmasters on the wall are Armstrong, Sullivan, Russell; below, Condon, Wettling, Teagarden, Erwin, and some unidentified pates. John Falter once played the sax, but he decided he could make sweeter music with a brush.
May 4, 1957
ADOPTED BY: AUSTIN SELLS
Children are natural-born wavers, and trains ROARing out of the somewhere into the somewhere, are natural-born children charmers. Sad to say, today's cultured diesel engines don't pack the terrifying charm of yesteryear's thundering steam jobs, and their whistles have gone a bit sissy too. (It's like modern fire trucks ousting the rampaging old horse-drawn steamers; shucks, what's so unusual about an auto lickety-tooting through traffic?) John Falter, when a child, used to listen to freight trains chugging up a nearby hill and worry about whether they'd make it--as you might worry about his name getting up that hill on the cover. Our scene is Missouri, the Missouri River and Kansas beyond; past here went explorers Lewis and Clark, but not on the train.
July 6, 1957
ADOPTED BY: THE ROTARY CLUB OF FALLS CITY
It looks from here, high up in the right field upper deck of the stadium, as if a baseball has been propelled beyond the flagpole into the middle of next week. If John Falter will get busy and switch the TV camera onto the ball--ah, yes, it's well tagged, fans; it could be trouble, fans; it--it--it's a HOME RUN! Conceivably there may now be heard the musical tinkle of falling glass, for Falter has painted a neighborhood in Atchison, Kansas, which contains many vulnerable windowpanes. One day in John's youth, when he was striving to hit a home run, the pitcher heaved an exceedingly fast ball which thumped him right on the head. The victim, when he could think, quit baseball immediately, but he kept on with football, which features helmets--and a limper ball.
October 12, 1957
ADOPTED BY: GARY & GLENDA ROESCH NELSON
Let's presume that Mary Slowpoke is doing those motorists a great favor. Let's imagine them exclaiming, in effect, "Look, at the glory of those trees! If we hadn't got stuck here, we never would have had this enthralling experience, never been able to sit here drinking in this ineffable beauty. Bless that little lazybones on the hill!" If you think they are saying something else, better keep what you think to yourself. John Falter's cover is located in four places; he saw the blazing trees in Illinois, the gentle background hills are in Kansas, Mary's house is in the state of Missouri; and Mary herself came from Imagination, a state of mind. When Falter was asked what will happen if Mary goes back to the house for something she has forgotten, his imagination didn't work at all.
November 9, 1957
ADOPTED BY: BARB & REECE PETERSON
Young Sammy Sixgun, using the classic hat-over-the-rock routine, will now restore law and order to the old TV-West. First the electronic badman will shoot a hole through Sammy's sombrero; then, believing he has dispatched it's occupant, he will relax his guard and our hero will give him the works. To be sure, this is all good clean imagination. Manhood will find our once-warlike Sammy perched peacefully behind a desk, no heroics for him, no interest in gunplay--yet bearing in him that old spirit which has always turned war-hating Americans into heroes when badmen threaten and the chips are down. By the way, that's John Falter's own dog in the chair, name of Ralph. If Ralph should wag his tail and knock off the hat, wouldn't Sammy be surprised?
“GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE”
November 16, 1957
ADOPTED BY: TOM LANGAN & LISA LANGAN IN MEMORY OF LOU FALTER LANGAN
That nimble blue water is the Golden Gate--so, one guess at the name of the bridge. Fishes wishing to leave San Francisco Bay to take a spin in the Pacific swim past from left to right, and they'd better keep swimming or they'll wind up in a tin pail. To the left across the water: San Francisco, plus the New York Giants. The house is a lighthouse and the cables keep it from taking off for a sail someday; for the wind she blow like the dickens around here, singing forever through the great steel harp strings of the bridge. John Falter, who says he is something less than a superb sailor, has helped crew sailboats out through the Gate a few times, and usually has been delighted to regain dry land. The rides and billow outside the Gate are terrible cutups now and then.
“PAPA HANGS THE ANGELS”
December 28, 1957
ADOPTED BY: LARRY & VICKI METZGER HEDLUND
Now come the high moments of Christmastime—the lighting of the trees, carol singing under the sparkling stars, the mysterious night when Santa rides the skies, the gay opening of the gifts. And speaking of high moments, look at Papa. Many a papa, for some strange reason, waits to put the top ornament on a tree last, thus imperiling the safety of all the other ornaments in case he takes a header into them. John Falter says that this imperils artist's models too. But his models survived their alarming pose unscathed; and don't worry, Papa will too....So the joy that glows symbolically from that tree will come to shining life in all the members of Papa's household. And now may we make a wish? That the same warm experiences bless all other households everywhere.
“FOX RIVER SKATER”
January 11, 1958
ADOPTED BY: MIKE & MAILE MOREHOUSE
Mrs. Nature, smiling with frosty affection on her children young and old, has solidified the water of the Fox River at Batavia, Ill.; and on this glorious rink a person can skate for many miles, if he can skate. Pity the poor denizens of great, highly civilized metropolises who can only skate round and round in small circles on frapped ammonia pipes. Well, in this teeming scene we have figure skaters, chair skaters, collapsing skaters; we have jumpers, pucksters, walkers, lovers; and we have those dare-devils who are following the leader--presently they will link hands and play snap the whip, a maneuver which practically always goeth before a fall. John Falter declares that by the time he had finished painting all those portraits he had a sore wrist.
April 19, 1958
ADOPTED BY: ROD, DONNA & JESSE RUDOLPH
The day's toil is over; the quiet magic of approaching dusk offers peace to everyone; and from the heart and clarinet of a grateful soul come the limpid strains of an evensong. They come not from afar, but from anear, and all who hear them are stirred--some in favor, some against. Numerically, the nays have it, including that man who votes Please, which doesn't mean Please Play Louder, but Please Dry Up. The howling dog may think he is singing a tuneful duet with the clarinet or he may just be swearing at it; let's say he votes yes, for artist John Falter is pro-clarinet (he played one). Another way to count those votes is the way of the heart: only two people are on that cover, a boy and a girl, and to them everybody else is nowhere at all. The two are unanimous.
"SCHOOL'S OUT FOR FORTY-ELEVEN WEEKS!"
June 21, 1958
ADOPTED BY: THE ROTARY CLUB OF FALLS CITY
O boy! O girl! Last day of school for forty-eleven weeks! Here is one of childhood's clear glimpses of ethereal bliss. And yet as the summer loafs drowsily along, won't the youngsters get a little bored with nothing to do but play; won't they miss the stimulating companionship of their teachers and feel a nostalgia for the familiar halls of learning? Their answer to these questions is: for gosh sakes, No! So let's change the subject and report that artist John Falter's school-delivery is occurring in Tiburon, whose cliff-hung homes are hard by San Francisco Bay. In summer those arid hills grow sun-tanned, but next winter, when the rain rains, they'll turn pool-table green. That pony actually belongs to one of those boys--"A four-legged vacation," observes brushman Falter.
“MRS. OLDWITCH & FIVE LITTLE CREEPS”
November 1, 1958
ADOPTED BY: THE ROTARY CLUB OF FALLS CITY
It's Halloween again--batten down the hatches and everything else, folks. In artist John Falter's dreadful scene, Mrs. Oldwitch and five little creeps are out on a shakedown cruise, Tricks or treats!--so house-holders stock up on candy, and expeditions that get around early before the supplies peter out amass enough loot to do their stomachs no good at all. In the bad old days, Halloweening was a livelier art; do you recall, grandpa, the night you rigged up lawyer Grump's garden hose so it was aimed at his front door, rang his bell, turned on the water, and he got it right in the beezer? Do you recall that when you re-turned to swipe his gate, he ran out and began flailing around recklessly with a buggy whip? The good new days inflict less pain on all concerned.
January 24, 1959
ADOPTED BY: THE JOHN HUBER FAMILY
Mr. Hesitant is reflecting, I work hard for a living. I am now all beat up from a grisly day at the office. Couldn't life have spared me this and just let me stagger home in peace? His home is blocks away, and not even one of the entrenched troops is thinking of him as a beloved daddy. Moreover, if that ammunition was molded out of freezing slush, it is now hard, something like cannon balls. So Mr. H's tactical problem is whether to cross the street in a flanking movement, or charge the foe like a a man and take what is coming to him, which is plenty. What would artist John Falter himself do? He says, "This scene (except for that ornamental ball, which I contributed) is a pleasant, typical Midwestern town I recently visited, named Bad Axe, Michigan." He says, "I would charge the foe. I think."
"MR. SMILEY'S MAUSOLEUM"
February 21, 1959
ADOPTED BY: LARRY & CHARLOTTE NEDROW FOR BUTCH & DOBEY HAWS
For a split second mother thought she saw a real man lying there, stark and grinning. Readjusting her senses (mothers get to be fast readjusters), she thought, Oh, come now, one doesn't find real men in freezers, does one? This is a snowman, I fear. Next thing on the agenda is to remove Mr. Smiley from his mausoleum. As mother icily summons her son and they messily lug sections of Smiley out the basement door, mother can reflect upon how funny this will seem to her week after next. Alternate plan: John Falter says there is a pile of displaced freezer food off stage at the left; why not lug that outdoors to keep cool and save funny Mr. S. for papa to enjoy, and remove, when he comes home? In that case, papa could reflect that a father's work is never done.
April 4, 1959
ADOPTED BY: THE ROTARY CLUB OF FALLS CITY
The breathless tension at a rocket-launching base just before a blast-off can't be much worse than the mass trance prevailing at this seat of learning. Even Miss Teacher, who will blast off soon, seems not unhopeful that that roll of masking tape will function successfully as the last stage of the lad's what-is-it. At least the goldfish seem relaxed; evidently they are convinced that the boy doesn't plan to place the fishbowl on top of the masking tape. Johnny Genius, whom artist John Falter has the temerity to call a well-balanced boy, doubtless faces a bright future in physics or architecture or tightrope walking. As for his uncertain present, will he, whatever happens, have the presence of mind to give both apples to his dear teacher with haste and affection?
“MRS. ANTIQUE’S CHAIR”
June 20, 1959
ADOPTED BY: JOANN ZOELLER
After years of observing ancient chairs tremble and sway and utter squeaks of alarm, and then have nothing more happen, we are relieved to see one of them (with somebody else in it) go ahead and de-compose. Artist John Falter's scene evolved from his once seeing a massive man sit down in a drawing-room chair and go right through, all the way into the kindling wood. The Windsor-type chair on the cover was popular with colonial Americans, but it doesn't enchant that seated American, whose name is Mr. Downey. If Mr. D. loathes power tools and rebuilding sick furniture, what he has left would make a fine back rest in a rowboat. Or will he declare that the chair isn't his, but still belongs to Mrs. Antique? If there's going to be a fight, let's get out of here.
July 18, 1959
ADOPTED BY: MERLE & TRULA BACHMAN
There goes the American Civilization marching right into a beloved living room and (see blueprint) out the opposite wall. Baffling thought: sometimes it's a shame to have progress happen and a shame not to have it happen. Sure, it is a melancholy moment for those home folks there; yet how many thousands of miles have they sped gratefully over distance-melting superroads with nary a thought about whose ex-living rooms they were speeding through? Well, selling a house brings money for a new house, so let's not press our theme to the point of tears. This would have been a more attractive cover if grandmother, there on the porch, were sitting in a rocking chair holding the boys at bay with a shotgun. Neither she nor the artist John Falter seems to have the old frontier what-it-takes.
“FAMILY DAY TRIP”
September 5, 1959
ADOPTED BY: JAY & JOY CALLAHAN
Away they go, whooshing toward someplace where there's lots of green land and a far-arching abundance of sky. All hands are sparkle-eyed with vigor and vim, even mother, although she had to start doing chores at six a.m. to get this show on the road by eight. (Ignore Spoteye, the dog, who is just taking a cat nap). In due time the food is eradicated, the gang's vigor is renewed, the dog takes a dog nap, and mother applies her vim---to doing chores. And by and by in artist John Falter's purple night everybody passes out except you know who, there at the wheel--and for heaven's sake, look who has come to in the back seat! Mother doesn't reflect that a woman's work is never done; what she does think is, They're my babies, including old batter-out here beside me, and I love taking care of them all.
March 19, 1960
ADOPTED BY: HAROLD BOSWELL
Fifth Avenue--showcase of fashion, hub of big industry, parade ground for visiting celebrities, home to the very rich. In her 135 blocks between Greenwich Village and Harlem are such landmarks as the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick's Cathedral and the Metropolitan Museum of Art--but nowhere is she quite so magnificent and vivacious as here at Fifty-ninth Street, gateway to Central Park. Between the sun-splashed windows of Tiffany's (left center) and the forlorn figure of Eloise, gazing down from her perch at the Plaza (right), artist John Falter has captured a brilliant Saturday morning in April. (After studying our scene long enough to spot the pickpocket, turn to page 126.)
May 7, 1960
ADOPTED BY: MICHAEL & BRENDA GARRIOTT
"I was a real nothing in algebra," confesses artist John Falter, whose faltering fathers on our cover seem to prove that more than one pop has been lost in a forest of co-ordinate axes, cosines and polynomials. We could lecture for hours on the high price of fatherhood, and why Johnny will never learn to read if he lets someone else do his homework. Unfortunately, we must get on to the algebraic agony at hand. Question: If one furrow-browed father spends x hours failing to solve the quadratic equations of one boy, how long would it take two furrow-browed fathers to fail to solve the quadratic equations of two boys? Answer: x hours, plus however long the fathers talk on the telephone. It takes longer, of course, if one of the boys is wearing a smirk.
“SKUNK 'PEACHTREE STREET, ATLANTA'”
June 25, 1960
ADOPTED BY: LIZ & DARREL HUETTNER
For the second in our series of covers on illustrious American thoroughfares, artist John Falter has depicted Peachtree Street at the Harris Street intersection, looking south toward Five Points, Atlanta's hub. The gentleman on crutches at lower left is Ernest Rogers, Atlanta Journal columnist and the popular "Mayor of Peachtree Street." In the early nineteenth century this was a sinuous ridgetop trail leading to an Indian settlement known as The Standing Peachtree; today it's the main artery in the economic capital of the South. That towering tree in the foreground is an American elm. Our scene contains no peach trees--they don't thrive in downtown Atlanta--but there are numerous Georgia peaches in view, of the variety which doesn't grow on trees.
“MICHIGAN AVENUE, CHICAGO”
October 15, 1960
ADOPTED BY: KATY MOREHOUSE
The standard picture-post-card view of Chicago is of Michigan Avenue, looking north toward the Tribune Tower and Wrigley Building. Artist John Falter gives us instead a southern exposure of this elegant avenue--with the Wrigley Building and environs reflected in the camera lens at left. Behind the lofty buildings on the right is the Loop; facing them are the Art Institute, set in Grant Park, and Lake Michigan. The whiskered gent with sketch pad is the late Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright's mentor and an architect who helped reshape the face of this frisky city. (Sullivan had an office in Orchestra Hall, the second building from right). We thought we had spotted another eminent Chicagoan, Al Capone, in the foreground. But Falter assures us we're imagining things.
“PARK STREET, BOSTON”
January 7, 1961
ADOPTED BY: GARRY & LINDA WATZKE
Welcome to historic Park Street, looking north toward the gold-domed State House. To the left, Boston Common; to the right, the Old Granary Burial Ground, where lie Paul Revere, John Hancock and Samuel Adams. That's Park Street Church in the foreground; its site is known as "Brimstone Corner." The yule tree being carted off to lower left indicates that Christmas no longer is banned in Boston, as it was when the Puritans held sway. As for the 1913 Pierce Arrow approaching from the right, artist John Falter tells us it originally belonged to Boston astronomer Percival Lowell, brother of poet Amy Lowell. Ill-mannered people might term the dowager in the back seat a bluenose--and perhaps, on this fourteen-degree day, she is.
“DRIVE IN MOVIE”
May 13, 1961
ADOPTED BY: MERLE & SARA VEIGEL
Artist John Falter depicts a soggy Saturday night at the local float-in, with scarcely room to drop anchor. The feature attraction of the evening is Two Senoritas From Sheboygan, filmed in Lack-0-Vision and Watercolor. Starring in this frenetic flick is Rita Redhead, shown here singing that old favorite, Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella. Her hero is the senor with the guitar. A more genuine hero, of course, is the stalwart customer with umbrella but without a smile, transporting two burgers, one dog and three shakes from the bar to car. The performance of this burger bearer is matched only by that of the manager of the place, whose motto, in the best tradition of the theater, is--be there snow, or rain, or gloom of night, or a short circuit in the popcorn machine, the show must go on.