Happy America day the world over, folks! Because nobody’s in the newsroom, this is traditionally when we open the building to fictional characters giving tours. This year we got Tywin Lannister, which was awesome, but I can’t seem to get the video to work. Luckily I recently came into possession of an excellent previous cartoon tour of the Post building by a Mr. Joe Palooka, who really did used to hang around outside as you see here until we got rid of him in ’09 or so.
This is a 12-page newspaper insert celebrating what was at its opening the newest (!) metropolitan newspaper plant in America. We really did write it on the sky behind the building in those days. Isn’t it beautiful?
This fictional tour took place a couple of years ago in 1951, so it was before the Bezos era and before Ezra Klein left us, but the building and technology haven’t changed all that much. Your humble narrator doesn’t know why she couldn’t get the colors to scan, but reproducing it here in black and white means you can color everything in yourself. It’s possible you were meant to do this; for whatever reason Ham Fischer, the artist, made every single person a kind of pinkish color, which seems unrealistic. Although I have consulted several contemporary media accounts that suggest America didn’t get any black people at all until 1960 or so.
(Famously, Joe Palooka was surgically updated to look like whoever was the biggest boxing star in the country at the time, until the ascension of Joe Louis, whereupon Joe Palooka stayed as white as possible.)
During my first read-through of this, I was a bit worried about the stereotypes of Dad wanting to meet the, like, experts and stuff, and Mom being so interested in aesthetics and women’s sections. But then I noticed Joe Palooka is both looking at Mom and answering her when he addresses “Tommy,” so there are some traditional gender roles being flipped, either in Mom’s name or the name Joe Palooka assumes she has. So hey, presto, relatable family.
Fun fact: we still have four elevators! And the lovely colors of the assembly room are in fact white and white. Thematic!
CONTINUED IN “THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY,” PART TWO.