Monday, November 05, 2007

The Churchill Series – Nov. 5, 2006

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Today we’re going “visual.”

I invite you to look at two photos which tell about Churchill and President Roosevelt as smokers; and suggest how they felt about being photographed smoking.

Take a close look at both statesmen in each photo as well as the table in the first photo.

The photos are here. Take all the time you like looking. I’ll be waiting when you get back.


Then welcome back.

Based on these two photos and thousands of others, Churchill had no problem being photographed smoking or holding a cigar, did he?

He loved smoking cigars. He also knew what the public thought: Churchill wasn’t quite Churchill without cigar in hand or mouth.

And what about President Roosevelt?

It was no secret he was a cigarette chain-smoker but he was a bit “bashful” about being photographed smoking if he knew the photos were for public distribution.

So we have in that first photo Roosevelt sitting with an open pack of cigarettes, at least three books of matches and a cigarette butt filled ashtray all on the table right in front of him. His right hand's in plain view but his left hand is at his side and out of sight.

In the second photo, Churchill again has his cigar in hand and Roosevelt again has his left hand out of sight.

“Now, my dear Watson, …..”

Mind you, folks, I’m not suggesting anything of too much significance can be deduced from the photos or from how each leader felt about being photographed smoking; although it’s worth noting that when those photos were taken in 1943, FDR knew talk about “the strain the war is taking on the President’s health” was common in many quarters in America.

Whatever you decide the photos tell us, I felt sure you’d find them interesting.

Again, here are the photos