Saturday 22 October 2016

Window Washer

Jim Stafford took an art correspondence course with Norman Rockwell while in high school.  Five years later, while stationed at an army base in Massachusetts, he wrote a letter to the artist who invited him to his home.  When Stafford arrived, Rockwell "looked [him] up and down and said, 'You'll do.'"  Stafford wasn't sure what that meant.  It turned out Rockwell wanted him to pose as a model for his latest painting. (

Stafford would play a Manhattan window washer who comes upon an executive dictating a letter to his secretary.  The secretary looks up from her work to notice the window washer winking at her, oblivious to the executive.  Now she has likely missed a few sentences.  How will she explain to her boss what has transpired?

Rockwell paid his model $30 for three days work.  When Stafford tried to cash the pay cheque, the bank teller didn't believe it was a valid cheque, given the identity of the issuer.  Years later, he wished he had kept the cheque for posterity.

Window Washer first appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post on September 17, 1960.  The original painting is now in the possession of movie maker Steven Spielberg.

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