Wednesday, October 31, 2018

'Wait for Me, Daddy' – The Story Behind One of Canada's Most Famous Photos During World War II

It's October 1, 1940 and Province photographer Claude P. Dettloff is standing on Columbia Street at 8th Street in New Westminster, his press camera up to his eye, preparing to take a shot. He's focusing on a line of hundreds of men of the B.C. Regiment marching down 8th to a waiting train. Soldiers of the Duke of Connaught's Own Rifles are marching past. Suddenly, in the view-finder, Detloff sees a little white-haired boy tugging away from his mother's grasp and rushing up to his father in the marching line ... click.

'Wait For Me, Daddy' has become one of the most famous photographs in Canadian history. It was printed in Life magazine and was hung in every classroom across B.C. during the war years. (Claude Dettloff)

'Wait For Me, Daddy' becomes the most famous Canadian picture of the Second World War, and one of the most famous of all war pictures. And it was a fluke, a one-in-a-million shot.

The Royal Canadian Mint issued a general-circulation $2 coin with an engraved rendition of the famous image; Canada Post put out a postage stamp replicating the photo; and a stylized bronze sculpture has been crafted in Spain.

Ever the pro, Dettloff was prepared as his once-in-a-lifetime opportunity approached on Oct. 1, 1940.

But the challenge was much greater than photographers face today because his equipment was primitive by our standards. The camera was a cumbersome Speed Graphic, weighing about five kilograms. The worst shortcoming was its film capacity: just one piece of film was available at a time.

Photo of former Province photographer Claude Dettloff and his camera.

Adding to the challenge was the nature of the event itself. It was really just a bunch of guys marching down a street, as happened thousands of times during the Second World War. There were no celebrities on hand or choice awards being given out.

Fortunately, Dettloff knew exactly what he was looking for, and prepared accordingly.

He explained his rationale in a 1954 radio interview:

“I am a lazy fellow, really. I don’t like to rush around taking dozens of pictures of everything in sight. I like to take my time and wait for Lady Luck to take a hand. As the long line of marching men started down the hill, I could see a second line of wives, children and sweethearts marching with them. I felt that something of a sentimental nature was bound to happen, so I was watching for it. I clicked the shutter of my camera almost without thinking.

“It was the only shot I took. I knew that was it before I even printed it.”

The result was magical!

The mother's outstretched hand and the swirl of her coat, the boy's shock of white hair and his own reaching hand, the father's turning smile and the downward thrust of his own outreaching hand — he has shifted his rifle to his other hand to hold his son's for a moment — the long line of marching men in the background, all this makes an unforgettable image, a masterpiece of unplanned composition, a heart-grabbing moment frozen for all time.

But Warren “Whitey” Bernard, who was five when Claude Dettloff photographed him, doesn't remember October 1st. What he does remember is October 2nd, when the picture appeared in the Province and he was suddenly famous.

Today, more than 70 years later, Whitey Bernard lives in Tofino. Back at the time of the picture, he and his dad Jack and his mom Bernice lived in Vancouver, near General Wolfe Elementary, where little Whitey was in Grade One. (His mom lied about his age to get him in.)

“The picture went everywhere,” Whitey says. “It was a full page in Life, it was in Liberty and Time and Newsweek and the Reader's Digest and the Encyclopaedia Britannica Yearbook and in newspapers everywhere.” Whitey's wife, Ruby, nods. “It was hung in every school in B.C. during the war,” she says, laughing. “I saw him years and years before we actually met.”

The photo caught the attention of the military.

“They were holding War Bond drives,” Whitey says, “and they asked Mom for permission to include me in some of them. They were six weeks long, and so I had to be excused from school. They had entertainers and put on shows. I remember meeting Edgar Bergen and 'talking' to his dummies, Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd, and there were local entertainers, too: Barney Potts, Thora Anders, Pat Morgan, and I'd come out at the end in front of a big blowup of the picture with a fellow dressed up as my dad. I'd stand there in my dressy blue blazer and short grey pants, they put me in short pants, and give a little speech, and I'd end by asking everyone to buy war bonds to help Bring My Daddy Home. That got everyone all misty-eyed and they'd rush up to buy bonds.”

Whitey's dad came home in October 1945 and Claude Dettloff-now the Province's chief photographer-took a photograph of their reunion at the CNR station.

Father and son reunited, 1945. (Vancouver Province Newspaper)

Not long after Whitey and Ruby Johnson married in 1964, he got involved in local politics. He was elected alderman, was mayor for several years in the 1980s and then went back as councillor. Today, he's retired. His son Steven runs the business that Whitey started long ago, a small marina, marine hardware and fuel station.


37 Vintage Photos from the 1931 Movie "Frankenstein"

Frankenstein is a 1931 American pre-Code horror monster film from Universal 
Pictures is about a scientist and his assistant who dig up corpses to build a 
man animated by electricity. The project goes awry when Dr. Frankenstein's 
assistant accidentally gives the creature an abnormal, murderer's brain. The 
film was directed by James Whale, and adapted from the play by Peggy Webling, 
which in turn was based on Mary Shelley's 1818 novel, Frankenstein; or, The 
Modern Prometheus. The created "monster" is portrayed by Boris Karloff in the 
film. A hit with both audiences and critics, the film was followed by 
multiple sequels and has become arguably the most iconic horror film in 

Frankenstein stars Colin Clive, Mae Clarke, John Boles and Karloff, and 
features Dwight Frye and Edward van Sloan. The Webling play was adapted by 
John L. Balderston and the screenplay written by Francis Edward Faragoh and 
Garrett Fort, with uncredited contributions from Robert Florey and John 
Russell. The make-up artist was Jack Pierce.

In 1991, the Library of Congress selected Frankenstein for preservation in 
the United States National Film Registry as being "culturally, historically, 
or aesthetically significant."

(via Aeron Alfrey on Flickr)

28 Vintage Photos of David Bowie's Most Memorable Fashion Moments during the 1970s

With a career spanning six decades David Bowie had long cemented himself as pop culture’s most fashion-forward music icon.

From his emergence as a monochrome teen mod in the 1960s, to the glitter-soaked, gender-bending explosion as Ziggy Stardust in the 1970s, and the new romanticism, neo-classicism and Berlin-channelling looks that followed, Bowie is best known for undergoing a style renaissance at every possible turn.

 In lace up boots and a printed jumpsuit being interviewed at home in Beckenham, London, 1972.

Wearing a fringed number designed by Kansai Yamamoto performing at the Hammersmith Odeon, 1973.

In all-white performing at The Marquee Club in London, 1973.

In a number-printed jumpsuit on his Stardust tour, 1973.

 In an asymmetrical bodysuit performing onstage as Ziggy Stardust, 1972.

In a striped jumpsuit and platform boots posing for a portrait as Ziggy Stardust in London, 1972.

In wide leg pants posing for a portrait promoting the Hunky Dory album in London, 1971.

In a silk flared jumpsuit posing for a portrait in New York City, 1973.

In a Kansai Yamamoto-designed bodysuit performing at the Hammersmith Odeon, 1973.

With designer Kansai Yamamoto, 1973.

In an all-white look performing in Los Angeles, 1973.

In a blue feather boa performing in Los Angeles, 1973.

In a colorful quilted set photographed in a New York City hotel room, 1973.

In a billowing robe performing on stage, 1973.

In a top hat, heeled boots, and overalls posing his album Diamond Dogs, 1974.

In a yellow suit for a promo photo, 1974.

In sunglasses, pictured in England, 1974.

In a blue suit performing in Los Angeles during his Diamond Dogs tour, 1974.

In a striped blazer with wide lapels caught candid, 1973.

In a look by Japanese Designer Kansai Yamamoto, 1973.

In a printed mini dress performing on his Ziggy Stardust/Aladdin Sane tour in London, 1973.

In a sailor cap and parachute pants on his Low/Heroes tour at Madison Square Garden, 1978.

In pleather pants performing in Oakland, California, 1978.

In a jumpsuit and sneakers posing for a portrait, 1976.

In a fedora and suit at the 17th Annual Grammy Awards, 1975.

In a suit and wide brim hat for a promo photo, 1974.

In an eye patch and red overalls performing "Rebel Rebel" on the TV show TopPop in Hilversum, Netherlands, 1974.

In suspenders and a plaid tie performing at Radio City Music Hall during the Philly Dogs Tour, 1974.

(Images: Getty Images, via ELLE)