A few blog entries back I posted this famous shot of a sailor kissing a nurse to celebrate the end of World War Two:
So, yeah. Funny story: I don’t think I’d ever seen that picture in my life until I read this article from CNN on 13 November – Famous nurse recalls WWII photo moment. I thought to myself, “What a lovely story! And what a lovely photograph!” and that was pretty much it.
The next day, 14 November, I went to the preview of Watchmen and was rather surprised to see that same shot recreated in the opening credits of the film (and damn well, too). “Huh,” I thought. “What a coincidence! I wouldn’t even have recognised it if I hadn’t read that article yesterday. Small world!”
But the world’s even smaller than I thought, because a few days ago I had this email from my friend Chuck Wagner in Los Angeles…
Finally glanced at your blog page and got caught up. I noticed the famed pic of the USN swabbie kissing the nurse. Here’s an interesting tidbit about that picture: the nurse is generally taken to be Edith Shain, and she used to be my neighbor. Edith and a newspaper did a search for the sailor (might’ve been back in 1995, the 50th anniv.) and purportedly found someone. But they’re now old and the 1945 photo isn’t clearly showing their faces. There’s a lot of suspicion that we’ll never really know who the two people were.
But Edith has always had a fairly strong claim to being the woman. And she apparently found her kisser. And how she found out was cute. She put out a notice to the sailor to come forward (and he might not even realize it was him in the picture; she claims to have realized she was indeed being photographed). She had a question for the sailor (assuming the man was even still alive): “what did you say to me after the kiss?” The answer (according to Ms. Shain): was nothing. The young man simply ran on down the street. But other men claiming to be the guy had various answers like ‘do you want to go out to dinner.’
They re-created the photo over here a bit ago as Edith just turned 90.
Either way, she was quite nice.
Small world, my ass.
Planet Earth is TINY.