Illustrator and painter Walter Molino (1915-1997) started working for “La Domenica del Corriere” in 1941, launching a successful twenty-five-year-long collaboration with the weekly magazine (published by daily newspaper “Corriere della Sera” for ninety years, from 1899 to 1989).
The publication was hugely popular, reaching the height of fame in the 1950s with a circulation of over a million copies.
For a number of years, the front and back cover of “La Domenica del Corriere” were illustrated with scenes from the week’s current news. The small selection we present here was put together by following a single criterion: images of happy endings.
Expert Antonio Faeti has explained, “There was a ritual wait that amplified the resonance of the two illustrations on “La Domenica del Corriere” every week, guaranteeing they achieved the same effect every time. The ambiguous context of those news stories – told in a stentorian way, so concisely that any doubts or hesitations were banned – was not so far from the work of old storytellers. One might think that, just by cutting out a few images from the ‘Domenica’ and putting them together on an imaginary billboard, you could probably make one of those big pictures, divided into various sectors, that Sicilian raconteurs used to illustrate their stories.”
“Molino,” Faeti goes on to elaborate, “brought back – in an updated, and perhaps final version – the old figure of the storyteller-by-images that the lower-class target audience of Italy’s oldest weeklies knew well. […] The first and last page of “La Domenica del Corriere” had two large, full-color illustrations and a short caption: the World, History, Life – which were offered every week to Italian readers like chapters in a huge, infinite textbook that carefully edited the content it presented, laying it out according to the rules of a clear pedagogic vocation.”
“Molino used emphasis to convey facts and personalities: but you can sense that for him it was [a defense] against the competition of full-color photographs, which were becoming increasingly common on magazine covers, and pushed him to be different in order to find his own space. In Molino, there are a system of careful allusions, some of which are secretly ironic, and a search for amplified details, for deformations that do not look like such; in his work you can often see a precise will to manipulate real data” (translated from A. Faeti, “Guardare le figure”, Donzelli, Rome 2011).
And now, let’s see Molino the storyteller in action.
November 15th 1959. During a hunt, a dog "unexpectedly" shoots his owner
November 3rd 1958. Province of Bergamo. A hunter catches a live golden eagle
October 27 1957. Gulf of Naples. A furious fight among fishermen in the "Holy Virgin" paranza in Pozzuoli, and an enraged shark gets stuck on the side of the boat, and finally loses its rostrum
March 23rd 1947. France. After an old ceiling collapses, the clients of a café see a whole bed – including the couple in it – come down
February 17th 1957. Syracuse. A student saves a young woman who was falling from the balcony
March 15th 1959. Salerno. As he is falling off the fifth floor of his building, a child breaks his fall by clinging to the clotheslines strung between balconies, and is saved by a third-floor neighbour
December 2nd 1956. Province of Parma. A workman falls from a 130-meter-tall trellis, but is saved by a colleague who is working ten meters lower down
May 27th 1956. Province of Turin. A cat climbs on the cornice of a bell tower and can't come down. A climber-priest tries to save him but the animal won't let him near. The next day, the cat managed to come down on his own
May 24th 1959. Province of Milan. A man starts his car without noticing that his daughter is sitting on the front bumper. He drives five kilometers at an average of 70 km/h. He realizes what is happening only after a number of passersby try to get his attention. The girl is safe and sound
September 15th 1957. Province of Treviso. A dog runs to warn some women that a girl is almost completely buried under dirt that collapsed near an abandoned house. The girl is saved
September 12th 1958. Province of Turin. A young shepherd, while at work in the mountains, feels sick after eating poisonous mushrooms. A man sees him in pain and rescues him, taking him to the hospital. The boy is safe and sound
March 30th 1958. Milan. A dog saves his owner, a blind man, by pushing him out of the way as a car is speeding towards the bus stop where they had just arrived
April 27 1958. Ventimiglia. A poet and a painter want to reach the ship on which Soraya, Princess of Persia, is traveling, to present her with a portrait and a poem they have dedicated to her. Their boat turns over in a storm. They are able to get back on their frail craft, but the princess is long gone
March 31st 1957. Bolzano. A man sees his car on the street, a few minutes after it was stolen. He jumps on the hood and the thief, seeing the man will not give up, gets out and runs away on foot – only to be arrested soon after
May 18 1958. Province of Bergamo. The day before his wedding, a man is run over by a truck. Without mentioning a thing to his future bride, the next day he goes to church with a number of bandages. The woman is so scared she faints. When she comes to, the ceremony begins
June 19th 1960. France. A bride's veil catches on fire when it unfortunately brushes against a church candle. The woman rips it off and stomps on it to extinguish the flames
February 26th 1956. Milan. The great Roman actor Alberto Sordi runs after and catches a thief who is running away after trying to steal his car. He turns him over to the police
February 9th 1958. Rome. The great Neapolitan actor Totò helps a man who has just been arrested for stealing some chickens. After finding out that the destitute man was only trying to make some money to pay for his dead daughter’s grave, the comedian decides to pay for both the grave and the legal fees of the inevitable trial