New in the collection: Charlie Justice, cover boy

Sport magazine cover with photo of Charlie Justice in football uniform and helmet

Not every striking photo of Charlie Justice was taken by Hugh Morton. Credit for this one from 1949 belongs to the remarkably prolific magazine shooter Ozzie Sweet.

The cover story by Lewis Burton of the New York Journal-American promises “The Truth about Charlie Justice” but addresses only glancingly those “persisting rumors about fabulous sums his touchdowns command…. A distinctive feature of the whispers is that they discount the altogether mundane possibility that Charlie might actually crave a college education….”


6 thoughts on “New in the collection: Charlie Justice, cover boy”

  1. Thank you Lew for including this favorite piece of Charlie Justice memorabilia in today’s “North Carolina Miscellany.” I’m glad it’s now a part of the collection.

    I remember, as a little kid, saving my allowance money so I could buy this issue of “Sport” magazine. As you can see, it was 25 cents.

    If you look closely at the cover, the player in the lower left corner is Tar Heel Dick Bestwick…the future head football coach at Virginia. I remember when he brought his team to Chapel Hill for a game in November, 1976, Woody Durham recalled an interview he had done with Coach Bestwick. In the interview, Bestwick said his Tar Heel “claim to fame” was being in a Charlie Justice magazine cover photo. I sent Bestwick a note and got a really nice reply, which I still have.

    The “Sport” magazine is pictured as part of a cover montage of about 75 issues that Sweet had taken over the years and that montage is in author Steve Wulf’s 1993 book, “Legends of the Field: The Classic Sports Photography of Ozzie Sweet.”

    Ozzie Sweet devotes an entire chapter in his 1958 book, “My Camera Pays Off, to shooting covers.

    In the January, 1951 issue of “The Camera…Magazine,” Sweet talks briefly about his 1949 summer visit to Chapel Hill and how he shot some of the Justice pictures in the rain. He explains how to shoot in the rain and shows a picture of Justice punting surrounded by heavy rain clouds.

    And finally, the Ozzie Sweet Justice “Sport” magazine image was made into a bubble-gum card in 2016.

    Again, thank you Lew for all your good work on the web site, “North Carolina Miscellany.”

  2. Thank you, Jack…. As always your comments add a ton of value…. In the ’50s my bedroom walls were plastered with Sport magazine color photos, most of which I realize now were by Ozzie Sweet…. A few months ago I found a used copy of Sweet’s book on spring training for a friend who had a Florida trip planned with his son and grandson.

    Alas, he had to scrap the trip….

  3. Thank you Lew, as always, for the kind remark.

    If I may, I’d like to share an additional comment about the November, 1949 “Sport” magazine Ozzie Sweet-Charlie Justice cover.

    Notice the 2 headlines on the red banner across the bottom of the page, indicating stories inside. The baseball-related headline on top and the Frank Leahy headline below indicate a regional edition of the magazine which was sold in the Northeast United States.

    There are 3 additional regional editions of the magazine.

    The edition that was sold in the Southeast US had this headline in the top position above the Leahy headline: “The Truth about Charlie Justice!”

    The edition sold in the Western US had this headline above the Leahy headline: “The Amazing Legend of Eddie LeBaron.” (Eddie LeBaron was an All-America quarterback at College of Pacific in 1949, and teamed with Charlie Justice when both played for the Washington Redskins in 1952 and ’53).

    The edition that was sold in the Midwest US had the Frank Leahy headline on top with this headline on the bottom: “The Michigan Tackle that Time Forgot” (A story about Alvin Wistert).

    The Justice image was the same on all editions.

  4. There is also a full page Ozzie Sweet color image of Justice inside the November 1949 issue of “Sport.” And a Justice image, taken by Sweet at his Spring 1949 visit to Chapel Hill, was published in the September 1949 issue of “Sport, “ as part of Bill Stern’s 1949 Football All America Preview.

  5. Thanks Jack….I knew those football preview magazines used regional covers, but didnt realize Sport did too….I’ll bet that made a lot of difference in newsstand sales….

  6. On this day 102 years ago, September 10, 1918, Oscar Cowan Corbo was born in Stamford, Connecticut. You may not know Oscar, but if I had used his other name, Ozzie Sweet, you most likely would know of whom I speak. His world class sports photography is like no other and there is a good reason for that…Ozzie Sweet CREATED images…he didn’t just capture them on film.

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