It’s one of the iconic sports magazine titles of the post-war era, a bold, unadorned statement of what the reader could expect. SPORT magazine was reading material for sports fans of all ages, but for many baby boomers it’s remembered as much for stunning, full-color photography as it is for the trenchant prose from some of the most respected sportswriters in the country that accompanied them.
Those photos are what captured the attention and ultimately the interest of Wayne Parrish of The Sport Gallery, which has purchased the photo archives from the acclaimed publication that was a fixture in the magazine business from 1946 to 2000.
Launched eight years before its more-famous contemporary Sports Illustrated, the magazine reached a circulation of more than one million at its peak.
And while the insider articles and interviews with the giants of professional sports were pure butter, it was the spectacular photography from the cover and in inside pages that often wound up as “fine art” plastered on the bedroom walls of the youth of America.
Parrish appreciated all of that when SPORT magazine was put up for sale six years ago. Owned by a British publishing company, the legendary magazine was shopped around, but the magazine world and newsstand distribution were dramatically different in the new millennium. But there was genuine interest …. in another direction.
“We talked to them, but they ultimately decided to close the magazine in August of 2000,” said Parrish. There were would-be suitors aside from Parrish’s Sports Media publishing company, and all were carefully eyeballing the archives.
Parrish came away with the prize, and promptly moved the entire archive of more than 250,000 images to the Vancouver offices. “We spent a lot of energy to enhance the archives and provide tens of thousands of identifications of images from the 1930s,” Parrish proudly recounted.
Ultimately though, it was turning several dozen of those legendary photographs into fine art that proved to be the real stroke of genius. With many of the classic images from the 1930s to the 1960s, The SPORT Collection currently offers nearly three dozen giclee, fine-art prints (many are 18-by-22 inches), all limited edition, and offered in frame and unframed versions. Prices range from $195 and up.
“We always thought that once (the archive) was organized and preserved that we would try to create limited-edition prints with the finest and most artistic images,” said Parrish. Artistic indeed: in addition to the website offerings, many of the pieces are on display at the company’s art gallery in the historic district in Toronto.
For more information, head to the website at: www.thesportgallery.com. I guarantee you’ll remember a whole bunch of the images. That’s how Floyd Patterson wound up on the cover of this week’s issue of SCD.