The making of the 1954 poster
FIFA World Football Museum
THREE IN ONE The poster layout for 1954 works like an intersection for three very different phenomena: the novelty of television, the official poster by Swiss designer Werner Weiskönig and the decisive goal scored by Helmut Rahn late in the final. Since 1954 was the first World Cup to come to an audience through television the goal keeper from the official poster was made to jump out of a TV-set. By altering the position of the big orange ball and add a portrait of Helmut Rahn the layout loosely depicts that famous 3-2 goal.
Below: The portrait of Rahn was tricky because the style, commanded by the official poster, did not allow for much detail. The before-and-after-images (below left) shows the retouching of a true photo gem: the shot from Helmut Rahn hitting the back of the net.
FRITZ WALTER WETTER The images above shows three important ingredients in telling the story of the Miracle of Bern. The frame on the left shows a depiction of the iconic clock tower inside the Wankdorf Stadium. The Stadium was demolished in 2001 and photos of the arena as it looked during the World Cup was in short supply. Therefore the poster had to make do with an illustrated take on the architecture.
Weather conditions during the final favored the German team as they all wore inventive new boots by Adi Dassler (founder of adidas). Especially the German captain Fritz Walter benefitted from the cold and rainy weather. Walter contracted malaria during World War II and under hot conditions the old illness sometimes flared up. But on the day of the final the weather suited the instrumental Walter perfectly and since then poor weather is nick-named "Fritz Walter Wetter" in Germany.
PHOTO TREATMENT In a time when flat screens was unheard of the TV-set was used more like a piece of furniture. Much like a table or a mantelpiece it carried flower arrangements and photographs. Thus framed photos were created to be placed on top of the set.
PHOTO GEM The photos here show the group stage game between Hungary and West Germany played at St. Jakob Stadium in Basel. On the pitch: legendary players like Ferenc Puskás, Nándor Hidegkuti, Sándor Kocsis. Six of the twenty-six matches of the tournament, including the semi-final between Austria and West Germay, were played at this venue. Note the train in the background. It is not out of focus because of motion. Apparently it stood still for long periods at a time. Unthinkable today but yet another testament to players of greater humility and grace.