I guess that the penultimate panel says something about the social order in 1952.Some men would only grow that much hair (on their scalps and faces) in a year, but many of us would have much fuller beards. Yet what untrimmed growth he did have is treated as extraordinary.Of course, now-a-days, one could easily live inconspicuously almost anywhere in America looking as Steve does. But, additionally, back in 1952, there would have been places in America where men would not have been conspicuous looking like that, yet such subcultures are treated by this story as having no standing.
I recently watched a 1950's episode of WHAT'S MY LINE? in which the contestant has a beard and the panel is just fascinated by it. Arlene actually asks, "Is that real?"