Started in 1913

Here’s another photo of a movie star from the December 3 1934 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

Wallace Beery (1885-1949) was not only one of Hollywood’s highest-paid stars at the time of this photograph – he might have been the highest-paid star, as his contract with MGM called for him to be paid $1 more than any other actor on contract with the studio. However, if his Wikipedia page is to be believed, he was a horrible person (possible trigger warnings ahead):

  • He married Gloria Swanson in 1916 when he was 30 and she was 17. According to her autobiography, he raped her on their wedding night and tricked her into aborting her fetus when he got her pregnant. They divorced in 1918.
  • On set, he never bothered to learn his lines and would take from other actors’ characters.
  • He refused to leave tips at the MGM commissary because, as he put it, tips are for special service and he already got this because he was a movie star.
  • He had special difficulty getting along with child actors and children in general. When future author Ray Bradbury approached him for an autograph, Beery cursed him and spat on him.

On the other hand, Mickey Rooney always spoke very highly of him. When Rooney’s father, vaudeville performer Joe Yule, passed away, he arranged for him to be buried next to Beery, as he thought it fitting that two old comedians should be buried side by side.

Old-time favorites

Here’s another photo from the December 3 1934 Toronto Daily Star of movie stars from the past.

In 1915, Clara Kimball Young (1890-1960) was one of the most famous movie stars in America. Movie mogul Lewis J. Selznick, who was having an affair with Ms. Young, formed a corporation in her name; she eventually accused him of siphoning off the profits of her movies through a series of dummy corporations. Her career foundered in the 1920s after she joined forces with director Harry Gerson, despite his relative inexperience in the industry. She retired from acting in 1941.

King Baggot (1879-1948) was the first individually publicized American leading man in the movies. He appeared in over 300 movies, wrote 18 screenplays, and directed 45 movies. By the time of this photograph, he had started having problems with alcohol and disputes with studio executives, which led him to take bit parts and extra roles.

Once a star

The next few days will be spent in the world of December 3 1934, as this edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained a lot of interesting things, including many pictures of movie and radio stars. One of these was this photo of former silent screen star Colleen Moore:

Colleen Moore (1899-1988, but claimed she was born in 1902) appeared in four sound films between 1933 and 1934 before giving up on her movie comeback and retiring from acting. However, unlike many other film stars of the silent era, she invested her money and remained wealthy for the rest of her life. She eventually became a partner of Merrill Lynch and published a book in 1969 titled How Women Can Make Money in the Stock Market.

Ms. Moore also had an interest in dollhouses. The best-known of these is the Colleen Moore Dollhouse, which has been on display at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago since the early 1950s, and was estimated in 1985 to be worth approximately $7 million.

The portrait of Ms. Moore shown here is unusual, as her hair was not bobbed in this photo. She popularized the bobbed haircut in the 1920s and apparently wore it for the rest of her life.

Tiniest house here

The November 21 1927 edition of the Toronto Daily Star is a gift that keeps on giving! Today’s post from this edition is of a tiny house with an elevator that does not work:

The house at 99 1/2 Sydenham Street does not appear in the 1927 or 1928 Toronto city directory, which is not surprising as it was still being renovated. The 1929 directory lists the tiny house with Mrs. Racheal Ensworth living in it. She wasn’t there long, as the 1930 directory lists the house as vacant. (It also lists 95 Sydenham as being occupied by “Foreigners”.)

The 1939 directory lists Mike Sorana as living there. His name is listed with an asterisk, which indicated that he owned the house. Later directories list him as Michael Sarana, and he remained there at least until 1958. By that time, this part of Sydenham Street had been added to Shuter Street, and the house that Mr. Sarana lived in was given a new address of 383 Shuter.

The house still stands at this address, or at least its foundation does; somewhere along the way, it was rebuilt or remodelled to become a three-story building instead of the tiny house shown in this photograph.

Fell four stories

Here’s one more article from the November 21 1927 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, this time of a truck driver who fell through an elevator shaft:

I looked James Blackwood up in the Toronto city directories and discovered that not only did he survive the accident – he remained with the Levi Waste Paper Company (later renamed Levy Waste Paper) for over thirty-five more years. He appears in the 1963 directory as working there and living at 5 Widmer Street.

He doesn’t appear in the 1964 through 1967 directories, but he does reappear in the 1968 directory with no occupation and still living at 5 Widmer. Presumably, he had retired, but I have no idea why he wasn’t in the directory for four years. He was also in the 1969 directory, which is the last one that I can access online.

25 years in sport

The November 21 1927 edition of the Toronto Daily Star has been a great source of material for many days now! Here’s one more item from that edition – a column about sports history.

Charles Querrie (1877-1950) was the general manager of the Toronto franchise in the NHL from 1917 to 1927. From 1917 to 1920, the club was known as the Toronto Arenas. From 1920 to 1927, they were the Toronto St. Patricks. In 1927, Querrie sold his majority stake in the St. Patricks to Conn Smythe, who renamed them the Toronto Maple Leafs.

As a younger man, Querrie was a well-known lacrosse player in leagues in the Toronto area. When the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame was founded in the mid-1960s, Querrie became one of its first inductees.

Maple Leaf Hour of Music

Here’s an ad from the November 21 1927 edition of the Toronto Daily Star for an upcoming radio event:

I looked up the people mentioned in this ad:

  • Reginald Stewart (1900-1984) went on to found the Toronto Bach Choir in 1933 and the Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra in 1934. In 1941, he moved to Baltimore to become the head of the Peabody Conservatory. He was conductor of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra from 1942 to 1952. In 1962, he relocated to Santa Barbara, California, where he spent the rest of his life.
  • Alexander Chuhaldin (1892-1951) started his music career in his native Russia before fleeing in 1924 with only his violin and the clothes that he was wearing. After a world tour lasting from 1925 to 1927, he settled in Canada, becoming a faculty member of the Toronto Conservatory of Music and conducting radio orchestras.
  • Anna Lee Scott was a pseudonym created by the Maple Leaf Milling Company to use on its English-language cookbooks. The company used the name Marthe Miral on its French-language editions and published cookbooks under the Anna Lee Scott name into the 1970s. I’m not sure who was representing Anna Lee Scott on the air in the broadcast advertised above, but it might have been Katherine Caldwell Bayley.

Crashes into hydro pole

Here’s an article and photographs from the November 21 1927 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of an engineer who had narrowly escaped serious injury after an automobile accident.

Frank Barber (1878-1945) designed a number of bridges in the greater Toronto area. As mentioned here, he designed the Leaside-East York viaduct, which was called the Confederation Bridge on its opening in 1927 to honour Canada’s 60th anniversary, but is now called simply the Leaside Bridge. He was also the designer for the Old Mill bridge over the Humber River, the Sewell’s Road bridge, and several bridges in Vaughan, among others. He introduced concrete into the construction of bridges, which ensured that they lasted longer.

Donald Carrick (1906-1997) won a number of Canadian golf titles in the late 1920s and early 1930s. He went on to become a lieutenant-colonel during the Second World War and the Liberal MP for Trinity from 1954 to 1957.

As best as I can tell, this is the Google Street View photo of the location shown in the photograph above.

Hold your gold mines

Here’s a short and direct piece of investment advice that appeared in the November 21 1927 edition of the Toronto Daily Star.

A search for Amity Copper Gold Mines turned up an assessment work report from 2015 for a mining company based in Pacaud Township in Ontario, which is in the district of Timiskaming. The Historical Work section of the report references Amity Copper Gold Mines as having mined in the area between 1927 and 1930 and then again briefly in 1933. In 1942, this firm and two others were amalgamated to form Marge Copper Gold Mines.

I could find no record of F. M. Miles in either the 1927 or the 1928 Toronto city directory. The Streets section of these directories lists F. J. Crawford and Company at 10 Jordan Street; Mr. Miles might have worked for them. The 1929 directory lists L. J. Moore and Company, a stockbroker firm, at that location.

The designer of this gown

Here’s a photo from the November 21 1927 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a model wearing an elaborate gown.

Paul Poiret (1879-1944) was a leading French fashion designer before the First World War. During the 1920s, fashions trended towards simpler designs, which caused Poiret to fall from prominence, as his costumes were elaborate and often poorly constructed. In 1929, his fashion house was closed; after this, he declined into poverty. His friend, designer Elsa Schiaparelli, paid for his funeral.