Shea’s today

Another one from the April 8 1940 Toronto Daily Star:

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Movie theatres still sometimes featured in-person appearances in 1940 – the last remnants of the old vaudeville performing circuit. Wikipedia had information on a lot of these people.

Lee Sims (1898-1966) was a pianist, composer, and publisher who made 60 records for Brunswick in the 1920s and 1930s. With Ilomay Bailey, his wife, he starred in the Chase and Sanborn Hour radio program on NBC.

Harriet Hoctor (1905-1977) was a ballerina; George Gershwin once wrote a piece specifically for her, which is pretty cool. I could find nothing at all about Brantley & Linder; they are seemingly lost to history.

Fred Sanborn (1899-1961), no relation to the Sanborn of Chase and Sanborn (as far as I know), was a vaudeville performer. He was part of Ted Healy and his Southern Gentlemen, which also included the future Three Stooges.

Milbourne Christopher (1914-1984) was a magician who spent a good deal of time debunking parapsychology experiments. The Society of American Magicians honors him by annually presenting Milbourne Christopher awards to various magicians.

Frank Trado (1904-1980) and Pete Trado (1904-1969) were twin brothers who worked as a comedy duo. There is no Wikipedia entry for them, but I did find a picture of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Trado and their dog Sheba. They look reasonably happy (except maybe for Sheba).

The princess and Abbey’s

From the April 8 1940 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, two unrelated items:

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Queen Farida (1921-1988) was the Queen of Egypt for nearly eleven years, between 1937 and 1948, before King Farouk divorced her. The daughter mentioned in this article was Princess Fawzia Farouk (1940-2005), who became an athlete, a pilot, a sailor, and a professional interpreter, becoming fluent in five languages; this last enabled her to earn her living after she lost her royal status. The last years of her life were tragic: she contracted multiple sclerosis, which left her paralyzed and bedridden.

Abbey’s Effervescent Salt appears to be yet another of the endless stream of patent medicines advertised in newspapers. I couldn’t find out what it was, but I did discover that the Klondike Official Guide recommended that gold-seekers bring an ample supply of Abbey’s Effervescent Salt to the north with them. Presumably, it was important to clear your system regularly while moiling for gold.

A good, jolly dance

Here’s an ad from the September 5 1913 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

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I have no idea why the letters c and t were joined with that strange loop, but I guess font design was different back then.

The Victrola was a brand of gramophone invented by the Victor Talking Machine Company, and was designed to look like a piece of furniture. More details on it can be found here.


Here’s what the world of computing looked like in the late 1970s, courtesy of the June 8, 1977 edition of the Toronto Star:

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Back then, a computer was an enormous machine that was kept in a special room, and it had about as much computing power as your toaster now has.

By the way, $14,000 wasn’t a bad annual wage back then, especially for a job at which post-secondary education was not essential. Minimum wage at the time was $2.65 an hour, and when I started my first co-op programming job three years later, in the summer of 1980, I was making $190 per week.

A man talks to women

“A Man Talks To Women” was a regular column that appeared in the Toronto Daily Star around the time of the Second World War. Here’s the entry for April 8, 1940, which expresses some, um, traditional viewpoints on the relationships between young men and young women:

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George Anthiel (1900-1959) led a varied life. Besides being an advice columnist, he was an avant-garde composer, a mystery writer, and the co-inventor (with actor Hedy Lamarr) of a frequency-hopping method of ensuring that signals to radio-guided torpedoes are not jammed. (The Scientific American article on this is here.)

Anthiel also appears to have been something of a creep. He wrote a series of articles on how to detect the availability of women based on “glandular effects”, with titles such as “The Glandbook For The Questing Male”, which is seriously icky. Gizmodo has an article on this; apparently, Ms. Lamarr first approached Anthiel because she wanted information on how to increase her bust size, and the conversation apparently turned to torpedoes after she figured out that he knew nothing about enhancement.

Canada brave and free

A small news item from the April 8 1940 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

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I couldn’t find anything about the song on the Internet, but the Government of Canada website has a record of the burial site for Mrs. Tyas’s son. He is interred in the Vimy Memorial Cemetery in Pas de Calais, France.

From the “Ode of Remembrance”:
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.


From the April 8 1940 Toronto Daily Star:

Giving a chewable minty gum laxative to a child just seems… ugh.

For more on Feen-a-mint:

    • A 1970 commercial
    • A 1979 commercial
    •  A history of Feen-a-mint
    • A site that discusses the components of Feen-a-mint – it’s basically just bisacodyl, which is an organic compound that gives marching orders to your bowels. Carter’s Little Pills, a patent medicine that is likely to appear in these pages sometime soon, are also made of this stuff.

Important fact: there is no further laxative effect after the first three minutes of chewing.

Ice cream by tricycles

Here’s a bit of filler from the October 1, 1928 Toronto Daily Star:

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I love this article – it has both too much detail and too little. We don’t know the name of the ice cream manufacturer, or which British towns the fleet operates in, but we do know that it contains 1100 tricycles.

A search for “ice cream tricycle 1928” uncovered this site, which suggests that the manufacturer might have been Wall’s. The photographs are fascinating. (Wall’s ice cream still exists, but the brand has been swallowed up by Unilever.)