Morality police

The March 13 1948 edition of the Toronto Globe and Mail featured two articles about situations where the police raided a person’s home to break up an activity deemed immoral.

The first was a man who was arrested for showing stag films at a private party:


I wonder whether funds were actually raised for underprivileged children.

Case #2 was the police busting up an all-female poker game:


I’m fascinated by the idea that the charges were dismissed for lack of evidence. Also, there’s the automatic assumption that all the women were housewives. Bridge is a kid’s game!


Chloe Davis

Not everything in old newspapers is fun reading – some items are horrible, sad, or both. For example, here’s a news article from the April 8 1940 Toronto Daily Star:


This was a report of an unimaginably horrible crime, described in more detail here. Chloe Davis, an 11-year-old girl living in Los Angeles, woke up one day to discover that her mother had gone insane and was in the process of killing Chloe’s three younger siblings before eventually killing herself.

The girl apparently was unemotional by temperament, which made the LAPD suspicious of her. As a result, she was arrested for murder before forensic evidence (and evidence of her mother’s blooming insanity) cleared her.

One site I found on the Internet claimed that Ms. Davis died in 1987 in Indiana. There are other sites devoted to her case (including one with crime scene photos), but they make for depressing reading.


Book night

Here’s some listings for neighbourhood movie houses for April 8 1940, from the Toronto Daily Star. As an incentive, some theatres were offering free volumes of the Standard American Encyclopedia with admission:


Volume 2, by the way, covered all topics with names starting with ART to BOO. Volume 1 was still available, if you had missed out!


The truth

From the October 1 1928 Toronto Daily Star:


Doctors say it takes 100% bran to relieve constipation! 93% or 97% is not sufficient!

Two Kellogg brothers, John Harvey and Will Keith, invented the process of making flaked cereal at the Battle Creek Sanitarium, a holistic treatment centre that promoted vegetarianism, nutrition, exercise, hydrotherapy, the use of enemas, and abstinence from alcohol, tobacco, and all forms of sexual activity. (John’s Wikipedia entry helpfully points out that “Kellogg’s views on sexuality and masturbation are now considered extreme.”)

W. K. started the Kellogg company after a sanitarium guest, C. W. Post, took notes on how the Kelloggs made their cereal and then started his own cereal company. Apparently, “this upset Will to the extent that he left the sanitarium to found his own company.” I can’t say as I blame him! The Kellogg brothers may have led austere lives by modern standards, but I guess it paid off: they both lived for 91 years. And you can still buy All-Bran in your grocery store.


Specially blended for Toronto water

Here’s an ad from the October 1 1928 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


I’m not sure about the specially blended for Toronto part, given that J. Lyons & Co. were tea manufacturers based in England.

Lyons became a corporate empire, eventually expanding to manufacturing food, running tea shops and restaurants, and even manufacturing their own computers. Former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher worked there as a chemist at one time. The company fell on hard times starting in the 1960s and was eventually broken up and sold to various firms.

But I wonder: what would tea specially blended for Toronto water taste like?



Here’s an article from the November 2 1966 Toronto Daily Star that made my jaw drop:


I had no idea that they used to number the indigenous Canadians who lived in the north – how demeaning is that? Did they actually ever address him as “E7-55”?

I’m not sure when the word “Eskimo” stopped being used officially. Wikipedia informs me that the term was originally used by the Algonquin tribes to refer to their northern neighbours, and that the Inuit never referred to themselves this way.


Damn you, Mrs. Talbot!

Here’s an ad from the November 2 1966 Toronto Daily Star:


Of course, in 1966, the word “gay” did not have its modern meaning. I wonder when Domtar Consumer Products decided to change the name of its dishwashing liquid.

And I’m pretty sure that the neighbours eventually stopped inviting Mrs. Talbot over; all she ever did was nitpick and complain.


City of bridges

The June 8 1960 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contains probably the ultimate piece of filler:


Google Maps informs me that Saskatoon has a total of seven bridges: five road bridges and two railroad bridges. So now you know.



From the January 4 1946 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


You know, I don’t blame Mr. Liver for not wanting his neighbours to set off dynamite on New Year’s Eve.



The September 5 1913 Toronto Daily Star contains this terse comment:


J.M. Barrie is, of course, best known as the writer of Peter Pan, which will likely remain in our culture for as long as there is one. The Adored One doesn’t appear in the list of works by year in Barrie’s Wikipedia page (which possibly proves this writer’s point).

Mark Bostridge’s The Fateful Year: England 1914 mentions this play as having been written for Mrs. Patrick Campbell (“Mrs. Pat”), an English stage actress who became emotionally (but apparently not physically) involved with George Bernard Shaw.

For more on Barrie, you can read Anthony Lane’s Lost Boys or this article in the Telegraph.