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The Next Of Kin

The June 8 1943 Toronto Daily Star contained this rather stark advertisement for a movie:

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The Next Of Kin (1942) turns out to be a wartime propaganda film, stressing the importance of avoiding careless talk with what could possibly be enemy agents: “Be Like Dad: Keep Mum”. I’m not sure whether viewers lured in by this ad would have been disappointed or not; you can decide for yourself, as it is available on YouTube.

The Internet Movie Database rated this movie 6.8 out of 10. It was filmed at the Ealing Studios in London, which produced a number of critically-acclaimed films after the war.

The movie starred Mervyn Johns (1899-1992), who for some reason isn’t listed in this ad. Johns appeared in a number of Ealing movies, and appeared as Bob Cratchit in the 1951 version of A Christmas Carol (my favourite version). He appeared in his last movie in 1976.

Wikipedia also has pages for listed starsĀ Nova Pilbeam, Phyllis Stanley, Basil Sydney, Reginald Tate, and Mary Clare.

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Stauffer System

The January 14 1958 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained the following ad:

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The Stauffer System was developed by Bernard H. Stauffer, who invented the Induced Rhythmic Motion table in the late 1930s. The idea was that muscles would be stimulated passively through massage.

The Toronto city directories showed that the first Stauffer System salons opened in 1956; these were the Bay Street and Eglinton Avenue locations shown in the ad. The Etobicoke location opened in 1957. The three locations remained in operation through 1962; by 1966, the Bay Street location had closed, and by 1969, only the Etobicoke location was still in business.

Some relevant links that I found:

  • The Stauffer Systems trademark application was filed in 1947 and granted in 1951. The trademark expired in 1992.
  • The University of California website has a picture of Stauffer as he and others opened a Stauffer System salon in his native state of California.
  • Stauffer sued Slenderella Systems of California for patent infringement and lost. In 1957, he appealed the decision, and lost again.
  • By 1968, Stauffer had passed away. Details of his business career can be found in his executrix’s petition to the Commissioner of Internal Revenue.
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Engaged to Maharajah

The May 15 1956 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this human interest story:

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The marriage of the Maharajah and Maharanee of Mymensingh did not last – according to the May 26, 1959 edition of the Panama American, she grew tired of a life of luxury and went back to London to work as a washing machine demonstrator. The two were divorced later that year, and this picture claims that she then became Mrs. Dick Garland.

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Mystery possibly solved

When looking through the June 5 1944 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, I found this ad for a dry cleaner:

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This ad refers to a Retex dry cleaning method, which might explain these ads from 1932.

The 1944 city directory lists 24 branches of Langley’s, in addition to their main offices at 241-253 Spadina Road. During the war, they were looking for married women to serve at their locations, as shown by this June 8 1943 ad in the Toronto Daily Star:

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By 1955, Langley’s was down to 16 branches from their wartime 24. By 1965, they were down to 10 branches, and presumably the count gradually diminished after that.

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51 years wed

Here’s an article in the June 5 1944 edition of the Toronto Daily Star about a couple who were celebrating their 51st wedding anniversary:

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The Toronto city directories allowed me to indulge in a sort of morbid curiosity: how much longer did they live there? As it turns out, Mr. Brimicombe appears in the 1948 city directory, but his wife Mary is listed in the 1949 city directory as the widow of George.

She lived at least ten years at their Rushton Road address without him, as she appears in the 1959 city directory. I didn’t have the heart to take it any further.

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1939 variety show

The August 17 1939 Toronto Daily Star featured this ad for a variety show for the Star Fresh Air Fund.

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Jessica Dragonette (1900-1980) sang on the radio from 1926 to 1947, and was voted radio’s most popular female vocalist in 1935. She was able to sing in six different languages.

Shirley Ross (1913-1975) was at the peak of her fame in 1939, as she had performed a duet with Bob Hope in The Big Broadcast of 1938. She was cast opposite either Hope or Bing Crosby a total of five times.

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Worst billing ever

The July 20 1957 Toronto Daily Star contained this article, in which rats and children were billed ahead of actor Van Johnson:

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Naturally, the musical is now on YouTube, and Van Johnson has a Wikipedia page. So does the Pied Piper.

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Wasted effort

Here’s a bit of filler from the June 6 1959 edition of the Toronto Daily Star that I enjoyed:

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The Internet Movie Database has a complete record of Mr. Crow’s career, which started with Career, in which he played an uncredited young soldier.

After this, he went on to do mostly TV series, including six episodes of National Velvet. His last credited work was the movie Premonition in 1972. He is listed as having passed away in 1979 in “Pacific Ocean off Laguna Beach, California”, which suggests that he might have drowned.

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Agent 99 wins $64,000

The July 20 1957 edition of the Toronto Star featured Gordon Sinclair interviewing a young woman named Barbara Hall, who had won $64,000 on the game show The $64,000 Question:

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Ms. Hall went on to marry Lucien Verdoux-Feldon in 1958, who presumably is the Air France pilot mentioned in this article. She changed her name to Barbara Feldon, and later starred as Agent 99 in Get Smart.

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Men wanted, girls wanted

The January 14 1958 Toronto Daily Star had one ad for men and one ad for women.

First the men, who were invited to become real estate agents:

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According to the Toronto city directories, Tops was a relatively new real estate firm: they don’t appear in the 1956 city directory, and appear in the 1957 directory at 1960 Avenue Road.

Men who accepted this offer might not have had the career that they were hoping for, as Tops Real Estate did not appear in the 1960 city directory. Their next door neighbours, the Nazarene Publishing House, had expanded into what had been Tops’s space.

In the same paper, the women, or girls, were invited to become models:

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The Walter Thornton agency continued at this location at least until 1969, even though Walter himself had sold his interest in the agency in 1958 and moved to Mexico.

I could find nothing on Bambi Lindon in Google, so she did not achieve fame (if that was what she was hoping for).