Four Daughters

The September 14 1938 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this ad for the movie Four Daughters:


I have no idea whether Jack Warner used this ploy often when advertising his movies – my guess is no, but I don’t know for sure. The critics’ reviews of this movie were generally favourable, though.

The movie featured the Lane sisters – more info on them can be found here. One of the sisters, Lola Lane, was apparently the inspiration for Superman’s love interest, Lois Lane.

The movie is not available on YouTube – somebody tried to post it, but they were busted for copyright violation.


Upside down amusements

The Amusements section of the February 15 1924 Toronto Daily Star was interesting because the typesetter put the word Amusements upside down:


I’ll Say She Is toured for parts of 1923 and 1924 before opening on Broadway on May 19, 1924. It played for 313 performances, and turned the Marx Brothers into stars. It featured 30 “dangerously beautiful girls”.

Little Nellie Kelly opened in Boston in July, 1922, and ran on Broadway in 1922-1923 and London’s West End in 1923-1924. Critics considered it old-fashioned and excessively sentimental, but despite this (or perhaps because of it), it was a huge success. A film version starring Judy Garland was released in 1940.



Here’s an ad from the June 11 1947 Toronto Daily Star that’s just plain weird:


What’s weirdest about this ad is that Abbey’s Effervescent Salt is actually a laxative, though the ad copy doesn’t mention it directly – it just says that Abbey’s “acts gently, effectively”. I’m not sure whether a laxative is the best remedy for overindulging, but then I’m not a medical doctor, am I?

Compare this ad to one that appeared in the April 8 1940 Toronto Daily Star, which went straight to the point:


Abbey’s Effervescent Salt had been around since the 19th century. The company published a book in 1898 titled Abbey’s Effervescent Salt: The Foundation of Health.

Wikipedia has a generic entry on fruit salts – Abbey’s was apparently created as a competitor to Eno’s Fruit Salt.


Weighty fleet

The June 11 1947 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained a bit of filler that might very well be the most trivial fact ever included in a Toronto newspaper:


I love the “about 86,991 gross tons”. I guess it was actually 86.990.7326 gross tons or something like that.

And somebody counted all 949 ships.


The new hydro building

The May 24 1933 edition of the Toronto Globe announced the opening of the new Toronto Hydro-Electric System building on Carlton Street just east of Yonge.


This caught my attention because I used to pass this building all the time in the 1980s when going to see movies at the nearby Carlton Cinema.

The building is still standing – it’s now known as the Richard R. Horkins building. I have no idea who Richard R. Horkins was – I assume he was an important hydro person at one time. I did discover that he was president of the CNE Association in 1978, and that a Richard Horkins (possibly the same one) ran for Toronto Board of Control in 1964 but lost.


Damaged Lives

The May 24 1933 Toronto Globe contained this movie ad:


Naturally, I was curious: what movie was so shocking that women and men were required to see it separately? Of course, it had to do with sex: a young executive, in a long-term relationship, is convinced by his boss to go to a party. At the party, he sleeps with a young wealthy woman and contracts a venereal disease from her.

The film also had actual nudity: according to Wikipedia, it contained a scene in which “a group of fun-loving women strip naked and go skinny dipping”.

The Wikipedia entry for Damaged Lives points out that it was produced during the brief period between the invention of pictures with sound and Hollywood’s universal adoption of the Motion Picture Production Code of moral guidelines in 1934. The film was a Canadian-American production, and the Canuxploitation web site provides more details on the plot.

You can view this film on the Internet Archive.


Entertainment options in 1936

I like saving ads for theatre, music, and other entertainment options from the old newspapers that I look at. If people wanted a day out or an evening out, what could they see?

Here’s a few listings from the November 27 1936 Toronto Globe:


Betty Fischer (later known as Betty-Ann Fischer-Byfield) had quite an interesting story. She was born in Kitchener, Ontario, and was abandoned shortly after she was born; she had a deformed leg and no complete fingers on either hand. She was adopted when she was four, and took up the violin almost immediately afterwards, winning a gold medal at the Kitchener Music Festival when she was 8. She went on to become a member of the Toronto Symphony, and died in 1979.

William Beebe (1877-1962) started his career working at the New York Zoological Park, for which he undertook a series of research expeditions. He gradually migrated into marine biology, and used his Bathysphere to set records for the deepest dive ever performed by a human.

The American Classics website has an entry on Blossom Time. It played continuously, somewhere in the United States, between 1921 and 1943.

The Rotten Tomatoes movie website gives Libeled Lady an 82% rating.



The January 23 1930 edition of the Toronto Globe contained these ads for the singer who went by just a single name, Onegin:



Sigrid Onégin (1889-1943) was a contralto born in Sweden to a German father and a French mother. I’m not sure whether she achieved the greatness of immortality, but you can decide for yourself: many of her recordings are on YouTube, including O mio Fernando from 1929.


Going to California

The January 23 1930 edition of the Toronto Globe contained two different ads for travelling to California.

The first was from the Santa Fe Railway:


The Santa Fe railway’s full name was the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway (or AT&SF for short). It stopped operating passenger trains in 1971.

The same paper also had an ad from Canadian National Railways:


Wikipedia’s page on the Canadian National Railway is here.


Annette Hanshaw

Here’s another item from the October 8 1926 edition of the Toronto Daily Star (I’ve found a lot of interesting stuff there).


Annette Hanshaw (1901-1985) had sold over four million records by 1934, the year in which Radio Stars magazine voted her the best female popular singer. According to a biography on a Jazz Age music site, she was a shy, introverted person who never toured or performed on stage. Her music career ended in 1937 when she retired to become a housewife.

Naturally, YouTube now has the songs mentioned in this ad: