Missed $10,000 by inches

Here’s a photo from the January 27 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, featuring a golfer whose missed putt cost him $10,000:


$10,000 is a lot of money even now, but it was a whole lot of money in 1931, equivalent to over $150,000 today.

Ironically, George von Elm (1901-1961) had only recently turned pro – he had been a celebrated amateur golfer in the 1920s, duelling regularly with famed golfer Bobby Jones in the U.S. Amateur tournament. He turned pro in September 1930.

Besides this $10,000 putt, von Elm had two other famous near-misses:

  • In 1930, he lost the U.S. Amateur after ten sudden-death extra holes.
  • In 1931, he lost the U.S. Open after tying Billy Burke during the regulation 72 holes, and then tying him again in a 36-hole playoff the next day. This forced yet another 36-hole playoff the day after that; von Elm lost that one by a stroke.

Arrested for attempted suicide

The January 27 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star tells a sad story of a young woman who attempted suicide and then was about to be arrested for it:


According to the Canadian Encyclopedia, suicide was decriminalized in Canada in 1972.

I tried to trace the unfortunate Ms. Mushet in the Toronto city directories. She is listed at 264 Garden Avenue, along with her sister and widowed mother, in the 1931 directory. None of the family appear in any other directory after that, as far as I know. There is no W. E. Smith listed at Harvard Avenue in any of the 1929, 1930, and 1931 directories; there are other Smiths on the street, but it’s a very common name.


Young Stribling

Here’s another photograph from the January 27 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


William Lawrence (Young) Stribling Jr. (1904-1933) set a record in his short life: he fought 253 heavyweight bouts, more than any other fighter. He had been a boxer literally his whole life: as a child, he and his younger brother, “Baby” Stribling, were part of a family vaudeville act that ended with a mock fight between the two.

Stribling died in a motorcycle accident in 1933 while on his way to visit the hospital where his wife and his newborn third child were. He passed away in that hospital.


Miss Paris for 1931

Here’s a photo from the photo page of the January 27 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, featuring Miss Paris for 1931.


Mlle. Ortmans went on to change her name to Viviane Romance. She made a number of films in France and Italy in the 1930s and 1940s, rejecting a Hollywood contract. She passed away in 1991.

The French version of Wikipedia has a more detailed history of her life and career. YouTube has an interview of her (in French) from 1961 and a collection of film clips and photos of her.


Made sanitation chief

Here’s a photo from the January 22 1929 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, honouring the new chief of the division of sanitation services:


I’m not sure whether this is how Mr. Pointon’s glasses actually looked in the photograph, or whether they had been retouched. If they’ve been retouched, it looks better than in this photo.

I traced Mr. Pointon in the Toronto city directories, and discovered that he was the chief of sanitation services for exactly a quarter of a century, as he is listed as such in the 1954 city directory. He doesn’t appear in a couple of directories after 1954, but does appear in the 1959 directory without an occupation, so presumably he was retired. I didn’t trace him after that.


Racing champion and his hobby

Here’s a photo from the January 22 1929 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, featuring a British racing champion and his model railroad:


Within a year and a half of this photo being taken, Henry Seagrave (1896-1930) would be knighted for his accomplishments and would be killed when his boat crashed while attempting a new speed record. His Wikipedia page does not mention his model railroad, which he would have started when he was 18 and was about to fight in the First World War.


Apartment house sold

Here’s a bit of real estate news from the January 22 1929 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


Google Street View shows that the building is still standing, though it looks like the front entranceway and the roof have been remodelled sometime in the last 81 years.

The Toronto Public Library has a better reproduction of what is obviously the same photo as the one here.


Girl put in jail

Here’s a photo from the January 22 1929 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


I won’t comment here, other than to say that sometimes the “good old days” weren’t always so good.


Lilian Harvey

The January 16 1947 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this pair of photographs of former film star Lilian Harvey:


The story of Lilian Harvey (1906-1968) turns out to be quite interesting and a little sad. Daughter of a German father and an English mother, Ms. Harvey began her career in Berlin, and starred in a number of silent and talking films in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s. Because she had Jewish and gay colleagues, she was watched closely by the Gestapo; she eventually fled Germany in 1939, leaving behind a fortune in real estate, which was confiscated. She moved to Vichy France, but fled to the U.S. in 1942 when the Germans overran France.

After the war, she returned to Paris, where she was photographed in the newer photo above. Her Wikipedia page doesn’t include a lot of information about her post-war career, which suggests that her comeback might not have been as successful as hoped. She eventually moved to the French Riviera, opened a souvenir shop, and raised edible snails. And why not? (The French term for edible snails, “escargot”, sounds more yummy.)