To-morrow Lehmann

Here’s an ad from the October 21 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star for an upcoming event at Massey Hall.

It seems odd to me that the ad only featured the last name of the performer. I suppose that, if you were really cultured, you would have known who this was. Fortunately, an ad for Heintzman pianos that appeared earlier in the same edition gave her full name:

Lotte Lehmann (1888-1976) was a German soprano who had her first leading role at the Vienna State Opera in 1914. She performed regularly at Covent Garden in London between 1924 and 1935.

She emigrated to the United States in 1938, just before Germany annexed Austria. She continued performing until 1951, and taught master classes after that. When not singing or teaching people to sing, she was a prolific writer and painter.

Some interesting trivia about her:

  • She discovered the Trapp family singers in Salzburg in 1936. They became famous in The Sound Of Music.
  • She portrayed Danny Thomas’s mother in Big City (1948).
  • She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, but they misspelled her name (“Lottie”).

There are a lot of Lotte Lehmann performances on YouTube; here’s one of them.

Hurt with five others

Here’s a brief article in the October 22 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star about a plane crash that featured a famous aviator:

Ruth Rowland Nichols (1901-1960) survived this crash, but suffered a broken left wrist, ankle and nose, contusions, and burns. She was not able to fly again for a year. The pilot did not survive.

Ms. Nichols went on to have a distinguished career as a pilot. In 1959, at the age of 58, she underwent the same training as the Mercury astronauts, and urged the Air Force to include women as astronauts. Whether it was because this idea was rejected or for other reasons, she became depressed and took her own life in 1960 with an overdose of barbiturates.

Youthful radio star

Here’s a brief article from the October 21 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star featuring a 15-year-old British radio personality.

Hughie Green (1920-1997) had a long and sometimes controversial career in radio and television. Before the Second World War, he toured extensively and appeared in movies and cabaret, taking time out to become a father at the age of 17. When war broke out, Green was in North America; he became a pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force and later a transport and stunt pilot.

In 1947, he returned to Britain and worked in the aircraft business for a while. In 1949, he created a talent show, Opportunity Knocks, which started in radio and eventually moved to television. The show was widely popular right through the 1970s, but Green gradually started to use it as a platform for his right-wing ideas, which caused it to be cancelled in 1978.

After this, his life did not go well: he sued the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation for allegedly violating his Opportunity Knocks copyright and lost, leaving him with a large legal bill. He had always been a smoker and heavy drinker, and started taking barbiturates; he was diagnosed with cancer in 1993, and it eventually spread to his lungs.

There are a number of Opportunity Knocks links on YouTube. Here’s a show from 1968 featuring Green as host.

Film star rescued from fire

Here’s a short article from the October 21 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star about a film star who was rescued from a burning cottage.

Laura La Plante (1904-1996) lived for over 60 years after being carried to safety by her doctor. Her career peaked in the silent film era; between 1933 and 1935, she appeared in British films produced by Warner Brothers’ Teddington Studios, known for producing “quota quickie” films.

While there, she met Teddington Studios film producer Irving Asher; the two married in 1934, and remained married until he passed away in 1985.

For the world’s heavyweight championship

Here’s an ad that appeared in the October 14 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

I was a bit confused by this, until I realized that the world’s heavyweight championship mentioned here was for wrestling, not boxing.

Dean Detton (1908-1958) was world champion from September 1936 to June 1937, losing his title to former football great Bronko Nagurski. He retired from professional wrestling in 1951 and ran a bar in California. Sadly, he hanged himself there in 1958.

I couldn’t find a Wikipedia entry for Fred Grobmier, but I did find this page in During his career, he was known as Fred Grebmire, Fred Grobmeier, Fred Grobmier, Fred Grubmaier, Fred Grubmeier, Fred Grubmeyer, Fred Grubmier, and Fritz von Mier. He was nicknamed The Iowa Cornstalk, perhaps because nobody knew how to spell his name.

Deer Park Livery

Here’s an ad for a taxicab service from the October 14 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

I looked up Deer Park Livery in the Toronto city directories:

  • They are listed in the 1936 directory as Deer Park Garage & Livery Limited at 1365-1371 Yonge Street, which is how they appear in the 1941 and 1946 directories.
  • By 1949, the firm had changed hands a couple of times, and was listed as simply Deer Park Livery Limited.
  • In 1951, they moved to 811 King West, which isn’t in Deer Park, if you want to get pedantic about it.
  • The last directory that Deer Park Livery appears in is 1960.
  • I have no way of knowing whether they were Toronto’s oldest livery, but they do appear in the 1915 city directory, so they had been around a while.

A search turned up this ad from the 1929 CNE program.

The winner is small

Here’s a photo from the October 14 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a auto race winner who won a trophy that he could fit into:

Tazio Nuvolari (1892-1953) raced motorcycles in the 1920s and cars after that. He won a total of 150 races, and Ferdinand Porsche called him “the greatest driver of the past, the present, and the future.”

There are a number of videos of Nuvolari on YouTube; this one, lasting 22 minutes, looks to be the most comprehensive.

Heads camera workers

Here’s a photograph from the October 18 1929 edition of the Toronto Globe.

My first thought when I saw this photograph was that Mr. Rigby had the sort of moustache that stopped being popular when Hitler started becoming more notorious. My second thought: why was the caption for this photograph using A Lot Of Capitalized Words?

Because Mr. Rigby had an unusual first initial, I tried to trace him in the Toronto city directories. I’m not sure whether I found him: the 1929 city directory lists an Oswald B. Rigby working as a mechanical engineer at Massey-Harris. If this was him, I fear that he might not have been around long: the 1932 directory lists him as a mechanical engineer but does not list his employer, and he is missing from the 1933 and 1934 directories. There’s always the possibility that he might have relocated, of course.

Two famous estates

Here’s a short blurb from the October 18 1929 edition of The Globe about two British castles that were for sale.

I was curious, so I looked up the people and the buildings mentioned in this article.

  • John Osborne (1901-1963), the 11th Duke of Leeds, was apparently a self-centred drunkard. After selling Hornby Castle, he retired to the French Riviera as a tax exile, occasionally spending time on the island of Jersey. He passed his days mostly working his way through the family fortune. (Though, to be fair, he did inherit gambling debts from his father.)
  • When the Duke of Leeds sold Hornby Castle, all but one wing was demolished in 1931.
  • John Montagu Douglas Scott (1864-1935), the 7th Duke of Buccleuch (and also the 9th Duke of Queensberry), was a member of Parliament from 1895 to 1906. His daughter, Alice, married Prince Henry, the third son of King George V.
  • I couldn’t find much on Johnstone House. This might be it.
  • Herstmonceux Castle was built in 1441, and was restored in the early decades of the 20th century. It is now owned by Queen’s University (the one in Ontario).
  • Claude Lowther (1870-1929) was a British Conservative politician. During the First World War, he raised and equipped (but did not command) three battalions of the Sussex Regiment. Known as “Lowther’s Lambs”, the battalions suffered significant casualties when serving as a diversion from an offensive on the Somme.