Canadian ski slopes

The January 12 1948 edition of the Toronto Daily Star included a number of articles and photos related to skiing – which is not surprising, given that it was January and there was snow! I wrote up a couple of them in yesterday’s blog post; today’s entry is a photo of a Hollywood actress skiing in the Laurentians.

Joan Caulfield (1922-1991) was arguably at the peak of her career when this photograph was taken. She had a contract with Paramount, but was in demand enough to be loaned out to Warner Brothers and Universal in 1947 and 1948. She had fewer film roles after the early 1950s, but continued working on the stage, on television, and in touring theatre productions into the 1970s. She started her career as a model, appearing on the cover of the May 11 1942 edition of LIFE magazine.

One person who was not a huge fan of Ms. Caulfield was film writer Ephraim Katz. In his book, The Film Encyclopedia, he wrote: “[She] was among Paramount’s top stars, radiating delicate femininity and demure beauty but rarely much else”. Ouch.

Some people claim that Ms. Caulfield was the inspiration for Holden Caulfield, the name of the main character in several of author J. D. Salinger’s stories and books, including The Catcher In The Rye. There is no way to know whether this was true.


Skiing accidents

The January 12 1948 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained two articles on notable people who had just broken a leg in skiing accidents. Conveniently, the articles were placed together:

Unfortunately for him, a much worse fate than a broken leg eventually awaited Faisal II, the last king of Iraq. In 1958, he was assassinated, along with the Crown Prince of Iraq and its Prime Minister, as part of a coup d’état. The leaders of this coup were themselves overthrown in 1963 by the Ba’ath Party.

Pierre Jalbert (1925-2014) went on to become a film editor and then to appear as the bilingual character Caje in the TV series Combat!, which ran from 1961 to 1967. After the series ended, he went back to film editing, including work on The Godfather.


Inside parking is not parking

Here’s a short article from the January 12 1948 edition of the Toronto Daily Star about a man who managed to talk his way out of a parking violation.

Out of curiosity, I looked William Tennant up in the Toronto city directories. I discovered that there was no such place as Colbrook Street in Toronto. There is a Colbeck Street, though, and the 1948 Toronto city directory lists a William Tennant working at CGE and living at 148 Colbeck. If this is the right William Tennant, he led a noticeably stable life, as he was living at 148 Colbeck and working at CGE in 1969, the last year for which I have access to online Toronto city directories.

I looked 148 Colbeck Street up in Google Street View. It seems to be a nice enough place.


Now playing (2 of 2)

As I mentioned yesterday, the January 12 1948 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained two notices of upcoming performances at the Eaton Auditorium and two at Massey Hall. Here’s the two at Massey Hall.

Massey Hall advertisements sometimes require a bit more work to identify, as they tended to list only the last name of the upcoming performer. For instance, here’s who was playing that night:

This was almost certainly Samson Pascal François (1924-1970). His Wikipedia page informs us that his “extravagant lifestyle, good looks, and passionate but highly disciplined playing gave him a cult status as a pianist”. His lifestyle must have been quite extravagant indeed, or perhaps he was cursed with a bad heart, as he suffered a heart attack on stage when he was only 44 years old. He passed away two years later.

The second notice also just included the performer’s last name, but, thankfully, it was more unusual:

Witold Małcużyński (1914-1977) was, indeed, born in Poland. He was in France when the Second World War broke out; when France surrendered, he and his wife escaped in a sealed train car to Portugal, and then eventually went to Argentina. He moved to the United States in 1942, and then to Switzerland after the war.

Apparently, according to Wikipedia, his piano playing was marked by great passion and poetry. YouTube has a number of links to his performances, including this one, so you can decide for yourself whether this is true.


Now playing (1 of 2)

The January 12 1948 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained two notices of upcoming events at the Eaton Auditorium and two at Massey Hall. I’ll do the Eaton Auditorium ones today and the others tomorrow.

Cellist Zara Nelsova was scheduled to appear on Wednesday of that week:

Zara Nelsova (1918-2002) was born in Winnipeg, and moved to London when she was a child. She appeared as a soloist with the London Symphony Orchestra when she was 13. During the war, she performed with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. She moved back to London in 1949 and became an American citizen in 1955. During this time, she kept playing the cello, of course. She taught at the Juilliard School of Music in New York from 1962 until she passed away.

The edition also had an ad for the next performer who was to appear at the Eaton Auditorium:

Ricardo Odnoposoff (1914-2004) was born in Argentina. His family moved to Berlin, where he was a soloist with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra at the age of 17. He performed with the Vienna State Opera from 1933 to 1938, when he was forced to return to Argentina because he was not an Aryan. He moved to the United States in the early 1940s and became an American citizen in 1953; shortly after that, he returned to Vienna, where he taught from 1956 to 1993. Photographs of him apparently show him playing the violin quite joyfully; a Google search didn’t find any particularly joyful pictures of him, but I’m willing to believe it nonetheless.


Canada’s radio rally

Here’s an ad from the January 8 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star for an upcoming radio broadcast.

My first thought: while I genuinely believe that the Radio Rally broadcasted from all of the places that it said it did, listeners at the time would have had no way of knowing whether everything was just being simulated in a studio somewhere. I live in a more cynical age.

I looked up the Canadian-born stars in the list:

  • Walter Huston (1883-1950) eventually won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), which was directed by his son John. Three generations of his descendants have become actors and directors.
  • David Manners (1900-1998) was born Rauff de Ryther Duan Acklom, so you can’t blame him for taking a stage name. He appeared in a number of movies in the 1930s, including Tod Browning’s 1931 version of Dracula. He stopped acting in movies in 1936, became an American citizen in the early 1940s (after officially changing his name to David Manners), and quit acting entirely in 1953.
  • Rodolphe Plamondon (1876-1940) was both a tenor and a cello player. He had a long and distinguished career in Europe.
  • Fifi D’Orsay (1904-1983) was born Marie-Rose Angelina Yvonne Lussier in Montreal. Moving to New York to become an actress, she pretended that she was from France, presuming successfully that no one could tell the difference between Quebec French and France French. She was billed in the Greenwich Village Follies as “Mademoiselle Fifi”. She became an American citizen in 1936.
  • Ned Sparks (1883-1957) was a character actor best known for his deadpan expression (which wouldn’t have translated to radio) and his deep, gravelly voice (which would). He retired from movies in 1947.
  • I couldn’t find anything for Arlene Jackson.
  • John B. Kennedy (1894-1961) was a journalist, radio correspondent, and film narrator. His Wikipedia page lists him as American, but states that he was born in Quebec City; I have no idea when or if he became a U.S. citizen. He was 23 years older than John F. Kennedy, the future president of the United States, but pre-deceased him by only two years.
  • Jimmy Wallington (1907-1972) was a radio announcer and actor. His Internet Movie Database page states that he was born in Rochester, New York, so either this page has it wrong or he wasn’t actually Canadian.


Radiant living

Here’s a small advertisement that appeared in the January 8 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

I assume that they were offering singing and exercises and making a collection, but that’s just a guess.

The 1935 Toronto city directory lists the Sutcliffe School at 3 Charles West. A search revealed that the Sutcliffe School for Radiant Living was the handiwork of Herbert Sutcliffe (1886-1971), an English psychologist and alternative health advocate. Starting in 1931, Sutcliffe established a total of 36 schools located in various parts of the world, 12 of which were in New Zealand.

Over the next few years, the Toronto branch of the Sutcliffe School changed locations a few times. A possibly incomplete list of locations includes 3 Charles West, 749 Yonge, 41 Cumberland, and 194 Wellesley East. The school went out of existence sometime in the early 1950s; the 1951 directory lists it, but the 1953 directory does not.

The New Zealand History website has a multi-page history of the Radiant Living movement. Sir Edmund Hillary, one of the first people to climb Mount Everest, was an enthusiastic devotee; his mother had been secretary of the Auckland branch of the school. On the other hand, the Wikipedia page for Sutcliffe claims that some of his ideas were pseudo-scientific. Sutcliffe could apparently do cartwheels on stage when he was in his sixties; whether Radiant Living had anything to do with that is, of course, debatable.


Discount clothing

In 1933, Canada was in the middle of the Great Depression. So it was not surprising that the January 3 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained a lot of ads for clothing on sale.

(I’m trying out the WordPress image gallery feature here – click on an ad to display it in detail.)

Of course, some of these firms would not likely have gotten business from anybody other than the very wealthy even before the depression – some of those furs are very pricey.


First baby born in year

The January 3 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star continues to be a source of material for this blog! Here’s a bit of filler from this edition that mentions the first baby born in Toronto in 1933:

Just for the heck of it, I decided to trace the Kerchers in the Toronto city directories. This proved to be very easy: Clarence H. Kercher had an unusual last name, and he remained at 65 Eastbourne Avenue for the rest of his life, working at CGE in one capacity or another until he retired. He is listed in the 1966 directory, and his widow is listed in the 1969 directory.

The 1955 directory contains the first appearance of Nancy Kercher, who is listed as a student at the same address. I would guess that she was the baby who was born at the start of 1933. She became a teacher: in 1958, she is listed as teaching at Northern Technical-Commercial School and still living at 65 Eastbourne. By 1963, she was at Cedarbrae School and still at 65 Eastbourne, which is where she was in 1969, the last directory that I can access online.

Google searches for Charles Kercher and Nancy Kercher turned up nothing, even given that I had her date of birth and occupation. 65 Eastbourne Avenue is a nice house in North Toronto; I can see why the family would not have wanted to move.


Alderman-elect ill

One of the things I enjoy most about old Toronto newspapers is their obsession with ensuring that every column of print is filled from top to bottom. This meant that each edition contained a number of items of filler.

Here’s a bit of filler from the January 3 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star about a Toronto alderman-elect who was recovering from influenza.

Happily, Robert Allen (1888-1969) recovered from his bout of influenza. He had previously served on Toronto city council from 1927 to 1930 before regaining office in 1933. In 1934, he was elected the provincial member of Parliament for Riverdale as a Liberal, losing to the Progressive Conservative candidate in 1937.

Mr. Allen’s son, William Allen, was Metro Toronto chairman from 1962 to 1969. The Allen Expressway is named after him.