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Latest thing in helmets

Here’s a photograph from the July 27 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a woman wearing a hat that could double as an aviator’s helmet.

Karen Morley (1909-2003) was an American actress who appeared in movies in the 1930s and 1940s. A political activist, she was blacklisted in 1947 when she refused to testify whether she had been a member of the Communist Party.

In 1999, she appeared in Vanity Fair magazine in an article about the last survivors of the blacklist, and she was honored at the San Francisco Film Festival.

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Divorce complaint

Here’s another photo from the July 27 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star. This is of a woman who wanted a divorce from her entertainer husband.

Charles Mack (1888-1934) and the former Marian Robinson (pictured here) did go on to get divorced in 1931. Mack, who was half of the blackface comedy duo Two Black Crows, remarried in 1932.

Mack was killed in an accident when his car blew a tire and repeatedly overturned. His second wife, his comedy partner George Moran, and silent film producer Mack Sennett were also in the car but survived.

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First American in Paris

Here’s a photo from the July 27 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a woman who became the first American to present a fashion design collection in Paris.

Elizabeth Hawes (1903-1971) started her fashion career working at a dress shop in Paris that sold illegal copies of the latest designs. In 1926, she became a fashion correspondent and columnist for The New Yorker. In 1928, she moved over to designing clothes, working for a firm in Paris before moving to New York to start her own firm.

In subsequent years, she divided her time between designing clothes and writing about the fashion industry. She advocated ready-to-wear clothing and clothing that people wanted, rather than what was deemed fashionable. In 1939, she wrote a book titled Fashion Is Spinach.

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Perfect back contest

Sometimes I run across an article or photo that’s just plain weird. Here’s a picture from the photo page of the July 27 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star that falls into this category.

I have no idea why anyone would want to enter the National Progressive Chiropractors Association’s perfect back contest. I suppose that there was a prize of some sort, and it was the middle of the Great Depression, so people were looking to make money any way they could.

I could find no reference to the National Progressive Chiropractors Association or its perfect back contest anywhere. Searches for C. H. Wood indicated that he was a leading chiropractor in California at that time; his given name appears to have been Charles.

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The secret of charm

The July 25 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained two columns on the secret of charm, one from a woman’s point of view and one from a man’s:

Helen Morgan (1900-1941) has appeared in this blog before. She was a popular torch singer during the 1920s, appearing on stage and in New York nightclubs, one of which was called Chez Morgan. She battled alcoholism all of her life and died of cirrhosis of the liver.

Lowell Thomas (1892-1981) was a writer and broadcaster who was an early proponent of the travelogue, filming his travels to various places. His presentation on the war in Palestine was hugely successful in both the United States and England in 1919. He later moved to the radio, delivering talks about his travels and then branching out to stories about other people and news. He remained on radio until he retired in 1976.

Ironically, at the time of the column, Ms. Morgan was in the process of suing her second husband, Maurice “Buddy” Maschke III, for divorce. She married again shortly before her death. Mr. Thomas was more successful in love, as he was married to Frances Ryan from 1917 until she passed away in 1975.

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Abductors of girl?

Here’s a brief article from the July 25 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star that appears to be sad news.

I agree with the writer of this anonymous article: a car with a fictitious registration is a very bad sign. The odd part: poor Miss Duffy appears to have been a resident of Buffalo who was abducted from Columbus and then transported back to Buffalo. Sadly, this means that she might have been targeted.

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Knew man who fought at Trafalgar

Here’s the first part of an article from the July 26 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star about a man who was 95 years old:

The article listed his address as 17 Roxborough Street West, so I was able to trace Mr. Hector in the Toronto city directories. It looks like he made it to his 100th birthday or possibly even his 101st, as he is listed in the 1941 directory at this address. He is not listed in 1942.

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Champions, two!

Here’s a photo from the July 16 1942 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of two women who were swimming champions.

Gloria Callen (1923-2016), nicknamed “Glamorous Gloria”, was named the 1942 Associated Press Athlete of the Year. She won 13 American championships and set 35 American records and one world record. Due to the war, she was never able to compete in the Olympics. She was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1984.

Eleanor Holm (1913-2004) competed in the 1928 Olympics at the age of 14, then won a gold medal at the 1932 Olympics in the 100-metre backstroke. She was named to the 1936 Olympic team, but was expelled from the team after a drinking party on board the ship taking the team to Berlin. She maintained that she was expelled because U.S. Olympic Committee president Avery Brundage held a grudge against her, at one time claiming that he propositioned her.

When not competing in the Olympics, Ms. Holm was in the movies: she was a WAMPAS Baby Star in 1932, and appeared in the movie Tarzan’s Revenge in 1938. Billy Rose was Ms. Holm’s second husband; they divorced in 1954 after a spectacular divorce trial called “The War Of The Roses”. She was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1966.

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Canadian National telegram

The July 16 1942 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained an ad for an upcoming movie that was displayed in the form of a telegram:

Mrs. Miniver (1942) was released in the depths of World War II. Produced in Hollywood, it was a romantic drama that described how the life of a typical English housewife was affected by the war.

While some modern critics consider this movie excessively sentimental, it was a commercial and critical success in its time: it was the top box office draw of 1942, and it won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (William Wyler), Best Actress (Greer Garson), and Best Supporting Actress (Teresa Wright). British moviegoers that saw the film were profoundly affected by it, due to its depiction of endurance and perseverance on the home front.

When I looked at the ad, I wondered: was D. E. Galloway, the assistant vice-president mentioned in the header of the telegram, a real person? I looked him up in the 1942 Toronto city directory, and the answer is yes: the directory listed D. Ernest Galloway as, indeed, an assistant vice-president at CN Telegram. He lived at 98 Wychwood Park. But he wasn’t there long: he was in the 1943 directory, but not the 1944. I couldn’t find an entry for his widow, so I don’t know whether he moved out of town or passed away.

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The Birth of a Baby

Here’s an ad from the July 16 1942 edition of the Toronto Daily Star for an upcoming movie that featured, as the title suggested, the birth of a baby.

The Birth of a Baby (1938) was an educational film in which an expectant mother and her husband consult “a kindly obstetrician”, after which the mother gives birth to a healthy baby. The gimmick was that footage of an actual birth was spliced into the movie.

Naturally, the movie – which was only one hour and twelve minutes long, including the birth scene – caused controversy in its time. The state of New York banned it outright, and several theatres screened the movie separately for men and women. The All Movie website calls it “a prime example of old-fashioned (and very successful) hucksterism”.

The short opening film, Mr. Strauss Takes a Walk (1942), was a cartoon in which “Mr. Strauss, with the help of the forest animals, composes his greatest waltz”. You can watch it on YouTube.