Santa in the 1920s and 1930s (part 2)

Here’s the second in a sequence of posts about ads in the Toronto Daily Star for the Eaton’s Santa Claus Parade in the 1920s and 1930s. Let’s see if Santa is travelling in a sleigh with reindeer or if he was using some non-conventional means of transportation. (Click on any ad to view it in larger size.)

Moving on to 1925:

This year, Santa travelled in the parade in a huge red locomotive. Apparently, he left his reindeer behind in Iroquois Falls, which is a town about 70 kilometres northeast of Timmins, Ontario. At the time, its primary industry was a paper mill, which closed in 2014. At present, the town has a population of about 4500 and features several nearby hydroelectric dams and a nearby provincial prison.

The huge red locomotive also featured Santa’s nephew, Master Jackie Claus (who, presumably, was a subordinate Claus – sorry). There were also two baby polar bears, who were destined to keep a full-grown polar bear company at the Riverdale Zoo, which sounds horrifying.

This was also the first year that Santa Claus could be heard on the radio. At 6:15 on Friday, the night before the parade, he could be heard on radio station CFCA. Presumably, there was a quantity of ho-ho-hoing involved.

The 1926 parade was a return to relative normalcy, as it featured Santa in a sleigh with reindeer. There was no sign of Jackie Claus.

This year, Santa apparently travelled to Toronto from the North Pole by way of Algonquin Park.

In 1927, the parade went all-out: Santa was in his sleigh with his reindeer, but they were all contained inside a giant Indigenous war canoe that was being pulled by silver dolphins.

Santa was not being asked to broadcast on the radio this year, and he was not scheduled to appear in Eaton’s Toyland until the following Monday. So it was a comparatively light workload for him.

Now on to 1928:

This year, Santa was on an ice throne surrounded by white bears. I hope that they weren’t real bears, but who knows? And he was back on the radio again on Saturday at 6:30, presumably to inform his listeners who was naughty and who was nice.

1929 was covered already; a full-size photo of this ad, including the giant sparkling arctic fish, can be found here.

That was the 1920s. In the next post, let’s see if Santa’s parade changed with the coming of the Great Depression.

Santa in the 1920s and 1930s (part 1)

A while back, I discovered that the 1929 Eaton’s Santa Claus Parade ended with Santa riding a giant arctic fish. Recently, I found a photograph of Santa riding the fish, which claimed to be dated to 1930:

It’s startling that Santa was expected to climb out of his giant Arctic fish and go up two rickety ladders to get to what I assume was Eaton’s Toyland. But I wondered: for how long did Santa ride a fish, as opposed to a sleigh with reindeer or some other means of locomotion? So I thought I’d check ads in the Toronto Daily Star for other parades from the 1920s and 1930s. This will be a multi-part post, as I found a bunch of them! (Click on any ad to view it in larger size.)

I went back as far as 1920:

In this parade, he is riding in a gold chariot. I don’t know whether reindeer were pulling the chariot or whether it was powered by an internal combustion engine.

I couldn’t find a parade entry for 1921 (perhaps I just didn’t look hard enough), so the next one up is 1922:

In this parade, he was travelling in an “iceberg motor car”. On to 1923:

The text doesn’t specify how Santa will be getting around, but the illustration shows Santa travelling in a ship that looks like a giant wooden duck and sitting in a chair whose handles are duck heads. I guess ducks was the theme this year.

Moving on to 1924:

The 1924 Santa is the most disturbing so far. There are now six reindeer, which is closer to what we would expect nowadays. But Santa’s sleigh has duck heads on it (probably reused from 1923) and Santa is brandishing a whip. Santa, why are you inflicting pain on your mode of transportation?

I will stop here on this disturbing image and continue tomorrow with more images from Santa Claus parades of the 1920s.

Beautiful hostess

Here is a photograph from the December 15 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a woman who was hosting the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.

Searches revealed that the Baroness Rothschild was known as “Kitty” and that she passed away in 1946 in Long Island. The couple had moved there shortly after the Second World War started.

The Baron, Eugène Daniel von Rothschild (1884-1976), married British film actress Jeanne Stuart in 1952. She passed away in 2003 at the age of 94. Other than hosting the former king of England, he doesn’t seem to have done anything particularly remarkable.

To sing for Santa Fund

Here’s a photograph from the December 15 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a singer about to perform for the Star’s Santa Claus fund.

A search turned up very little on Adolph Wantroff. Besides some other references to him singing at various events, I found a 1960 edition of the Canadian Jewish Review that mentions an event attended by Cantor Adolph Wantroff, and a reference to an Adolph Wantroff Education Fund.

Scrubwoman at ball park

Here’s a brief article from the December 15 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star about a daughter of Charles Ebbets who was trying to get work at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn.

When Charles Ebbets passed away in 1925, funds were established for his heirs, but these ran out in 1933, thanks to the Great Depression. The estate was tied up in a dispute between its heirs, which was not resolved until 1949. At that time, Mae Ebbets Cadore (sometimes written as Maie Ebbets Cadore) became one of 22 heirs who divided up Ebbets’ remaining fortune of $838,558.

One of the complications of Ebbets’ estate was that a large part of it was his half ownership of the Brooklyn Dodgers. His will stipulated that his shares in the Dodgers were to be sold as a unit. This didn’t happen until 1945.

I found two related links to this story:

  • A Time article from later that month that mentioned that Ms. Cadore was living in a dollar-a-day room in Brooklyn.
  • A brief mention of her in a 1955 Sporting News article. It mentioned that Ms. Cadore passed away in 1950, which meant that she did not have very much time to enjoy her inheritance when she finally received it.

Wants alimony cut

Here’s a short article from the December 15 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star about a comic strip creator who wanted to pay less alimony to his wife.

Bud Fisher (1885-1954) married twice. In 1912, he eloped with Pauline Margaret Welch, a vaudeville actress; they divorced in 1917. He married his second wife, Aedita de Beaumont, in 1925; they separated after four weeks, but never divorced. I assume that the alimony was going to her. Apparently, he had lost all interest in the Mutt and Jeff comic strip by the mid-1930s, which might explain his reduced income.

Ms. de Beaumont might have gotten her alimony reduced, but she gained ownership of the comic strip when Fisher passed away. The strip eventually passed to her son, Pierre de Beaumont, founder of the Brookstone chain of stores.

But not in these clothes

Here’s a photo from the December 8 1927 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a maharajah about to celebrate his diamond jubilee on his throne.

Jagatjit Singh (1872-1949) started his reign as a young boy – he was not quite five years old when he ascended to the throne of Kapurthala. He began ruling on his own in 1890, and remained maharajah until Kapurthala was absorbed into India in 1947.

If his Wikipedia page is to be believed, the maharajah didn’t do much that was controversial during his reign – he apparently enjoyed travelling the world and was a Francophile. (Which presumably meant that he spent a fair bit of time in Paris.) The page lists the foreign honours that he won during his lifetime, which were many:

  • Grand Cross of the Order of the Crown, 1st Class of the Kingdom of Prussia
  • Grand Cordon of the Order of the Nile of the Kingdom of Egypt
  • Grand Cordon of the Sharifan Order of Alaoui of the Kingdom of Morocco
  • Grand Cross of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus of the Kingdom of Italy
  • Grand Cross of the Order of Merit of Chile
  • Grand Cross of the Order of the Sun of Peru
  • Grand Cross of the Order of the Red Cross of Honour and Merit of Cuba
  • Grand Cross of the Order of the Star of Romania
  • Grand Cross of the Order of Menelik II of Empire of Ethiopia
  • Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Sava of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia
  • Grand Cross of the Order of Charles III of the Kingdom of Spain
  • Grand Cordon of the Order of Glory of Tunisia
  • Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Cambodia
  • Grand Cordon of the Order of the Crown of Empire of Iran
  • Grand Cross of the Order of the White Lion, 1st Class of Czechoslovakia
  • Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Agatha of San Marino
  • Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Sylvester of the Vatican
  • Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour of France 1948
  • Grand Cross of the Hamidiya Order of Merit of the Rampur State 1926

That’s, um, quite grand. Did he ever wear all of these at once?

Headed for the Olympics

Here is a photo from the December 8 1927 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a speed skater who was expected to compete for Canada in the upcoming Winter Olympics.

Ross Robinson (1906-1992) did go on to compete for Canada in the 1928 Winter Olympics. He finished 14th in the 500 metre event, 17th in the 1500 metre event, and 22nd in the 5000 metres. He became the North American outdoor champion in 1930.

He had no way of knowing that tragedy was about to strike his family. His older sister, Gladys Robinson, had been the North American speed skating champion from 1921 to 1923, but passed away in 1934 at the age of 32; I couldn’t find out any details. And, in 1936, he was the sole survivor when his boat capsized in heavy winds on Lake Simcoe; his sister Henrietta and his brother-in-law were among those killed.

Charles Gorman (1898-1940), mentioned in the caption above, did decide to compete in the 1928 Olympics. But, to a certain extent, he did appear to be temperamental: after competing in the 500 metre event, he refused to compete in the 5000 metre event after judges ruled that the competitor who fell in his path in the 500 metres had not interfered with him.

Steam Taxi Service

Here’s an ad from the December 8 1927 edition of the Toronto Daily Star for a taxi company that was willing to drive you to just about anywhere in Ontario or even to Buffalo.

The Steam Taxi Service appears not to have lasted too long, if the Toronto city directories are to be believed. I couldn’t find a reference to this firm in the 1927, 1928, or 1929 directory; since there was only a phone number, I couldn’t determine whether this was just some enterprising person who was doing this as a side job.

I guess no one wanted to go to Ottawa for $64.50 in 1927 dollars (which is equivalent to over $1000 in 2021) – especially if he or she could only stay there for an hour before heading straight back to Toronto. At least, by 1927, the road from Toronto to Ottawa was just about all paved – someone wanting to drive all the way would only have to endure about 23 miles of gravel road between Prescott and Kemptville.