California’s flying executive

Here’s a photograph from the March 20 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of the governor of California in a plane.

James Rolph Jr. (1869-1934), nicknamed “Sunny Jim”, was the mayor of San Francisco from 1912 until he resigned in 1931 to become governor of California. He was, and remains, the longest-serving mayor in San Francisco history.

He suffered a series of heart attacks and then passed away in 1934 while still in office. While governor of California, he was most known for openly ignoring Prohibition laws and doing nothing to stop the lynching of the killers of the kidnappers and murderers of department-store heir Brooke Hart.

The National Governors Association website has a short biography of Rolph. I could find no references to him flying an airplane.

As seen in New York court

Here’s a photo from the March 20 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a couple who were referred to as the King and Queen of the Gypsies.

The Tene Bimbo family (or clan, as they were sometimes called) became notorious in later years for a variety of reasons. In 1978, author Peter Maas wrote a book called King of the Gypsies about King Tene Bimbo’s son and grandson, who were in a dispute over who should become the leader of the family. The book was turned into a 1978 movie that starred Eric Roberts (in his film debut) as a fictionalized version of Steve Tene, the grandson of the late king.

In the 1980s and 1990s, members of the Tene Bimbo family were allegedly involved in a deadly scheme in which young women belonging to the family befriended elderly widowers, persuaded them to hand over their assets, and then poisoned them. Reports on the scheme can be found on the SK Pop, Newsweek, and Associated Press websites, among others.

Driving midget car

Here’s a photograph from the March 20 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a British race car driver.

George Eyston (1897-1979) was a motorcycle racer as a teenager, racing under an assumed name. After the First World War, during which he won the Military Cross, Eyston became an automobile racer. He set three land speed records between 1937 and 1939.

Wikipedia has a photo of him with a fire-damaged Midget racer, taken in 1931.

1931 spring opening

Here’s an ad from the March 20 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star for the opening of a hat store for women.

A search in the Toronto city directories revealed that Olive George was also known as Mrs. Olive Bachmann. Her husband, George Bachmann, was an architect at Chapman and Oxley, and the couple lived at 156 Moore Avenue.

The Olive George millinery salon appears to have lasted three years – it is listed in the 1934 directory but not in the 1935 one. The 1935 directory still has a listing for Mrs. Olive Bachmann as “Olive George” at 156 Moore, but the 1936 directory just lists George there.

Leo and his mother

Here’s a photograph from the March 20 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a man being tried for murder who was photographed with his mother and sister.

Leo Vincent Brothers (1899-1950) was a gangster who was part of Al Capone’s mob. He was arrested for the murder of Chicago Tribune journalist Jake Lingle. After Lingle’s death, it was revealed that he also had been associated with Capone.

Brothers was sentenced to 14 years in prison for the murder. He claimed innocence, and many observers and historians believe that Capone offered him up to the state as a sacrifice. After being released from prison, Brothers went to St. Louis and became part of the mob there. He died of heart disease shortly after an unsuccessful attempt on his life.

The Great Shires

Here’s a photograph from the March 20 1931 edition of a baseball player about to report to training camp at the start of the season.

Art Shires (1906-1967) nicknamed himself “Arthur the Great Shires” in self-promotion. He was actually fairly great in 1931 with Milwaukee, batting .385, winning the league’s batting title, and earning himself a contract with the Boston Braves in 1932. He had previously played with the Chicago White Sox and Washington Senators from 1928 to 1930.

Shires seems to have had something of a short fuse. In 1928, when playing in Shreveport, Louisiana, he threw a baseball at a fan and killed him; he was sued for $25,411 by the man’s widow, but they eventually settled. In 1929, he punched his manager, Lena Blackburne, and was suspended. In the 1929 offseason, he went into the boxing ring and won a fight that was claimed to have been fixed.

After his baseball career ended, Shires was charged with murder after beating a man to death in a fight after the two had been drinking together. The charge was later reduced to aggravated assault.

Come spring

I know that March 20th is the first official day of spring (and I know that real spring doesn’t come until late in April or early May in these parts). But I like to think of March 21st as the first day, since it’s halfway between December 21st and June 21st.

To commemorate this, here is a poem from the March 20 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

I’m not particularly a fan of the text of the poem (though I have no real ear for poetry), but I think I agree with the sentiment expressed here.

I have no idea who Belle is (or was). I do know that she had several poems published in the Daily Star at around this time.

Please let us breathe

Here’s an ad from the March 14 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star for Lux toilet soap:

Unlike some other Lux ads of the era, this one did not specify an exact number of Hollywood stars who were using their toilet soap.

Elissa Landi (1904-1948) grew up in Austria and England. She started her stage and film career in England in the 1920s before moving to the United States in 1930. She appeared regularly in movies until 1943. That year, she became a U.S. citizen and devoted herself to writing. She wrote six novels and some poems before passing away from cancer.

Jessie DeBoth and her cooking and homemaker’s school have previously appeared in this blog.

Announce abdication

Here’s a photo from the March 14 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a king who was about to abdicate.

Prajadhipok (1893-1941) had attempted to become Siam’s first constitutional monarch after the People’s Party had started the Revolution of 1932. However, the monarch and the party could not resolve their differences, so the monarch abdicated on March 2 1935.

After abdication, the former king lived in a succession of houses in the English county of Surrey. He suffered a heart attack in 1940 and passed away the following year. His widow took his ashes to Thailand in 1949. She passed away in 1984.

Young aeroplane designer

Before starting today’s post, I wanted to take another look at yesterday’s: how common was the name Florence Nightingale in the Toronto city directories? When I looked, I found two Florence Nightingales in the 1935 city directory and no fewer than five in the 1938 directory: a seamer, a stenographer, two teachers, and a dressmaker. Interestingly enough, and perhaps not surprisingly, no nurses.

Moving on: here’s a photograph from the March 14 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a young man who had built his own model airplane.

The 1935 Toronto city directory lists Charles Anthony as a machine mover and living at apartment 6, 778 Broadview Avenue. By 1937, he had moved to apartment 2, 733 Broadview Avenue and, in 1939, he was at 37 McMurrich Street (which has since been redeveloped).

The 1941 directory contains an entry for Vernon H. Anthony; he was listed as a salesman at Eaton’s. In 1943, he was a sheet metal worker at Toronto Shipbuilding, and in 1945, he was a draftsman at Massey-Harris; these seem like the sorts of occupations that a boy who built his own model airplane would eventually gravitate to. Moving forward in five-year intervals:

  • 1950: department superintendent, Smith Manufacturing
  • 1955: employee at Duplex Sash Balance – he was listed as V. Howard Anthony in this directory
  • 1960: no occupation, still listed as V. Howard Anthony
  • 1965: president and general manager of Higgin Homeshield Limited, now listed as Vernon H. Anthony again; he was listed as living in Dixie

The 1969 directory, which is the last one available online, does not list him. If he had retired and moved out of town, or if his business had moved out of town, there would have been no reason for him to appear in the Toronto directories. I tried searching for his obituary, but searches turned up references to Vernon Howard, an American spiritual teacher and author, who was almost Vern Anthony’s exact contemporary (Howard would have been one or two years older).