Engaged to Maharajah

The May 15 1956 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this human interest story:


The marriage of the Maharajah and Maharanee of Mymensingh did not last – according to the May 26, 1959 edition of the Panama American, she grew tired of a life of luxury and went back to London to work as a washing machine demonstrator. The two were divorced later that year, and this picture claims that she then became Mrs. Dick Garland.


Mystery possibly solved

When looking through the June 5 1944 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, I found this ad for a dry cleaner:


This ad refers to a Retex dry cleaning method, which might explain these ads from 1932.

The 1944 city directory lists 24 branches of Langley’s, in addition to their main offices at 241-253 Spadina Road. During the war, they were looking for married women to serve at their locations, as shown by this June 8 1943 ad in the Toronto Daily Star:


By 1955, Langley’s was down to 16 branches from their wartime 24. By 1965, they were down to 10 branches, and presumably the count gradually diminished after that.


51 years wed

Here’s an article in the June 5 1944 edition of the Toronto Daily Star about a couple who were celebrating their 51st wedding anniversary:


The Toronto city directories allowed me to indulge in a sort of morbid curiosity: how much longer did they live there? As it turns out, Mr. Brimicombe appears in the 1948 city directory, but his wife Mary is listed in the 1949 city directory as the widow of George.

She lived at least ten years at their Rushton Road address without him, as she appears in the 1959 city directory. I didn’t have the heart to take it any further.


1939 variety show

The August 17 1939 Toronto Daily Star featured this ad for a variety show for the Star Fresh Air Fund.


Jessica Dragonette (1900-1980) sang on the radio from 1926 to 1947, and was voted radio’s most popular female vocalist in 1935. She was able to sing in six different languages.

Shirley Ross (1913-1975) was at the peak of her fame in 1939, as she had performed a duet with Bob Hope in The Big Broadcast of 1938. She was cast opposite either Hope or Bing Crosby a total of five times.


Worst billing ever

The July 20 1957 Toronto Daily Star contained this article, in which rats and children were billed ahead of actor Van Johnson:


Naturally, the musical is now on YouTube, and Van Johnson has a Wikipedia page. So does the Pied Piper.


Wasted effort

Here’s a bit of filler from the June 6 1959 edition of the Toronto Daily Star that I enjoyed:


The Internet Movie Database has a complete record of Mr. Crow’s career, which started with Career, in which he played an uncredited young soldier.

After this, he went on to do mostly TV series, including six episodes of National Velvet. His last credited work was the movie Premonition in 1972. He is listed as having passed away in 1979 in “Pacific Ocean off Laguna Beach, California”, which suggests that he might have drowned.


Agent 99 wins $64,000

The July 20 1957 edition of the Toronto Star featured Gordon Sinclair interviewing a young woman named Barbara Hall, who had won $64,000 on the game show The $64,000 Question:


Ms. Hall went on to marry Lucien Verdoux-Feldon in 1958, who presumably is the Air France pilot mentioned in this article. She changed her name to Barbara Feldon, and later starred as Agent 99 in Get Smart.


Men wanted, girls wanted

The January 14 1958 Toronto Daily Star had one ad for men and one ad for women.

First the men, who were invited to become real estate agents:


According to the Toronto city directories, Tops was a relatively new real estate firm: they don’t appear in the 1956 city directory, and appear in the 1957 directory at 1960 Avenue Road.

Men who accepted this offer might not have had the career that they were hoping for, as Tops Real Estate did not appear in the 1960 city directory. Their next door neighbours, the Nazarene Publishing House, had expanded into what had been Tops’s space.

In the same paper, the women, or girls, were invited to become models:


The Walter Thornton agency continued at this location at least until 1969, even though Walter himself had sold his interest in the agency in 1958 and moved to Mexico.

I could find nothing on Bambi Lindon in Google, so she did not achieve fame (if that was what she was hoping for).


Marketing Ovaltine

While collecting newspaper ads and articles, I’ve noticed a whole bunch of ads for Ovaltine, which Wikipedia calls a “brand of milk flavoring product made with malt extract.” However, the makers of Ovaltine have never been sure how to market it. They’ve tried just about everything.

In the July 7 1923 Toronto Globe, they marketed Ovaltine as a sleep aid:

1923 July 7 Globe

In the September 19 1925 Toronto Globe, they marketed it as a “pick-up” for listless office workers.

1925 Sep 19 Globe

The September 7 1927 Toronto Globe praised it as a sustaining tonic that helped distance swimmer Georges Michel make it across the English Channel. It was apparently his only nourishment during the ordeal.

1927 Sep 7 Globe

The October 1 1928 Toronto Daily Star included “a message of national importance”, offering health for all at lower cost:

1928 Oct 1 Star

Sixteen days later, in the October 17 1928 Toronto Daily Star, they recommended heating Ovaltine to relieve afternoon fatigue:

1928 Oct 17 Star

During the midst of an influenza epidemic, the December 22 1928 Toronto Globe stated that Ovaltine could protect you from the flu:

1928 Dec 22 Globe

In the April 20 1929 Toronto Globe, they were back to marketing Ovaltine as a cure for sleeplessness:

1929 Apr 20 Globe

And, the February 25 1930 Toronto Daily Star suggested that it was a delicious and healthful beverage after an evening of bridge.

1930 Feb 25 Star

This was the end of what you might call The Golden Age of Ovaltine. I found some Ovaltine ads much later, in the 1940s and 1950s – by then, they had settled on their niche, which was that Ovaltine was a useful supplement for babies and small children. From the June 8 1943 Toronto Daily Star:

1943 Jun 8 Star

And from the March 25 1947 Toronto Daily Star:

1947 Mar 25 Star

And, finally, from the February 2 1950 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

1950 Feb 2 Star

This ad also mentions that Ovaltine can maintain the mother’s health and strength. Or perhaps stave off sleeplessness. Or whatever.

Throughout the years, Ovaltine was always marketed by A. Wander, Limited, first located in Toronto and then in Peterborough. I think I would have liked to sit in on one of their marketing strategy meetings.


Millionaire Dad chases daughter

Here’s a random story from the June 6 1959 edition of the Toronto Daily Star that caught my attention:


Out of curiosity, I did some Google searching for some of the names mentioned in this story. Here’s what I found:

  • There is a Getty Images photograph of Ms. Dowsett and Mr. Langley returning in a car after their marriage had been stopped.
  • A car belonging to Harry Dowsett was put on sale (though it might now have been sold). This page contains more information: to get her away from Mr. Langley, Ms. Dowsett was sent on a tour of Africa and New Zealand, where she met her future husband, Michael Barclay of Hanworth Hall. They married in 1960.
  • The same article pointed out that the elder Dowsett once accidentally shot his chauffeur-valet after a night of drinking. He was forgiven, but his firearms certificates were revoked.
  • Mr. Barclay was in the news in 2006 when he was jailed for illegally buying prohibited specimens of birds for his egg collection. (His prosecutor was apparently named Andrew Bird.) The Guardian has an article about egg collecting.
  • Here’s a photo of the Hanworth Hall grounds.