Girl elopes with car thief

Sometimes, I find something that is just jaw-dropping. Here’s an entry from the November 21 1932 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


According to this article, every poor immigrant girl’s dream is marriage to a prosperous Anglo-Saxon. Ugh.

The Mann Act was enacted in 1910, and its intended purpose was to prosecute people who transported a woman across state or foreign boundaries for the purposes of prostitution. In practice, it was often used to prosecute premarital, extramarital, and interracial relationships.


Power shortage

When looking through the November 22 1948 Toronto Daily Star, I discovered that Toronto’s electrical grid was having trouble meeting the demands of its residents, resulting in a power shortage.

Here’s an official announcement on the shortage, advising people how to install their own electricity supply safely:

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And the CCF (forerunner to today’s NDP) hosted a discussion of the shortage:

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Some venues had their own electricity supply, and boasted that they suffered no power cuts. One of these was the Horseshoe Tavern, which, last year, celebrated its 70th anniversary. Here’s an ad from the year after they opened, along with an ad for another entertainment option, the Embassy Tavern:

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The Horseshoe also offered television! The Embassy Tavern is long gone, by the way – Harry Rosen tailors is now there.


Milk bottle thief jailed

From the Toronto Daily Star, November 22 1948:

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Was he really jailed for stealing $1.92? I suppose that might be $192, but it would take a lot of time to accumulate that much from milk bottles.


Do you want a diamond?

From the Toronto Daily Star, February 15 1924:

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I’m sure that the seller obtained his goods in an entirely legitimate manner.

By the way, I’m fascinated by the letter and numbering system that appears next to some ads. What does “” mean?


Man versus fox

From the November 22, 1948 Toronto Daily Star:

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On the one hand, this 81-year-old guy is pretty badass to be capturing a fox at his age. On the other hand, he was being rather cruel to the fox. Perhaps the fox had been damaging his plants for quite some time.


Shea’s today

Another one from the April 8 1940 Toronto Daily Star:

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Movie theatres still sometimes featured in-person appearances in 1940 – the last remnants of the old vaudeville performing circuit. Wikipedia had information on a lot of these people.

Lee Sims (1898-1966) was a pianist, composer, and publisher who made 60 records for Brunswick in the 1920s and 1930s. With Ilomay Bailey, his wife, he starred in the Chase and Sanborn Hour radio program on NBC.

Harriet Hoctor (1905-1977) was a ballerina; George Gershwin once wrote a piece specifically for her, which is pretty cool. I could find nothing at all about Brantley & Linder; they are seemingly lost to history.

Fred Sanborn (1899-1961), no relation to the Sanborn of Chase and Sanborn (as far as I know), was a vaudeville performer. He was part of Ted Healy and his Southern Gentlemen, which also included the future Three Stooges.

Milbourne Christopher (1914-1984) was a magician who spent a good deal of time debunking parapsychology experiments. The Society of American Magicians honors him by annually presenting Milbourne Christopher awards to various magicians.

Frank Trado (1904-1980) and Pete Trado (1904-1969) were twin brothers who worked as a comedy duo. There is no Wikipedia entry for them, but I did find a picture of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Trado and their dog Sheba. They look reasonably happy (except maybe for Sheba).


The princess and Abbey’s

From the April 8 1940 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, two unrelated items:

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Queen Farida (1921-1988) was the Queen of Egypt for nearly eleven years, between 1937 and 1948, before King Farouk divorced her. The daughter mentioned in this article was Princess Fawzia Farouk (1940-2005), who became an athlete, a pilot, a sailor, and a professional interpreter, becoming fluent in five languages; this last enabled her to earn her living after she lost her royal status. The last years of her life were tragic: she contracted multiple sclerosis, which left her paralyzed and bedridden.

Abbey’s Effervescent Salt appears to be yet another of the endless stream of patent medicines advertised in newspapers. I couldn’t find out what it was, but I did discover that the Klondike Official Guide recommended that gold-seekers bring an ample supply of Abbey’s Effervescent Salt to the north with them. Presumably, it was important to clear your system regularly while moiling for gold.


A good, jolly dance

Here’s an ad from the September 5 1913 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

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I have no idea why the letters c and t were joined with that strange loop, but I guess font design was different back then.

The Victrola was a brand of gramophone invented by the Victor Talking Machine Company, and was designed to look like a piece of furniture. More details on it can be found here.



Here’s what the world of computing looked like in the late 1970s, courtesy of the June 8, 1977 edition of the Toronto Star:

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Back then, a computer was an enormous machine that was kept in a special room, and it had about as much computing power as your toaster now has.

By the way, $14,000 wasn’t a bad annual wage back then, especially for a job at which post-secondary education was not essential. Minimum wage at the time was $2.65 an hour, and when I started my first co-op programming job three years later, in the summer of 1980, I was making $190 per week.


A man talks to women

“A Man Talks To Women” was a regular column that appeared in the Toronto Daily Star around the time of the Second World War. Here’s the entry for April 8, 1940, which expresses some, um, traditional viewpoints on the relationships between young men and young women:

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George Anthiel (1900-1959) led a varied life. Besides being an advice columnist, he was an avant-garde composer, a mystery writer, and the co-inventor (with actor Hedy Lamarr) of a frequency-hopping method of ensuring that signals to radio-guided torpedoes are not jammed. (The Scientific American article on this is here.)

Anthiel also appears to have been something of a creep. He wrote a series of articles on how to detect the availability of women based on “glandular effects”, with titles such as “The Glandbook For The Questing Male”, which is seriously icky. Gizmodo has an article on this; apparently, Ms. Lamarr first approached Anthiel because she wanted information on how to increase her bust size, and the conversation apparently turned to torpedoes after she figured out that he knew nothing about enhancement.