One of the strangest cameras

Here’s a photo from the October 23 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a man who had invented a camera that could photograph the stomach.

Searches turned up some references to John Falenks and his invention:

  • A patent for apparatus for automatic inflation of cavities of the body, which was granted to Diversified Medical Corporation in 1972. Dr. Falenks apparently invented this apparatus.
  • A 1970 patent for the stomach camera itself, also assigned to Diversified Medical Corporation. Dr. Falenks now lived in Red Hook, N.Y.
  • A reference to Dr. Falenks in Close Encounters of the Worst Kind, a 2007 memoir by composer Phillip Lambro. When Mr. Lambro met the good doctor, he was “elderly, dimunitive, impoverished, and good-hearted”. You can buy this book from Amazon for $48.89.


Charming young miss

Here’s one last photo from the picture page of the June 23 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

As always with a photo like this, I’m looking at it from a more modern perspective, thinking that no parent nowadays would want a photo of their child in the newspaper. But, at the time, I assume that Mr. and Mrs. T. Burt were proud of their child and wanted to show her off.

I looked up the Burts in the Toronto city directories. In the 1930 directory, Thomas C. Burt is listed as a salesman for Harvey E. Dodds and living at 229 Davisville Avenue. (There is an apartment building there now.) By 1935, Mr. Burt was a salesman for Eaton’s and had moved to 4 Miranda Avenue.

He remained at Eaton’s for all of the time that I tracked him, rising to section head by 1945. In 1952, he was still a section head, but was now living at 61 Dequincy Boulevard in North York. (This house has been remodelled since the Burts lived there.) In 1955, he was at 27 Wentworth Road. (I think this is now 27 Wentworth Avenue, but I’m not sure, as the 1955 directory doesn’t list Wentworth Road/Avenue in its Streets section.)

I never found any references to Marilyn Burt in the Toronto city directories, though I did find references to someone of that name in some society pages of the Daily Star in the late 1940s. I checked the city directories up to 1955, but I didn’t check every year, so I just might have missed finding her.


Interesting camera study

Here’s another item from the photo page of the June 23 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star. This was a studio portrait of a man who was considered an interesting camera study.

I looked up J. J. Kelso in the 1930 Toronto city directory. Not only was he there: his name was in bold face. He was listed as Superintendent Children’s Aid Branch, Parliament Buildings, and his home address was 96 Albany Avenue.

Searching in later directories revealed bad news. The last year that Mr. Kelso was listed at his post was 1934. The 1935 and 1937 directories list him at 96 Albany (as John J. Kelso), but with no occupation, and the 1938 directory lists his widow, Irene M. Kelso.

96 Albany Avenue still stands – it seems to be a nice enough house.


Reported betrothed

The photo page from the June 23 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star is turning out to be a useful source of material! Here’s another photo from that page, of a princess rumoured to be betrothed to a prince:

As it turned out, Princess Maria and the Prince of Asturias did not get married after all. From the princess’s point of view, this might have worked out for the best.

Alfonso, Prince of Asturias (1907-1938) has been mentioned in this blog before. He renounced his rights to the Spanish throne in 1933 when he decided to marry a commoner, Edelmira Sampedro y Robato. At this time, he was given the courtesy title of Count of Cavadonga. He eventually divorced, remarried and divorced again, and moved to the United States. In 1938, shortly after stating that he would be happy to become the King of Spain if someone asked him to (no one did), he died in a car accident from internal bleeding, as he was a hemophiliac. The driver of the car, Mildred Gaydon, was charged with manslaughter but eventually freed.

By the time Princess Maria Francesca of Savoy (1914-2001) finally got married, Alfonso had already passed away. Her groom was Prince Luigi of Bourbon-Parma; they married in 1939 and had four children. Except for being interned by the Nazis during the Second World War, nothing particularly memorable happened to her. (Her husband doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page of his own!) She stuck around until the dawn of the 21st century, outliving her husband by over 34 years and her former alleged betrothed prince by nearly 63 years.


Riding in ancient gilded coach

Here’s a photo from the picture page of the June 23 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star that features a princess in an ancient gilded coach.

Princess Elsa Lichtenstein (1875-1947), born Elisabeth von Gutmann, was already a widow when she met Prince Franz of Lichtenstein in 1914. It was something of a May-December romance, as the Prince was more than two decades older than she.

The prince’s older brother, Prince Johann, who had been ruling Lichtenstein since 1858, disapproved of his younger brother’s new flame. Despite this, the two married secretly in 1919 and remarried openly in 1929 when Franz succeeded his childless brother as ruler.

The Princess remained the first lady of Lichtenstein until 1938, when three things happened more or less at the same time:

  • Her husband abdicated in favour of his grandnephew.
  • Her husband then passed away.
  • Neighbouring Austria was annexed by the Nazis.

Since the Princess had been born Jewish before converting to Roman Catholicism in 1899, she prudently fled to exile in Switzerland, where she passed away nine years later.

Maria Theresa Walburga Amalia Christina (1717-1780), the woman that Princess Elsa was portraying, ruled the Habsburg empire from 1740 to 1780 while giving birth to the last fourteen of her seventeen children. She was, technically, the last of the Habsburgs: she was succeeded as ruler by her eldest son, Joseph, who founded what became known as the House of Lorraine. The second-last of Maria Theresa’s children was Marie Antoinette, the last queen of France.


To sample life in Orient

Here’s a short article from the June 23 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star discussing a new posting for Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s daughter and her husband.

In this article, I’m not sure whether “pompous marriage” was intended as a slight, or whether it was a literal description of a ceremony that involved a lot of pomp. Either way, there were 4000 guests at the wedding, so it was a major event.

After moving to Shanghai, the young couple remained there long enough for Mrs. Ciano to give birth to their son, Fabrizio Ciano. In 1932, they returned to Italy, where Galeazzo Ciano (1903-1944) became Minister of Foreign Affairs. In 1943, he became an opponent of his father-in-law, for which he was arrested, charged with treason, and executed.

Edda Ciano (1910-1995) escaped to Switzerland disguised as a peasant woman, carrying her deceased husband’s wartime diaries with her. They were published, and are considered an important historical source. After the war, she was sentenced to two years in prison for having helped the Fascists do Fascist things. She wrote an autobiography that was published in 1975, and she passed away in Italy twenty years later.

The Cianos’ son, the aforementioned Fabrizio Ciano, wrote a memoir of his own, titled Quando Il Nonno Fece Fucilare Papà, which translates as “When Grandpa Had Daddy Shot”. He passed away in 2008.


Small moustaches

When looking at the June 23 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, I noticed that small moustaches must have been in fashion. I found two photographs of men wearing what would now seem like very unusual facial hair. Presumably, this facial style disappeared when Adolf Hitler, who wore a similar moustache, became prominent.

The first of these men was a victim of a horrible tragedy:

I found Lorne H. Webb in the 1930 Toronto city directory – he was working as a hairdresser before drowning less than a week from his wedding day. All I can do, over 90 years later, is express condolences and briefly bring back his memory.

The second man with a small moustache was someone aspiring to become a politician:

W. Garfield Case (1898-1959) did not win the Dufferin and South Simcoe seat in the 1930 election. He later moved to Owen Sound, becoming president of the Owen Sound Liberal Association.

At some point, he must have become disgruntled with the Liberals, as he ran for office in Grey North in 1940 for the National Liberal Progressive party, finishing third. He became mayor of Owen Sound in 1942, winning again in 1943 and 1944.

He tried again to enter Parliament in a 1945 by-election, running for the Progressive Conservatives against Andrew McNaughton, who had just been appointed Minister of Defense. Case won in an upset, and then held his seat in the next full election held later that year. He was defeated in 1949 and lost again in 1953. (In the 1945 election, McNaughton tried to win again from a riding in Saskatchewan and lost, forcing him to resign his ministerial post.)

Case appears to have come to an end almost as tragic as that of poor Mr. Webb. His Wikipedia page reports that he was admitted to Sunnybrook Hospital in 1959 for psychiatric treatment, and then passed away two months later, one day before his 61st birthday. This page provides more details on his life, along with photos of a couple of items that appear to have belonged to him.


Leg broken in motor crash

The June 23 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this short article about an unfortunate motorcycle police officer who broke his leg in a collision.

Naturally, I was curious about Motorcycle Officer Wrigglesworth, so I looked him up in the Toronto city directories. Sure enough, I found him in the 1930 directory as George Wrigglesworth, working as a police constable in Station 2 and living at 133 Montgomery.

By 1935, Officer Wrigglesworth had moved to 181 Woburn Avenue, where he remained for some time. He was listed as being in the police force up until 1942, and then had no listed occupation from 1943 to 1947. By 1949, he had started a new career as a splicer’s helper with Bell, eventually becoming a splicer himself. The 1960 directory still lists him at Bell and now living at 30 Marsha Drive in Agincourt; I didn’t trace him after that.

It was not possible to trace M. Orth, the man or woman whose car collided with the unfortunate officer, as Islington was not listed in the Toronto city directory in 1930. I couldn’t find an M. Orth in the 1935 directory either.


Third and final recital

Here’s one last post from the May 3 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, featuring an ad for an upcoming cello recital:

Boris Hambourg (1885-1954) was born in Russia. He was one of three brothers who each learned a musical instrument: Mark, the oldest, played piano, and Jan, the middle brother, played violin. Boris, the baby of the family, started on piano and switched to cello. Collectively, the three played together as the Hambourg Trio.

Mr. Hambourg became a naturalized Canadian citizen in 1910, eventually settling in Toronto. When not touring, he taught at the Hambourg Conservatory of Music.


Marilyn Miller in person

Here’s an ad from the May 3 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star for a radio presentation of a musical.

It’s interesting that they listed the start time in both Daylight Saving Time and Eastern Standard Time. In Ontario at that time, DST started on the last Sunday in April unless that Sunday was on April 25, in which case DST started on May 1. This is a bit confusing, which might explain the multiple start times.

Marilyn Miller (1898-1936) was a tap dancer, singer, and actress, and was a Broadway star in the 1920s and early 1930s. She started her career young, first appearing on the stage at the age of four as part of a family vaudeville act. She first achieved fame in the stage version of Sally, which ran for 570 performances starting in 1920.

Sadly, Ms. Miller did not have a long or happy life – she was plagued by alcoholism and sinus infections. She died from complications following surgery on her nasal passages.

Ms. Miller was married four times. Her second marriage was to Jack Pickford, brother of Mary, who was battling alcohol and drug addictions and was apparently abusive. Her fourth and final marriage was to Chester O’Brien, a chorus dancer eleven years her junior. O’Brien went on to become a stage manager; he was the production stage manager for Sesame Street for over ten years. He occasionally appeared on the show as Mr. Macintosh, a fruit and vegetable vendor, from 1975 to 1992.

A movie version of Sally was released in 1929, featuring Ms. Miller in the starring role. YouTube has several clips of her and of this movie, including this sequence that is partly in black and white and partly in colour.