A smart junior hurdler

Editors used to sometimes add outlines in old newspaper photos to help the reader distinguish foreground from background. The July 3 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contains a particularly clumsy example of this.


Sadly, the “smart junior hurdler” now looks like he was drawn in crayon.

Arthur Ravensdale (1911-1975) continued to compete in the hurdles until the British Empire Games of 1934, despite breaking his hip while playing rugby. A street in his native Cobourg is now named after him.

Here is footage that includes Ravensdale winning in a hurdles event.


Giant football

Here’s a publicity photograph from the September 23 1930 Toronto Daily Star showing three members of the University of Southern California Trojans football team.


There are Wikipedia entries for two of these three men:

  • Erny Pinckert (1908-1977) played in the NFL between 1932 and 1940. He was the younger brother of astrologer Jeane Dixon.
  • Tay Brown (1911-1994) went on to coach college basketball and football.



Weather Control Bureau

The September 23 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this fascinating photograph of a man who claimed that his Weather Control Bureau could control whether it rained or not.


The American Heritage website has an article on Dr. G. M. Sykes – or, to give him his full name, George Ambrosius Immanuel Morrison Sykes. He was actually from Burbank, California, and he was hired in 1930 by New York’s Belmont Park Raceway as a professional rainmaker. I suggest reading the article to find out more (spoiler: it didn’t work).


TTC trivia

The November 17 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained two bits of filler about the TTC:



107 derailments in six months is a lot of derailments – it’s good that they fixed that. As for the transfers: I guess that 31,717,000 riders got a transfer just in case and decided that they didn’t need it.


Helen Kane in person

If you were to read the November 17 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, you would repeatedly learn that you had an opportunity to meet actress Helen Kane.

First, there was an ad for the Imperial Theatre, where Ms. Kane was to appear:


The first 250 ticket-buyers received a photo of Ms. Kane. She did not appear in A Lady Surrenders, so I’m not sure why she was in town at that time. Perhaps she was just visiting.

The Innis Permanent Wave Shoppe claimed that Ms. Kane patronized their establishment:


The Innis Permanent Wave Shoppe was run by a man named Lloy Innis (the 1930 directory lists him as Lloyd, but later directories have Lloy). His shoppe appears in the 1935 directory, but by 1940 he had joined forces with someone named Shortt (whom I couldn’t find in the directory) to form the Innis & Shortt Beauty Salon.

And the Daily Star ran a contest that offered readers the chance to see her in person:


Helen Kane (1904-1966) was the inspiration for the animated cartoon character Betty Boop. Her most famous song was “I Want To Be Loved By You” (this title uses the passive voice, but whatever). I find her voice to be an acquired taste.



The June 11 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star told the story of an unfortunate young man who accidentally killed himself while playing with a shotgun. For some reason, the Star printed three separate entries on this tragedy.

First, there was an article at the front of the paper:


A few pages in, there were photographs of the unfortunate victim and the even more unfortunate girl who witnessed his shooting:


And, near the end of the paper, there was another article describing the tragedy:


This last article seems to have been added because it contains quotes from the girl and from the brother of the dead man. I would guess that different editors worked on the separate articles and no one noticed that the same news item was appearing repeatedly.


Shriners on parade

The June 11 1930 edition of the Toronto Daily Star featured a number of articles and advertisements related to the Shriners convention that was in town at that time.

First, there was a feature article on the Shriners parade itself:


The Shriners’ arrival created logistical problems, especially for those unfortunate residents who lived near the parade route:


And there were articles about issues that occurred when residents were expecting to put Shriners up as boarders but didn’t get them:



A number of advertisements were written especially with Shriners in mind. There were two ads for cigarettes:



(“Es selamu aleikum” is an approximate rendering of the Arabic “peace be upon you”.)

There was also an add for Dunlop Maxfli golf balls:


You could choose the Spotkwick marking!

Last but not least, the railway companies provided information on how to get into and out of the city:


These phone numbers were likely very heavily used during the convention – many Shriners would have been travelling by train, as travel by air was not in common use.



The February 22 1930 Toronto Globe contained two references to singers.

The first was for a concert at Massey Hall:


Cyrena van Gordon was the stage name of Cyrena Sue Pocock, a contralto who performed in Chicago and other major American cities from 1913 to at least 1935. She can be found on YouTube.

The second was a photograph of a soprano scheduled to perform on the Canadian National Railways All-Canada Symphony Hour:


A Google search for Marjorie Candee turned up nothing, and I couldn’t find her in the Toronto city directories or on YouTube. (The only Candee I could find in the Toronto city directory was Charles N. Candee, the president of the Gutta Percha and Rubber company, who unfortunately passed away around that time; he is in the 1933 directory, but his widow is listed in 1934.) Ms. Candee appears to be lost to history.


Dictator of women’s fashions

The Eaton’s ad on the last page of the February 22 1930 Toronto Globe contained this offering of white gardenias:


Patou, the “dictator of women’s fashions”, was almost certainly Jean Patou (1880-1936), a French fashion designer and perfume maker. His design career was ended shortly after this ad by the Great Depression, so he retreated into perfumes. When he died in 1936, his sister and her husband continued on as the House of Patou, which (under various designers) designed women’s clothing until 1987.


Solve this puzzle

The February 22 1930 edition of the Toronto Globe included this unusual ad, which gave away a car for solving a puzzle:


Searching the Toronto city directories reveals that the Gallois Laboratory Co. was a relatively new business. There is no entry for it in the 1925 directory, and the 1928 directory lists Walter Gallois-Kriesi as a maker of “toilet preps” at 1078 Danforth.

The 1930 directory lists Gallois Laboratories as being run by Walter and Rachel Gallois-Kriesi. Both Walter and Rachel have directory listings under their own names, which suggests that Rachel was a sibling of Walter, rather than his wife; the city directories tended to only list men (probably because of sexism). The laboratory appears in the 1932 directory, but the 1933 directory just lists Walter, and lists no occupation for him; there is no entry for Rachel. Walter’s last appearance in the city directory is in 1935.