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Perfect back contest

Sometimes I run across an article or photo that’s just plain weird. Here’s a picture from the photo page of the July 27 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star that falls into this category.

I have no idea why anyone would want to enter the National Progressive Chiropractors Association’s perfect back contest. I suppose that there was a prize of some sort, and it was the middle of the Great Depression, so people were looking to make money any way they could.

I could find no reference to the National Progressive Chiropractors Association or its perfect back contest anywhere. Searches for C. H. Wood indicated that he was a leading chiropractor in California at that time; his given name appears to have been Charles.

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The secret of charm

The July 25 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained two columns on the secret of charm, one from a woman’s point of view and one from a man’s:

Helen Morgan (1900-1941) has appeared in this blog before. She was a popular torch singer during the 1920s, appearing on stage and in New York nightclubs, one of which was called Chez Morgan. She battled alcoholism all of her life and died of cirrhosis of the liver.

Lowell Thomas (1892-1981) was a writer and broadcaster who was an early proponent of the travelogue, filming his travels to various places. His presentation on the war in Palestine was hugely successful in both the United States and England in 1919. He later moved to the radio, delivering talks about his travels and then branching out to stories about other people and news. He remained on radio until he retired in 1976.

Ironically, at the time of the column, Ms. Morgan was in the process of suing her second husband, Maurice “Buddy” Maschke III, for divorce. She married again shortly before her death. Mr. Thomas was more successful in love, as he was married to Frances Ryan from 1917 until she passed away in 1975.

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Abductors of girl?

Here’s a brief article from the July 25 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star that appears to be sad news.

I agree with the writer of this anonymous article: a car with a fictitious registration is a very bad sign. The odd part: poor Miss Duffy appears to have been a resident of Buffalo who was abducted from Columbus and then transported back to Buffalo. Sadly, this means that she might have been targeted.

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Knew man who fought at Trafalgar

Here’s the first part of an article from the July 26 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star about a man who was 95 years old:

The article listed his address as 17 Roxborough Street West, so I was able to trace Mr. Hector in the Toronto city directories. It looks like he made it to his 100th birthday or possibly even his 101st, as he is listed in the 1941 directory at this address. He is not listed in 1942.

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Arrived in Toronto

Here’s one last photograph from the June 30 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

A search for Miss Chrystothemis Papaynides turned up absolutely nothing. But this is because a search for Mrs. Stephen Ayton revealed that her surname was actually Papagiannides. She seems to have normally been known as Chryssa.

The search didn’t reveal whether she was successful at marathon swimming. I found a Find a Grave entry for her, which showed that she passed away in 1992 and is buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery. She outlived her husband by nearly two decades.

I also found that the Aytons had left a legacy: a scholarship that is awarded annually through the All Saints Greek Orthodox Church on Bayview Avenue. It was still being awarded as of 2020.

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Popular baritone

Here’s a publicity photograph from the June 30 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star.

A search for J. Barrett Maus turned up nothing, partially because there is a contemporary musician named John Maus who was born in 1980.

So I went looking for J. Barrett Maus in the Toronto city directories. I found out that he might have been leading a double life – or, more accurately, that he had a day job. The 1932 directory lists a “Barre H Maus” as a musician living at 512 Jarvis, and the 1933 directory lists him under his correct name as a vocal instructor at the same address. But the 1932 directory also lists a John B. Maus at that address and working as a sales manager at W. K. Buckley Limited, and the 1933 directory lists him as the general manager at General Health Remedies Limited. It’s possible that two separate people named J. Barrett Maus and John B. Maus were living together at the same address, but I’m going to make the reasonable assumption that they were the same person.

Going forward, I found J. Barrett Maus in the 1935 directory at apartment 10 of 91 Wellesley, working as a vocal instructor. His presumed alter ego, John B. Maus, was at the same address with no listed occupation. The 1936 directory doesn’t have a listing for either one of them, so I assume that he or they pulled up stakes and went looking elsewhere for work.

Going backwards, I found a listing for a John B. Maus at least as far back as 1925. But the 1931 address and occupation for this man were different from those of John B. Maus in 1932, so I have no idea whether they are different people. I like to think that, at about the time of this photograph, Mr. Maus decided to follow his passion. It’s not always possible to do this, and it was especially difficult to do this in the depths of the Great Depression. But at least he got to sing on the radio.

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Sweetheart of the rodeo

Here’s one more photo from the picture page of the June 30 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, this time of a young woman who was proclaimed to be Sweetheart Of The Rodeo.

A search for Maudine Creason didn’t turn up much. I found a photograph of her and a man named Marvin Hostler choosing workers for the Works Progress Administration in 1935. I also found her Find a Grave entry, which stated that she became Maudine Moss and passed away in 1972 at the comparatively young age of 63. (Her husband, five years older, outlived her by two decades.)

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Solely dependant

Here’s another photo from the June 30 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

Josephine Dunn (1906-1983) appeared in many films and Broadway theatre productions in the 1920s and 1930s before retiring from acting in 1938.

She had four husbands, of which Clyde Greathouse was the second. She and Greathouse divorced on October 26 1931; I could find no record of whether she actually received any alimony.

Her fourth marriage, to Carroll Case, lasted for 43 years until he passed away in 1978. Case was the son of Frank Case, who owned the Algonquin Hotel in New York, the home of the famous Algonquin Round Table.

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Demure, old-fashioned look

Here’s a photo from the June 30 1931 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of an actress wearing a dress that nowadays might be called “retro”.

Sylvia Sidney (1910-1999) was just starting a career in movies and television that lasted until 1996, when she played Grandma Florence Norris in Mars Attacks!. In 1973, she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams. She also appeared in the pilot episode of WKRP in Cincinnati.

She was married and divorced three times; one of her ex-husbands was future What’s My Line? panelist Bennett Cerf. When not acting, she wrote two books on needlepoint and raised pug dogs.

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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.