Discount clothing

In 1933, Canada was in the middle of the Great Depression. So it was not surprising that the January 3 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained a lot of ads for clothing on sale.

(I’m trying out the WordPress image gallery feature here – click on an ad to display it in detail.)

Of course, some of these firms would not likely have gotten business from anybody other than the very wealthy even before the depression – some of those furs are very pricey.


First baby born in year

The January 3 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star continues to be a source of material for this blog! Here’s a bit of filler from this edition that mentions the first baby born in Toronto in 1933:

Just for the heck of it, I decided to trace the Kerchers in the Toronto city directories. This proved to be very easy: Clarence H. Kercher had an unusual last name, and he remained at 65 Eastbourne Avenue for the rest of his life, working at CGE in one capacity or another until he retired. He is listed in the 1966 directory, and his widow is listed in the 1969 directory.

The 1955 directory contains the first appearance of Nancy Kercher, who is listed as a student at the same address. I would guess that she was the baby who was born at the start of 1933. She became a teacher: in 1958, she is listed as teaching at Northern Technical-Commercial School and still living at 65 Eastbourne. By 1963, she was at Cedarbrae School and still at 65 Eastbourne, which is where she was in 1969, the last directory that I can access online.

Google searches for Charles Kercher and Nancy Kercher turned up nothing, even given that I had her date of birth and occupation. 65 Eastbourne Avenue is a nice house in North Toronto; I can see why the family would not have wanted to move.


Alderman-elect ill

One of the things I enjoy most about old Toronto newspapers is their obsession with ensuring that every column of print is filled from top to bottom. This meant that each edition contained a number of items of filler.

Here’s a bit of filler from the January 3 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star about a Toronto alderman-elect who was recovering from influenza.

Happily, Robert Allen (1888-1969) recovered from his bout of influenza. He had previously served on Toronto city council from 1927 to 1930 before regaining office in 1933. In 1934, he was elected the provincial member of Parliament for Riverdale as a Liberal, losing to the Progressive Conservative candidate in 1937.

Mr. Allen’s son, William Allen, was Metro Toronto chairman from 1962 to 1969. The Allen Expressway is named after him.


Famous woman flyer

I’m continuing to find material in the January 3 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star! Here’s a photograph of an aviatrix who was planning to teach other women how to fly:

Ruth Elder (1902-1977) was one of the aviation pioneers who was good enough (or perhaps lucky enough) not to die young. Called the “Miss America of Aviation”, she was the first woman to attempt to travel across the Atlantic Ocean in a plane, trying this in 1927. She didn’t quite make it, but she and her pilot were rewarded with a ticker-tape parade anyway, and she was given a movie contract, appearing in some films in the late 1920s.

Ms. Elder gave a number of husbands “the air” in her lifetime, as she was married six times, including two divorces in 1932. Her sixth marriage, to Ralph P. King, lasted until her death. In later life, she was hired by Howard Hughes as an executive secretary; initially, he didn’t know who she was.

British Pathé has newsreel footage of the 1927 flight:

YouTube also has a number of videos of Ms. Elder, including this footage from 1935.


Welcome back, Alice Joy

Here’s the third of three photos from the January 3 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star featuring a woman with unusually thin eyebrows by modern standards. The previous two women had thin horizontal eyebrows, whereas those of singer Alice Joy were more curved but equally unusual:

Alice Joy, whose given name was Frances Holcombe, appeared on radio throughout the 1930s. Her show was titled Alice Joy, the Dream Singer, and Time magazine once stated that her voice had “a saxophone quality so deep that it might be a man’s”. I couldn’t find out anything about what happened to her after she stopped singing on the radio.

This link indicates that her show was sponsored by Prince Albert tobacco. (“Have you got Prince Albert in a can?”)


The It girl in London

Here’s the second of three photos from the January 3 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star that feature an actress or performer with thin lines for eyebrows. This one is of actress Clara Bow with her husband.

Clara Bow (1905-1965) was generally considered the most famous film star of the late 1920s, receiving 45,000 fan letters in the month of January 1929 alone. She rose to fame in 1927 when she starred in the movie It, which was an adaptation of a novella by British author Elinor Glyn. As a result, she was given the nickname “the ‘It’ girl”. (Ms. Glyn has previously appeared in this blog here.)

Unlike many celebrity marriages, the union of Ms. Bow and Rex Bell lasted, but unfortunately this did not ensure that she led a happy life. She developed mental health problems in the 1940s, became socially withdrawn, and attempted suicide in 1944. In the late 1940s, she was treated with electroshock therapy, and she spent the last years of her life alone in a bungalow.

Rex Bell (1903-1962) acted in films, mostly Westerns, between 1928 and 1936, with occasional parts after that. He later entered politics in Nevada, where he and Ms. Bow owned a ranch. He ran for the House of Representatives in 1944 and lost, but became the Lieutenant-Governor of Nevada in 1954. He remained in this office until he died of a heart attack.


A doggy game of tennis

One thing I noticed when I looked at photos of actresses and female singers in the January 3 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star was that the fashion at the time was for women’s eyebrows to be drawn or trimmed to be thin lines, which looks very unusual today.

The next three blog posts will feature photos of women with this look. The first is this photo of actress Fay Marbe with a tennis racket and a dog:

Fay Marbe (1899-1986) appeared in movies between 1920 and 1930 as well as appearing on the stage. By about the time of this photograph, she had retired from performing. Nothing exceptionally exciting appears to have happened to her during the rest of her life.

British Pathé has a film clip of her, in which she claims that she has insured various parts of her body for significant sums of money, including her legs for one million dollars.


In the swim of things

The photo page of the January 3 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star turned out to be a good source of material. Here’s a photo from that page of a family of swimmers from Milwaukee:

I did searches for Ruth Dierolf and Edward Dierolf and didn’t find anything, which suggests that the junior Dierolfs did not go on to noteworthy swimming careers.

I did find that an Edward D. Dierolf wrote a book in 1915 titled Swimming: Be Your Own Instructor. I strongly suspect that this was the man shown here as Pa Dierolf, but I have no way of knowing for certain. The Amazon link for the book contains the following excerpt from it:

Right here lies the starting point for them to gain that wonderful confidence, which in later years will prove that the child is as safe in the water as it is on land. Usually the mother becomes frightened and does not know what to do. She takes the babe out of the bath, pats it on the back and some times even tries to shake the little body, hoping that by so doing the water will come out of the nostrils.

I’m confused. Is the mother dunking her child into the bathtub?


Only a junior

Here’s a picture of a young billiards expert from the photo page of the January 3 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

I did a search for Art Judice, and found:

  • Information on business filings for Art Judice Family Billiards, which, presumably, he founded;
  • An article on pocket billiards in the January-February 1967 edition of DuPont magazine in which he is quoted;
  • His obituary, which stated that he passed away in 2012 at the age of 95.


Wedding bells and Christmas bells

Here’s a photograph from the December 26 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a film star who got married on Christmas Day.

Ricardo Cortez (1900-1977) had a Latin name and good looks similar to those of famous Latin screen stars such as Rudolph Valentino, but he was actually Jewish – he was born Jacob Krantz in New York City, and took his stage name to (quite understandably) make himself more bankable. When rumours of his true origin began to circulate, the studios tried to claim that he was French, and then that he was from Vienna.

When sound was added to movies, Mr. Cortez’s career was revitalized, as his New York accent made him the perfect bad guy. He appeared in over 100 movies, and also directed some low-budget pictures between 1938 and 1940. He retired from the film business in the 1950s and became a stockbroker.

Mr. Cortez was a widower when he married Christine Conniff Lee; his first marriage, to actress Alma Rubens, ended in 1931 when she passed away from pneumonia. His marriage to Ms. Lee didn’t last; they divorced in 1940.