Gable’s smile and Harlow’s hair

Here’s a photograph from the June 20 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, featuring a three-year-old boy with Clark Gable’s smile and Jean Harlow’s hair:


A Google search determined that this caption is inaccurate, as there was no one named Bobby Cook who ever appeared in a movie with Clark Gable and Jean Harlow around 1933.

This is likely a publicity shot for Hold Your Man, which was released a month after this photo appeared. The cast list for this movie includes Bobby Caldwell as the uncredited son of Gable and Harlow’s characters; the little boy in the photo was probably him.

Bobby Caldwell was born in 1928, so he would have been four, not three, when Hold Your Man was filmed. He went on to appear in a total of 14 movies, and was uncredited in all but two of them. His last film was in 1940; he passed away in 1982 at the comparatively young age of 54.


Wheat reports

The July 18 1933 edition of the Toronto Globe contained two filler articles reporting on how the wheat crop was doing in various parts of Canada.

First, there was a report from D. P. Weibe of Plum Coulee, Manitoba:


Twelve bushels per acre isn’t many by modern standards. By way of comparison, the average wheat yield in Canada in 2018 was 43.9 bushels per acre (down from 49.6 bushels per acre in 2017).

The news wasn’t any better in St. Thomas, Ontario:


Things might have been bad in 1933, but they got worse in 1934: on the Canadian Prairies, the drought was so bad that it created a dust bowl.



The Great Depression brought hard times to many people. The July 18 1933 edition of the Toronto Globe provided one example.


According to an inflation calculator that I found online, one dollar in 1933 was equivalent to $18.32 in 2018. So pensioners were expected to get by on the 1933 equivalent of today’s $274.80 per month.


Mountain goes bathing

The March 21 1933 edition of the Toronto Globe contained a brief article about a mountain in Colorado that appeared to be moving, following a rockslide:


The town of Durango apparently tried to market the moving mountain as a tourist attraction. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, the rockslides stopped in 1933.

You can now hike Carbon Mountain.


A tribute of respect

On March 21 1933, Eaton’s was closed all day as a gesture of respect, as the funeral for the widow of founder Timothy Eaton took place that afternoon. The Toronto Globe contained a note that mentioned this.


The late Mrs. Eaton had been a widow for over 26 years.


Champion beverages

The September 7 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this ad for O’Keefe beverages, in which they were endorsed by two famous rowers.


Bobby Pearce (1905-1976) was an Australian rower who won gold in the 1928 and 1932 Olympic Games. This did not protect him from the Great Depression: he entered the 1930 Empire Games in Hamilton, Ontario only due to the charity of friends. He managed to land a job in Hamilton after the games, which must have been a blessed relief.

Ted Phelps was a British rowing champion. He doesn’t have a Wikipedia page, but there is newsreel footage of him being interviewed, and I found an article on him and his brother Eric, both of whom were professional rowers.

Pearce and Phelps wound up in an O’Keefe ad because the World Sculling Championship took place in Toronto in 1933, in which Pearce beat Phelps before a crowd of approximately 30,000. Phelps had won the three previous titles, so this was an impressive accomplishment.

Pearce won the next two title matches, in 1934 and 1938, and retired undefeated. He spent the rest of his life in Canada, and is buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Toronto.


Little shrimp

I keep returning to the September 7 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star because there is so much there. Here’s an article about someone who would have been in line for the Worst Husband Award of 1933:


Claire Windsor (1892-1972) was a silent film star whose career did not survive the transition into talkies. She was born Clara Viola “Ola” Cronk, but officially changed her name to Claire Windsor in 1943; I don’t really blame her.

This excerpt reveals that Mrs. Read was eventually awarded $75,000, and Mr. Read was found guilty of stealing $11 from Ms. Windsor.


Grocery stores in 1933

I’ve been posting a lot from the September 7 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star because it has a lot of interesting stuff in it (naturally). This paper had three different ads for grocery stores.

The first was for Loblaw Groceterias (which eventually became Loblaw’s, then Loblaws). In 1933, they were already a retail giant, with nearly 50 locations in the city, including the 389 Spadina Road location mentioned here:


This is up from 28 locations in 1928. (By the way, I love the very idea of Dreadnought Toilet Rolls.)

A newer rival in the business was Adanac (Canada spelled backwards, of course), who weren’t in business in 1928, but by 1933 had opened 16 stores in Toronto and the surrounding suburbs:


The customer and grocer appear to be having a somewhat flirtatious conversation here!

The Adanac chain remained in business through 1948, with 30 branches listed in the Toronto city directory, but it is not listed in 1950.

Finally, there is an ad for an independent grocery store:


The Don Avon Marketeria remained in business until sometime between 1951 and 1956 (I didn’t narrow it down further). It’s interesting to me because you used to be able to see a faded ghost sign for it on the wall of the building that it was in:


This photograph was taken in 2001. The sign was difficult to read then, and it is now gone (the building has been repainted).


Baby Rose Marie

The September 7 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star had this ad for an in-person appearance:


Baby Rose Marie, later known as simply Rose Marie, started performing in 1926 at the age of three. At her peak as a child star, she had her own radio show, was a successful recording artist, and appeared in a number of movies. YouTube has a lot of footage and audio of Baby Rose Marie, including Don’t Be Like That (1929) and Take A Picture Of The Moon (1932).

As an adult, Rose Marie starred in several television series and touring plays, including the Dick Van Dyke Show from 1961 to 1966. People who grew up in the 1970s will remember her as a regular on The Hollywood Squares. She passed away in 2017 at the age of 94.

International House (1933), mentioned in this ad, was basically a collection of comedy and musical acts tied together with a thin plot. Many famous stars of the day appeared in it besides Baby Rose Marie, including George Burns and Gracie Allen, Cab Calloway, W.C. Fields, and Peggy Hopkins Joyce (previously mentioned in this blog here). YouTube doesn’t have the complete movie (oh well), but it does have a trailer.

As for Morning Glory, also mentioned in this ad: it’s quite possible that Katharine Hepburn became a lot of people’s favourite star after they watched this movie, as she won an Academy Award for it.


Serial stories from 1933

The September 7 1933 edition of the Toronto Daily Star was running two separate serialized novels: Bawbee Jock by Amy McLaren, and Swell Garrick by Roy Vickers.



The Furrowed Middlebrow site has biographical data on Emily Louisa “Amy” McLaren (1859-1935), who was a Scottish novelist. Bawbee Jock was published in 1910, and was about a woman who marries a Scottish laird without telling him that she is wealthy (which I guess is understandable, since they didn’t have prenups in those days). Ms. McLaren also wrote, among others:

  • The Davos Balcony (1903), about a woman who finds love while taking care of her aunt in a Swiss sanitorium
  • With The Merry Austrians (1912)
  • The Bonnie Earl (1926)
  • Devil’s Paradise (1929)

Roy Vickers (1889-1965) was an English journalist and mystery writer who wrote approximately 70 novels between 1921 and 1959. Swell Garrick was originally published in 1933 under the pen name of “John Spencer”, so it would have been a bit confusing (and a bit of a giveaway) when this serial was published under his real name.