I look years younger

Here’s an ad from the May 14 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star for Palmolive Soap:

Gladys Swarthout (1900-1969) auditioned for the Chicago Civic Opera Company while still a music student; she landed a place there despite knowing no operatic roles at the time. She made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera Company of New York in 1929, and appeared in a number of movies in the 1930s. She is the only woman ever to have sung in front of the entire Congress of the United States.

YouTube has a wide selection of samples of her performances, including “Last Night a Nightingale Woke Me” (1946).


Italian royalty

Here’s another photograph from the photo section of the May 14 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, featuring the future King of Italy on a foreign tour.

Umberto II (1904-1983) became the last King of Italy on May 9 1946 when his father abdicated the throne. The hope was that the change of monarch would influence the voting in an upcoming referendum to determine whether Italy would become a republic.

While King Umberto was praised for being more moderate than his father, the transition of power had no effect – Italy became a republic on June 12 1946. Umberto left the country to go into exile on the Portuguese Rivera; while he travelled extensively after that, he never set foot in Italy again. In fact, his heirs were banned from entering Italy until 2002.

Italo Balbo (1896-1940) was a Fascist who was widely considered to be Benito Mussolini’s eventual successor. He was accidentally killed by friendly fire when Italian anti-aircraft batteries mistakenly assumed that the plane he was travelling in was British.


A wheel gets ahead

Here’s a photograph from the May 14 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a race car that had unexpectedly lost one of its wheels.

Searches revealed that the driver’s name was likely Jack Ericson. Even today, this image is still available for sale as a poster (here and here, among others), though the date of the mishap now seems to be listed as 1937.

I could find no other information about Jack Ericson. The wheel flying off of his car appears to be all that is left of him in history.


At end of Australia-England flight

Here’s a photograph from the May 14 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of an aviator who had just made a solo flight from Australia to England.

Jean Batten (1909-1982) achieved a number of notable solo flight accomplishments in the 1930s:

  • May 8-23 1934: England to Australia (solo women’s record)
  • April 8-29 1935: Australia to England (solo women’s record; pictured here)
  • November 11-13 1935: England to Brazil (record time; fastest crossing South Atlantic Ocean; first woman to achieve this)
  • October 5-16 1936: England to New Zealand (world record)
  • October 19-24 1937: Australia to England

After all of this, she became, not surprisingly, the most famous New Zealander in the world.

In her later years, she became a recluse, living with her mother in various places around the globe. After her mother’s death, she retired to Spain. She passed away in 1982 after being bitten by a dog in Majorca and refusing treatment. She was buried under her middle name of Gardner, and her family did not learn of her death until 1987.


Heads tailors’ association

Here’s another photo of a man who received an honour significant enough to earn him his picture in the paper. This is from the February 4 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star.

I’m thinking that it’s pretty cool to be elected the international president of anything. I wonder how many countries this involved?

When I looked R.L. Hewitt up in the 1935 Toronto city directory, I found that he had an establishment at 89 King West, and lived in one of the Nanton Court Apartments that ran between 7 and 19 Nanton Avenue. He remained at his King Street location up until at least 1950. The 1953 directory lists him at his home address with no occupation, and the 1954 directory does not list him.

It’s hard to tell from Google Street View, but it looks like the Nanton Court Apartments are still standing. 89 King West has, of course, long since been replaced by a large office tower.


Medical officer

As I’ve often mentioned, I am fascinated by photos of people who have just been promoted to a new job. This one is from the February 4 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

As usual, out of curiosity, I looked Dr. Delamere up in the Toronto city directories. It turns out that Harold D. Delamere had found his niche in life when he was appointed Crown Life’s medical officer: he held the position for 25 years, as he was listed in this role in the 1960 directory. The 1961 and 1962 directories show him as at Crown Life, but no longer as medical officer; after that, he retired.

Unfortunately, he did not get to enjoy a long retirement. The 1963 and 1964 directories list him without an occupation, but the 1965 directory lists his widow.


Medical column

A regular feature of Toronto Daily Star newspapers of the 1930s was a syndicated column from Royal S. Copeland, M.D. Here’s the beginning of his column from the February 4 1935 edition:

When Royal S. Copeland (1868-1938) wasn’t busy writing newspaper columns, he had a day job: he was a Senator from New York, a position he held from 1923 until his death. He graduated from medical school in 1889, becoming a homeopathic physician, and was the mayor of Ann Arbor, Michigan, from 1901 to 1903.

Before becoming a Senator, his most noteworthy achievement was becoming president of the New York City Board of Health in 1918. He was given credit for keeping the city calm during the influenza pandemic, and introduced the concept of air conditioning to the Senate while he was there. He reportedly passed away due to overwork following a longer than usual Senate session.


Gives evidence

The February 4 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this ad for Fruit-a-tives, a “fruit liver tablet”:

The ad included a testimonial that included a sworn statement, apparently made before a notary, and on file in Ottawa. I wonder if anyone ever asked for it?

I looked Mrs. Grace Sansone up in the Toronto city directories. The 1935 directory listed Samuel Sanson working as a barber and living at 233 Melita; in other years, his name was listed as Sansone, so I think that the Fruit-a-tives company did have the name right. There was also a Grace Sanson in the 1940 directory, working as a ward aide at the Toronto Hospital for Consumptives and also living there; this might have been someone else.

Samuel Sanson or Sansone continued barbering into the 1960s. The 1962 directory lists him still working as a barber and living at 233 Melita. The 1964 directory lists him with no occupation, which presumably meant that he had retired. The 1965 directory, however, lists Grace as the widow of Samuel and living at 233 Melita.

233 Melita Avenue is a semi-detached house near Dupont and Christie; it looks pleasant enough.

Fruit-a-tives seems to have been used for a variety of purposes; besides clearing up Mrs. Sansone’s pimples, it was apparently also a laxative. A search yielded references to a 1931 pamphlet entitled Secrets of Health and Long Life and a medical handbook from about the time of the First World War.


Back at classes

The February 4 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this enigmatic bit of filler:

This was confusing. Why were doctors declining to comment?

A search of the Toronto Daily Star archives yielded this article from the February 2 edition, which provided an explanation:

And on February 5, the paper had this to say about young Mr. Griffin:

A Google search for Murray Griffin revealed that he played in the Canadian Football League for a number of teams in the 1930s and 1940s, winning the Grey Cup with Ottawa in 1940. Presumably, whatever was wrong with him in 1935 had no long-term effects, at least not for a few years.


Canada’s radio rally

Here’s an ad from the January 8 1935 edition of the Toronto Daily Star for an upcoming radio broadcast.

My first thought: while I genuinely believe that the Radio Rally broadcasted from all of the places that it said it did, listeners at the time would have had no way of knowing whether everything was just being simulated in a studio somewhere. I live in a more cynical age.

I looked up the Canadian-born stars in the list:

  • Walter Huston (1883-1950) eventually won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), which was directed by his son John. Three generations of his descendants have become actors and directors.
  • David Manners (1900-1998) was born Rauff de Ryther Duan Acklom, so you can’t blame him for taking a stage name. He appeared in a number of movies in the 1930s, including Tod Browning’s 1931 version of Dracula. He stopped acting in movies in 1936, became an American citizen in the early 1940s (after officially changing his name to David Manners), and quit acting entirely in 1953.
  • Rodolphe Plamondon (1876-1940) was both a tenor and a cello player. He had a long and distinguished career in Europe.
  • Fifi D’Orsay (1904-1983) was born Marie-Rose Angelina Yvonne Lussier in Montreal. Moving to New York to become an actress, she pretended that she was from France, presuming successfully that no one could tell the difference between Quebec French and France French. She was billed in the Greenwich Village Follies as “Mademoiselle Fifi”. She became an American citizen in 1936.
  • Ned Sparks (1883-1957) was a character actor best known for his deadpan expression (which wouldn’t have translated to radio) and his deep, gravelly voice (which would). He retired from movies in 1947.
  • I couldn’t find anything for Arlene Jackson.
  • John B. Kennedy (1894-1961) was a journalist, radio correspondent, and film narrator. His Wikipedia page lists him as American, but states that he was born in Quebec City; I have no idea when or if he became a U.S. citizen. He was 23 years older than John F. Kennedy, the future president of the United States, but pre-deceased him by only two years.
  • Jimmy Wallington (1907-1972) was a radio announcer and actor. His Internet Movie Database page states that he was born in Rochester, New York, so either this page has it wrong or he wasn’t actually Canadian.