Famous model killed

Here’s a sad bit of filler from the February 11 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

Google searches for more information led me down an odd rabbit hole. It turned out that the model for the Paris statue of Joan of Arc was an 18-year-old girl named Aimée Girod. Unfortunately, she did indeed burn to death in her apartment, but the references that I found (here, here, and here) claimed that this happened in May 1937.

So now I’m confused. Either a different woman, claiming that she was the model for Joan of Arc, was also unfortunate enough to burn to death, or all of the sources available to me today on the Internet have her date of death wrong.


Seeks career

Here’s a picture from the photo page of the February 11 1936 Toronto Daily Star of a boy from New Zealand who was hoping to have a career in motion pictures.

As it turned out, Ronald Sinclair (1924-1992), whose given name was Richard Arthur Hould, had not one career but two in the movies after landing in San Francisco at the age of 12 (not 14 as stated in the photo). Between 1936 and 1942, he appeared in 16 movies as a juvenile, including playing young Scrooge in the 1938 version of A Christmas Carol. In his first films, he was billed as “Ra Hould” before taking his stage name.

After serving in World War II, Sinclair started editing films in 1955, working extensively with independent filmmaker Roger Corman. Beginning in the mid-1980s, he worked as a dialogue or ADR (Automated Dialogue Replacement) editor, working on the first two Die Hard movies among others, and continuing at this task on various projects until the year that he passed away.

It’s safe to say that Sinclair, or Hould as he then was, did achieve his dream of a film career. But he could not have imagined, as he was leaving the H.M.S. Makura in 1936, that one day he would be editing a film titled The Maltese Bippy.


On a bicycle for two

Here’s a photograph from the November 14 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of two British industrialists on a tandem bicycle.

William Morris, 1st Viscount Nuffield (1877-1963) made a fortune selling Morris motor vehicles and then proceeded to give lots of it away. The grant mentioned here was used to found Nuffield College, the first co-educational college at Oxford.

Unfortunately, the contract to build airplane engines mentioned in this photo caption didn’t work out. When given the contract, Nuffield claimed that his factories could produce 60 Spitfires a week. But, by May 1940, when airplanes were most needed, they hadn’t produced any. When Lord Beaverbrook was placed in charge of aircraft production, Nuffield was fired.

On the other hand, Nuffield offered to give an iron lung to any hospital in the British Empire that wanted one; over 1700 took him up on his offer. So I guess you win some and you lose some.

Harold Bowden (1880-1960) set his sights a little lower in life, possibly because he was a second-generation industrialist: his father, Frank Bowden, founded Raleigh Bicycles in 1887, after a health scare prompted him to take up cycling. The younger Bowden seems to have been a capable steward of his father’s company: he was awarded the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire in 1929, and he got his own page in the Cycling Weekly’s Golden Book of Cycling in 1938.


On eve of better times

Here’s an article from the November 14 1936 Toronto Daily Star featuring an interview with a retired Canadian banker.

John Aird (1855-1938) joined the Canadian Bank of Commerce in 1878. The 1879 Toronto city directory lists a John Aird as a clerk – I’m assuming that this is him:

I would guess that William Aird was his father. Mr. Aird rose from the rank of clerk to become president of the bank from 1924 to 1929. His grandson, John Black Aird, was the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario from 1980 to 1985.

When not doing banking stuff, Mr. Aird became the head of a royal commission on radio broadcasting, called (not surprisingly) the Aird Commission. In 1929, the commission recommended the founding of a public broadcasting network. This didn’t happen until 1932, when the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission was created to form what became the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

In the article shown here, Mr. Aird predicted that better times were ahead, provided that there were “no international complications to disturb world affairs”. It’s probably just as well that he didn’t live to see the Second World War.


Viking Revellers

Here’s an ad from the November 14 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star for an upcoming radio broadcast:

It seems a shame that the Viking Revellers were only allotted 15 minutes for their show. There’s not a lot of revelling that you can do in that short of a time period.

A search for Viking Revellers turned up nothing relevant. I discovered that Roy Locksley was a trumpet player and had an orchestra, but I didn’t find a lot of details.


Ark for 1938

The photo page for the November 14 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this fascinating picture of a man who was building a giant ark.

A search for “William Greenwood ark” turned up several references to Mr. Greenwood and his preparation for an impending flood. Weird Universe has an article on him, which mentioned that Mr. Greenwood had been building an ark since the 1920s (other sources say 1920), and had predicted an impending deluge in 1928, 1932, and then 1938. In 1942, the city of Olympia burned his ark, claiming it was a fire hazard; he promptly built a smaller one, and predicted a 1952 flood. He passed away in 1958 at the age of 91, surrounded by the animals that he hoped to save with his ark.

Other links to Mr. Greenwood and his ark can be found here, here, and here. (The last link requires either a subscription or disabling your ad blocker.)


For the world’s heavyweight championship

Here’s an ad that appeared in the October 14 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

I was a bit confused by this, until I realized that the world’s heavyweight championship mentioned here was for wrestling, not boxing.

Dean Detton (1908-1958) was world champion from September 1936 to June 1937, losing his title to former football great Bronko Nagurski. He retired from professional wrestling in 1951 and ran a bar in California. Sadly, he hanged himself there in 1958.

I couldn’t find a Wikipedia entry for Fred Grobmier, but I did find this page in During his career, he was known as Fred Grebmire, Fred Grobmeier, Fred Grobmier, Fred Grubmaier, Fred Grubmeier, Fred Grubmeyer, Fred Grubmier, and Fritz von Mier. He was nicknamed The Iowa Cornstalk, perhaps because nobody knew how to spell his name.


Deer Park Livery

Here’s an ad for a taxicab service from the October 14 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

I looked up Deer Park Livery in the Toronto city directories:

  • They are listed in the 1936 directory as Deer Park Garage & Livery Limited at 1365-1371 Yonge Street, which is how they appear in the 1941 and 1946 directories.
  • By 1949, the firm had changed hands a couple of times, and was listed as simply Deer Park Livery Limited.
  • In 1951, they moved to 811 King West, which isn’t in Deer Park, if you want to get pedantic about it.
  • The last directory that Deer Park Livery appears in is 1960.
  • I have no way of knowing whether they were Toronto’s oldest livery, but they do appear in the 1915 city directory, so they had been around a while.

A search turned up this ad from the 1929 CNE program.


The winner is small

Here’s a photo from the October 14 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a auto race winner who won a trophy that he could fit into:

Tazio Nuvolari (1892-1953) raced motorcycles in the 1920s and cars after that. He won a total of 150 races, and Ferdinand Porsche called him “the greatest driver of the past, the present, and the future.”

There are a number of videos of Nuvolari on YouTube; this one, lasting 22 minutes, looks to be the most comprehensive.


S. Titchener Smith has returned

Here’s an ad for a dancing school from the October 14 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

When I did a search on S. Titchener Smith, I found a reference to him in this blog entry. His full name was Samuel Titchener Smith, and he had studied ballet at the Vestoff-Serova School in New York.

The article also mentioned that Mr. Smith had appeared a decade into the new century, so I started looking for him in the Toronto city directories about then. I first found him listed in the 1915 directory as a teacher, under the name of Samuel T. Smith. By 1925, he has started appearing as S. Titchener.

In the 1936 directory, his dancing studio was at 50 Yorkville Avenue. By 1938, his studio was at 646 Broadview, where he lived. In the 1947 directory, he was listed with no occupation, so I assume that he was retired.