The world at its worst

Here’s a sad syndicated cartoon from the November 28 1936 edition of the Toronto Globe and Mail:


Gluyas Williams (1888-1982) was an American cartoonist who appeared regularly in The New Yorker, among others, and was syndicated in a number of newspapers. He retired in 1953.


King Clancy

The November 28 1936 edition of the Toronto Globe and Mail included one page that had two ads featuring Toronto Maple Leaf star King Clancy.

The first ad was for a pair of skates that you could buy at Simpson’s:


The King himself was going to be at Simpson’s that day!

The second ad featured King endorsing Eno’s Fruit Salt:


I find it hard to believe that 7 out of 10 NHL players took Eno’s Fruit Salt regularly, but I do not know that for sure.

King Clancy (1902-1986) was at the end of his career when these ads came out – in fact, just about exactly at the end of his career, as he retired six games into the 1936-1937 season after a slow start. He later became an executive with the Leafs, holding that position until he passed away.

This blog has covered fruit salts a few times before – here’s the Wikipedia entry on fruit salt.


Entertainment options in 1936

I like saving ads for theatre, music, and other entertainment options from the old newspapers that I look at. If people wanted a day out or an evening out, what could they see?

Here’s a few listings from the November 27 1936 Toronto Globe:


Betty Fischer (later known as Betty-Ann Fischer-Byfield) had quite an interesting story. She was born in Kitchener, Ontario, and was abandoned shortly after she was born; she had a deformed leg and no complete fingers on either hand. She was adopted when she was four, and took up the violin almost immediately afterwards, winning a gold medal at the Kitchener Music Festival when she was 8. She went on to become a member of the Toronto Symphony, and died in 1979.

William Beebe (1877-1962) started his career working at the New York Zoological Park, for which he undertook a series of research expeditions. He gradually migrated into marine biology, and used his Bathysphere to set records for the deepest dive ever performed by a human.

The American Classics website has an entry on Blossom Time. It played continuously, somewhere in the United States, between 1921 and 1943.

The Rotten Tomatoes movie website gives Libeled Lady an 82% rating.


Advice for parents

So far, I have found three advice columns for parents from the 1930s and 1940s.

The earliest was from the January 7 1932 Toronto Daily Star:


I couldn’t find out much about Mrs. Gladys Huntington Bevans, other than that she (probably) lived from 1882 to 1947, and was the author of the 1930 pamphlet A Group of Simple and Beautiful Prayers and Graces for Children.

The next one is from the November 27 1936 edition of the Toronto Globe and Mail:


Angelo Patri (1876-1965) was a New York City school principal, syndicated columnist, and author. He wrote a number of books intended for adults, and some Pinocchio books for children. There is now a New York middle school named after him.

And, lastly, here’s a column from the February 8 1945 Toronto Daily Star:


Myrtle Meyer Eldred (1885-1978) started her newspaper column in 1918. A collection of her columns was published in 1931 and reprinted in 1951. One writer claimed that Ms. Eldred tended to think that all babies should be treated exactly alike, which is probably a bad thing.


The morning argument

The November 26 1936 edition of the Globe and Mail contained this pair of syndicated cartoons, bundled together as “The Morning Argument”:


Robert Quillen (1887-1948) was a journalist and humorist based in Fountain Inn, South Carolina. By the 1930s, his work was regularly appearing in over 400 newspapers. The cartoon in “Aunt Het” was drawn by illustrator John H. Striebel (1891-1962).

Claude Callan (1881-1956) was a humorist and newspaper columnist who lived in Texas. “Poor Pa” was created in 1925, and was syndicated in over 100 newspapers by the early 1930s. I’m not sure who the illustrator was, but “Poor Pa” looks a lot like “Aunt Het”, so it might have been drawn by Mr. Striebel as well.


Plum pudding recipes

The November 26 1936 edition of the Toronto Globe and Mail contained not one but two recipes for plum pudding.

The first was offered by physician Robert G. Jackson:


You might be wondering why 4 cups of Roman Meal are included in this recipe, and why the virtues of Roman Meal are praised in the text. This is because Robert G. Jackson, M.D., was the creator of Roman Meal. In 1927, Dr. Jackson wrote a book titled How To Be Always Well, which was apparently somewhat unusual. (The book is now in the public domain – you can get a copy here.) He was a millionaire by 1930, he apparently died in 1941 of complications from a broken hip, and his age was uncertain.

By the way, I couldn’t find a 582 Vine Avenue in the 1936 Toronto city directory. The correct address was actually 108-124 Vine Avenue, which was the location of Dr. Jackson Foods Ltd.; I guess that mail sent to Dr. Jackson at 582 Vine would have gotten to the right place. Dr. Jackson appears in the 1941 directory (by which time, he had moved to Markham), but he does not appear in the 1942 directory.

The second recipe for plum pudding is billed as A Neighbor’s Recipe. Since this uses the American spelling of “neighbour”, my guess is that it was provided by an American newspaper syndicate.


I don’t know anything about plum pudding (and, to be honest, I don’t care about it much one way or the other), so I have no idea which recipe is better. The main difference between the two seems to be that the first recipe uses Roman Meal and the second uses stale bread crumbs and milk. Given a choice, I’d probably pick the recipe that wasn’t a thinly disguised product ad.


King Edward VIII

For the last few days, I’ve been posting articles from the July 10 1936 Toronto Daily Star. At the time, Edward VIII was in the middle of his brief reign as King of England, before abdicating in December. There were two items in the paper related to the King.

The first was an ad for a portrait of the King, available to anyone who had bought at least one container of Bee Hive Golden Corn Syrup and one container of Durham Corn Starch:


The portrait was specifically designed for framing!

The other article was a bit of filler that described a vote of censure on Richmond Hill school trustees:


The King’s birthday was on June 23, which would have been close to the end of school term. Perhaps the Richmond Hill school was scheduling final exams during that week.


Helen Stephens

The July 10 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained an article on Helen Stephens, an American athlete.


The article isn’t exactly flattering (and contains an unfortunate typo of “bed” instead of “bet”). The woman she was compared to, Babe Didrickson, was a gold-medal winner at the 1932 Olympics and became a successful professional golfer and to pitch in two major-league baseball spring training games.

Ms. Stephens, who was 18 at the time,¬†went on to compete for the United States at the 1936 Olympic Games, winning the 100 metre dash and anchoring the women’s 4 x 100 metre relay team. She had to endure having to pass a “gender test” after being accused of not actually being a woman. After her race, she met Adolf Hitler, who apparently pinched her bottom.

She later owned a women’s semi-professional basketball team, and passed away in 1994.



The July 10 1936 edition of the Toronto Daily Star included some sayings listed as Chinese proverbs:


The one that I liked was “Do not remove a fly from your friend’s forehead with a hatchet.” A Google search for this saying listed several mentions of it as being a Chinese proverb, so maybe it actually is a Chinese proverb.

The “New Outlook” was probably the final version of The Outlook, a literary magazine based in New York City. It had already ceased publication by the time this article appeared; its last edition appeared in 1935.


Hot hot hot

During the second week of July 1936, Toronto was hotter than it had ever been before or has ever been since. According to the Environment Canada records, the temperature reached 40.6C on July 8, 9, and 10.

Naturally, the heat was the leading topic in the Toronto Daily Star for July 10 1936:


By July 10, 22 people had died in Ontario. The temperature had reached 103.7F by the time the Daily Star went to press (it was an evening paper at the time).

In Hamilton, it was even worse, as the temperature peaked at 108F, and factories were forced to cut back or shut down to protect their workers:


Five cities in Ontario topped 100F (assuming they got Brantford right, which was listed at both 99F and 100F). And several cities in the United States also hit three digits, and some western Canada cities pushed into the 90s:


It was so hot that:

  • Touching a cold bottle could cause it to shatter in a person’s hand.
  • Bees became homeless when wax from honeycombs melted and sealed the entrance to their hives.
  • Railway workers had to wear gloves to be able to handle steel rails.
  • And, yes, someone was able to fry eggs and bacon:


The Star’s editorial page listed the previous days that had gone over 100F since 1911. There hadn’t been many:


Naturally, advertisers were eager to offer suggestions on how to deal with the heat. Movie theatres that were air-conditioned proudly advertised the fact. And the makers of Eno’s Fruit Salt offered this suggestion for “coolth”:


The overnight low for July 10 was 25.6C, which was the highest overnight low temperature of the heat wave. This meant that the July 11 Toronto Daily Star headline featured more grim heat-related news:


The heat wave continued for several more days after this, with the highs for the next six days being 35.6C, 33.3C, 37.8C, 33.3C, 30.6C, and 31.1C. July 29 would have seemed blissfully cool, as the high that day was only 20C.