If you were reading the January 16 1937 edition of the Toronto Daily Star and were interested in wanting to hear an evangelist preach, the paper offered at least two options:

The Assemblies of God website has a page on Otto Klink (1888-1955). As a young man attending university in Berlin, he was sentenced to two months in prison for making a speech that was interpreted as inciting rebellion against the German Crown Prince. Emigrating to New York in 1909, he became part of an anarchistic society called the Red Mask, which planned to assassinate President William Howard Taft. He married a Pentecostal woman in 1917, and became a minister in 1923.

Joseph A. Synan served as a bishop of the Pentecostal Holiness Church for 24 years. His son, H. Vinson Synan, became a noteworthy enough preacher to have his own Wikipedia page.


Crown Life director

If you’ve been reading this for a while, you probably know that I am fascinated by portraits of businesspeople who have just been promoted into a new job. When does a company decide that a person is important enough to have their picture sent to the newspapers?

The January 16 1937 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contains another example of this:

Usually, I have to dig through the Toronto city directories to find out what happened to the person in the photograph, but Norman Frank Wilson (1876-1956) was a former member of Parliament, so he was easy to trace.

Mr. Wilson represented the Russell riding from 1904 to 1908. He did not seek office again in 1908; another Liberal, Charles Murphy, won the seat and held it until 1925. Mr. Wilson apparently originally was a farmer before going into the insurance business; I could find out very little about him, including why he ran for office at a comparatively young age or why he left.

The most noteworthy thing about Mr. Wilson was that his wife, Cairine Wilson, was the first woman ever to be appointed to the Canadian Senate. She later became the first woman to serve as a Canadian delegate to the United Nations General Assembly and the first woman Deputy Speaker of the Senate.


Swiss miss to instruct Canadians

Here are photos from the January 16 1937 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a woman who was heading to Canada to instruct Canadian skiers.

A search turned up very little on Dinah Kuenzli:

  • Some race results from 1938.
  • The Canadian Ski Yearbook from 1936-37, which is basically a few ads and a painting on the cover. This features Ms. Kuenzli on page 5 (including one of the above pictures).

I would guess that her career was interrupted or ended by the war.


Concert and stage

The January 16 1937 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this set of photos and blurbs for upcoming performances:

I hadn’t heard of any of these people, so I looked them up on the Internet:

  • There is a web site devoted to Albert Hirsh’s life and career. He eventually settled in Houston, and was part of that city’s classical music scene for over four decades. The Houston Chronicle has his obituary.
  • Uday Shankar (1900-1977) was a dancer and choreographer who was a pioneer of modern dance in India. His younger brother, Ravi Shankar, was a musician who was primarily responsible for popularizing the sitar.
  • Olsen and Johnson were a vaudeville, radio, and stage act consisting of Ole Olsen (1892-1963) and Chic Johnson (1891-1962). Their revue, Hellzapoppin, ran for over 1400 performances on Broadway starting in 1938. (The movie version of the revue was released in 1941, and can be found on YouTube here.) Their humour could best be described as semi-organized mayhem, and they were not afraid to break the proverbial fourth wall; here’s a scene where a fight in the projection room causes the image on the screen to wobble.
  • John Charles Thomas (1891-1960) was a opera and concert singer who apparently did not like rock and roll. YouTube has a number of recordings of his, including him performing at the Metropolitan Opera in 1943.

Attendance below normal

When I was looking through the October 12 1937 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, I discovered that a polio epidemic had gone through Ontario in 1937, and that schools weren’t opened until after Thanksgiving.

Here’s the article on the reopening of schools in Toronto, in three parts:

Needless to say, this reminds me very much of the pandemic that we are currently enduring.

A search turned up this article on polio epidemics in Toronto. In 1937, 786 people – mostly young children – were afflicted in Toronto, and 20 died. At the time, the cause of infection was unknown. A larger epidemic paralyzed 11,000 people in Canada between 1949 and 1954, including Neil Young. The last major outbreak was in 1959, and vaccines brought polio under control by the early 1970s.



Here’s an ad from the October 12 1937 edition of the Toronto Daily Star for a new shoe store near Bloor and Yonge.

E. R. Cubbon had an unusual name, so it was easy to look him up in the Toronto city directories. Edward R. Cubbon is listed in the 1935 directory as the manager of the Cantilever Shoe Shop, just as his ad says; however, the 1937 directory lists him as a salesman at B. F. Goodrich. I guess he fell back on this when the store didn’t work out.

Unfortunately for Mr. Cubbon, his latest attempt at starting his own business didn’t work out any better than his previous one. The Cubbon Comfort Shoe Store is listed in the 1937, 1938, and 1939 city directories, but the 1940 directory lists Madge Harrison’s corset salon at 42 Bloor East, and Mr. Cubbon as having returned to B. F. Goodrich. He was still there as of 1950, so I guess he decided that running a shoe store was a risky business.


Cyclist’s cup

Here’s a photo from the October 12 1937 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a man who had just set a record for most miles cycled in a year.

René Menzies (1889-1971; dates approximate) had just beaten a distance record set by Walter Greaves of Britain, who had cycled 45.385 miles in 1936 despite having only one arm. Distance cycling was a hazardous sport, as the competitors were riding during the winter: Greaves fell off numerous times while achieving his record, and Menzies missed 24 days of riding when he fell and broke his arm while riding on an icy road.

Menzies eventually made it to 61,561 miles in 1937, but he was not the only cyclist trying to achieve a distance record that year. On the other side of the world, Australian Ossie Nicholson soon broke Menzies’ mark, piling up 62,657 miles. In 1939, the record returned to Britain, as Tommy Godwin rode 76,076 miles. This record stood until 2015.

During the Second World War, Menzies served as Charles de Gaulle’s chauffeur. After the war, Menzies vowed to at least beat Nicholson’s mark, and accomplished this in 1952, riding 62,658 miles. He beat Nicholson’s mark at 10:15 am of the last day of the year.

He apparently passed away in 1971 while pedalling around Hyde Park Corner in London; I couldn’t discover any details on what happened, including the exact date.


Twins make it double

Here’s a picture from the photo page of the October 12 1937 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of twins who married another set of twins.

A Google search revealed an article about the two couples that appeared in a Topeka newspaper in 2016. They operated a market in Topeka for 47 years from the 1940s through the 1980s, and lived together all that time.

Verna Murray passed away in 1996, the twin brothers died six months apart in 2000, and Vera Murray passed away in 2006.


Swordfish tops its captor

Here’s a photo that appeared on the front page of the October 12 1937 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

Leo Carrillo (1880-1961) started his career in vaudeville, and had his first Broadway credit in 1915. He appeared in feature films starting in 1929, and played Pancho on the television series The Cisco Kid from 1950 to 1956.

When not acting (or catching large fish), Mr. Carrillo was an ardent conservationist. A stretch of beach near Malibu, California, is named the Leo Carrillo State Park in his honour, and is a popular spot for surfers. YouTube has a video about his ranch, which is now also a park.


Popular third baseman

Here’s a photograph of baseball player Don Ross from the July 23 1937 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


I am fascinated by baseball gloves in old photos. How did players ever catch anything in those things?

Don Ross went on to play parts of seven seasons in the majors. He played right through the Second World War, which suggests that he had some medical condition that made him ineligible to serve. He passed away in 1996.