Montreal blueshirts hail leader

Here’s two photos from the February 5 1938 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a Quebec fascist who had just been acquitted of a charge of inciting students to riot.

Searches didn’t reveal too much about Dr. J. G. Lambert. Until earlier in the year, he had been a right-hand man of Adrien Arcand. Arcand was the head of the National Unity Party, which resulted from the merger of various provincial fascist parties, and he expelled Lambert from the party because of “insubordination”. Lambert then went ahead and formed his own fascist party.

I also discovered that Lambert’s medical practice was unorthodox: he believed that the eye was the mirror of the body, and that a close study of the eye would lead to an accurate diagnosis of any ailment.

I don’t know what happened to Lambert after this. Arcand’s National Unity Party was banned in 1940 and he was detained for the duration of the Second World War; after the war, he continued to try to put together various fascist organizations.


Shatters Empire record

Here’s a photograph from the February 5 1938 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a sprinter who had just set a record:

John Loaring (1915-1969) won a silver medal in the 400-metre hurdles in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. He won three gold medals at the 1938 British Empire Games in Sydney, Australia, winning the 440-yard hurdles and as part of the 4×110 yard and 4×440 yard relay teams. He died at a comparatively young age of cancer.


Uptown and Imperial

Here are two more photos from the February 5 1938 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of actors and performers who were about to appear at local Toronto theatres:

Grace Moore (1898-1947) was a soprano and actress who appeared in a number of movies in the 1930s. She caused controversy when, later in 1938, she curtsied to the Duchess of Windsor. One report claimed that she refused to perform on vaudeville bills that included black performers. She died in a plane crash near Copenhagen airport.

Frederic March (1897-1975) was born Ernest Bickel. He had a long and distinguished career, becoming one of only two actors to win two Academy Awards and two Tony awards (the other was Helen Hayes). In 1936, March co-founded the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League along with Dorothy Parker, among others.

Franciska Gaal (1903-1972) was a Hungarian actress. Her given name was Franciska Silberspitz, so you can’t really blame her for taking a stage name. The Buccaneer (1938) was her first film appearance in the United States; before that, she was in films in Hungary and Austria. She went back to Hungary in 1940 and stayed there for the duration of the war; she returned to Hollywood in 1947 but was unable to restart her career.



Here’s another in a series of photos from the February 5 1938 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of stars and the location of their upcoming attraction.

Boris Karloff (1887-1969) was the stage name of William Henry Pratt, who was a British actor best known for starring in Frankenstein (1931) and its sequels and for voicing the narrator and the Grinch in How The Grinch Stole Christmas, which was first broadcast in 1966. By the time he became the Grinch he, sadly, was in considerable pain, as he was down to one-half of a functioning lung due to emphysema.

Something I didn’t know about him until just now was that he spent time in Canada as a young man, working as a labourer for a couple of years before joining a theatrical troupe in 1911. The youngest of nine children, he thought of himself as the black sheep of the family because he had not pursued a career in the British Foreign Service like his brothers; when he finally met his family in 1933 after a long time away, his brothers crowded around him, demanding to be included in a publicity photograph with their famous sibling.

Beverly Roberts (1914-2009) appeared in a number of movies between 1936 and 1939 before returning to singing and stage acting. In the 1950s, she became a business executive in the entertainment industry. She also was a watercolor painter.

Ricardo Cortez (1900-1977) was born Jacob Krantz in Brooklyn. He has previously appeared in this blog here.

West of Shanghai (1937) starred Karloff as a Chinese warlord; Cortez and Ms. Roberts played a husband and wife. It was directed by John Farrow, father of Mia Farrow.


Toronto Symphony

As I mentioned yesterday, the February 5 1938 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained a number of photographs of performers and where they were appearing. Here’s another one:

Ernest Seitz (1892-1978) originally intended to have a career as a concert pianist in Europe, but World War I intervened. He returned to his native Toronto in 1914 and became a music teacher at the Toronto Conservatory of Music. He also performed throughout North America and was a composer and songwriter, writing popular songs under the name of Raymond Roberts. In 1946, he set aside his music career to be president of his family’s auto dealership.

Wikipedia claims that Ernest Seitz Park was opened in Toronto in 1984, but I could not find the park on Google Maps.


Tivoli and Casino

The February 5 1938 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained a number of photos of actors and performers and the locations in which they were going to appear either on film or on stage. Here’s the photos for the Tivoli and Casino theatres:

Charles Boyer (1899-1978) was an actor who divided his time between his native France and Hollywood. He remained a leading man in the movies well into the 1960s despite losing his hair and putting on noticeable weight. His most famous role was as Pepe le Moko in Algiers (1938); Warner Brothers animator Chuck Jones based his Pepe le Pew character on this performance.

Boyer was in France when war broke out, but the French government discharged him from the army and sent him to Hollywood, believing that he would be of most use as an actor. He became an American citizen in 1942.

Unfortunately, the end of his life was marred by tragedy. His only son committed suicide by Russian roulette in 1965, and he took his own life two weeks after his wife of 44 years died of cancer.

I could find nothing on Ellin Rita, the woman appearing in the revue at the Casino. She appears to be lost to history.


Keep fit and stay young!

Here’s a health club ad from the February 5 1938 edition of the Toronto Daily Star that caught my attention:

I looked the Premier Health Club up in the Toronto city directories and found that it stayed in business for most of the upcoming war: the 1944 city directory still lists it at 472-474 Church Street with Benjamin Stockley as its manager. The 1945 directory lists neither the Premier Health Club or Mr. Stockley; presumably, he left town.

He didn’t return after the war ended, as the 1947 directory does not list him. It lists a Benjamin Stockley as a foreman at Industrial Electroplating, but this isn’t him, as both Stockleys were in the 1944 directory.

In 1945, 472-474 Church Street became an Eaton’s warehouse. There is a high-rise building there now.


Home after Hollywood

Here is a photo from the February 5 1938 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of an English peer who had appeared in a Hollywood movie.

Charles Guy Fulke Greville (1911-1984), the seventh Earl of Warwick, was offered a film contract by MGM in 1936, but was dropped after six months. Paramount signed him in 1938, and he starred in Dawn Patrol using the stage name of Michael Brooke. He appeared in a few other movies that year and was then dropped again. While in Hollywood, he dated Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, and Paulette Goddard, among others.

The earl returned to England just before the Second World War, opening his ancestral home, Warwick Castle, to evacuees when Coventry was bombed. After the war, he bought homes in Switzerland, Italy, and France and divided his time between them, basically doing rich people stuff. He left England in 1969 to avoid income tax; his son sold Warwick Castle to Madame Tussauds, which led to a public disagreement between them.


Cooking school winners

The March 19 1938 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained some articles and advertisements related to a cooking school that the paper had recently sponsored. Firms that participated in or sponsored the cooking school raffled off prizes that could be won by attendees.

Here’s the results of one raffle:

Rosemounts (or Rosemounts Registered, as they were officially then known), was a jewellery store. In 1938, they had two locations: 280 Yonge and 1048 Bloor West. The Yonge Street location was gone by 1948, but the 1048 Bloor West location remained in business into the 1960s – it was listed in the 1963 directory, but not in 1968.

And here’s a photograph of a woman who was lucky enough to win the stove that was used during the cooking school:

According to the 1938 Toronto city directory, Thomas Cade was living at 255 Wellesley Street when his wife won the range. He had no listed occupation in the directory. This doesn’t necessarily mean that he was unemployed; but, if he was, I’m sure he was grateful that his spouse had struck it lucky.

I wasn’t able to trace the Cade family after that. There is a Thomas I. Cade in the 1939 directory, working as a “stkpr” (my best guess is stockkeeper) at Lever Brothers and living on Maitland Street, but I have no idea if this was the same person. Thomas I. Cade is listed as being on active service in 1941, but is not listed in the 1943 directory.

I also briefly looked up W. J. Packham, the man who presented the stove to Mrs. Cade. He is listed in the 1938 directory as a divisional manager at Canadian General Electric, living at 11A Bingham Avenue. I checked ten years later, and he was listed as an appliance sales manager at CGE and living on Chaplin Crescent in Forest Hill. I didn’t trace him after that.


For monthly lessons

Here’s a photograph from the March 19 1938 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of two brothers who travelled a long way once a month for music lessons.

Elsas, Ontario, is an unincorporated town near Kapuskasing. It hosted a Continental Wood Products Corporation mill between 1920 and 1928; the town was named after CWPC’s president, Herman Elsas.

It’s quite a trip from Elsas to Toronto. Nowadays, it takes 12 hours and 44 minutes to drive between them. The railway that would have taken the brothers to the city would have travelled on a slightly straighter route; still, it’s a very long trip to take, and it showed that the Wilcox brothers (or their parents) were seriously committed to music.

Google searches for the brothers didn’t turn up anything; they never made a career in music. Since Werdin Wilcox had an unusual first name, I was hoping to at least find out something about him, but unfortunately he appears to be lost to history.