Front page filler

One of the reasons that I enjoy looking at old newspapers is the little bits of filler that they used to contain to ensure that columns contained no blank spaces. I assume that typesetters had a file of these on hand so that they could just slot one in when needed.

Sometimes, even the front page of the paper contained filler. For example, here’s some filler that appeared on the front page of the February 15 1938 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

Kew Beach United Church is now called Beach United Church, and still stands at its 1938 location. I couldn’t find the Toronto East Lions club in the 1938 Toronto city directory, and Eaton’s College Street is of course long gone.


New rave

The February 15 1938 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this promotional ad for an upcoming radio program:

Internet searches reveal contradictory information on the dates of birth and death for Rush Hughes. His Internet Movie Database page lists him as 1902-1978 (but gives him movie credits that don’t appear elsewhere); the Old Time Radio Downloads page lists him as 1902-1958, and another source lists him as 1910-1958. I’m going to go with 1902-1958.

A search for Borden Hughes-Reel turned up nothing, but a search on his name revealed that Hughes was a commentator on the NBC Red radio network. His commentaries were pre-recorded and delivered to subscribing radio stations, which is probably what the ad was for.

Hughes went on to host the New York version of the radio game show Pot O’ Gold, and then became a disk jockey in St. Louis in the late 1940s. While there, he was caught up in a ratings war before moving to Chicago.


Honeymoon Bridge collapse

The front page of the January 26 1938 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained a photograph of an ice jam that had collided with the Upper Steel Arch Bridge at Niagara Falls, known popularly as the Honeymoon Bridge.

The edition also contained an article (partly shown here) and additional photographs of the bridge, which had been closed to traffic that day for fear of structural damage.

The next day’s edition, on January 27 1938, included pictures of the heroic efforts that were being made to attempt to save the bridge:

Unfortunately, the efforts were unsuccessful – the bridge collapsed later that day. The January 28 1938 edition contained a photograph of the now-collapsed bridge.

The bridge was demolished over the course of the next three months. A new bridge, with higher abutments, was started almost immediately; called the Rainbow Bridge, it was completed in November 1941. It still stands.


Friend of the Maori

Here’s a photograph from the January 26 1938 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a woman from New Zealand who was familiar with the culture of the indigenous people of that country.

The Encyclopedia of New Zealand website has an entry for Bathia “Bathie” Stuart (1893-1987). After losing her husband to the 1918 influenza pandemic, she became a vaudeville and musical comedy artist in her native New Zealand, creating a show that included Maori women. The women taught her Maori songs and dances; she used this knowledge to become a New Zealand cultural ambassador in California, where she eventually relocated. She also appeared in movies, including The Adventures of Algy (1925).

She eventually expanded her cultural endeavours to include tours of North America. She also became a filmmaker, producing travelogues of most of the countries in the South Pacific area. For her efforts, the New Zealand government awarded her the Queen’s Service Medal in 1986.


K.O.’s rustlers

Here’s a short article from the January 26 1938 edition of the Toronto Daily Star about an upcoming movie featuring baseball star Lou Gehrig.

Reading this article is now a saddening experience, as Gehrig would not have known at the time that he had less than three and a half years left to live. Midway through the 1938 baseball season, he started complaining that he felt tired. By early 1939, his decline was noticeable; in June of that year, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – the fatal illness now known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

The journal Neurology has an article that stated that neurological researchers examined footage of Rawhide (1938) to determine whether Gehrig was experiencing symptoms of his illness at the time of the movie. Their conclusion was that he was not.

The movie premiered in Florida in 1938 while the New York Yankees (Gehrig’s team) were training there, and was released to movie theatres in April of that year. I couldn’t find any information on how well the 58-minute movie did at the box office. The Internet Archive has it available for free download.


Most likely to become stars

Here’s a collection of photographs from the January 26 1938 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of women who were considered likely to become stars. (I’ve divided the image into three parts to make it easier to view.)

All four of the women in this photograph series became successful enough to have Wikipedia pages, which is as good a definition of stardom as any:

  • Ann Rutherford (1917-2012) was actually born in Vancouver, not Toronto, if Wikipedia is to be believed. She moved to California as a baby, so her connection with Canada is tenuous at best. She went on to become quite well-known indeed, as she played one of Scarlett O’Hara’s sisters in Gone With The Wind (1939). She also had a regular role in the Andy Hardy film series. In later life, she married William Dozier, the creator of the Batman TV series, and appeared twice as Emily Hartley’s mother on The Bob Newhart Show.
  • Olympe Bradna (1920-2012) literally started her life in show business, as she was born in a dressing room of the Olympic Theatre in Paris (hence her name). She started appearing on stage at the age of 18 months. In 1934, she moved to the United States, and appeared in a dozen movies up to 1941. She quit the film business when she got married; she and her husband were married for over 70 years.
  • Mary Maguire (1919-1974) started acting in her native Australia when she was 16. In 1936, she and her family moved to Hollywood. She left Hollywood in 1938 and moved to Britain, where she appeared in movies until 1946. She married and later divorced British fascist and anti-Semite Robert Gordon-Canning, who was thirty years older than she was.
  • Annabella (1907-1996), whose birth name was Suzanne Georgette Charpentier, is listed as “the second most promising youngster” here, but she was already 30 at the time of this picture. She appeared in several dozen films in France and Hollywood between 1927 and 1952. She was married to Tyrone Power between 1939 and 1948.

No ice cream

Here’s a picture from the photo page of the October 25 1938 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

Photos of attractive women have been included in newspapers since it became technologically possible, of course, but I’m mystified by the caption. It refers to three pretty chefs, but there are four women in this photograph.

I guess that the three women on the right are dumping in another bushel basket, and the one on the left isn’t being counted because she is raking the apples. But it does look like the caption is implying that one of the women is not a chef, or one of the women is not pretty. Or perhaps the caption writer isn’t good at counting – who knows?

Wenatchee, Washington is still referred to as the Apple Capital of the World. Their professional baseball team is the Wenatchee Applesox, so their emotional connection to apples obviously runs deep.


Married forty years

Here’s a short society announcement from the October 25 1938 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

When I see one of these, I sometimes like to morbidly trace the couple in the Toronto city directories to see how many more wedding anniversaries they celebrated. In the case of the Moores, it looks like they were around for a while: there is a William G. Moore at 310 Westmoreland Avenue as late as 1953. The 1954 directory lists his widow.

There’s a possibility that this might be two William G. Moores, father and son, since William G. Moore was not employed between 1938 and 1942, but was working at Belyea Brothers between 1943 and 1953. But I couldn’t tell for sure.

As for Hunt’s, the location of the special occasion: I’m a bit mystified about that too, as Hunt’s is listed in the 1938 city directory as a chain of confectioners. Perhaps they had room for a dinner party at one of their locations.


Dean of Canterbury weds

Here’s a brief blurb from the October 25 1938 edition of the Toronto Daily Star about what could be called a May-December romance:

Hewlett Johnson (1874-1966) was a zealous supporter of the Soviet Union. He published a collection of pro-Soviet articles, The Socialist Sixth of the World, in 1939; it was later discovered that much of this book was copied word for word from various Soviet propaganda sources.

His marriage to the former Nowell Edwards (who was his second cousin) produced two daughters. As far as I know, the couple stayed together until his death. She passed away in 1983.


Rheumatic pain gone

I’m always fascinated by testimonial ads that feature real people. Here’s one from the October 25 1938 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

Mosby’s Tonic has been discussed before in this blog, but there are two things that I find interesting about this version of the Mosby’s ad:

  • To fit the second line of the headline into the available space, the typesetter used the number 0 instead of the letter O. It looks a little odd, but it’s narrower. (Here’s another example of this.)
  • A “MOSBY’S TONIC Man” was apparently at the Tamblyn drug store at Keele and Dundas. Was he there full-time?

I looked up Mr. John S. Stevenson of 227 St. John’s Road in the Toronto city directories. Sure enough, he was there, and he had no listed occupation, so I assume that he was actually retired. I looked ahead and found him at the same address in the 1943 and 1948 city directories. So we know for sure that Mosby’s Tonic didn’t kill Mr. Stevenson, at least not right away.