Champions, two!

Here’s a photo from the July 16 1942 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of two women who were swimming champions.

Gloria Callen (1923-2016), nicknamed “Glamorous Gloria”, was named the 1942 Associated Press Athlete of the Year. She won 13 American championships and set 35 American records and one world record. Due to the war, she was never able to compete in the Olympics. She was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1984.

Eleanor Holm (1913-2004) competed in the 1928 Olympics at the age of 14, then won a gold medal at the 1932 Olympics in the 100-metre backstroke. She was named to the 1936 Olympic team, but was expelled from the team after a drinking party on board the ship taking the team to Berlin. She maintained that she was expelled because U.S. Olympic Committee president Avery Brundage held a grudge against her, at one time claiming that he propositioned her.

When not competing in the Olympics, Ms. Holm was in the movies: she was a WAMPAS Baby Star in 1932, and appeared in the movie Tarzan’s Revenge in 1938. Billy Rose was Ms. Holm’s second husband; they divorced in 1954 after a spectacular divorce trial called “The War Of The Roses”. She was inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame in 1966.


Canadian National telegram

The July 16 1942 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained an ad for an upcoming movie that was displayed in the form of a telegram:

Mrs. Miniver (1942) was released in the depths of World War II. Produced in Hollywood, it was a romantic drama that described how the life of a typical English housewife was affected by the war.

While some modern critics consider this movie excessively sentimental, it was a commercial and critical success in its time: it was the top box office draw of 1942, and it won six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (William Wyler), Best Actress (Greer Garson), and Best Supporting Actress (Teresa Wright). British moviegoers that saw the film were profoundly affected by it, due to its depiction of endurance and perseverance on the home front.

When I looked at the ad, I wondered: was D. E. Galloway, the assistant vice-president mentioned in the header of the telegram, a real person? I looked him up in the 1942 Toronto city directory, and the answer is yes: the directory listed D. Ernest Galloway as, indeed, an assistant vice-president at CN Telegram. He lived at 98 Wychwood Park. But he wasn’t there long: he was in the 1943 directory, but not the 1944. I couldn’t find an entry for his widow, so I don’t know whether he moved out of town or passed away.


The Birth of a Baby

Here’s an ad from the July 16 1942 edition of the Toronto Daily Star for an upcoming movie that featured, as the title suggested, the birth of a baby.

The Birth of a Baby (1938) was an educational film in which an expectant mother and her husband consult “a kindly obstetrician”, after which the mother gives birth to a healthy baby. The gimmick was that footage of an actual birth was spliced into the movie.

Naturally, the movie – which was only one hour and twelve minutes long, including the birth scene – caused controversy in its time. The state of New York banned it outright, and several theatres screened the movie separately for men and women. The All Movie website calls it “a prime example of old-fashioned (and very successful) hucksterism”.

The short opening film, Mr. Strauss Takes a Walk (1942), was a cartoon in which “Mr. Strauss, with the help of the forest animals, composes his greatest waltz”. You can watch it on YouTube.


Celebrating its first anniversary

The July 16 1942 edition of the Toronto Daily Star included this large advertisement for a chicken restaurant on Yonge Street:

There was also this Consumers Gas ad that referenced the Chicken Palace:

I looked the Chicken Palace up in the Toronto city directories. The 1942 directory listed it at 404 Yonge Street, with Ben Ber as its proprietor. (I’ll bet that the signature on his cheques was easy to read.) Mr. Ber was still running the Chicken Palace in 1957, but he had retired by 1960; the manager was listed as Gus Alexander.

The restaurant didn’t last long after that – the 1962 directory lists a restaurant named The Moorings at that location. I would guess that the new restaurant featured fish instead of chicken.

A search turned up this postcard of the Chicken Palace, with no date provided.


Fifth column and fourth Axis power

Here’s an ad from the July 16 1942 edition of the Toronto Daily Star for an upcoming church service:

The three existing Axis Powers were, of course, Germany, Italy, and Japan. “Fifth column” was a term used to describe people who undermined a group from within on behalf of an enemy.

The background for this, as far as I can tell: in September 1939, Prime Minister Mackenzie King had pledged that Canada would not introduce overseas conscription for the duration of the Second World War. By 1942, some people were advocating conscription, and a plebiscite on April 27 of that year asked voters whether they were willing to let the Canadian government release itself from its promise not to send conscripted men overseas.

83% of English Canadians supported the plebiscite, which meant that eight of the nine provinces at that time supported it. But 72.9% of voters in Quebec opposed it, which presumably aroused the ire of Dr. Shields and Rev. Martin. The conscription crisis in Canada reached a peak in 1944, and is discussed in detail in this Wikipedia page.

This blog has encountered Dr. Shields a couple of times before – most recently, here. He was the pastor of the Jarvis Street Baptist Church from 1910 to 1955. A search for Reverend H. G. Martin revealed that somebody of that name travelled to the Ivory Coast as a Protestant missionary in about 1915; I have no idea if this was the same man.

A search for “Canadian Protestant League” threatened to send me down some deep Internet rabbit holes, so I didn’t follow the results too much. I did find a reference to a book written by Reverend Shields and others in 1945 titled Why The Canadian Protestant League Was Formed. Some of the chapter titles of the book are listed in this reference, indicating that the book was anti-Catholic and anti-Quebec.


Aching aching feet

Here’s a short ad from the July 16 1942 edition of the Toronto Daily Star that caught my attention:

I’m not sure why the ad copy mentioned that the method of overcoming foot trouble was the most sensible in all America. Presumably, the method was imported from the United States, but the ad doesn’t say what it was.

The 1942 Toronto city directory lists Ross Wood’s Ltd. as a drug store, located on the second floor of the building at 197 Bay Street. J. B. Wood was listed as the firm’s president, but I couldn’t find anybody of that name in the directory – he or she must have lived out of town. The firm was new, as it wasn’t in the 1941 directory.

The 1943 directory lists the firm on the first floor of 160 Bloor East, the location in this ad. There’s no record of J. B. Wood there either. By 1944, the firm was gone, so people with aching, aching feet would have had to look elsewhere for a solution.


Quadruplet girls born

The June 14 1948 edition of the Toronto Daily Star reported that quadruplets had been born in England.

The Good quadruplets were the first to be born via Caesarean section.

Internet searches yielded the following links to the Good quadruplets:

  • Newsreel footage of the Good quadruplets’ christening.
  • Footage of the quadruplets at the age of two.
  • Footage on their sixth birthday (no sound).
  • Bridget Good, one of the quadruplets, and her older sister Susan got married on the same day.
  • A brief BBC article and video on the quadruplets’ 70th birthday in 2018. At this time, three of the four were still alive; Bridget had passed away in 1984.


Saves girl in lake

The June 14 1948 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this brief article about a girl who was saved from drowning:

Out of curiosity, I traced the people mentioned here in the Toronto city directories.

George Fowler is listed in the 1948 directory as working as a janitor at A. D. Gorrie and Company and living at 69 Mitchell Avenue. By 1950, he was working as a clerk there, which I assume is a step up.

He is missing from the 1951 directory, but reappears in the 1953 directory as a storekeeper for B. A. Oil and living at 64 Sorauren. By 1961, he is working as a parts clerk at B. A. Oil and still at 64 Sorauren. Violet Fowler is also listed at 64 Sorauren and working as a clerk at Gestetner, so she successfully made it to adulthood.

Percy Koretsky, the man who saved Violet Fowler’s life, was in a family fur business, and remained in the fur business at least as late as 1961. In 1948 and 1955, he was living at 614 College; in 1961, he was at 45 Gardiner Road in Forest Hill.


Organized ball is stuck plenty

Here’s an article from the May 9 1946 edition of the Toronto Daily Star about a baseball player who had returned from the war and wanted his old job back.

Al Niemiec (1911-1995) had two spells in the major leagues in the mid-1930s, playing nine games for the Boston Red Sox in 1934 and 69 games for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1936. He returned to the Red Sox organization in 1937, and then was traded to San Diego of the Pacific Coast League as part of a deal for Ted Williams. By the time of the Second World War, he had been playing second base for the Seattle Rainiers, another Pacific Coast League team, for three years.

According to Wikipedia, Niemiec won his suit for a year’s employment under the GI Bill, which meant that hundreds of major and minor league players were paid despite being cut by their teams immediately after the war. In 1946, he was traded from the Rainiers to the Providence Chiefs, a team in a lower-level league, but he did not play for his new team, and his career was over at the age of 35.


Won gold medals

Here’s a photo from the May 9 1946 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a teenager who was a proficient violinist.

I did a Google search for Barbara Strathdee, and found that someone with that name had an Internet Movie Database entry. However, I’m not sure that this is the same person, as this Barbara Strathdee was an actress, not a musician, and was born in 1934, not 1932. This Ms. Strathdee seems to have been cast in a number of Stratford productions, some of which were adapted for television. I found a photo of her at the time of her wedding – I can’t tell for sure if this is somebody different.

To provide extra confusion, there is an artist from New Zealand named Barbara Strathdee who was born in 1941. This was definitely somebody else. And there is also a reference to a soprano from Toronto named Barbara Strathdee, who was seen as on her way to international stardom in 1959; this could be any or all of the above!

The only reference that I am reasonably certain matches the Barbara Strathdee in this photograph is this link to a series of musical performances on the CBC network in 1960-61.