Milk bottle thief jailed

From the Toronto Daily Star, November 22 1948:

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Was he really jailed for stealing $1.92? I suppose that might be $192, but it would take a lot of time to accumulate that much from milk bottles.


Man versus fox

From the November 22, 1948 Toronto Daily Star:

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On the one hand, this 81-year-old guy is pretty badass to be capturing a fox at his age. On the other hand, he was being rather cruel to the fox. Perhaps the fox had been damaging his plants for quite some time.


Shea’s today

Another one from the April 8 1940 Toronto Daily Star:

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Movie theatres still sometimes featured in-person appearances in 1940 – the last remnants of the old vaudeville performing circuit. Wikipedia had information on a lot of these people.

Lee Sims (1898-1966) was a pianist, composer, and publisher who made 60 records for Brunswick in the 1920s and 1930s. With Ilomay Bailey, his wife, he starred in the Chase and Sanborn Hour radio program on NBC.

Harriet Hoctor (1905-1977) was a ballerina; George Gershwin once wrote a piece specifically for her, which is pretty cool. I could find nothing at all about Brantley & Linder; they are seemingly lost to history.

Fred Sanborn (1899-1961), no relation to the Sanborn of Chase and Sanborn (as far as I know), was a vaudeville performer. He was part of Ted Healy and his Southern Gentlemen, which also included the future Three Stooges.

Milbourne Christopher (1914-1984) was a magician who spent a good deal of time debunking parapsychology experiments. The Society of American Magicians honors him by annually presenting Milbourne Christopher awards to various magicians.

Frank Trado (1904-1980) and Pete Trado (1904-1969) were twin brothers who worked as a comedy duo. There is no Wikipedia entry for them, but I did find a picture of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Trado and their dog Sheba. They look reasonably happy (except maybe for Sheba).


The princess and Abbey’s

From the April 8 1940 edition of the Toronto Daily Star, two unrelated items:

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Queen Farida (1921-1988) was the Queen of Egypt for nearly eleven years, between 1937 and 1948, before King Farouk divorced her. The daughter mentioned in this article was Princess Fawzia Farouk (1940-2005), who became an athlete, a pilot, a sailor, and a professional interpreter, becoming fluent in five languages; this last enabled her to earn her living after she lost her royal status. The last years of her life were tragic: she contracted multiple sclerosis, which left her paralyzed and bedridden.

Abbey’s Effervescent Salt appears to be yet another of the endless stream of patent medicines advertised in newspapers. I couldn’t find out what it was, but I did discover that the Klondike Official Guide recommended that gold-seekers bring an ample supply of Abbey’s Effervescent Salt to the north with them. Presumably, it was important to clear your system regularly while moiling for gold.


A man talks to women

“A Man Talks To Women” was a regular column that appeared in the Toronto Daily Star around the time of the Second World War. Here’s the entry for April 8, 1940, which expresses some, um, traditional viewpoints on the relationships between young men and young women:

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George Anthiel (1900-1959) led a varied life. Besides being an advice columnist, he was an avant-garde composer, a mystery writer, and the co-inventor (with actor Hedy Lamarr) of a frequency-hopping method of ensuring that signals to radio-guided torpedoes are not jammed. (The Scientific American article on this is here.)

Anthiel also appears to have been something of a creep. He wrote a series of articles on how to detect the availability of women based on “glandular effects”, with titles such as “The Glandbook For The Questing Male”, which is seriously icky. Gizmodo has an article on this; apparently, Ms. Lamarr first approached Anthiel because she wanted information on how to increase her bust size, and the conversation apparently turned to torpedoes after she figured out that he knew nothing about enhancement.


Canada brave and free

A small news item from the April 8 1940 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

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I couldn’t find anything about the song on the Internet, but the Government of Canada website has a record of the burial site for Mrs. Tyas’s son. He is interred in the Vimy Memorial Cemetery in Pas de Calais, France.

From the “Ode of Remembrance”:
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.



From the April 8 1940 Toronto Daily Star:

Giving a chewable minty gum laxative to a child just seems… ugh.

For more on Feen-a-mint:

    • A 1970 commercial
    • A 1979 commercial
    •  A history of Feen-a-mint
    • A site that discusses the components of Feen-a-mint – it’s basically just bisacodyl, which is an organic compound that gives marching orders to your bowels. Carter’s Little Pills, a patent medicine that is likely to appear in these pages sometime soon, are also made of this stuff.

Important fact: there is no further laxative effect after the first three minutes of chewing.



From the April 8 1940 Toronto Daily Star:

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Wikipedia informs me that a truss was a surgical appliance used to provide support for patients suffering from a hernia. They are not used nowadays; apparently, they often made the problem worse. (Fun fact: 27% of males and 3% of females develop a groin hernia at some time in their life. Reassuringly, groin hernias that do not cause symptoms in males do not need to be repaired.)


Mary Rose Thacker

From the April 8 1940 Toronto Star:

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Mary Rose Thacker (1922-1983) won the North American figure skating championships in 1939 and 1941, and won the Canadian championships in 1939, 1941, and 1942, after which skating competitions were suspended until the end of the Second World War. She went on to start a skating school in British Columbia.

The saddest part of this article is this line: “I regard my skating now as not exactly fun.”

The Winnipeg Free Press has a longer article about her, if you want to read more.


Learn to swim

From the April 8 1940 Toronto Daily Star:

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Ernst Vierkoetter (1901-1967) has a Wikipedia entry in German but not in English! He swam the English Channel in 1926 (holding the speed record for 20 years), won the first CNE marathon swim in 1927, and then settled down in Toronto to a career as a swimming instructor. His nickname was “The Black Shark Of Germany”, which is a pretty cool nickname.

The Torontoist has a long article on the 1927 marathon swim, if you want to know more.