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.


Students come north

The June 25 1942 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this bit of obscure filler, complete with misspelling:


Assuming this filler is accurate, there were more South American students at LSU in 1941 than there are now: according to this page, there are now 81 South American students there (assuming that I counted them properly).


Don’t waste tea

The June 25 1942 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained several advertisements that stressed the importance of not wasting tea. I assume that this was because tea was shipped from overseas, and overseas shipping was difficult and costly because of the war.

The ad from Loblaws included this:


And the ad from the Red & White grocery chain included this:


And the Salada Tea company provided this ad:


The instructions appear to be the same in all three cases, though Salada makes a point of suggesting that the water be boiling furiously before pouring it into the teapot.


After The Storm

I’ve mentioned this before, but the Toronto Daily Star used to publish a poem every day on its editorial page, as the lead to its “A Little Of Everything” feature. I know very little about poetry, but the poems seem to me to vary widely in quality.

The poem that appeared in the October 16 1942 edition of the Daily Star is not one of my favourites – the central character writes with what I think is an Irish accent, and the text is somewhat melodramatic.


Since I’m a snoop, I thought I would try to look Frances Hanson up in the Toronto city directories, but I found nothing. She doesn’t appear by name in the 1941, 1942, and 1943 directories, and the listing at 368 Huron doesn’t include her. So either she was staying there for a while but was not listed as a resident, or somebody submitted this poem under a fake name and/or address. I’ll never know which.

If you’re interested in bad poetry, you’ve probably heard of William McGonagall, and you might have heard of Amanda McKittrick Ros.


Our Secret Weapon

The October 16 1942 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this ad:


If you were going to hire somebody to broadcast war propaganda, is there a better name than “Rex Stout”?

Rex Stout (1886-1975), whose full name was Rex Todhunter Stout, was a mystery writer who was best known for creating detective Nero Wolfe. He wrote 33 novels and 39 novellas about Wolfe and his assistant, Archie Goodwin, between 1934 and his death. The Wolfe Pack website provides more details on Wolfe and on Stout’s writing.

Between 1942 and 1943, Stout cut back on his novel writing to produce 62 broadcasts of Our Secret Weapon. His goal was to refute short-wave propaganda being broadcast by the Axis. The Library of Congress now has a complete record of the typewritten pages of the scripts of these broadcasts, transferred onto a total of 8000 feet of microfilm.

After the war, Stout was accused of being a Communist by a prominent member of the House Committee on Un-American Activities and was closely watched by J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI. This seems misplaced, as Stout was a fierce anti-Communist; he was later condemned for being too harsh on Communism and too much in favour of the Vietnam War. Some days, you just can’t win.