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Flight

As I’ve mentioned before, the Toronto Daily Star’s editorial page used to contain a section called A Little Of Everything. This section led off with a daily poem; the poems varied widely in quality.

The poem from the September 9 1949 edition of the paper was interesting to me because it included the poet’s name and address:

I’m no judge of poetry; all I can say is that this poem didn’t really do anything for me. But I was curious, so I traced the poet’s name and address in the Toronto city directories. Sure enough, the 1949 directory listed Florence E. Schill; she was working as an editorial assistant at Maclean Hunter, and she was at 216 Snowdon Avenue.

I looked her up at five-year intervals:

  • In 1954, she was a reporter for the Globe and Mail and living at 72 Spencer Avenue.
  • In 1959, she was employed by the Children’s Aid Society and living at 125 Lyndhurst Avenue.
  • By 1964, she was the director of public relations for the Children’s Aid Society of Metropolitan Toronto and living in an apartment at 484 Church Street.
  • In 1969, she was still a director of public relations (location unspecified) and living in an apartment at 31 Alexander Street.

The online city directories don’t go later than that, so I don’t know what happened to her. A search turned up only a PDF document containing statistics obtained from an interview with her in 1961.

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Rushed to altar, asked money

Here’s a story from the September 9 1949 edition of the Toronto Daily Star about an impeding divorce in which one of the partners was the mother of child star Margaret O’Brien.

According to Margaret O’Brien’s Wikipedia page, her mother, born Gladys Flores, was a flamenco dancer who regularly performed with her sister Marissa. She passed away in 1954 of a heart condition; young Ms. O’Brien was 17.

I could find no reference anywhere to Don Sylvio.

Margaret O’Brien (born Maxine O’Brien) was seeing her film career start to wind down at the time of this article, as she did not successfully make the transition to adult roles. She did appear in a number of television shows as an adult. She is still alive as I write this; she turned 84 this past January.

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Resumes talent-scouting

Shows that featured amateur talent existed long before America’s Got Talent. Here’s a publicity photograph from the September 9 1949 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of Arthur Godfrey, host of the Talent Scouts radio show:

Arthur Godfrey (1903-1983) first achieved national fame when, as a radio announcer working in Washington, D.C., he broadcast Franklin Roosevelt’s funeral procession, bursting into tears as he blessed Roosevelt’s successor, Harry Truman. This led to his getting his own nationwide show, Arthur Godfrey Time. His Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts show premiered on radio in 1946 and was broadcast simultaneously on radio and television starting in 1948.

In 1949, Godfrey started hosting an additional television series, Arthur Godfrey and His Friends. Additional shows followed; by the early 1950s, when Godfrey reached the peak of his fame, he could be heard or seen nine times a week. He grew more imperial as he grew more famous, firing over twenty cast and crew members, which led to a backlash and a decline in popularity; by the end of the decade, he was left with Arthur Godfrey Time (which lasted until 1972) and the occasional television special.

YouTube has some footage of Arthur Godfrey, including an episode of Talent Scouts from 1956 and an episode of Arthur Godfrey Time from 1958.

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Talented Torontonian

Here’s a photograph from the September 9 1949 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a young woman who had been crowned Miss Canada and was hoping to become Miss America.

A search turned up very little on Margaret Lynn Munn. The Wikipedia page for the 1949 Miss America contest revealed that she did indeed win a preliminary talent contest, and that she eventually finished among the top 15 contestants. But I don’t know what happened to her after that.

The winner, Jacque Mercer, was the last married Miss America winner – during her year as Miss America, she married and divorced her high school sweetheart. After that, winners had to pledge that they had never gotten married or pregnant.

It’s odd that Miss Canada got to compete in the Miss America pageant – all of the other entrants represented American states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, New York City, and “greater Philadelphia”. No other non-American contestants were invited.

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Days

The Toronto Daily Star used to print a poem every day on its editorial page as part of its A Little Of Everything section. The July 16 1949 edition contained this somewhat melancholy poem on the passage of time:

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Looking back, I realized that I’ve seen a poem by B. H. Warr before, in a 1952 edition of the paper. Mr. Warr appears to be obsessed by the passage of time, and I can’t say as I blame him.

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100 bachelors won’t marry

The July 16 1949 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this fascinating little article about a town in Minnesota that was filled with young bachelors.

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Viking, Minnesota still exists – it had a population of 104 as of 2010. Of the 43 households, only 25.6% (11) were made up of individuals, so Viking has stopped being a town of bachelors for some time.

I did a Google search for Harold S. Kahm, and found a whole bunch of results, not all of which might have been for the same person. Someone by that name:

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New Year’s Day 1949

The Toronto Globe and Mail published an edition on New Year’s Day, 1949.

There were a few standard New Year’s greetings from various advertisers. Here’s the one from Birks Jewellers.

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There was also one from Holt Renfrew:

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And, naturally, there were greetings from Eaton’s and Simpson’s:

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You’ll notice that the Eaton’s and Simpson’s ads mention voting. That’s because 1949 was the last year on which the Toronto municipal election was held on New Year’s Day. (In 1950, the election was on January 2nd, and the election date was then moved to the first week in December.) The editorial cartoon for the day encouraged citizens to vote:

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As did the editorial itself:

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The Board of Trade encouraged people to vote for candidates that were not Communists:

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(There actually were Communists running for office at the time.)

There were three pages of ads for various candidates (along with assorted other stuff):

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Finally, the current mayor, Hiram McCallum, appealed to voters to pass a referendum to lengthen the term of office from one year to two.

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Mr. McCallum made it back into office, but the referendum did not pass – the term of office did not change from one year to two years until 1956.

The complete results of the 1949 municipal election can be found here.

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Entertainment in 1949

The February 17 1949 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained two interesting ads for entertainers. One was for all the way out in Burlington, and featured that weird disembodied head look that sometimes appeared in ads at that time:

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The other featured more conventional headshots:

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Both of the entertainers featured here were (arguably) on the downside of their careers when they appeared live in the GTA. Sully Mason (1906-1970) was one of the singers in Kay Kyser‘s band during the Second World War, and Valaida Snow (1904-1956) was a multi-instrumentalist (focusing on trumpet), singer, and dancer who toured the world in the late 1920s and 1930s. Tragically, both of them died relatively young with the same cause of death: a cerebral hemorrhage.

I could find nothing definite about Dusty Brooks. I’ve found links on IMDb and AllMusic, but I don’t know if either of them are for this Dusty Brooks.

Of course, YouTube has links: