Insomnia cure

Here’s a fun bit of filler from the January 5 1950 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


“You are getting drowsee-ee-ee… So Sleep-ee-ee…”

The trick might have been to play the record over and over again, I suppose. Good night, all.


Mother of actress sues

The January 5 1950 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contains this brief blurb about a somewhat dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship:


Lisa Kirk (1925-1990) went on to have a long career in theatre and television. She passed away from lung cancer despite being a non-smoker, which seems like horrible bad luck. I could find nothing on what happened to her mother’s lawsuit.



The January 5 1950 edition of the Toronto Daily Star reported on unusually mild weather that winter, blaming it on Russian atomic testing.


I looked up the weather records for December 1949 and for the winter of 1950 to see whether the temperatures had been unusually mild. I discovered that December 1949 had been warmer than usual: there were five days with a high temperature above 10C, and only one stretch that was unusually cold (December 6 to 10).

The first part of January continued the trend: January 3 had a high of 13.9C, and it was 11.1C on the 4th. There were additional mild days: it was 13.3C on the 13th, 11.7C on the 26th, and a startlingly warm 16.7C on the 25th. After that, things settled down a bit: there were no days in February above 3.3C, and the high temperature on February 20 was -16.1C. So the Soviets’ influence on the weather must have worn out by then.


Mark 50th wedding

Here’s a brief note in the December 9 1950 Toronto Daily Star about a 50th wedding anniversary:


As usual with these, I ghoulishly looked Mr. Wall up in the Toronto city directories to see how long he lasted after this event. The record is inconclusive: a Henry Wall appears at 38 Fernwood Park Avenue until 1956. He’s not there in 1957, but two Henry Walls disappear and one appears at a different location in that directory, so there’s always the possibility that he moved to a new home at the age of 90. You never know: perhaps he’s still around and he’s still moving.


Nazi actor’s Berlin show

Here’s a small article from the December 9 1950 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:


Werner Krauss (1884-1959) was not only “Nazi-favored” – he was openly anti-Semitic, and a wholehearted supporter of the Nazi Party. Among other things, he simultaneously played six Jewish stereotypes in an anti-Jewish propaganda film. Eventually, he was forgiven enough that he was invited to German film festivals.

Curt Reiss (1902-1993), mentioned in the body of the article, was a Nazi refugee who became an American war correspondent. He has a Wikipedia page, but it’s in German.


60 a day

The December 9 1950 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this brief article about a measles epidemic in Hamilton:


This is a sobering reminder that childhood diseases such as measles were common before the introduction and standard use of vaccines such as the MMR vaccine. (I was a small child in the 1960s, and I remember contracting mumps and chicken pox. As I recall, my sisters contracted rubella, but I did not.)


Meet Bruce Smith

The November 25 1950 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this ad for CBC’s morning show, featuring radio personality Bruce Smith:


Toast and Jamboree was the CBC morning show from 1948 to 1971. It was briefly replaced by I’m Here Till 9, featuring future Jeopardy host Alex Trebek. This in turn was replaced by Tomorrow Is Here in 1973, which was given its present name of Metro Morning in 1974.

Bruce Smith passed away in 2006 at the age of 87.

Don McNeill was an American radio personality. His Breakfast Club was broadcast from 1933 to 1968.

Kate Aitken has previously appeared in this blog. She retired from broadcasting unexpectedly in 1957.


8-hour Thornhill jam

The Greater Toronto Area has some of the worst traffic congestion in North America. But I suppose that it could be worse. The November 25 1950 edition of the Toronto Daily Star reported on an eight-hour traffic jam near Thornhill:



I’m fascinated by the idea that drivers were given a chance to get a running start at the hill, and five tow trucks were on standby to handle the cars that didn’t make it.

I tried to find the hill on Google Street View – this might be it. Of course, the road is considerably wider today.


Antichrist is already here

The church listings in the November 25 1950 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this somewhat provocative entry:


I don’t think I would have wanted to attend this sermon, but I am curious about the man who “ruined his family by marrying his son to the wrong woman”, and the “need of a housecleaning at the City Hall”.

I’ve posted about Dr. Shields before. It turns out that his full name was Thomas Todhunter Shields, and he was the pastor of the Jarvis Street Baptist Church from 1910 until he passed away in 1955 at the age of 81. Maclean’s magazine wrote a long article about him in 1949. There’s also this Ph.D thesis on him.


Wrote best-seller at 16

The October 5 1950 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained an article about an Australian novelist who wrote her first best-seller at the age of 16:


Catherine Gaskin (1929-2009) was a romance novelist. Wikipedia claims that she was 15 when she wrote This Other Eden and that it was published in 1947 when she was 17, not 16, but this is nit-picking. Either way, she was quite young when she first became successful.

Ms. Gaskin went on to write a total of 21 novels. Her most successful work, Sara Dane (1954), sold two million copies and became a TV mini-series in Australia. During her life, she spent time in London, Manhattan, the Virgin Islands, Ireland, and the Isle of Man, and then went back to Sydney, where she originally grew up. Hey, why not?