Academy of Radio Arts

The October 5 1950 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this advertisement for careers in radio:


Lorne Greene started his career as a CBC radio announcer before becoming a U.S.-based television actor. He was called “The Voice Of Doom” because of his stern-sounding baritone and because he was given the unfortunate job of reading the names of Second World War dead.

Something I didn’t know: he invented a stopwatch that counted down to zero, which enabled announcers to quickly see how much time they had left to speak.

In the 1950 Toronto city directory, the Academy Of Radio Arts is listed with “Lorne Green” as its president. (His name at birth was Lyon Himan Green, which may or may not explain this.) The academy appears in the 1952 city directory but not the 1953 directory; this might be when Mr. Greene left Canada in search of fame and fortune in the U.S.


The Commodores (1950 edition)

The March 23 1950 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained an ad for a singing group named The Commodores for a Toronto Star Free Good Music concert in Meaford:


I couldn’t find out anything about these Commodores, since a Google search obviously turns up a whole lot of stuff about Lionel Richie’s Commodores. YouTube has a link to a song by a 1950s Commodores group, but I don’t know if it’s the same group as in this ad.


Growing hops in the U.S.

Old newspapers seemingly kept a file of short bits of filler that they could use when a column had unused space in it. This item from the March 23 1950 Toronto Daily Star is one of the most obscure:


Clearly, their filler supply was from the United States, as (last I checked) Washington, Oregon, and California are not part of Canada.

By the way, this statement is no longer true: as of 2017, the three U.S. states with the largest hop production were Washington, Idaho, and Oregon.


Laws applied harshly?

The March 23 1950 Toronto Daily Star contained articles on two relatively small cases that seem a bit harsh by modern standards. First, a man was sentenced to jail for a month because his teenage daughter consumed some liquor, even though four witnesses swore that he told her not to have any.


And a woman was evicted when she accidentally wrote a cheque on the wrong bank account. Her landlord didn’t tell her about the wrong cheque until after her rent was officially late and he was legally entitled to evict her. Ugh.



Marketing Ovaltine

While collecting newspaper ads and articles, I’ve noticed a whole bunch of ads for Ovaltine, which Wikipedia calls a “brand of milk flavoring product made with malt extract.” However, the makers of Ovaltine have never been sure how to market it. They’ve tried just about everything.

In the July 7 1923 Toronto Globe, they marketed Ovaltine as a sleep aid:

1923 July 7 Globe

In the September 19 1925 Toronto Globe, they marketed it as a “pick-up” for listless office workers.

1925 Sep 19 Globe

The September 7 1927 Toronto Globe praised it as a sustaining tonic that helped distance swimmer Georges Michel make it across the English Channel. It was apparently his only nourishment during the ordeal.

1927 Sep 7 Globe

The October 1 1928 Toronto Daily Star included “a message of national importance”, offering health for all at lower cost:

1928 Oct 1 Star

Sixteen days later, in the October 17 1928 Toronto Daily Star, they recommended heating Ovaltine to relieve afternoon fatigue:

1928 Oct 17 Star

During the midst of an influenza epidemic, the December 22 1928 Toronto Globe stated that Ovaltine could protect you from the flu:

1928 Dec 22 Globe

In the April 20 1929 Toronto Globe, they were back to marketing Ovaltine as a cure for sleeplessness:

1929 Apr 20 Globe

And, the February 25 1930 Toronto Daily Star suggested that it was a delicious and healthful beverage after an evening of bridge.

1930 Feb 25 Star

This was the end of what you might call The Golden Age of Ovaltine. I found some Ovaltine ads much later, in the 1940s and 1950s – by then, they had settled on their niche, which was that Ovaltine was a useful supplement for babies and small children. From the June 8 1943 Toronto Daily Star:

1943 Jun 8 Star

And from the March 25 1947 Toronto Daily Star:

1947 Mar 25 Star

And, finally, from the February 2 1950 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

1950 Feb 2 Star

This ad also mentions that Ovaltine can maintain the mother’s health and strength. Or perhaps stave off sleeplessness. Or whatever.

Throughout the years, Ovaltine was always marketed by A. Wander, Limited, first located in Toronto and then in Peterborough. I think I would have liked to sit in on one of their marketing strategy meetings.


Stars who unbend

The February 2 1950 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this brief article:


Lois Andrews (1924-1968) was married and a mother when still in her teens: she was actor George Jessel‘s wife between 1940 and 1943. She appeared in several films that Jessel produced, the last of which was filmed in 1951. She died of lung cancer at the age of 44.

Patricia Medina (1919-2012) had a longer acting career, a longer marriage, and a longer life. She appeared in over 50 movies and television series, and then toured with her husband, Joseph Cotten, to whom she was married from 1960 until his death in 1994. She is now buried beside him in Petersburg, Virginia.


Bermuda or Cleveland

The February 2 1950 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained two ads from Trans-Canada Air Lines (which was renamed “Air Canada” in 1965). The first ad mentioned that you could fly to Bermuda in five hours:


The second ad offered twice-daily flights to Cleveland:


The idea of advertising flights to Cleveland wasn’t as silly as it sounds today. In 1950, the population of Cleveland was over 914,000, which wasn’t that much smaller than Toronto’s population at that time (1,176,622 in 1951). Nowadays, Cleveland’s population is estimated at under 400,000, and Toronto’s is over 2.7 million.