India’s Jane Russell

The February 7 1953 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained two photographs of an actress from India:

Searches turned up very little on India’s Jane Russell. I found separate Internet Movie Database entries for Mohna and Mohana; a little digging revealed that these were the same person. From this, I learned:

  • She was born in 1929.
  • Her birth name was apparently Mona Cabral.
  • Her current husband was her second – her first husband, also an Englishman, died in a plane crash. Her son was from this marriage.
  • She and her second husband moved to Beirut.
  • She passed away of a heart attack in 1990.

Jane Russell (1921-2011) was an actress and singer known for her well-rounded figure. She was discovered by Howard Hughes in 1940; he directed her in The Outlaw (1943), a movie that controversially showcased her natural endowments.


Queen Elizabeth received bouquet

Here’s a photo from the February 17 1953 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a child actress who was presenting Queen Elizabeth II with a bouquet of flowers.

Brigitte Fossey was six years old when this photograph was taken. She appeared in her first film, Forbidden Games, in 1952, when she was five; this movie won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

In 1956, Ms. Fossey’s parents took her out of the film business so that she could receive a proper education. She returned to acting in the mid-1960s and married director Jean-François Adam in 1966. They had one child; tragically, Adam shot himself in 1980. Ms. Fossey is still alive; she turns 76 in June.


Granddaughter of King Haakon

Here’s a photo from the February 17 1953 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of a Norwegian princess who was about to be married.

Princess Ragnhild (1930-2012) was, at her birth, the first Norwegian royal to actually be born in Norway since 1301. She was never in the line of succession for the Norwegian throne, as Norway’s monarchy was for men only. She was, however, 18th in line of succession to the British throne when she was born.

When she and Erling Lorentzen got married, her official title became “Her Highness Princess Ragnhild, Mrs. Lorentzen”. The couple moved to Brazil, where he ran a gas distribution company that he bought from Esso. Their marriage lasted; they remained together until she passed away.

Mr. Lorentzen passed away only last year, having celebrated his 98th birthday a few weeks earlier.



Here is a photo from the February 13 1951 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of an upcoming hog calling contest:

The photo reminds me that first names go in and out of fashion. Nobody names their girl children “Myrtle” nowadays, and I’m not sure “Valdene” was ever common. (When I did a search for “Valdene Madill”, Google informed me that there weren’t many matches for my search. There weren’t any at all for her.)

Shelburne, Ontario, is located at the intersections of Highways 10 and 89. Its population is growing: in 1991, there were 3,439 people there, and in 2016 there were 8,126. The town was founded in 1865 by a man named William Jelly.


Flood waters of Etobicoke River

Here’s a photograph from the February 13 1951 edition of the Toronto Daily Star of flooded streets in Etobicoke:

The same edition also had an editorial cartoon whose subject was the weather:

I looked up the weather records for Toronto for 1951. Here’s what I found:

  • The city had endured a cold, snowy stretch late in January and early in February, with high temperatures at about -11C some days and a total of about 20 centimetres of snow. The thermometer bottomed out at -23.9C on February 3.
  • There was another cold spell from February 8 to 10. The temperature dropped to -26.1C on February 9, which is quite cold indeed.
  • There had been a milder stretch of weather on February 11 and 12, including 8.1 millimetres of rain, which led to the flooding.

I looked at the rest of February and it looked like more of the same: milder than usual weather with occasional blips of rain. The temperature went above zero for at least part of every day between February 16 and March 8. I don’t know whether that would have helped ease the flooding or made it worse.


Just to remind you

Here’s a Valentine’s Day ad from the February 13 1951 edition of the Toronto Daily Star:

Needless to say, you wouldn’t see an ad like this today.


Eight fined $50

The February 18 1952 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained an article about eight people who were in court because they had been caught driving while impaired.

From this article, I learned that the going rate for driving while impaired in 1952 in Toronto was $50, which is equivalent to $479.86 in today’s money. While this isn’t that small a sum, I can’t help but think that drinking and driving was far more socially tolerated in 1952 than it is today.


Wed on the isle of Capri

Here’s a brief article from the February 18 1952 edition of the Toronto Daily Star about the marriage of British singing star Gracie Fields:

Gracie Fields (1898-1979) was famous in 1930s Britain as a singer and actress. During the Second World War, she was married to Monty Banks, a citizen of Italy; to keep Banks from being interned as an enemy alien, the couple went to North America. Fields performed regularly for servicemen during the war, sometimes enduring air raids.

Ms. Fields was a widow when she met Mr. Alperovic, as Mr. Banks had passed away in 1950. Her Wikipedia page claims that she thought of Mr. Alperovic as the love of her life, and that she could not wait to propose to him, which she did on Christmas Day 1951. The marriage lasted: the couple remained together until her death.


Male pilots only, please

The February 18 1952 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained two ads for the Royal Canadian Air Force: one for men, and one for women.

Men were given the opportunity to become pilots:

Whereas women were only given the option of serving in the RCAF Auxiliary:

Sure, identifying and detecting approaching aircraft and working as a triangulation table operator were useful tasks and even essential ones. But I am sure that there were women who would have welcomed the opportunity to become a pilot if it had been available to them.



Here’s an ad from the February 18 1952 edition of the Toronto Daily Star for a company that offered personal loans.

I crunched the numbers on the loan amounts and costs, and the rates of return were 16.7% and higher. That’s a pretty good return on investment, I guess.

The Personal Finance Company kept opening branches over the next few years – the 1956 directory lists 24 branches. But it appears that they might have overextended themselves, as they weren’t listed in the 1957 directory.