Why not a movie about illicit love?

Here’s an ad from the November 14 1957 edition of the Toronto Daily Star that was an example of that era’s equivalent of clickbait:


Woman in a Dressing Gown is a British film. It won four awards at the 7th Berlin International Film Festival, and won the 1958 Golden Globe Award for best English-language foreign film. Despite this, and despite favorable reviews, the film lost money at the box office.

The Digital Fix has a review of this film on their website.



What did he really think?

The November 14 1957 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this ad for Maclean’s magazine, featuring an article about Toronto by a Canadian-born British member of Parliament, Beverley Baxter.


Beverley Baxter (1891-1964) served as a Conservative member of the British Parliament from 1935 until his death. Among other things:

  • During the Great Depression, he suggested that poor British people could emigrate to other countries of the British Empire.
  • He strongly supported appeasement of Hitler (though he later became a strong supporter of Winston Churchill).
  • He supported the abolition of capital punishment.
  • In 1961, he supported a Conservative backbench amendment to restore corporal punishment for juveniles.

Charles and Alfred

The November 14 1957 edition of the Toronto Daily Star included this portrait of Prince Charles on his ninth birthday:


When this photograph first appeared, several readers of Mad magazine noticed that the Prince’s features resembled those of Alfred E. Neuman, the Mad mascot. When this resemblance was mentioned in Mad’s letters to the editor, apparently the Prince himself wrote in to dispute this: “Dear Sirs No it isn’t a bit – not the least little bit like me. So jolly well stow it! See!”

Actually, I think this picture does look a bit like Alfred E. Neuman, but not that much. But you decide!


Twenty salesmen wanted

The February 11 1957 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this ad requesting twenty real estate salesmen immediately:


Google Maps tells me that 1353 Weston Road is just southeast of Jane Street. The building still stands.

Naturally, I was curious: did John Sikura Real Estate become successful? Unfortunately, its fate was similar to that of this real estate agency. The company appeared for the first time in the 1958 city directory, but does not appear in the 1959 city directory.

I also looked up the men mentioned in the ad:

  • I couldn’t find Val Armstrong in the Toronto city directory for 1957 or 1958. Val might have been a nickname, of course, and Armstrong is a very common surname, so it would be hard to trace.
  • Hardiman Cureton wasn’t listed in the Toronto city directory either, but he was definitely a football player: in 1957, he was with the Ottawa Rough Riders. And he was definitely a successful salesman as well: he demanded a trade from Ottawa to Hamilton so that he could both play football and continue as an ice cream salesman in Toronto.

Cureton had been a first-team All-American and UCLA’s team captain in 1955, but he was in the CFL because he was a draft evader: had he returned to the United States, he would have been arrested. He had a good career in Canada: he won the Grey Cup as a member of the Tiger-Cats in 1963. He passed away in Richmond, Virginia, in 2003, so obviously he was eventually free to return to the land of his birth. There is a picture of him here.


The Institute Of Breathing

The February 11 1957 edition of the Toronto Daily Star contained this advertisement:


You could call them any time – day or night, including holidays!

A search in the Toronto city directories for the Institute Of Breathing turned up nothing: it is not listed in the 1956, 1957, or 1958 city directory, and there is no other business at 2279 Yonge Street with that phone number.

A Google search for Captain W. P. Knowles turned up a couple of articles on his method of “controlled rhythmic breathing”. I have no idea whether it has any medical value, but obviously breathing of some form or other is somewhat useful.


Worst billing ever

The July 20 1957 Toronto Daily Star contained this article, in which rats and children were billed ahead of actor Van Johnson:


Naturally, the musical is now on YouTube, and Van Johnson has a Wikipedia page. So does the Pied Piper.


Agent 99 wins $64,000

The July 20 1957 edition of the Toronto Star featured Gordon Sinclair interviewing a young woman named Barbara Hall, who had won $64,000 on the game show The $64,000 Question:


Ms. Hall went on to marry Lucien Verdoux-Feldon in 1958, who presumably is the Air France pilot mentioned in this article. She changed her name to Barbara Feldon, and later starred as Agent 99 in Get Smart.