Category:
1930s

Payment in Clams



When the nation's banks closed during the Depression, Leiter's Pharmacy in Pismo Beach, California, issued this clamshell as change.

The 1929 stock market crash triggered banking panics, as people rushed to withdraw their savings before they were lost. In March 1933, President Roosevelt ordered a four-day bank holiday to prevent further withdrawals. To compensate for the currency shortage, communities created emergency money, or scrip. This clamshell was signed as it changed hands and redeemed when cash became available again.


Source.

Posted By: Paul - Mon May 16, 2022 - Comments (2)
Category: Money, Nature, 1930s

Metallic Swim Suit

Apr 1938: Ruth Williamson demonstrated that "nothing short of a saw or file" would damage the metallic bathing suit she was modeling.

Because withstanding saw and file is an important quality for a bathing suit.

Pittsburgh Press - Apr 17, 1938



NY Daily News - Mar 27, 1938

Posted By: Alex - Fri May 13, 2022 - Comments (5)
Category: Fashion, 1930s

Mother Goose Controversy

1937: I don't know how Khrushchev would have felt about the Mother Goose mural painted on a wall at the Glenn Dale Sanatorium outside Washington D.C., but health officer Dr. George Rhuland felt it was "grotesque" and ordered it painted over. I think he was eventually overruled.

I'm not sure what he found objectionable about it. Perhaps he didn't like the modernist style.

Meanwhile, the Glenn Dale Sanatorium has since become an abandoned relic, which remains standing, rather than being torn down, because of the asbestos remediation costs.

North Adams Transcript - Nov 19, 1937



11/19/37: Berenice Cross, young Washington, D.C., artist, working on a WPA mural in Washington, Nov. 19th, which she hopes will not become another bone of contention. The fate of her "Mother Goose," the mural in the Glenn Dale Tuberculosis Sanitarium, which was ordered painted over by Dr. George Rhuland, District of Columbia Health Officer, after it had been up for a year. He characterized it as "grotesque" and unsuitable to the dignity of a public institution. Miss Cross modestly admits that it has its faults, but that the children in the sanitarium like it. Russell Parr, the District WPA art project head, is indignant over Dr. Rhuland's order and claims that it is illegal, as the mural is government property.

Posted By: Alex - Thu May 12, 2022 - Comments (1)
Category: Art, Censorship, Bluenoses, Taboos, Prohibitions and Other Cultural No-No’s, 1930s

World’s Most Beautiful Blonde

The photo that comes second here represents several of the contestants in this French competition. Not sure if our winner, Helen, is among them.






Posted By: Paul - Thu May 12, 2022 - Comments (0)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Beauty, Ugliness and Other Aesthetic Issues, 1930s, Europe

Unlikely Reasons for Murder No. 9

These two were "lucky" enough to be immortalized by Weegee.

Article source: The Grand Island Daily Independent (Grand Island, Nebraska) 03 Aug 1936,
Mon Page 1





Posted By: Paul - Tue May 10, 2022 - Comments (2)
Category: Crime, Scary Criminals, Stupid Criminals, Family, Photography and Photographers, 1930s

Legs of Tomorrow

In 1939, ice skater Erna Anderson was declared to have the "Legs of Tomorrow" on the theory that "the woman of tomorrow will be more athletic."

Arguably this prediction came true. At least, it's common now for women to go to gyms, whereas it wasn't in the 1930s.

Minneapolis Star - June 2, 1939



Erna Anderson. Source: New York Public Library

Posted By: Alex - Mon May 09, 2022 - Comments (7)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Exercise and Fitness, 1930s, Legs, Yesterday’s Tomorrows

Lamp Shade Queen

Pittsburgh Press - Apr 2, 1939

Posted By: Alex - Fri May 06, 2022 - Comments (0)
Category: Awards, Prizes, Competitions and Contests, Fashion, Furniture, 1930s

Wolfe v. Feldman

Peter Ackerberg, writing in the Minneapolis Star (Nov 17, 1979), described the unusual legal case of Wolfe v. Feldman, which was heard in 1936:

Charlotte Wolfe had three rotten teeth, so she went to Max Feldman, a dentist specializing in oral surgery, to have them pulled. When the surgery was over, however, Wolfe complained of pain in a strange place: the pinky finger of her right hand. It turned out to be a possible fracture, and she sued Feldman.

Feldman countered that it wasn't his fault, and he told the judge this story:

Wolfe was strapped to the dentist's chair (apparently a common procedure then), and was given nitrous oxide, an anesthesia better known as laughing gas. What happened next was no laughing matter.

The next part of the story is best summarized in the text of the case itself:

Defendant's story is that plaintiff was strapped to the operating chair; that a short time later, after plaintiff was in the excitement stage of nitrous oxide anaesthesia and as he moved closer to the chair to adjust the suction aspirator, plaintiff, despite the limited movement of the strapped wrist, clutched his testicles with a painful grip, which required the use of great force to release.

So the patient, while under the influence of laughing gas, managed to grab hold of the dentist's testicles, and in the process of freeing himself the dentist fractured her little finger.

Nevertheless, the judge ruled in favor of the patient for $650, saying:

It was incumbent on him, during the time the patient was in the so-called 'fighting stage' reached by patients undergoing anesthesia by nitrous oxide, not to place his body in such a position as to permit plaintiff's hands to interfere with him to such an extent as to require the application of force sufficiently severe to cause her physical injury.

Posted By: Alex - Tue Apr 26, 2022 - Comments (0)
Category: Lawsuits, 1930s, Teeth

Cat Boxing

I wasn't aware that there was such a thing as cat boxing. Cats fight all the time, of course. But to box each other at a set time in front of a crowd — I didn't think they would cooperate with such an indignity.



Detroit Free Press - June 16, 1939



Update: Paul revealed to me the existence of this old video produced by Thomas Edison, circa 1894, showing cats boxing. So I guess cat boxing is a long-established thing.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Apr 14, 2022 - Comments (2)
Category: Sports, Cats, 1930s

Obscure actor pickets Hollywood

Feb 1938: Self-proclaimed obscure actor Emil Sitka picketed on Hollywood Boulevard, declaring that Hollywood was unfair to him.

I don't think that this stunt brought him much recognition, but he did, eventually, gain success in Hollywood when, in 1947, he began appearing in Three Stooges' films. He ended up being known as the "fourth stooge". From wikipedia:

Sitka served the role of a literal "stooge," or straight man, to the Three Stooges throughout nearly 40 of their short films, most of which were filmed during Shemp's run as the third stooge. In addition to one single appearance during Curly's run with the trio, and a limited number of appearances during Besser's, Sitka returned as a near-regular character when the trio returned to film and television with DeRita. His frequent appearances with the trio, and his role as stooge to the stooges, have earned him the informal title of being the "fourth stooge".

More info: his IMDB page

Pittsburgh Press - Feb 6, 1938

Posted By: Alex - Sun Apr 03, 2022 - Comments (1)
Category: ShowBiz, 1930s, Actors

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