Category:
1940s

Follies of the Madmen #496



Tarzan chews Dentyne.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Jan 03, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Business, Advertising, Foreign Customs, 1940s, Teeth

Hair tonic salesman sues wig company

1941: Carl Hutzmann, hair tonic salesman, sued a wig supplier on account of late delivery of a wig. "Hutzmann said that he had to appear before his prospective customers with a receding hair line, so the wig was of no use to him later."

Brooklyn Daily Eagle - Mar 27, 1941

Posted By: Alex - Thu Dec 03, 2020 - Comments (0)
Category: Patent Medicines, Nostrums and Snake Oil, 1940s, Hair and Hairstyling

Abacus vs. Calculator

Nov 1946: In a contest of old vs. new technology, the abacus beat a calculator in a contest of speed in all categories (addition, subtraction, and division) except multiplication.

I'm assuming a modern computer should now be able to outperform an abacus, though I suppose it would depend on how quickly one can input the numbers.

More info: Abacus vs. the Electric Calculator

The Californian - Nov 11, 1946



Detroit Free Press - Nov 4, 1946

Posted By: Alex - Wed Dec 02, 2020 - Comments (5)
Category: Technology, Computers, 1940s

Church challenge

1941: Patrick Gunn, 46, left a note in the church collection plate challenging the priest, Monsignor Edmund J. Reilly, to a fight in the street.

I found a photo of the Monsignor. He doesn't look like the fighting type.

Wilmington News Journal - Mar 24, 1941



Monsignor Edmund J. Reilly
source: FindAGrave.com

Posted By: Alex - Sat Nov 28, 2020 - Comments (1)
Category: Religion, Violence, 1940s

The Shipwreck Diet

Studies conducted by the U.S. Army in the late 1940s sought to determine the minimum amount of food a person would need to survive if they were shipwrecked on a desert island.

One of the oddities the researchers discovered was that if, for some reason, the shipwrecked person had to choose between steak and water, they should choose the water: "Protein has the effect of drying up the body. Therefore eating a steak on a desert island with little or no water available would probably be worse than eating nothing, depending upon how long rescue took."

"Shipwreck Diet: One of eleven Army volunteers who for six weeks will live on biscuits and water at the Metropolitan Hospital, New York City, to determine a human survival ration."
Newsweek - Mar 15, 1948




Waterloo Courier - Nov 16, 1949

Posted By: Alex - Mon Nov 16, 2020 - Comments (4)
Category: Food, Nutrition, Experiments, 1940s, Dieting and Weight Loss

Graduated Alone

May 1949: Eva Mae Bradbury was the only member of her graduating class at the public school in Ada, Kansas. The school nevertheless put on a full commencement program for her, attended by 150 people (which was about the entire population of Ada).

Decatur Herald and Review - May 21, 1949

Posted By: Alex - Thu Nov 05, 2020 - Comments (2)
Category: School, 1940s

250 Times I Saw a Play

Keith Odo Newman, whom the Guardian has described as "a homosexual Austrian psychoanalyst," authored 250 Times I Saw A Play, which was published in 1944. As the title suggests, it describes his experience of watching a play 250 times. The play was Flare Path by Terence Rattigan.



The backstory here is that Newman was Rattigan's doctor. According to TactNYC.org:

When World War II broke out, Rattigan, who was seeing a bizarrely charismatic psychiatrist named Dr. Keith Newman, decided, with the encouragement of his doctor, to enlist with the RAF. Despite the fact that he wasn’t at all mechanically inclined and was a social snob, Rattigan flourished in the egalitarian RAF, mastering the technical requirements and becoming an air gunner wireless operator (like Dusty Miller in Flare Path). It was while he was serving active duty that he wrote Flare Path and its creation seemed to dissolve the writer’s block under which Rattigan was suffering.

For some reason, Rattigan asked Newman to personally direct the performance of the lead actor in the play, Jack Watling, and Newman proceeded to become obsessed with Watling. Which is why, I assume, Newman ended up watching the play 250 times. Rattigan's biographer, Geoffrey Wansell, offers more details:

During rehearsals, which took place at the Apollo, Newman said nothing. 'He just sat there in the stalls, silent', according to Watling. 'But just before the play opened in Oxford, where I was to stay with him in his flat at Number 36 Holywell, he took me to the Lake District for three days of what he called intensive voice training.' The psychiatrist had devised a set of vocal exercises, which he insisted he practised for hours at a time. 'It was unbelievable,' Watling recalled. 'He took over my life completely.'...
At this stage Newman had not made a homosexual pass at Watling. That came later. Newman simply frightened him beyond words. 'I couldn't do anything without asking his permission. I was heterosexual then, and I am now, but Newman pretty much gave me a nervous breakdown. I couldn't cope with him.' Why Newman had this power, or why people submitted to him, Watling is just as unable to explain now as he was then.

After completing his odd book, Newman sent the manuscript to George Bernard Shaw, who wrote back with a few of his thoughts about it. Shaw's comments weren't very complimentary, but Newman nevertheless included a facsimile of them at the front of the book. Shaw wrote:

I don't know what to say about this book. The experience on which it is founded is so extraordinary, that an honest record of it should be preserved. But it would have driven me mad; and I am not sure that the author came out of it without a slight derangement.

Sure enough, Newman was subsequently certified insane and died in a mental institution.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Nov 02, 2020 - Comments (1)
Category: Theater and Stage, Books, 1940s

Demoralize Nazis with tea

1940: Stephens Fothergill of London had a very British plan to defeat the Nazis:

"I would allow the German army to march into London, and instead of greeting them with machine guns, I would give them cups of tea. That would completely demoralize them."

St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Feb 15, 1940

Posted By: Alex - Wed Oct 28, 2020 - Comments (2)
Category: Military, War, 1940s

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