Baseball’s Other Dizzy – Paul “Dizzy” Trout

Dizzy Trout Tigers Pitching Star 1944

Tiger Moundsman

Right-hander Paul “Dizzy” Trout, Detroit Tigers pitching ace, now seeing plenty of action in the Tigers’ drive for the American League pennant. 9/25/1944 photo: AP

Ask a baseball fan to tell you a player named Dizzy and the name that will come up nine times out of ten will be Dizzy Dean. Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #127 – Before She Became A Star, Ginger Rogers 1930

On The Cusp Of Stardom – Young Ginger Rogers 1930

portrait 18-year-old Ginger Rogers 1930 A victory in the Texas Charleston contest four years ago gave Ginger Rogers the necessary stimulus for a stage career. Since her arrival on Broadway last season, after playing in vaudeville throughout the country, this talented young woman has won all sorts of honors in musical comedy and motion pictures.

She now has aspirations to be a radio star. When the inaugural Mardi Gras program is presented from WABC over the Columbia Broadcasting System on Tuesday (May 13) at 9 P.M. (E.D.S.T.) Miss Rogers will be the guest artist. One of the songs she will introduce is “I Wish I Could Be Sing A Love Song” from a new picture, “A Sap From Syracuse”, in which she plays opposite Jack Oakie. Photo: Columbia Broadcast System / NEA May 6, 1930.

92 years ago tonight listeners tuning into the radio could hear 18-year-old Ginger Rogers sing this song.

She was born Virginia Katherine McMath on July 16, 1911 in Independence, MO. Ginger got her nickname Continue reading

Old New York In Photos #138 – Times Square From The Roof Of The Times Tower Building

Birdseye View Of Times Square From The Times Tower Building c. 1910

Times Tower Building Roof view of Times Square c 1910 photo - Keystone-Mast Collection, UCR/California Museum of Photography, University of California at Riverside

Our view comes from the Keystone Mast Collection and shows the rapidly developing Times Square.

But as you can see, north of 42nd Street there are no skyscraper buildings. While many eight to ten story buildings dot the landscape, the tallest structure in this vicinity is the building where the photo was taken from. Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #126 – Paramount On Parade 1930

Chorus Girls From Paramount On Parade

This kitschy publicity photograph for the 1930 film Paramount on Parade shows a few of the chorus girls. Though the girls are unidentified in this photo one could be a future star such as Virginia Bruce.

The film was a revue and would highlight the musical abilities of all the top Paramount Picture stars. Unfortunately the chorus girl scene in the film is missing today as are several other portions of the film. Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #125 – Abbott & Costello Raise Money At A War Bond Drive

Abbott & Costello Raising Money In Los Angeles – 1942

The Government Later Shows Their Gratitude With An IRS Audit

Lou Costello (l) and Bud Abbott (r) raise money at a War Bond rally in Los Angeles. Photo: Los Angeles Daily News

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello were the number one box office stars in 1942, so who better to go out and rouse the public to buy War Bonds?

The United States entered World War II after Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. Abbott and Costello were too old to serve in the armed forces, but they would do their part to aid the war effort.

The comedians each donated their $10,000 weekly personal appearance salary to the Army and Navy relief fund. Traveling the country, Continue reading

Christopher Morley Describes West End Avenue 1932 – Part 2

Christopher Morley’s Description Of West End Avenue – Part 2

12 room apartments, doormen and an air of upper middle class gentility. All part of West End Avenue’s allure.

In 1932 Christopher Morley took an apartment at 54 Riverside Drive on the corner of 78th Street, a block away from his subject.

Here is the conclusion of Christopher Morley’s essay on West End Avenue.

West End is incomparably the most agreeable and convenient of large residential streets, second only to Riverside Drive—whose decline in prestige is mysterious. For that famous old glue-pot stench that used to come drifting across from Jersey has vanished altogether. West End is well churched and doctored. The abandoned hospital at the 72nd Street corner is something of a shock, but the Avenue hurries on uptown, consoling itself with Mr. Schwab’s chateau, its proudest architectural surprise. I wander past Mr. Schwab’s railings at night, noting the caretaker’s light in the attic and regretting that Charley seems to get so little use of his braw mansion. I like to see the homes of our great barons gay with lights and wassail: I have a thoroughly feudal view of society and believe that we small gentry acquiesce gladly in our restricted orbit provided the nabobs are kicking up a dust at the top of the scale. Sometimes I fear that our rich men have been intimidated by modern doctrines and do not like to be seen at frolic. Nonsense! They owe it to us. When a man builds a French chateau he should live in it like a French seigneur. For the gayety of West End Avenue I desire to see more lights in that castle, and hear the organ shaking the tall panes. Continue reading

Christopher Morley Describes West End Avenue 1932 – Part 1

Author Christopher Morley’s Description Of West End Avenue

“Read, every day, something no one else is reading. Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to continually be part of unanimity.”

This was Christopher Morley’s final message to his friends before he died at the age of 66 in 1957.

Morley’s biggest commercial success was the 1939 novel Kitty Foyle, which was turned into an Academy Award winning movie starring Ginger Rogers.

Though Morley would write more than 50 books of all sorts and edit Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, his name has been forgotten by modern readers. Below is a piece that paints a splendid picture of one of the least written about New York city streets.

This piece on West End Avenue appeared in Internal Revenue (1933) Doubleday, Doran.

You hear little about West End Avenue. It is too genteel to have much taste for publicity. But like all very decorous personalities it has its secret ligatures with grim fact. It begins at 106th Street, spliced into the western bend of Broadway, with a memory of the Titanic disaster (the Straus Memorial Fountain). It ends at 59th Street in Dead Storage and Loans on Cars, and in the gigantic Interborough Power House. Below that, though its uniformed hallboys do not like to admit it, it becomes Eleventh Avenue. 59th Street was the latitude where all those baseborn avenues of the old Tenderloin decided to 20 respectable by changing their names. Eighth became Central Park West, Ninth became Columbus, Tenth became Amsterdam, and Eleventh (or Death Avenue) became West End. But reform is as difficult for Streets as for persons. Broadway, careering diagonally across (trollops follow the Trade), drew ever upward its witch-fires and its sulphurous glow. Good old strongholds of middle-class manners were swamped. Apartments once gravid with refinement were given over to the dentist and the private detective (who cries Confidentially Yours in the window). When the MacFadden Publications burst into that part of town, reticences tottered. Even as far up as the 70’s the West Side struggles to disengage from sombre origins or too gaudy companionship. Then a Childs restaurant—unquestionable banner of fair repute – stems the tide on Broadway. Childs is too shrewd to step in on Doubtful Street. The church also comes to the rescue: a place of worship is combined with an apartment house. The Cross on top of this building, says a notice, “Guarantees Safety, Security, and Enjoyment.”

Of all this shifting struggle—so characteristic of New York and repeated in scores of regions all over town—West End Avenue is perfect symbol. The Interborough Power House, I dare say, gives it vitality to struggle successfully with the New York Central freight yards. It is humble enough here: it eats in Gibbs Diner and smokes its cob pipe in the switchman’s little house. It sees lines of milk cans on the sidings and is aware of the solid realities of provender and communication on which citizens depend. (Much of West End Avenue’s milk comes from Grand Gorge,  N. Y., which is an encouraging name to find printed on the cardboard bottle-top when you rummage the  ice-box late at night.) Then the Dodge and other automobile warehouses put ambition into it. It rises to a belt of garages and groceries. At 70th Street it makes as sudden a transformation as any street ever did—except perhaps that social abyss where Tudor City looks over the parapet onto First Avenue. “Here in A. D. 1877,” says the tablet in difficult Tudor script, as hen-track as Shakespeare’s, “was Paddy Corcoran’s Roost.” Who was Paddy? They have him in stone with an inverted Irish pipe. One day I walked through Tudor City with W. S. H., a heraldic expert, pursuivant of the various shields, emblems, armorial bearings and stained glaziery of that architect’s heyday. Cockle-shells, pelicans, griffons, lymphiads, bars and bends most sinister, nearly made an imbecile of my poor friend. Rouge Dragon himself could never unscramble that débris of the College of Arms. “The intended a boar, but it turned to a talbot,” cried W. S. H., examining one fierce escutcheon.

But West End Avenue, when it goes residential at 70th Street, does so in solid fashion, without freak or fantasy. For thirty-five blocks it has probably the most uniform skyline of any avenue in New York. It indulges little in terraces or penthouses; just even bulks of masonry. What other street can show me a run of thirty-five blocks without a shop-window? Few of its apartments have individual names. The Esplanade and the Windermere are two rare exceptions, as also the grand old Apthorp, the Gibraltar of our uptown conservatism: Inside its awful court-yard I have never dared to tread. We leave to the crosstown streets the need to hyperbolize their apartments with pretentious names.

Joe DiMaggio Ends His Holdout For More $

Joe DiMaggio Signs A Contract, Then Autographs For Fans – April 23, 1938

Back In Harness With Fanfare
Back in his Yankee uniform after a long holdout, Joe DiMaggio is shown April 23 in the home ballpark in New York City as he obliged autograph-seeking youngsters in the bleachers. The San Francisco slugger expected to be in playing form within a week. The Washington Nationals celebrated DiMaggio’s presence in the park by beating the Yanks 7-4. Photo: Associated Press April 23, 1938

Cleveland’s Jose Ramirez recently signed a seven year $141 million contract. Mets pitcher Max Scherzer will earn $43,333,333 in 2022. Mike Trout possibly the best position player today will earn $35,541,667 playing for the Angels this year.

In 1937 Joe DiMaggio’s second year in the majors, he played 151 games, scored 151 runs, with 215 hits, 46 home runs, 167 RBIs and posted a .346 batting average. He also walked 67 times while striking out only 37 times.

DiMaggio was paid $15,000. Continue reading

Old New York In Photos #137 – Fifth Avenue Hotel On A Busy Day

The Fifth Avenue Hotel, Fifth Avenue & 23rd Street – Circa 1885

We have featured the Fifth Avenue Hotel before as it was one of the centerpieces of nineteenth century New York.

This magic lantern view is looking northwest, with the hotel occupying the west side of Fifth Avenue between 23rd and 24th Streets.

Though it is impossible to date the photo, it was taken circa 1885. There are a few clues to examine. Continue reading

Jackie Kennedy Onassis And JFK Jr. Ride Bikes In Central Park

A Famous Pair Ride Bicycles (Almost Unnoticed) In Central Park – 1969

Maybe most people in Central Park on this Fall day did not pay any special attention to the woman riding a bicycle behind a young boy. But Ron Galella did.

The original news caption reads: Continue reading