Tag Archives: 1930s

A List Of 59 “Really Interesting” Books About New York City Compiled In 1936

These 59 Books About New York City Were Recommended To Anyone Who Was Considering Working For The City

In 1936 New York librarian Rebecca Rankin was asked to compile a list of books with good stories which have New York as a background by the Municipal Service Commission. Along with Miriam Mayer of the Municipal Library, the two came up with a list of hundreds of good books that they would recommend to anyone considering working for the city. Continue reading

Old New York In Postcards #21 – 1920s & 1930s New York City Aerial Images

New York City In The 1920s & 1930s As Seen By Airplane

A Vanished Skyline

Peenn Station Area from airplane 1920sWhen in lower Brooklyn, Queens or bicycling across the George Washington Bridge, I look at the New York City skyline. It has become something I do not recognize.

New York is a city that architecturally alters itself every year. It comes as no surprise that there are buildings that now obscure the sight of what were once tourist magnets.

The Woolworth, Bankers Trust, Equitable, Municipal, Citicorp and Chrysler Buildings are dwarfed by new neighbors. Fifty Seventh Street is now an ugly amalgamation of needle glass towers selling for $40 million to absentee owners.

I never experienced the grandeur of the classic Manhattan skyline. It had mostly vanished by the 1960s in a spate of modern construction in the financial district and midtown. However, even through the 1980s there was not an infestation of buildings that blocked New York’s most notable structures.

But in the past fifteen years the New York skyline has been overhauled. In the process obliterating the uniqueness of New York. New, mammoth unattractive buildings are now spreading like a fungus in the city. The skyline seen now could be Chicago, Los Angeles or Houston. It has been impossible to stop a bunch of undistinguished architectural monstrosities to destroy the vistas that made New York famous.

Let us return to the 1920s and 30s when New York City looked like NEW YORK CITY. Here are some aerial postcard views showing what was once a picturesque city.

Click on any image to enlarge as all of these postcards are real photo. I scanned many (not all) of them at 300 dpi so the detail is pretty clear when enlarged.

New York from the south aerial view 1930sLooking north we have a fantastic overview of the entire southern portion of the island.

aerial lower manhattan east river 1930s aerialAnother classic view when approaching Manhattan from the south showing the piers and many turn-of-the-century and art deco buildings that proliferate in lower Manhattan.

Aerial view of Lower Manhattan from the Hudson Looking east across the Hudson another at the southern tip of Manhattan. This view captures most of the important buildings in the financial district.  Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #88 – Dracula, Bela Lugosi Wants To Be “Good”

What Bela Lugosi’s Life Was Like In 1936

Bela Lugosi Dracula in street clothes

Bela Lugosi was not always Dracula

With today being Halloween we thought we’d do a story about Bela Lugosi and Dracula. Not many children dress as Dracula on Halloween anymore. You are not allowed to wear the cape and put fangs in your mouth unless you are a real vampire. This is because of the very vocal beyond-the-fringe maniacs who go into an uproar about “cultural appropriation.”  So, Dracula is off limits as a costume as far as certain groups have told us, such as ORVIL (Only Real Vampires In Life) .

For those who don’t realize it, I’m not serious, but sometimes it feels as if this is where mainstream society is headed unless somebody speaks up.

Bela Lugosi (1882-1956) the actor most identified with Dracula, loved and loathed the role at the same time. Dracula made Lugosi famous, but in the process it typecast him as being a horror star. Most people do not realize that prior to Lugosi being cast in Dracula in 1931, he had starred in the Broadway production of the play for three years. Previous to that he was a leading man with strikingly handsome features.

So who was the real Bela Lugosi? Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #85 – Cary Grant, Queenie Smith & Emanuel Cohen

Cary Grant and Queenie Smith Attend The Emanuel Cohen BanquetCary Grant Queenie Smith Emanuel Cohen Dinner October 13 1934 Screen Folk Fete Studio Head

Hollywood, Calif.: When a testimonial dinner honoring Emanuel Cohen, studio head, was given last night, all of filmdom turned out in their finest. Among the many stars present at the gala affair, were Queenie Smith, motion picture actress, accompanied by Cary Grant, handsome screen lover and estranged husband of Virginia Cherrill, beautiful motion picture actress. Hollywood wonders if this is a new romance. Credit photo: Wide World Photos 10/13/1934

For Cary Grant and Queenie Smith there was no romance. The publicity agents at Paramount made sure Grant escorted women to various Hollywood events. At the time Grant lived with actor Randolph Scott, an arrangement that lasted until the early 1940s. Cary wed heiress Barbara Hutton in 1942.

But, who was Emanuel Cohen?

Emanuel Cohen on set of movie. photo: Wide World Photos

Paramount Pictures, Emanuel Cohen on the set of a film

Cohen is one of the forgotten behind the scene power brokers of the 1930s film world. As vice president in charge of production at Paramount Studios, Emanuel Cohen (1892-1977) was largely responsible for keeping Paramount afloat during the Great Depression. In the early 1930s the studio was essentially bankrupt. Continue reading

Gloria Vanderbilt Dead At 95 – Rare News Photos Of When She Was Young

Young Gloria Vanderbilt –  Rare Press Photos

Bruce Cabot and Gloria Vanderbilt attend a theater in Hollywood November 29, 1941 photo Acme

Actor Bruce Cabot with 17-year-old Gloria Vanderbilt at the Music Box Theater in Hollywood for the premiere of “They Can’t Get You Down” October 27, 1941 photo: Acme

Being a rich child with a large trust fund did not define Gloria Vanderbilt. Neither did a sensational tug of war child custody battle between her mother Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt and her aunt Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney.  When Gloria Vanderbilt died of stomach cancer in New York on June 17, 2019 at the age of 95, she had achieved prominence in many facets of life. Continue reading

Oh Brother! Could They Pitch – The Dean, Perry, Martinez & Niekro Brothers

Winning Brothers, Dizzy & Daffy Dean

Dizzy & Daffy Dean 1935

Hold Chat On Bleachers

Dizzy and Daffy, those two Dean boys. Paul on the left looks a little skeptical as Dizzy shows his brother the way a ball is held for a “hook”. Just before the Giants and Cardinals got going  March 15 at Flamingo Park, Miami Beach, Florida, these two boys held a chat on the bleachers. The Giants defeated the Cardinals 2-0. — 3/17/1935 Associated Press Photo

In the history of Major League Baseball there have been many brothers who have each taken the mound to be pitchers. For both of them to be successful however, is another story. Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #76 – Silent Movie Stars Reunite

A 1936 Gathering Of Silent Movie Stars

Silent films were virtually eradicated in 1929 with all the major film studios converting from silents to talkies. So it is kind of funny to see this 1936 news photo labeled “Old Time Film Notables.”

Most of the silent stars pictured above are not well known today, but they were “big” in their day. Continue reading

The Brooklyn Home Of Actor Edward Everett Horton (and His Interesting Life)

Famed Actor Edward Everett Horton Was Born & Bred In Brooklyn

Everett Edward Horton home BrooklynImagine living in a home that is old. Over 150-years-old.

If you’ve ever lived anywhere that has a long past, you’ve probably wondered who previously occupied the space before you. What were the people like who once lived there? What celebrations and heartbreaks happened there?

When passing by, no one would take a second look at the building at 316 Carlton Avenue in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn. It’s just another tidy single family, four story brick home in a row of similar 19th century houses. Continue reading

Prohibition Repealed December 5, 1933 – But What About Beer?

December 5, 1933, Congress Repealed Prohibition But Beer Had Been Available Since Spring

Spring 1933 cases of beer bottles after 1933 repeal of prohibition photo Milton Brooks Detroit NewsFirst Loads of Beer Arrive

Abe Kaufman, distributor for Wayne County, for Edelweiss in Detroit, lowering a case. Part of shipment of 5,400 cases. – April 1933 credit: Milton Brooks, Detroit News

As hard as it is to imagine, the sale and consumption of alcohol was illegal for 13 years in the United States. Though Congress repealed Prohibition on December 5, 1933, the Cullen-Harrison Act passed on March 22, 1933 allowed the resumption of production of (3.2%) low alcohol content beer and wine.

newspaper ad edelweiss beer 1933

Ad, the return of beer- 1933

It only took a little while for manufacturers to begin brewing and bottling beer. Americans anxiously awaited being able to buy the beverage legally. By April 9 beer was available in many major cities like San Francisco, New York, Louisville and Chicago.

The effect on the Depression economy was immediate, 50,000 jobs were instantly created. Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #75 – Child Star Jackie Cooper

Young Jackie Cooper Signs A Big Contract With MGM – 1931

Jackie Cooper child star signs contract with MGM Louis B MayerYoungest Long-Termer

Hollywood, Calif – Jack Cooper, seven-year-old hero of “Skippy” and the most promising youngster in Hollywood is earning the distinction of being the youngest star to have a long term contract as he prepares to put his “John Hancock” on the important looking document being held by Luis B. Mayer, vice-president of a leading motion picture company. While the salary was not disclosed it is believed there was an unprecedented number of naughts after the first figure to make him the highest paid youngster in the United States. His first thought after walking around the movie lot following the signing was to organize a football team. – (credit: International Newsreel Photo,  June 9, 1931

Being a minor Jackie Cooper could not legally sign his contract, his parents were the real signers. Continue reading