Tag Archives: 1930s

Olivia de Havilland Dies At 104, The End Of An Era- Beginning Of A Book?

Olivia de Havilland Dies – Last of the Great Movie Stars

Olivia de Havilland 1943 photo: Ernest Bacharach

A couple of weeks ago Turner Classic Movies was showing Captain Blood. The 1935 Michael Curtiz directed adventure film stars Errol Flynn, Basil Rathbone, Donald Meek, Lionel Atwill, Guy Kibbee and a 19-year-old making her fourth film – Olivia de Havilland. Except for Flynn and de Havilland, the names are mostly forgotten except to the hardiest of film fans. Continue reading

Cubs Jim Gleeson Scores The Tying Run – July 23, 1939

Cubs Jim Gleeson Ties Game & Giants Lose Their Ninth In A Row

Jim Gleeson scores July 23 1939 photo International News

Home On A Fly

New York – Gleeson, right fielder for the Chicago Cubs, comes home from third after (Mel) Ott, right fielder for the New York Giants, caught (Rip) Russell’s long fly in the sixth inning of the game which the Cubs won 7-5, at the Polo Grounds, New York. (Ken) O’Dea, Giants catcher is set to catch the throw-in. Loss was the Giants ninth in a row. photo: International News 7/23/1939

81 years ago today the Giants and Cubs were in the midst of the pennant race, not beginning their seasons as MLB is doing today. There was no pandemic, just a World War brewing a couple of months away when Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939. Continue reading

Lou Gehrig’s Farewell Speech July 4, 1939

“Did My Speech Sound Silly? Did it?”

Lou Gehrig to a friend minutes after making his “Luckiest Man” speech on July 4, 1939, Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day.

Gehrig and Ruth at Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day July 4 1939 photo Binghampton NewsEarly in the day before being honored at Yankee Stadium, Lou Gehrig told a reporter, “There hasn’t been a day since I came up that I wasn’t anxious to get in uniform and out on the field. But today I wish I was anywhere but in this stadium.”

For the ceremony Lou Gehrig was standing on the field for one hour in between games of a doubleheader with the Washington Senators, as accolades and gifts descended upon him.

Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, Postmaster James Farley, Yankee general manager Ed Barrow and current and former teammates and opponents were there. Besides gifts, they all gave Gehrig the one thing he did not want – sympathy. Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #96 – An Interview With Her Sexcellency, Sally Rand

The Lady With The Fans, Her Sexcellency Sally Rand

Sally Rand c 1928

Sally Rand bubble dance  photo by Ziegfeld Follies glamorist Alfred Cheney Johnston

Sally Rand photo Daily NewsEarlier in 2020, History Channel’s American Pickers featured a show about buying Sally Rand’s personal memorabilia. Most viewers were probably perplexed as to why host Danielle Colby was so excited. In terms of forgotten superstars, Sally Rand, (born Hattie Helen Gould Beck, 1904-1979) would rank pretty high today. Not so for Ms. Colby who understands and admires the artistry that Sally Rand created. Continue reading

Lou Gehrig’s Mom Visits During Spring Training 1930

Lou Gehrig With His Real Mom, March 22, 1930

Lou Gehrig wit his mother at St. Petersburg Florida on March 22, 1930 at Yankees spring training

Lou Gehrig and his mother Christina March 22, 1930 in St. Petersburg, FL at Yankees spring training.

Above is Yankee legend Lou Gehrig with his real mother in contrast to movie Gehrig and mom.

Elsa Janssen and Gary Cooper The Pride of the Yankees 1942

Elsa Janssen and Gary Cooper

Mrs. Gehrig: “I want you to be somebody.”

Lou: “Sure, Mom.”

Mrs. Gehrig Like your Uncle Otto, Louie. He went to university. He graduated. Don’t you see, Louie? That’s why I’m cooking at Columbia, so you can go there some day……and be an engineer like your Uncle Otto. Lou you are going to become an engineer like your Uncle Otto.”

Those are the words Mrs. Gehrig says to young Lou Gehrig in the 1942 movie The Pride of the Yankees. Continue reading

Goose In Flight – 1934 Spring Training Lakeland Florida

Goose Goslin Jumping High In Spring Training

Goose Goslin 1934 spring trainingBefore Rich “Goose” Gossage another great “Goose” played pro baseball. Suiting up  for the Washington Senators, St. Louis Browns and Detroit Tigers  was Leon “Goose” Goslin. Here Goose leaps high to stab a ball at spring training in Lakeland, Florida. Continue reading

Classic Hollywood #90 – Errol Flynn & Mrs. Roosevelt

Errol Flynn Receives A Trophy From Eleanor Roosevelt – 1939

1939 Errol Flynn Eleanor Roosevelt

The event held on  January 25, 1939 in Fort Myer, VA was a benefit fighting infantile paralysis. Errol Flynn (above) rides Badger, a horse belonging to John Roosevelt, son of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

So what did Flynn do to earn the trophy? Being a movie star entitles one to receive accolades and awards even if they’re meaningless. Mrs. Roosevelt presents Flynn a silver cup for participating in the event.

As part a two day show, for the President’s birthday program, monies went to the National Foundation of Infantile Paralysis. The previous year, comedian Eddie Cantor incorporated the name this organization is commonly known as today – The March of Dimes. Continue reading

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