Timeline – 1934 to 1942

Back to previous TIMELINE page – 1881 to 1933



Top stars: Will Rogers, Clark Gable, Janet Gaynor. (21/117)

Songs released in 1934 – http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1934/1934fr.html

  • The Very Thought of You, The Ray Noble Orchestra…
  • Moonglow – Benny Goodman and Lionel Hampton 1936: original 1934 release by Ethyl Waters
  • NRA Blues
  • Cocktails for Two
  • Anything Goes, Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra
  • A Faded Coat of Blue, The Carter Family
  • June in January, Bing Crosby

Books Published in 1934 – http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1934/1934fr.html

  • Goodbye, Mr. Chips by James Hilton
  • Tender is the Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett
  • Murder in Three Acts by Agatha Christie
  • The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain
  • The Thin Man by Dasheill Hammett

Top grossing films of 1934:

  1. Viva Villa!
  2. The Black Cat
  3. Let’s Try Again
  4. One Night of Love
  5. It Happened One Night
  6. Tarzan and His Mate
  7. Little Miss Marker
  8. The Man Who Knew Too Much
  9. The Richest Girl in the World
  10. Treasure Island


JAN1934                 The battle between MGM and the Hays office (in the person of Joseph Breen) rages over ‘Queen Christina’ which MGM wins and Breen loses. (77/63)

05FEB1934             Joseph Breen officially replaces Dr. James Wingate as the head of the Studio Relations Committee  which Breen has basically been running since 01DEC1933. (77/61)

22FEB1934             It Happened One Night starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert, opens at Radio City Music Hall. http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1934/1934fr.html

16MAR1934            Accepting his Academy Award for Three Little Pigs, Walt Disney becomes the first winner to refer to the award as Oscar. (21/118) (44/34) The same ceremony marks the first time Columbia have a film among the nominees: Lady for a Day, directed by Frank Capra. (p88/141)

19APR1934             Fox Studios releases Stand Up and Cheer!, with five-year-old Shirley Temple in a relatively minor role. Shirley steals the film and Fox, which had been near bankruptcy, finds itself owning a goldmine. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1934_in_film

05MAY1934            With Woman Haters, Columbia releases the first of the 105 Three Stooges shorts which run through to 1959. (21/119)

11-13MAY1934       A severe dust storm blows much of the topsoil of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas and Colorado to the Atlantic. http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1934/1934fr.html

18MAY1934            Paramount releases Little Miss Marker, with Shirley Temple, on loan from Fox, in the title role. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1934_in_film

25MAY1934            The Thin Man is released by MGM. The film, shot in only 11 days, revolutionizes the comedy/mystery genre. http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

JUN1934                 Major polio outbreak in Los Angeles. Ida Lupino develops minor case. (21/119) Nearly 2500 polio cases are treated from May through November of that year at Los Angeles County General Hospital alone. http://www.cloudnet.com/~edrbsass/poliotimeline.htm

09JUN1934             Donald Duck makes his debut, in Wise Little Hen. (21/119)

13JUN1934             An amendment to the Production Code establishes the Production Code Administration, and requires all films to obtain a certificate of approval before being released. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1934_in_filmm (77/67)

01JUL1934             The decision that came out of Washington in Sept 1933 was essentially Hays’ self-censorship proposal. Agreed to by all the major studios, it was put into strict effect as of July 1st, 1934. None other than Joseph Breen was named head of the Production Code Administration (PCA) to which all scripts were submitted for clearance before production began, and all finished films were submitted to a final seal of approval. Any film denied an official MMPDA seal would be, under the agreement, also denied a release. (10/141) (21/119) (28/43) Breen formally takes office on 15JUL1934 (77/7 & 67) The “Studio Relations Committee” is replaced by “Production Administration Code”. (77/69) THE PRE-CODE ERA ENDS

Summer 1934        More than 1,250,000 Californians are on relief, and 70% of them are in southern California. (p223/130)

14JUL1934             Babe Ruth hits 700th home run.http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1934/1934fr.html

22JUL1934             John Dillinger is cornered and shot to death by the FBI outside a movie theater in Chicago. (71/125)(94/339)

15AUG1934            At another meeting of the (studio) publicity directors with the Western editors of fan magazines, it was decided to cut down the then list of approx 300 fan-mag writers to a list of approx 50. This “white list” was to be made up, as the Hollywood Reporter stated, “of writers who are established and who are noted for their honest and clean writing…The white list will be the only one with which the studios will do business.” (22/81)

03AUG1934                The Girl from Missouri is released. Jean Harlow’s first post-Code enforcement film sees her in the typical role of a gold digger, but instead of sleeping her way to the top, she uses her virtue as a bargaining chip. Harlow’s films would continue to become more sanctimonious as she left her Blonde Bombshell phase of her career behind her. http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

29AUG1934            Joseph Breen appears on four NBC radio programs outlining the PCA (Production Administration Code) plan. 77/71)

21SEP1934             The Belle of the Nineties is released. Mae West’s first post-Production Code Enforcement is notably toned down from her previous movies, including an utterly ridiculous finale that absolves everyone of sin in the last reel and includes a very convenient (and very unconvincing) marriage for Ms. West’s character, Ruby. West’s career would continue in Hollywood through the late 30s, but she never recaptured her former levels of success. The battle over censoring this film would prove Breen’s authority as the head of the PCA and cement him as the head of the Hollywood censorship apparatus for the next two decades. http://pre-code.com/what-is-pre-code-hollywood/timeline-pre-code-hollywood-era/

1934                        By 1934, MGM houses 4000 employees, 61 stars and featured players, 17 directors and 51 writers. (119/27)

1934                        The Hays Code, named after Will Hays, the former US Postmaster General and instituted by the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America Inc (originally established in 1922) gains its real teeth. (2/33)  An amendment to the Production Code established the Production Code Administration (PCA), which required all films to acquire a certificate of approval before release, or face a penalty of $25,000. The members of the MPPDA agreed not to release or distribute any film that didn’t carry the seal. The MPPDA appointed Joseph Breen as the director of the PCA to enforce the Production Code. John Ford’s The World Moves On was the first film to receive a production seal granted by the Hays Office under its new guidelines. http://www.filmsite.org/milestones1930s.html

1934                        By 1934 the Screen Writers Guild felt itself strong enough to force the issue of representing writers, and when the producers still thumbed their noses, the writers decided to reply by boycotting the much-publicized annual Academy Awards banquet. (29/210)

15JUL1934             Warner Bros becomes the first studio to shut down its Berlin distribution offices in response to Nazi anti-Jewish policies. (21/120) http://www.filmsite.org/milestones1930s.html

JUL1934                 Farmer’s Market opens. (14/178)

20JUL1934             RKO’s Of Human Bondage opens and after more than 20 film roles, Bette Davis earns her first major critical acclaim in the role of Mildred Rogers. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bette_Davis

08SEP1934             Busby Berkley kills three people when his car crashes into theirs. He is charged with second degree murder. (21/124)
On his way home from a party thrown by William Koenig to celebrate the completion of In Caliente (1935), Busby hit two vehicles, killing three people in the second car: William von Brieson, his mother, and sister-in-law. Tried for murder, Berkeley, represented by Jerry Giesler, was acquitted in a third trial after the previous two ended in hung juries. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000923/bio

17SEP1934             The Trocadero opened Billy Wilkerson (owner of the Hollywood Reporter) at 8610 Sunset. Fire guts it in 1936. Closes 1946 (2/33) (21/119) The Myron Selznick start studded party was a couple of days before this. (40/100)

05OCT1934            Radio program Hollywood Hotel commences on the air with Dick Powell as emcee and Louella Parsons as interviewer. (21/120) http://www.otrsite.com/logs/logh1022.htm

14OCT1934            The popular and long-running dramatic radio series Lux Radio Theater premieres on the Blue Network. (80/176) It adapted first Broadway stage works, and then (especially) films to hour-long live radio presentations. It quickly became the most popular dramatic anthology series on radio, running more than twenty years. (NBC Blue Network (1934-1935); CBS (1935-1954); NBC (1954-1955)) broadcast from the Lux Radio Playhouse located at 1615 North Vine Street in Hollywood, one block south of the famed intersection of Hollywood and Vine. The theater was later renamed The Huntington Hartford Theater, The Doolittle Theater, and is now the Ricardo Montalban Theater. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lux_Radio_Theater

OCT1934                                William Randolph Hearst dissolves its agreement with, and starts to release its Metrotone newsreels through MGM from then until 1967. Hearst was a controversial figure for several years. In November 1936, in reaction to protests and moviegoers’ booing of the Hearst newsreel when it began showing causing theaters to edit out references to Hearst, the name of the newsreel was officially changed to News of the Day by Hearst. The Hearst Metrotone News name continued to appear on the copyright notice at the end of the newsreel.

12NOV1934            The musical Babes in Toyland debuts, starring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy as comic relief.                                      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1934_in_film

21NOV1934            Anything Goes opens at the Alvin Theater in NYC and becomes the musical hit of the season.                                  http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1934/1934fr.html

LATE 1934              Marion Davies becomes pregnant by Hearst. She refused to have an abortion. 145/96 says that she did have the baby who went on to become Patricia Lake, married to Arthur Lake (of “Dagwood” fame) and who, along with Arthur, is buried in the same crypt at Hollywood Forever and who, upon Marion’s death received half of Marion’s $20 million estate.

11DEC1934            Fox releases Bright Eyes, starring their hot new property, Shirley Temple. Shirley sings “On the Good Ship Lollipop”, and wins the first Academy Award ever given to a child, for her endearing portrayal of Shirley Blake.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1934_in_film

25DEC1934            Santa Anita Park racetrack opens. http://www.laalmanac.com/history/hi01g.htm

1934                        The Frolic Room opens on Hollywood Boulevard next to the Pantages Theater.

1934                        Charles Darrow claims he invented the game Monopoly

1934                        By the close of 1934, after 4 long years of lean harvests, box office revenues had surged upwards. (77/77)

1934                        Catholic Legion of Decency changes its name to the National Legion of Decency.  http://www.filmsite.org/milestones1930s.html  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Legion_of_Decency

1934                        Joseph Begun invents the first tape recorder for broadcasting – first magnetic recording.

1934                        Benny Goodman – “King of Swing” – organizes one of the first swing bands which, during its ten year existence, brings great popularity to jazz dance music. (23/322)

1934                        Muzak founded. http://www.cinetext.net/timeline/1930.htm

1934                        Los Angeles’ first drive-in movie opens at the corner of Pico and Westwood. (41/11)

1934                        By 1934, Walter Winchell is the nation’s more popular columnist and also has a radio show. (16/178)

1934                        To make way for the new Union Station, the City’s old Chinatown adjacent to the Plaza is condemned. 3,000 Chinese are forced to move.

1934                        Hitler becomes Führer when chancellorship and presidency are united. http://www.infoplease.com/year/1934.html

1934                        Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker ambushed by lawmen in Louisiana. http://www.infoplease.com/year/1934.html

1934                        Dust storms ruin about 100 million acres and damage another 200 million acres of cropland in Kansas, Texas, Colorado, and Oklahoma (“Dust Bowl”). http://www.infoplease.com/year/1934.html

1934                        Censorship of motion pictures is begun by the Catholic Legion of Decency. (23/323)



Top stars: Shirley Temple, Will Rogers, Clark Gable. (21/121)

Songs released in 1935 – http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1935/1935fr.html

  • Lulu’s Back in Town, Dick Powell
  • The Music Goes ‘Round, Riley-Farley & The Onyx Club Boys
  • Cheek to Cheek
  • Here Comes Cookie
  • On the Isle of Capri
  • It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie
  • A Little Bit Independent, Fats Waller
  • Puttin’ on Your Top Hat
  • Lullaby of Broadway
  • All of Me, Louis Armstrong
  • Sweet Lilani
  • Park Avenue Fantasy
  • Lost My Man Blues, Billie Holiday
  • Unemployment Stomp, Big Bill Broonzy
  • Red Sails in the Sunset, Guy Lombardo

Books released in 1935 – http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1935/1935fr.html

  • Butterfield 8 by John O’Hara
  • Of Time and the River by Thomas Wolfe
  • The Last Puritan by George Santayana
  • They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? by Horace McCoy
  • Tortilla Flat by John Steinbeck

Top grossing films of 1935

  1. Top Hat
  2. The Miracle Rider
  3. Anna Karenina
  4. Tumbling Tumbleweeds
  5. Westward Ho
  6. Bride of Frankenstein
  7. The Informer
  8. Dangerous
  9. A Night at the Opera
  10. Mutiny on the Bounty

1935                        Fox Films merges with 20th Century Pictures, Darryl F. Zanuck becomes studio head. (25/110).

10JAN1935             Fairbanks and Pickford divorce. (6/71)

16JAN1935             (Kate) Ma Baker killed with a machine gun in her hands) by the FBI in Lake Weir, FL (71/130)

01FEB1935             First March Of Time newsreel shown in NY, produced by RKO until 1942, then 20th Century Fox until 1951. (21/122)

27FEB1935             It Happened One Night shocks the industry. Not only because it grabbed all 5 major categories, but it was produced by Columbia, a small studio. It had been assumed that all Academy members voted for the studio they were affiliated with. The win propelled Columbia into the big leagues. (44/71)

MAR1935                Photoplay starts a Garbo versus Dietrich war, calling Garbo the Silent Swede whose throne was threatened by the “lush Teuton with slumberous eyes”. (59/91)

14MAR1935            Shirley Temple, Grauman’s ceremony http://www.amug.org/~scrnsrc/chinese_theater.html

22MAR1935            Orson Welles makes his radio debut on CBS’ March of Time. (71/111)

20APR1935             Your Hit Parade begins on NBC as a 60-minute show with 15 songs played in a random format. Initially, the songs are more important than the singers, so a stable of vocalists go uncredited and are paid only $100 per show. In 1936-37 the program is carried on both NBC and CBS. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Your_Hit_Parade

22APR1935             Flash Gordon, the science fiction radio program starring Gale Gordon, debuts. The series ended on October 26, 1935 with Flash and Dale’s marriage. The next week, The Adventures of Jungle Jim picked up in that Saturday timeslot. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flash_gordon#Radio_serials

14MAY1935            Griffith Observatory – Built from money stipulated in Griffith J. Griffith’s 1919 will, the Observatory was built between 1933 and 1935 and dedicated on 14MAY1935. http://www.griffithobs.org/obshist.html

MAY1935                Loretta Young calls Clark Gable to her home at 10935 Sunset and tells him that she is pregnant with his child. On 06NOV1935 she delivers a healthy baby girl. (150-153/96)

MAY1935                King George V and Queen Mary celebrate their 25th Jubilee. (105)

SUMMER1935        The L. A. Times moves into its new building at the corner of 1st Street and Spring. Will Rogers was the MC for the half-hour radio show. (91/125)

01JUN1935             The greatest hitter in the history of baseball, Babe Ruth, retires from Major League Baseball.  He is among the charter class of players inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, in Cooperstown, New York, in 1939. http://americasbesthistory.home.att.net/abhtimeline1930.html

01UN1935               Twentieth Century Fox’s Under the Pampas Moon premieres, marking the movie debut of “Rita Cansino” who is later picked up by Columbia, given a makeover and renamed Rita Hayworth.

JUL1935                 Purity Seal adopted. (28/76)

15AUG1935            Will Rogers dies in Alaskan plane crash. (5/42)

31AUG1935            “Communism in Studios” blares the front-page headline of the Hollywood Reporter, the first assault from the periodical that will later lead the campaign to uncover moviemaking subversives. (21/123)

SEP1934                 The Hays Office warns producers and screenwriters away from “bum”, ”lousy”, ”chippie” (prostitute), ”floozy” and “goose”. And there will be no more Bronx cheers (blowing raspberries). (21/123)

08SEP1935             Returning home from a party, a drunken Busby Berkeley crossed the median on the PCH just north of Sunset and slammed into two cars, killing three members of a family in one car and seriously injuring the two people in the other. Berkeley called Whitey Hendry at MGM who in turn called Jerry Giesler. Two hung juries and three trials later, Berkeley was acquitted and MGM paid $100,000 to settle civil suits. (162/96)

27SEP1935             13yo Judy Garland signs her first contract with MGM. (21/125)

mid-1930s              Mayer steps up plans to import Jewish writers from Austria, Hungary and Romania, in part to enhance the qualities of his productions, in part to give them sanctuary from the Nazi menace. (19/284)

mid-1930s              During the filming of Camille, George Cukor was arrested for propositioning a young man on the street. It took all of Mayer’s and Thalberg’s powerful connections though District Attorney Buron Fitts to spring Cukor from prison and put him back on the set. (19/285)

26NOV1935            Max Factor Hollywood Makeup Studio opens at 1666 North Highland Ave. (14/162) (25/13)


19NOV1935            Louella Parsons announces that Clark Gable and Ria Langham are divorcing. Howard Strickling made them wait to make the announcement until after the premiere of Clark Gable and Loretta Young’s picture ‘Call Of The Wild’ (during which Gable and Young had an affair that resulted in a child) and the 06NOV birth of the child. (153/96)

DEC1935                Hitler confiscates all movie theaters own by people of Jewish origin. (28/80)

19DEC1935            Warner Bros.’ Captain Blood premieres and makes an instant star of Errol Flynn. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0026174/

(FEB?)1935            “Fibber McGee and Molly,” a radio comedy starring Jim and Marian Jordan, debuts on the Blue Network, ending in 1959 making it one of the longest-running comedies in the history of classic radio in the U.S. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fibber_McGee_and_Molly

13APR1935                In 1935, Westmore formed a partnership with four of his brothers to build, own, and operate the House of Westmore beauty salon at 6638 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. The salon became a world-famous meeting and mingling place for movie stars, housewives, and tourists. The rise of television and the resulting changes in movie industry practices, as well as the decline of the neighborhood, led to a loss of business and prestige and the salon’s eventual demise. It closed in 1965, but the building still stands today.  (47/229)    (p104/120)                                    http://www.flickr.com/photos/1000photosofnewyorkcity/113600050/in/set-72057594083888984/

LATE 1935              Eddie Mannix finally gets his hands on the original negative of the porn film made by a young Joan Crawford. Having been aware of it since they signed Crawford in 1925, they also spent the intervening years buying up several dozen copies. (161/96)

1935                        Wagner Act guarantees labor’s right to collective bargaining. (47/341)

1935                        Paramount Publix goes bankrupt; reorganized as Paramount Pictures under Adolph Zukor. http://www.cinetext.net/timeline/1935.htm

1935                        David O. Selznick leaves his vice-president/producer job at MGM to set up Selznick Intl Studios at 9336 West Washington Blvd. Out of which he produces GWTW. Selznick International Pictures was a Hollywood motion picture studio. It was founded in 1935 by producer David O. Selznick and investor John Hay Whitney after Selznick left MGM and leased a section of the RKO Pictures lot in Culver City, California. The studio itself had been built for Pathé Pictures in 1919.   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selznick_International_Pictures (and later used by Thomas Ince)


1935                        The Mack Sennett studios in Studio City become Republic Studios and later CBS Studio Center.          http://www.studiocitychamber.com/aboutstudiocity.php

1935                        Pathé Studios in Culver City become Selznick International (13/14)  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selznick_International_Pictures

…which used to be the old Thomas Ince Studios, and was down the street from MGM. (47/11)

Mid 1930s               Seamstresses at MGM in mid-30s earned $16 a week, a fair wage for the time. (??/9)

Mid-1930s                  Monopolistic Nationwide was a cash cow and operated legally. Bookmaking was the illegal part of the quotient and was not part of Moe Annenberg’s business. By the mid-1930s, Nationwide supplied information from each of the 29 racetracks in the US and into Canada, Mexico and Cuba. It boasted more than 15,000 subscribers, in 223 citie and town in 39 states and was one of the biggest customers of AT+T and Western Union . . . Seeking ownership and complete control, Bugsy Siegel set up a competing wire named Trans-America in partnership with the Chicago outfit and based it in Phoenix. (115/p63 & p64)

1935                        Judy Garland’s big break takes place at the Cal Neva Lodge. MGM executives and song writers are staying there and hear Judy with her sisters. They later tell them that they want her to come sing for them again at the studio. She does and supposedly that’s when Louis B. Mayer first hears her, sometime in mid 1935 when she had just turned 13.

1935                        L. A. Times building built. (Architect: Gordon B. Kaufman

1935                        Hearst moves Cosmopolitan Pictures from MGM to Warner Bros. (55/337)

1935                        Sylvia Scarlett is the first movie condemned by the Legion of Decency. (36/127)

1935                        Roosevelt’s Secretary of Agriculture – Henry A. Wallace – persuades the Treasury to put the great pyramid on the new dollar bill. (260/105)

1935                        England’s ‘Penguin Books’ start publishing paperbacks books with 10 reprint titles.

1935                        Pan Am begins its transpacific service: SFO to Manila. (23/325)

1935                        Alcoholics Anonymous is first organized in NY. (23/325)

1935                        Wallace Carothers and DuPont Labs invents nylon (polymer 6.6.) http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa122299a.htm

30SEP1935             (Hoover) Boulder Dam is completed on the Colorado River, providing electric power to the Southwest. Power from Boulder Dam, under construction since 1931, reaches Los Angeles in 1936. The City commemorates the event with a nighttime celebration, illuminated by electric light.
President Franklin Roosevelt dedicates Boulder Dam. http://www.lasvegassun.com/history/timeline/

1935                        Dudley Nichols, winner of the Best Writing, Screenplay Oscar for The Informer (1935) refused to accept his award because of the antagonism between several industry guilds and the academy over union matters. This marked the first time an Academy Award had been declined. Academy records show that Dudley was in possession of an Oscar statuette by 1949.

1935                        Sepulveda Pass opened, linking Valley to coast. http://www.studiocityresidents.org/history.php

1935                        Mascot Pictures, Consolidated Film Industries and Monogram Pictures joined with several independent producers to form Republic Pictures Corporation and takes over what used to be the Mack Sennett Studios near the corner of Ventura and Laurel Canyon. http://www.studiocityresidents.org/history.php

1935                        The Griffith Observatory and Planetarium is dedicated on a hilltop overlooking Los Angeles. (14/2)

1935                        Pan Pacific Auditorium built (2/37)

1935                        S.H. Kress Dept Store is built at 6606 Hollywood Boulevard, later becomes Fredrick of Hollywood’s. http://www.historicla.com/hollywood/hollywood.html

1935                        Eastman-Kodak develops Kodachrome color film. http://www.cinetext.net/timeline/1935.htm

1935                        First canned beer made.

1935                        Until 1960, one of the most famous melodramas ever written, The Drunkard, was performed at 600 North Vermont Boulevard at the Theater Mart, which later became the Los Angeles Press Club when the theatre closed. (6/122)

1935                        The Bureau of Investigation, under the leadership of J. Edgar Hoover, is renamed the FBI. (23/206)

1935                        The Social Security system is adopted and fully implemented in 1942. (56/139)

1935                        Roosevelt announces his plan to create a federal income tax, which Hearst declares to be Communism. (16/174)

1935                        Aircraft-detecting radar is pioneered by Robert Watson-Watt in England. http://www.infoplease.com/year/1935.htm

1935-1936               The movie industry pulls out of the Depression in 1935-36, first-run and prestige productions are more profitable than ever. Weekly movie attendance is back up to 80 million in 1935. (p177/129)


Top stars: Shirley Temple, Clark Gable, Astaire & Rogers. (21/127)

Top grossing films of 1936

  • Camille
  • San Francisco
  • Rose Marie
  • Man of the Frontier
  • Come and Get It
  • The Story of Louis Pasteur
  • Anthony Adverse
  • The Great Ziegfeld
  • Go West, Young Man
  • Romeo and Juliet

Songs released in 1936 – http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1936/1936fr.html

  • And the Music Goes Round and Round, Edward Farley and Michael Riley…
  • Goodnight Irene, Leadbelly
  • Come On In My kitchen, Robert Johnson
  • Mulatica, Johnny Rodriquez
  • It’s a Sin to Tell a Lie, Fats Waller
  • Ridin’ that New River Train, Delmore Brothers
  • Pennies from Heaven, Bing Crosby..
  • Right or Wrong I’ll Always Love You
  • You (Gee but You’re Wonderful)
  • Just the Way You Look Tonight, Fred Astaire
  • The Southern Cannonball, Jimmie Rogers

Books released in 1936 – http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1936/1936fr.html

  • Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
  • It Can’t Happen Here, Sinclair Lewis
  • Double Indemnity, James M. Cain
  • The Big Money, John Dos Passos
  • Drums Along the Mowhawk, Walter D. Edmonds
  • Eyeless in Gaza, Aldous Huxley
  • In Dubious Battle, John Steinbeck
  • Absalom, Absalom, William Faulkner
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie
  • The Joy of Cooking, Irma Rombauer
  • My Life in Spats, P. G. Wodehouse

Films Released in 1936

  • Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur
  • My Man Godfrey, William Powell, Carole Lombard
  • Dodsworth, Walter Huston, Ruth Chatterton
  • The Story of Louis Pasteur, Paul Muni, Josephine Hutchinson
  • The Oregon Trail, Johnny Mack Brown, Margaret Mason
  • The Petrified Forest, Humphrey Bogart and Bette Davis
  • Reefer Madness
  • Modern Times, Charlie Chaplin
  • Flash Gordon, Buster Crabbe, Jean Rogers
  • Anthony Adverse, Frederick March, Olivia de Havilland
  • The Great Ziegfield, Wiliam Powell, Myrna Loy


JAN1936                 The Green Hornet radio show debuts. http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1936/1936fr.html

02JAN1936             Bing Crosby takes over as MC on The Kraft Music Hall radio show (which had been on the air since 26JUN1933 under several names, including ‘The Kraft Program’ and ‘Kraft Musical Revue’. Crosby is host until May 9, 1946. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kraft_Music_Hall

06JAN1936             First Porky Pig animated cartoon http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1936_in_film

JAN1936                 Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford’s divorce becomes final. (p250/13)

11JAN1936             After suffering a complete nervous collapse in DEC1935, John Gilbert dies in his Tower Drive hacienda. He was found by friend Marlene Dietrich passed out drunk, swallowed his tongue and dying a pool of his own vomit. Dietrich called her doctor (and Howard Strickling) but it was too late to revive him. (163/96)

13JAN1936             Transcontinental speed record – Jan 13, 1936 – Howard Hughes in Jacqueline Cochran’s Northrop Gamma 2G, modified with a 850hp Wright Cyclone, from Burbank CA to Newark NJ in 9h:27m at an average speed of 259 mph, earning the Harmon Trophy. Then he then went on to set intercity records for New York to Miami and Chicago to Los Angeles in his rental. http://aerofiles.com/chrono.html, 78/96

11FEB1936             to 11JUN1936 – Mary Pickford’s short-lived radio show “Parties at Pickfair” airs on CBS. There is an initial attempt to do a remote from Pickfair, but the musicians leave cigarette burns on the white piano, so from then on it is broadcast from the studio. (15/188)

15FEB1936             First Republic serial, Darkest Africa, released. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1936_in_film

12MAR1936            Al Jolson, Grauman’s ceremony http://www.amug.org/~scrnsrc/chinese_theater.html

18MAR1936            Universal Films releases the initial installment of their latest science fiction serial: FLASH GORDON                                        http://www.geocities.com/cheeksilver/mgmjsa1.htm

Early 1936              Kay Brown sends Selznick “Gone With The Wind” pre-publication synopsis. (See also 21/30 and 145, http://ourgeorgiahistory.com/chronpop/836) 47/163: Selznick didn’t have time to read it so he passed the copy on to his Hollywood story editor, Val Lewton, and an aspiring young writer named Ring Lardner Jnr who was working for Selznick at the time. Both of them argued that the novel should not be made into a movie, calling it reactionary. But Lardner’s future wife also read the book and joined Kay Brown in recommending ‘Gone with the Wind’ to Selznick, who was prevailed upon to read a long synopsis.

08APR1936             Bing Crosby, Grauman’s ceremony http://www.amug.org/~scrnsrc/chinese_theater.html

26APR1936             Joseph Breen is found in interesting company for a worthy cause, co sponsoring an anti-Nazi banquet given at the swank Victor Hugo Café for Prince Hubertus zu Lowenstein, a blue-blood exile from Hitler’s Germany. A leading Catholic intellectual and a fearless opponent of Hitler, Prince Lowenstein had brought together an unlikely mesh of Jews, Catholic and Popular Front. At $100 a plate, a phalanx of Irish Catholics (besides Breen actors Pat O’Brien and James Cagney, screenwriter Marc Connolly, director John Ford, Fax producer Winifred Sheehan, and serving as honorary chairman, Bishop Cantwell) joined hands with Jewish producers Irving Thalberg, Jack Warner, David O. Selznick, and BP Shulberg. The organizers of the soiree were the agnostic wits Dorothy Parker and Donald Ogden Stewart. A hot ticket for premature antifascists, the dinner was a roaring success. (77/206)

APR1936                 Bruno Richard Hauptmann executed for kidnapping and killing Lindbergh baby in 1932. http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1936/1936fr.html

APR1936                Carl Laemmle loses control of Universal Pictures to the American financier and sportsman, John Cheever Cowdin. (VF)

30APR1936             J. Edgar Hoover makes his first public arrest in New Orleans when he personally arrested Alvin “Creepy” Karpis – Public Enemy #1. (Not that that is the way it actually happened in real life.) (192/99)

MAY 1936               Louis B. Mayer did not read scripts or scenarios, much less books, so when some story had to be officially considered, it was acted out for him by a kind of minnesinger named Kate Corbaley, who was paid to tell him stories just as his mother had done years earlier in New Brunswick. One afternoon in MAY of 1936, Miss Corbaley told LBM of a new story about a tempestuous southern belle named Scarlett O’Hara and LBM sagely nodded his million dollar a year head and said, “Let’s ask Irving”. (42/16)

MAY1936                Jean Harlow tells Howard Strickling that she is pregnant with William Powell’s baby; he arranges an abortion for her at the Good Shepherd Hospital. (163/96)

MAY1936                Garbo returns to the U.S. from a seven month visit to Sweden. Production soon begins on her latest film, Camille. http://hiwaay.net/~oliver/timeline4.htm

02MAY1936            Deadline set for writers to declare if they supported the Screen Writers Guild or Screen Playwrights (supported by the studios). (55/331)

15MAY1936            Movie stars are paying the new Californian state income tax for the first time and marking their forms “Paid Under Protest” at the suggestion of the studios. (21/130)

15MAY1936            The weekly train, the City of Los Angeles makes its first run between Chicago and Los Angeles. It was the Union Pacific’s direct competition to the more well-known Super Chief. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/City_of_Los_Angeles
May 12, 1936 – The Santa Fe Railroad inaugurates the all-Pullman Super Chief passenger train service between Chicago, Illinois and Los Angeles, California. http://americasbesthistory.home.att.net/abhtimeline1930.html

30MAY1935            Babe Ruth plays his final game and then retires with 714 home runs, 5,973 bases, and a .342 batting average. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Babe_Ruth

01JUN1936             Cecil B DeMille takes over directorship of the hour-long Lux Radio Theater on CBS, causing the ratings to skyrocket. His forced departure in 1944 was due to a union dispute. (6/27) (21/128)

SUMMER 1936       The Screen Writers Guild was determined to fight this attempt to reduce it to nothing more than a powerless company union. With a new slate of officers, a huge membership drive was begun… Among the writers who responded to this call in the summer of 1936 were new members Morrie Ryskind, Dasheill Hammett, Robert Benchley, George S. Kaufman, Theodore Dreiser, Alice Duer Miller, John Collier, Guy Endore, Lillian Hellman, Mortimer Offner, Laura Perelman and Gottfriend Reinhardt. (72/51)

The (Screen Writers Guild) meetings were held at the homes of writers Dorothy Parker, Lillian Hellman, Samson Raphaelson, Dudley Nichols, Lester Cole, Mary McCall Jr, Ernest Pascal, Wells Root, Donald Ogden Stewart, Dashiell Hammett, John Howard Lawson, Sheridon Gibney, Oliver Garrett, Sam Ornitz, Nathanael West and others. The secrecy made the meetings seem extraordinarily similar to meetings of the Communist Party during that period. (72/96)

30JUN1936             “Gone With The Wind” hits the bookstores http://ourgeorgiahistory.com/ogh/Gone_With_The_Wind

JUL1936                 “Gone With The Wind” published by MacMillan. (also 23/326)

06JUL1936             David O. Selznick wires Kay Brown, “If you can close ‘Gone With The Wind’ for 50,000 dollars do so.” Kay Brown does so. http://ourgeorgiahistory.com/ogh/Gone_With_The_Wind

11JUL1936             Howard Hughes and friends leave Trader Vic’s in his Duesenberg. At the corner of Third and Lorraine he struck and killed 59 years old Gabe Meyer. Although subsequently found not guilty of anything, Hughes pays Meyer’s family $10,000 to help them “in their time of need.” (164/96)

MID 1936                Gossip columnist Sheila Graham starts to make a name for herself. (45/295)

JUL1936                 Tampax, Inc. founded in New Brunswick, NJ produces first commercial tampon. http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1936/1936fr.html

MID JUL 1936         Military insurrection is launched against the Republican Government of Spain. (105/351)

JUL1936                 RCA-NBC commences experimental TV transmissions from the Empire State Building. (21/130)

22JUL1936                 MGM announces that it would bow out of Germany if the other two major studios, Paramount and Twentieth Century Fox would do the same. The other two studios said no. (VF)

23JUL1936             The Hollywood League Against Nazism (later the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League) is formed. (21/130)

For more information, see 41/259

The Anti-Nazi League was formed by Dorothy Parker and Oscar Hammerstein…the chairman of the League was Donald Ogden Stewart, and the secretary Alan Campbell. Besides Hammerstein and Parker, the League’s sponsors included Eddie Cantor, actresses Florence Eldridge and Gloria Stuart, Rupert Hughes, Richard Left, Ernst Lubitsch, Fredric March, Edwin Justus Mayer and Judge Isaac Pacht. “Dottie Parker and I arrived at the politically conscious stage of our lives at about the same time,” Donald Ogden Stewart recalled. (72/83) For larger membership list, see: http://www.nndb.com/org/977/000353915/

28JUL1936             Mary Astor’s diary, written in lavender, detailing her affair with playwright George S. Kaufman, becomes an issue in her child custody suit. Newspapers will reprint the sensational material, including some that Astor maintains is faked. (21/130)

Summer 1936         A drive gets underway to recruit new members for the Screen Writers Guild, the union that had been formed 4 years earlier but had encountered violent opposition from the studios, who refused to accord it the recognition or bargaining power. Many writers considered unions beneath the professional dignity of so-called artists. (26/257) But it disbands in the summer of 1936 (26/276) but in June 1938 the National Labor Relations Board rules that writers qualify as workers under the Wagner Act. A certification election held that same month allowed them to chose either the Screen Writers Guild or the more conservative Screen Playwrights as their representative. The SWG won by a vote of four to one. (26/277)

01AUG1936            August 1, 1936 – The Summer Olympics Games open in Berlin, Germany under the watchful eye of German leader Adolph Hitler, whose policies of Arian supremacy had already begun to take shape.  The star of the games was Jesse Owens, a black American, who won four gold at the Berlin 1936 Games. http://americasbesthistory.home.att.net/abhtimeline1930.html

AUG1936                Nationwide, theater box office receipts have skyrocketed more than 25% over the previous year. (28/88)

14SEP1936             At 10.15am Irving Thalberg dies of pneumonia at 37yo (2/69) (19/288) (34/238) (165/96)

17SEP1936             In respect for Thalberg’s funeral (at the synagogue B’nai B’rith on Wilshire Boulevard), MGM closes for the day, the only time in its history. Every studio in Hollywood pauses for silence as a tribute of respect. (138/107)

SEP1936                 Thalberg’s death came at a time when MGM’s total dominance of the movie industry was seemingly unassailable. Metro’s profits in 1935 had been $7.5 million, more than the rest of the Big Eight movie companies combined. Metro’s take surpassed $10 million in 1936. (p174/129)

20OCT1936            William Powell and Myrna Loy, Grauman’s ceremony http://www.amug.org/~scrnsrc/chinese_theater.html

29OCT1936            Crossroads of the World, the world’s first planned outdoor shopping mall opens at 6671 Sunset (2/2) (14/178)

1936                        By OCT1936, the FBI, in a secret report on Communist influence on the Screen Actor’s Guild, had – without basis – listed Bogart as being of 21 member “with strong CP leanings.”…Also on the list were (actor) J. Edward Bromberg, Melvyn Douglas, James Cagney, Fredric March, Gary Cooper, Robert Montgomery, Pat O’Brien and Knute Rockney. (76/30)

02NOV1936            Sardi’s destroyed by fire. http://www.latimemachines.com/new_page_23.htm http://nfo.net/usa/niteclub.htm

DEC1936                                In 1936, the U.S. Treasury Department began construction of the United States Bullion Depository at Fort Knox, Kentucky, on land transferred from the military. The Gold Vault was completed in December 1936 at a cost of $560,000, or about $7.5 million in 2007 dollars. The site is located on what is now Bullion Boulevard at the intersection of Gold Vault Road. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Bullion_Depository

02DEC1936            Los Angeles premiere of The Garden of Allah, with Marlene Dietrich.

20DEC1936            Deanna Durbin’s first movie, Three Smart Girls, is released and becomes a runaway hit, launching Durbin as a major star.

1936                        Lew Wasserman joins MCA at the age of 22. By 1950, MCA is the dominant agency in Hollywood and Wasserman its most important agent. (p479/129)

1936                        Tyrone Power is signed by Twentieth Century-Fox in 1936 as an answer to MGM’s big star Robert Taylor. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000061/bio

1936                        Bette Davis refuses bad role and is put on suspension by Warner Bros. so she goes to Britain for a 2-picture deal she’d signed with entrepreneur Ludovic Toeplitz. But Warner Bros. sues for breach of contract and the British courts sided with Warner Bros. forcing Bette Davis to return to California. Warner Bros. pays all the court costs and makes a more concerted effort to provide her with better scripts. (41/66)

1936                        In 1936 only 58 out of 5500 and 20 out of 6500 women averaged 3 or more days work a week; the 1500 children registered, only 4 days work per year. Extras earned $3.25 to $35 a day depending on their wardrobes and special talents, appendages and fearlessness. (41/95)

1936                        A dozen directors break away from the Academy to form the Screen Director’s Guild, later renamed the Director’s Guild of America, (p65/114)

1936                        The El Capitan Theater on Hollywood Boulevard switches from live plays to movies.                 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Capitan_Theatre however (108/51) said this happened in 1941.

1936                        In 1936, Max Factor is crossing Highland Ave for a drink at the Hollywood Hotel when a delivery truck strikes him, crippling him severely. (p239/113)

1936                        Hollywood Reporter moves into its own 3-story building at 6715 Sunset Blvd (28/9)http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/about_us/history.jsp

1936                        Pope Pius XI issues a Pontifical Encyclical that recommends the boycotting of indecent films and congratulates the American Catholic Church’s “Legion of Decency” on their activities. http://www.pictureshowman.com/timeline_1930_1939.cfm#1930top

1936                        Billy Wilkerson walks into the Top Hat Café and spots Lana Turner. (28/7)

1936                        Sheila Graham arrives in Hollywood. (1/?)

1936                        Samuel Colt patents the Colt revolver

1936                        Dale Carnegie publishes How to Win Friends and Influence People. (56/200)

1936                        King Edward VII abdicates. (23/326)

late 1936                 Louis B. Mayer’s first public onslaught against Communism in San Francisco at a Fire Prevention Week speech. (19/290)

1936                        After having been invented by General Mills in 1921, Betty Crocker got a face. Artist Neysa McMein brought together all the women in the company’s Home Service Department and “blended their features into an official likeness.” The widely circulated portrait reinforced the popular belief that Betty Crocker was a real woman. One public opinion poll rated her as the second most famous woman in America after Eleanor Roosevelt. http://chnm.gmu.edu/features/sidelights/crocker.html

1936                        Rome-Berlin Axis is proclaimed (Japan to join in 1940). http://www.infoplease.com/year/1936.html

1936                        Spanish civil war begins. Hundreds of Americans join the “Lincoln Brigades.” (Franco’s fascist forces defeat Loyalist forces by 1939, when Madrid falls.) http://www.infoplease.com/year/1936.html

1936                        The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) debuts the world’s first television service with three hours of programming a day. http://www.infoplease.com/year/1936.html

1936                        The Boulder Dam, which creates the largest artificial reservoir in the U.S. and provides power to 1.5 million people, is completed. http://www.infoplease.com/year/1936.html

1936                        The first successful helicopter flight is made. http://www.infoplease.com/year/1936.html — however

79/7 says it happened with a Sikorsky VS-300 in Hartford CT on 15MAY1940

1936                        Life magazine is taken over by Henry Luce, publisher of Fortune and Time, and transformed into a news picture magazine. (23/327) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_magazine

end’36 to Fall’38     GWTW:  The search for Scarlett (13/41)



Top Stars: Shirley Temple, Clark Gable, Robert Taylor (21/134)

Top grossing films of 1937

  1. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  2. Conquest
  3. Damaged Lives
  4. Parnell
  5. La Grande Illusion
  6. Annapolis Salute
  7. Pépé le Moko
  8. Green Fields
  9. The Good Earth
  10. Dead End

Books Published in 1937 – http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1937/1937fr.html

  • You Have Seen Their Faces, Erskine Caldwell and Margaret Bourke-White
  • Diary of a Country Priest, Georges Bernanos
  • The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Out of Africa, Isak Dinesen
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston
  • Northwest Passage, Kenneth Roberts
  • Death on the Nile, Agatha Christie
  • Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck
  • The Good Society, Walter Lipmann
  • The Citadel, A. J. Cronin
  • The Rains Came, Louis Bromfield
  • Drums Along the Mowhawk, Walter D. Edmunds

Songs Released in 1937 – http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1937/1937fr.html

  • Terraplane Blues, Robert Johnson
  • Donkey Serenade, Allen Jones
  • Marie, Tommy Dorsey
  • Dipsy Doodle, Russ Morgan
  • Bei Mir Bist Du Schon, the Andrews Sisters
  • Boo Hoo, Guy Lombardo
  • They Can’t Take That Away From Me, Fred Astaire
  • The Joint is Jumpin, Fats Waller
  • Carelessly, Teddy Wilson with Billie Holiday
  • If You ain’t Got the Dough Re Mi, Woody Guthrie (recorded by Alan Lomax 1940)
  • Goodnight My Love, Benny Goodman


JAN1935                 After seeing Errol Flynn in a British B picture Murder at Monte Carlo, Warner Bros. signs the young actor and brings him to Hollywood. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captain_Blood_%281935_film%29#Casting

JAN1937                 A Hollywood flu epidemic peaking in the middle of the month delays over 30 productions and fells many of the top stars. (21/134)

20JAN1937             Clark Gable Grauman’s ceremony http://www.amug.org/~scrnsrc/chinese_theater.html

22JAN1937             After a lengthy production with numerous retakes, Camille is released. Despite being ill during most of the shoot, Garbo’s beauty is breathtaking in the film.  She wins another New York Film Critics Award and is nominated for the Academy Award. She loses this time to Luise Rainer. http://hiwaay.net/~oliver/timeline4.htm

01FEB1937             A young Judy Garland sings “Dear Mr. Gable” at Clark Gable’s 36th birthday and gets such a reaction that she is put into Broadway Melody of 1938 – it becomes her big break, (168/107)

FEB1937                 In anticipation of The Adventures of Robin Hood, Jack Warner tears up Errol Flynn’s contract and signs him to a long-term deal at $2250 per week. Meanwhile de Havilland was learning that Warners was still very much a man’s world. She was set to play Maid Marian but her $500-per-week contact of April 1936 remained intact. (p210/129)

05FEB1937             “Modern Times” premieres in theatres. http://www.themovietimeline.com/page19#1937

FEB1937                  Selznick had been leasing the RKO-Pathe facility in Culver City but he decides to take over the entire facility in FEB 1937 when he planned on shooting Gone with the Wind. (p181/129)

MAR1937                By acquiring Warner’s sound patent rights, RCA-Photophone completes its domination of movie sound reproduction. (21/134)

MAR1937                 Filming begins onConquest, the most expensive film of Garbo’s career. November 4, 1937Conquestis released but fails to recoup its expenses. http://hiwaay.net/~oliver/timeline4.htm

15MAR1937            The first blood bank is established. http://www.greenville-pa.com/History/MC_Timeline/MC_Timeline_1901_1950.htm

01APR1937            German consul in Hollywood, Georg Gyssling makes his boldest move yet. He sends letters to about 60 people involved in The Road Back (the proposed sequel to All Quiet on the Western Front) warning them that any films in which they participated in the future might be banned in Germany. The move creates an uproar. (VF)

07MAY1937            At 1825 local time, the German zeppelin LZ 129 Hindenburg catches fire while approaching a mooring mast at Lakehurst Naval Air Station, NJ. The flames first appear near the tail and, within 37 seconds, completely engulf the ship. Of the 97 people on board 35 are killed (Of these, 13 are passengers and 22 were crew members.) One member of the ground crew also died, bringing the death toll to 36. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindenburg_disaster

31MAY1937            Tyrone Power Grauman’s ceremony http://www.amug.org/~scrnsrc/chinese_theater.html

05APR1937             Noel Langley completes the first script for The Wizard of Oz.

12APR1937             The Supreme Court declares the Wagner Act (the 1935 United States federal law that protects the rights of most workers in the private sector to organize labor unions, to engage in collective bargaining, and to take part in strikes and other forms of concerted activity in support of their demands) constitutional paving the way for the official re-forming of the Screen Writers Guild whose first open meeting took place on 11JUN1937. (72/99)

30APR1937                A massive jurisdictional strike in the movie industry starts, one issue of which dealt with whether or not movie makeup works would continue under the jurisdiction of the labor federation to which the painters beloned, or would they be taken over by the International Association of Theatrical and Stage Employees. (IATSE) (p119/120)

11MAY1937            Loretta Young adopts a baby girl, resurrecting speculation about an affair between her and Clark Gable at the beginning on 1937. (21/135)

MAY1937                Blonde bombshell Jean Harlow was the first film actress to appear on the cover of the popular Life magazine, in May 1937. http://www.filmsite.org/milestones1930s.html

06MAY1937            First coast-to-coast radio broadcast

27MAY1937            The Golden Gate Bridge opens.


May 27, 1937 – The Golden Gate Bridge opens to pedestrian traffic and one day later, after a ceremonial press of a button from Washington, D.C. by President Roosevelt, receives its first vehicles.  It created a vital link between San Francisco and Marin County. http://americasbesthistory.home.att.net/abhtimeline1930.html

01JUN1937             20th Century Fox becomes the first studio to exploit radio to promote movies. They claim that the radio advertising and publicity increases the revenues for Wake Up and Live by 25%. (21/135)

03 JUN1937            Edward VII married Wallis Simpson at the Château de Candé, a castle located in France.

07JUN1937             Jean Harlow dies of uremic poisoning at 27yo (2/69) (19/296) (166/96)

09JUN1937             Approximately 10,000 fans attend Harlow’s funeral at Forest Lawn. (21/136)

11JUN1937             The Supreme Court declares the Wagner Act (the 1935 United States federal law that protects the rights of most workers in the private sector to organize labor unions, to engage in collective bargaining, and to take part in strikes and other forms of concerted activity in support of their demands) constitutional paving the way for the official re-forming of the Screen Writers Guild whose first open meeting took place on 11JUN1937 at the Hollywood Athletic Club and attended by over 400 writers, many of whom had been active in the old Guild. Dudley Nichols was the new President, Charles Brackett the vice-President, Frances Goodrich the secretary and John Grey the treasurer. Left-wing board members such as Donald Ogden Stewart, Dashiell Hammett, Lillian Hellman and Dorothy Parker were balanced by right-wing board members: Mary McCall Jnr, Morrie Ryskind, Albert Hackett, and Brian Marlow. Young Philip Dunne and Ring Lardner Jnr were alternatives. (72/99)

26JUN1937             Mary Pickford married Buddy Rogers at Pickfair. (63/96)

JUN1937                 Communist Party meeting at the Beverly Glen home of writer Martin Berkeley… “We were honored by the presence of many functionaries from downtown and the spirit was swell.” Berkeley named many people as having been at the meeting, including VJ Jerome, Harry Carlisle, Donald Ogden Stewart, Dorothy Parker, Alan Campbell, Dashiell Hammett, and Lillian Hellman. (72/90)

Summer 1937         Sheila Graham meets F. Scott Fitzgerald. (45/295)

16JUN1937             Over the summer of 1937, everyone everywhere believes that Nelson Eddy and Jeannette MacDonald would marry. So they were surprised when MacDonald announced that she would marry Gene Raymond and on 16JUN she did, with Eddy singing at the wedding. (168/96)

02JUL1937             Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan disappear over New Guinea during Earhart’s attempt to become the first woman to fly around the world. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1937

JUL to AUG 1937   CBS Rdio’s “Shakespeare Theater” performed at the Music Box Theater in Hollywood. “Taming of the Shew” with Tallulah Bankhead, and “Twelth Night” with Orson Welles

11 JUL 1937           George Gershwin dies of a brain tumor. (45/169) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1937

AUG1937                Warners’ The Life of Emile Zola premieres and is an immediate sensation. (p214/129)

AUG1937                David O. Selznick and Alfred Hitchcock meet for the first time during Hitchcock’s trip to the US to celebrate his 38th birthday. (p273/129)

27SEP1937             Mussolini’s son Vittorio arrives in Los Angeles to make a production deal with his host Hal Roach, much to the consternation of the Anti-Nazi League, headed by Fredric March and James Cagney. In the end only Walt Disney and Gary Cooper want to talk to him. (19/306) (21/136)

OCT1937                Jack Warner secures Henry Fonda for the male lead in Jezebel, with a start date of 25OCT1937 and a budget of $783,508. (p222/129)

17DEC1937            “The Edgar Bergen/Charlie McCarthy Show” premiers on NBC Radio and, under various sponsors, is on the air until 01JUL1956. (80/27)

25NOV1937            Nothing Sacred starring Fredrick March and Carole Lombard is released and is first feature film comedy filmed in three-strip Technicolor (and Lombard’s only Technicolor movie.)

21DEC1937            Premiere of Disney first full-length animated movie “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (21/137)

25DEC1937            An outside package was delivered to Selznick’s home by liveried messenger. Ribbons and paper were snipped away to disclose a replica of the novel in its dust jacket, out of which stepped a young girl in crinolines. “Merry Christmas, Mr. Selznick! I am your Scarlett O’Hara!” (13/36)

25DEC1937            “Tovarich” is the first Warner Brothers film to begin with the famous Warners fanfare, which was composed by Max Steiner. The fanfare had a bombastic beginning but no real end, as it was meant to transpose into the music of the picture it introduced, which led to new and creative chord modulations in each film in which it was featured.                                  http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0029685/trivia

1937                        In 1937, Brown Derby owner Robert H. Cobb went into the restaurant’s kitchen to fix a late-night snack for Sid Grauman, operator of Grauman’s Chinese Theater. He browsed the refrigerator for ingredients, and chopped them up finely. Thus, the Cobb salad was born. From then on, Grauman often requested that a Cobb salad be prepared for him. Word soon spread about this creation throughout Hollywood, quickly increasing its popularity. It became such a hit that film stars started requesting “Cobb’s salad”, and it was eventually added to the menu of the Brown Derby restaurant. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cobb_salad

1937                            MGM’s net reaches an all-time high of $14.2 million. Mayer takes the credit, although the momentum is generated by Thalberg project. By the end of the year, that momentum starts to wane, and MGM’s lead over the other majors begins to taper off. (p252/129)

1937                        Mickey Cohen arrives in Los Angeles. (115/28)

1937                        Miniature golf becomes a huge new popular pastime. (71/230)

1937                        A survey by FORTUNE magazine reveals the best-loved comics of the day, in order: 1…Little Orphan Annie…2…Popeye…3…Dick Tracy…4…Bringing Up Baby…5…The Gumps…6…Blondie…7…Moon Mullins…8…Joe Palooka…9…Li’l Abner…Tillie the Toiler

1937                        With World War II brewing in 1936, Ray Ban designed anti-glare aviator style sunglasses, using polarized lens technology newly created by Edwin H. Land, founder of the Polaroid Corporation. They also designed a slightly drooping frame perimeter to maximally shield an aviator’s eyes, which repeatedly glanced downward toward a plane’s instrument panel. Fliers were issued the glasses at no charge, and the public in 1937 was able to purchase the model that banned the sun’s rays as Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses. http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventions/sunglasses.htm

1937                        MGM establishes its own animation department under the direction of Fred Quimby. (311/107)

1937                        Marlene Dietrich gets kicked out of the Bar Of Music on Sunset for wearing slacks. (115/1)

1937                        The roller skating craze hits big.

1937                        John Howard Lawson was in essence the leader of the Communist Party in Hollywood from about 1937 to 1950, when he went to jail. (72/88)

1937                        Louis B. Mayer (of MGM studios) has the highest salary in the US at $1.3 million. http://www.filmsite.org/milestones1930s_2.html

1937                        African-American leaders publicly called on the Hays Office to make roles other than doormen, maids, and porters available to blacks. http://www.filmsite.org/milestones1930s_2.html

1937                        In 1935, the medical community became aware of the stimulant properties of amphetamine, specifically dextroamphetamine, and in 1937 Smith, Kline, and French introduces tablets under the tradename Dexedrine.In the United States, Dexedrine was approved to treat narcolepsy, attention disorders, depression, and obesity. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dextroamphetamine

1937                        Like his friend Longie Zwillman, Benjamin “Bugsy” Seigel seems to have visited the Coast several times in the MID-30s, making the move permanent at the end of 1937. (41/77)

1937                        The East Coast mob sent Siegel to California to develop syndicate gambling rackets with Los Angeles mobster Jack Dragna. Once in L.A., Siegel recruited gang boss Mickey Cohen as his lieutenant. Siegel used syndicate money to set up a national wire service to help the East Coast mob quicken their returns. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bugsy_Siegel#California

1937                        Hollywood liberals, as the decade progressed, were actively anti-Fascist and anti-Nazi. For a fund-raising dinner at the Biltmore Hotel for the Anti-Nazi League around 1937, both Dorothy Parker and Marcus Connelly bought tickets for 2 tables, each seating 12 guests. Jews in particular were staunchly anti-Fascist because of the anti-Semitism then rampant in Europe. It was a time of frenzied political activity, a period of excitement for Hollywood Left-wingers, many of whom eventually joined the Communist Party. After the Hitler-Stalin pact of 1939, with the Soviet Communists joining forces with the German Nazis, it was suddenly not appropriate for American Left-wingers to be members of the Communist Party, especially for Jews. Communist Party members found themselves suspect, received coolly by their liberal friends who viewed their new pacifism with disfavor. (47/342)

The Hollywood Anti Nazi League was founded in 1937, in an effort to unite Jewish people and others in the Hollywood movie colony into organizing to combat Naziism on a local scale. In 1939, the Hollywood Anti Nazi League changed its name to Hollywood League for Democratic Action. They printed a newsletter under the name of “Hollywood Now” which was discontinued in 1940. The organization was financed by membership dues, contributions, motion picture producers, and prominent stage and screen stars. By 1942, this organization was no longer in existence. http://foia.fbi.gov/foiaindex/hollywoodleague.htm

1937                        In 1937, LBM is earning $1,300,000 in salary and bonuses making him the highest paid man in the United States. (42/15) (47/20)

1937                        Pandro S. Berman becomes production chief at RKO (until 1940s, when he moves to MGM.) (56/114)

1937                        Disney distributes through RKO (until 1954.) (p56/114)

1937                        Howard Hughes sets a coast-to-coast flying record of 7 hours, 28 minutes flying L.A. to Newark. (42/120)

1937                        First pressurized plane. (71/156)

1937                        By 1937 Central Casting was assigning about 600 players a day, with some 15,000 names on file. (41/92)

1937                        Hormel introduces a canned pork-and-ham product called SPAM. (79/84)

1937                        Chester F. Carlson invents the photocopier

1937                        “Gone With The Wind” wins Pulitzer Prize

1937                        Golden Gate Bridge is completed. (23/329)

1937                        City purchases Mines Field for a municipal airport, now known as Los Angeles International Airport.

1937                        Chasen’s Restaurant opens at 9039 Beverly Boulevard (2/38)

1937                        First jet engine is built.

1937                        After the Communist party decides to form alliances with non-revolutionary groups like the Democratic Party, Hollywood began to resemble a rain forest that teemed with lush varieties of political ideologies and activities. In this steamy atmosphere of the Popular Front, the distinctions between Communism and home-grown American liberalism tends to now blur. (26/274)

1937                        By 1937, the Hearst empire is starting to crumble as a result of the Depression and the anti-Hearst movement. Their LAX, San Francisco, CA 941, CHII, Boston papers lose 10% circulation. (16/200)



Top stars: Shirley Temple, Clark Gable, Sonia Henie. (21/139)

Films released in 1938

  • Alexander’s Ragtime Band
  • Angels with Dirty Faces
  • In Old Chicago
  • The Hurricane
  • The Adventures of Robin Hood
  • Marie Antoinette
  • Love Finds Andy Hardy
  • Boys Town

Songs released in 1936

  • A Tisket A Tasket, Chuck Webb and Ella Fitzgerald
  • Begin the Beguine, Benny Goodman
  • Bei Mir Mist Du Shon, The Andrews Sisters
  • Stompin’ at the Savoy, Benny Goodman
  • I Got Rhythm, Benny Goodman Sextet and Lionel Hampton
  • Flat Foot Floogie with the Floy Floy, Slim and Slam (Slim Gaillard and Leroy Stewart)
  • Zing Went the Strings of my Heart, Judy Garland
  • The Blues ain’t Nothin’, Georgia White,
  • I’m Gonna Lock My Heart, Billie Holiday

Books released in 1938

  • The Importance of Living, Lin Yutang
  • Madame Curie, Eve Curie
  • Listen! The Wind, Anne Morrow Lindbergh
  • The Yearling, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
  • The Citadel, A. J. Cronin
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie
  • Benjamin Franklin, Carl Van Doren
  • Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
  • Northwest Passage, Kenneth Roberts
  • All This, and Heaven Too, Rachel Field


JAN1938                Sidney Howard’s first draft of Gone With The Wind is completed and then shelved.

JAN1938                 Johnny Weissmuller and Lupe Velez’s last public dinner together was at Ciro’s. after loudly arguing in front of other patrons, Weissmuller dumped food onto Velez’s head and stalked out. The story was too juicy for the tabloids to ignore, so Strickling simply let the story run, and they were divorced a few months later.

JAN1938                 Director Mervyn LeRoy brings Lana Turner to MGM (after having debuted her in his Warner Bros. film “They Won’t Forget”) where she is dubbed by Howard Strickling “the Sweater Girl”. (179/96)

JAN1938                 MGM announces that Judy Garland would be cast in the role of “Dorothy” in the upcoming Wizard of Oz motion picture. Ray Bolger is cast as the “Tinman” and Buddy Ebsen is cast as the “Scarecrow”. At Bolger’s insistence, the roles are switched between the two actors. MGM announces Bert Lahr has been cast as the “Cowardly Lion” on July 25. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1938_in_film

15JAN1938             Warner Bros. releases the movie Hollywood Hotel featuring the song “Hooray for Hollywood” which quickly became the city’s unofficial anthem. (108/12)

04FEB1938             Fred Astaire, Grauman’s ceremony http://www.amug.org/~scrnsrc/chinese_theater.html

14FEB1938             Hedda Hopper’s first column appears in the Los Angeles Times. (21/140) Late 1930s, Hedda Hopper’s renewed exposure led to and offer from the Esquire Feature Syndicate to write a Hollywood column. She agreed and her byline began appearing in 13 newspapers in the late 1930s…When the L. A. Times picked up Hedda’s column in FEB38, the real batter began. Every producer in town read it. (45/297)

END FEB1938        By the end of FEB 1938 nearly 40% of studio employees were on the street. Paramount had laid off 1400 workers; MGM was virtually shut down for 6 weeks. The Universal writing staff was pared to 14, half of them contract writers. (72/114)

02-06MAR1938       Los Angeles River flood. (http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Ranch/1916/laflood.html) The floods and resulting landslides cause 144 deaths in SoCal, and 1000s of homes are destroyed, a loss of $60 million in property (23/329)

Severe flooding claims 78 lives and causes almost $25 million in damage. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers begins channeling the Los Angeles River with concrete. http://www.laalmanac.com/history/hi01g.htm (28/94)

MAR1938                                Louis Epstein opens the Pickwick Bookstore on Hollywood Boulevard. (66/259)

MAR1938                                Edward R. Murrow gives his first CBS radio “News Roundup” http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1938/1938fr.html

04MAR1938            Republic Studio’s The Lone Ranger serial premieres. (21/140)

10MAR1938            The names of the Oscar winners is kept secret for the first time. (21/140) The tenth Academy Awards was postponed for a week because torrential rains in Los Angeles caused major flooding. The Awards were held on Thursday, March 10, 1938 at the Biltmore Bowl of the Biltmore Hotel. http://history1900s.about.com/library/misc/blaa1937.htm

12MAR1938            German troops march into Austria to annex the German-speaking nation for the Third Reich. http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=4830

MAR1938                Travis Banton leaves Paramount and Edith Head is made chief designer. (p42/122)

21APR1938             As a result of the Jackie Coogan suit against his mother to regain the $4 million he earned but never received, the Supreme Court declares that at least half of the salaries of child stars must be put into a trust fund. (21/141)

14MAY1938                The Adventures of Robin Hood starring Errol Flynn has its U.S. premiere. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0029843/releaseinfo

At a cost of $2 million, The Adventures of Robin Hood was Warners Bros’ most expensive film to date. It made also $4 million at the box office during its original release.

31MAY1938            The Return of the Scarlet Pimpernel is the first feature film broadcast on television. NBC’s telecast can be seen within a radius of 40 miles from mid-Manhattan. (21/141)

MAY1938                 The House Un-American Activities Committee is established. (4/92) HUAC is set up as a “special” (temporary) committee of the house at the behest of and under the chairmanship of Martin Dies. (64/362)

06JUN1938             National Periodical Publications (later known as DC Comics) releases ACTION COMICS #1; featuring the four-color debut of Jerry Siegel‘s and Joe Shuster‘s SUPERMAN. It is a near-instantaneous sell-out, from coast to coast; single-handedly giving birth to an entirely new adventure sub-genre: that of the costumed superhero. http://www.geocities.com/cheeksilver/mgmjsa1.htm

10JUN1938             Hollywood Park – officially the Hollywood Turf Club – opens. (21/142)

28JUN1938             Three polling places were set up for the 28JUN voting (to determine whether the Screen Writers Guild or Screen Playwrights would represent Hollywood writers in collective bargaining) – at the Roosevelt Hotel’s Singapore Room, for employees of Paramount, RKO, Columbia, Walter Wanger, Goldwyn, Monogram and Amour; 3855 Lankershim Boulevard for Warner Bros., Paramount, Universal, Republic and Trem Carr personnel; and the council chamber at Culver City Hall for those at MGM, 20th Century Fox, Selznick and Hal Roach studios…The vote was more than 4-to-1 in favor of the guild. (72/129)

75/163 gives the individual numbers but in the end it was Guild-615 versus Screen Playrights-158

28JUN1938             The National Minimum Wage is enacted within the federal legislation known as the Fair Labor Standards Act.  It established a minimum wage of $0.25 at the time (approx. $3.22 in 2005), as well as time and one half for overtime and the prohibition of most employment for minors. http://americasbesthistory.home.att.net/abhtimeline1930.html

05JUL1938             Variety calls “revolutionary” a California theater owner’s plans to build a two-auditorium theater, each showing a different film. (21/142)

10-14JUL1938        Howard Hughes cuts Lindbergh’s New York to Paris flying time in half, setting an around-the-world record of 3 days, 19 hours, 17 minutes. (42/120) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_Hughes
Global speed record – July 10-14, 1938 – Howard Hughes (and crew: Harry Connor, Ed Lund, Richard Stoddard, Thomas Thurlow) in Lockheed 14—NYC, Paris, Moscow, Omsk, Yakutsk, Fairbanks, Minneapolis, NYC—14,791 miles in 3d:19h:08m:10s. http://aerofiles.com/chrono.html

10JUL1938             An anti-trust suit is issued in the District Court of the USA by the Dept of Justice against Loew’s, RKO, Warner Bros, Paramount, 20th Century Fox, Columbia, Universal & United Artists, charging them of combining and conspiring to restrain trade in the production, distribution and exhibition of motion pictures and with attempting successfully to monopolize such trade in violation of the Sherman Act. (22/416)

22AUG1938            James B Matthews, a former communist, testifies to the HUAC that Shirley Temple, Clark Gable, James Cagney, Bette Davis, and Miriam Hopkins “unwittingly” serve the cause of communism. (21/143)

27SEP1938             A red-baiting Darryl Zanuck, addressing an American Legion convention, denounces Hollywood’s “pink shirts”. (21/144)

30AUG1938            Max Factor dies in his home, at the age of 61. (p122/121)

13OCT1938            Filming starts on The Wizard of Oz. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1938_in_film

28OCT1938            Du Pont introduces nylon to the public – nylons stockings go on sale in MAY1940. (79/62)

OCT1938                A move is afoot to establish a pension plan for old actors based on an idea proposed by Jean Hersholt to the Motion Picture Relief Fun Committee. (28/96)

18OCT1938            Mickey Rooney, Grauman’s ceremony http://www.amug.org/~scrnsrc/chinese_theater.html

30OCT1938            Invasion from Mars, Orson Welles’ radio adaptation of “War of the World” is broadcast and mistaken by 1000s of people to be the real thing. (16/217) (23/331) http://members.aol.com/jeff1070/wotw.html

02NOV1938            Luise Rainer engineers a letter to President Roosevelt from the Hollywood Anti-Nazi League seeing his support as co-sponsor of Talent In Exile, a mass meeting to be held at the Los Angeles Philharmonic Auditorium on 03DEC. Sponsors include Miss Rainer herself, Ring Lardner Jnr, Bruni Frank, the writer who was working on a script for RKO’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Salka Viertel; and the directors Ernst Lubitsch and Fritz Lang. (19/323)

09-10NOV1938       On the evening of 09-10NOV1938 the Nazi pogrom known as Kristallnacht erupts across Germany, an outbreak of mob terror made vivid stateside by live radio reports, front-page headlines and wire photos. The event marked America’s tipping point from blind isolationist to national defense.

18NOV1938            3500 motion picture industry personnel pack a mass “Quarantine Hitler” rally at Philharmonic Auditorium in Los Angeles. In between impassioned speeches from actor John Garfield and director Frank Capra, and supportive messages from Joan Crawford, and exiled novelist Thomas Mann, the crowd unanimously voted to send a telegram, signed by Joseph Breen and dozens of other prominent Hollywood personalities to President Roosevelt: The Nazi outrage against Jews and Catholics have shocked the world. Coming on the heels of the Munich pact, they prove that the capitulation to Hitler means barbarism and terror. America as the foremost democracy has taken the lead in opposing this great to civilization. We in Hollywood urge you to use you presidential authority to express further the horror and the indignation of the America people. (77/210)

24NOV1938            German filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl arrives in Hollywood just as the Los Angeles sky was red with forest fires and right after the news of the Jewish massacre known as Kristallnacht is known. Her host Georg Gyssling (Nazi Consul General to Hollywood) changed her original reservations at the Garden of Allah whose management had received death threats to the Beverly Hills Hotel where she stayed for 3 weeks. (19/325)

Late’38/early’39      GWTW:  Featured parts are cast

DEC38                    DeBeers creates an aid campaign entitled “Traditions” making diamond ring essential for engagement. http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1938/1938fr.html

02DEC1938            Last day of airing for Louella Parsons’s radio show, Hollywood Hotel. http://www.otrsite.com/logs/logh1022.htm

10DEC1938            The burning of Atlanta scene in Gone With The Wind is filmed and Selznick sees Vivien Leigh. (13/54)

25DEC1938            Gone With The Wind director George Cukor tells Vivien Leigh she has the role of Scarlett (13/??)

22DEC1938            New York premiere of Sweethearts, starring Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy – MGM’s first feature in full, three-strip Technicolor. (292/107)

25DEC1938            Earl Carroll’s “Most Beautiful Girl in the World” theater opens at 6230 Sunset with a cast of 60 girls and is the most dazzling and star-studded event/opening Hollywood had yet seen. (2/8) (14/218) 6200 feet of blue and gold neon tubing…30 foot columns of light flanking the stage…the ladies room in soft peach lamb’s wool…for the investors and members of the inner circle, a $1000 membership free guaranteed a lifetime cover charge and a reserved seat. First-nighters included Clark Gable & Carole Lombard, Marlene Dietrich, Tyrone Power, Sonja Henie, Bob Hope, Betty Grable, Jack Benny, Claudette Colbert, Robert Taylor, Constance Bennett, Daryl Zanuck, Jackie Googan, Franchot Tone, Errol Flynn, David O. Selznick, Louis B Mayer, Dolores del Rio, Edgar Bergen, Jack Warner, WC Fields, Don Ameche, Walter Pidgeon, Jimmy Durante, and dozens more. (40/171) During the war years it had special priced shows to accommodate the war-effort swingshifters. When Earl Carroll died in a plane crash in 1948 the place closed. (40/219)

26DEC1938            The Earl Carroll Theater opens with seating for 1160 patron, 160 more than the Cocoanut Grove. (8/105)

Late 1930s              After the state of California clamped down on floating casinos and other gambling haunts in the late 1930s, the Hollywood Reporter‘s Billy Wilkerson had the vision in the immediate post-World War II era of building a ritzy resort playground in the desert with his original plans for Las Vegas’ Flamingo hotel. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/about_us/history.jsp
1938                        J. Edgar Hoover and Winchell became friends in 1938 following the death of J. Edgar Hoover’s mother. (99/216)

1938                            By 1938, the Depression had begun to ease . . . Bugsy Siegel put Mickey Cohen to work. Using his fists and guns, the fiery young Angeleno began raiding the protected gambling clubs and brothels controlled by local racketeers. (115/p39)

1938                        Screen Director’s Guild created (eliminating working Saturdays and Sundays without compensation). (47/78)

1938                        The Thalberg Building on the MGM lot is inaugurated. (145/107)

1938                        All gambling and prostitution in Hollywood is shut down. (39/28)
1939 – New attorney general of California, Earl Warren, outlaws all oceangoing gambling off the California coastline.
1940 – Legal gambling in California restricted to horse racing tracks.

???                          Selznick paid Ben Hecht $3000 a day to rewrite Gone With The Wind.  (CON/358)

1939                        Pickwick book store opens on Hollywood Boulevard. (67/43)

1938                        Bugsy Siegel opens a speakeasy at the Castillo del Lago mansion on Hollywoodland’s Durand Drive.

1938                        “Wilkerson sold the Trocadero in 1938. Underworld figures Bugsy Siegel and Mickey Cohen took over, and in 1940 the Trocadero was raided twice for illegal gambling. Not wanting that publicity, the stars moved on to other venues. After one more change of ownership, the Trocadero closed in 1946.” http://nfo.net/usa/niteclub.htm

1938                        The ballpoint pen invented by Ladislo Biro. http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa122299a.htm

1938                        Roy J. Plunkett invents tetrafluoroethylene polymers or Teflon. http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa122299a.htm

Late 1930s              May Rindge finally allows residents to purchase the beach front Malibu property that she had only allowed them to lease. (28/51)

Late 1930s              Washing machines that could spin-dry AND agitate did not appear until the end of the 1930s. (56/63)

1938                        DuPont markets the first nylon product – a toothbrush. (23/330)

1938                        Nescafe or freeze-dried coffee is invented. http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa122299a.htm



Top stars: Mickey Rooney, Tyrone Power, Spencer Tracy (21/139)
Top grossing films of 1939

  1. Gone with the Wind
  2. Ninotchka
  3. The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle
  4. The Wizard of Oz
  5. Goodbye, Mr. Chips
  6. Another Thin Man

1939 SONGS:

  • Somewhere Over the Rainbow
  • Deep Purple
  • Beer Barrel Polka
  • It Takes a Worried Man
  • Tuxedo Junction, Glenn Miller
  • Jim Jam Jump. Ella Fitzgerald
  • Three Little Fishies, Kay Kyser
  • I Got Rhythm, The Five Spirits
  • It Aint What You Say, Sy Oliver
  • I Hear the Angels Sing, Benny Goodman and Martha Tipton
  • It’s a Blue World Glenn Miller
  • South of the Border, Shep Fields

1939 BOOKS:

  • Grapes of Wrath, Steinbeck
  • Adventures of a Young Man, John Dos Passos
  • The Wild Palms, William Faulkner
  • Captain Horatio Hornblower, C.S. Forester
  • Pale Horse, Pale Rider, Katherine Anne Porter
  • Abraham Lincoln: The War Years, Carl Sandburg
  • Captain Horatio Hornblower, C.S. Forester

Pulitzer Prize Fiction: The Yearling, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings


Late 1930s              Louella Parsons is at the height of her powers, and being heard by millions on her Hollywood Hotel radio show. (6/124)

JAN1939                 Photoplay publishes an article called “Hollywood’s Unmarried Husbands and Wives” and causes a near scandal. 184/96 says it was published DEC1938 and written under a pseudonym by Sheilah Graham. “Unwed couples they may be termed…but they go everywhere together and do everything in pairs…build houses near each other…mother and father each other’s kids…to the world their official status is ‘just friends’. No more.” The article caused shock waves through the studios, exposing the private lives of Gable and Lombard, Taylor and Stanwyck, Chaplin and Paulette Goddard, and Constance Bennett and Gilbert Roland.

JAN1939                 Ria Langham divorces husband, Clark Gable, helping Las Vegas earn the title of “Divorce Capital of the World.” http://www.lasvegassun.com/history/timeline/

05JAN1939             In the AUG1938 deal signed with Selznick, MGM promises to “deliver” Gable for the part of ‘Rhett Butler’ on January 5, 1939. http://www.emanuellevy.com/article.php?articleID=1840

26JAN1939             Principal photography for “Gone With The Wind” commences with the movie’s opening shots. (13/137)

13FEB1939             Cukor leaves “Gone With The Wind” (13/80) (21/145)

Late FEB1939         Ben Hecht rewrites Fleming’s script for “Gone With The Wind” (13/86)

MAR1939                The filming of the Atlanta Railway Station scene from “Gone With The Wind.” (13/105)

03MAR1939            Selznick and Hitchcock sign an exclusive 7-year deal paying Hitchcock at $40,000 per picture. On 15MAR1939, Selznick announces their project will be Rebecca. (p277/129)

16MAR1939            Principle filming finished on The Wizard of Oz. (21/148)

01APR1939             Spanish Civil War comes to an end when the last of the Republican forces surrendered. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1939

01APR1939             Warner Bros. transports 350 people including Errol Flynn and Humphrey Bogart to Dodge City, Kansas for the premiere of the movie Dodge City. (21/148)

20APR1939             Newly-signed to David O. Selznick, Ingrid Bergman arrives in New York. Selznick wants her to change her name because it sounds too German, but she refuses. (21/148)

30APR1939             The New York World’s Fair, “Building The World of Tomorrow,” opens on what was once a marshy wasteland in Flushing Meadows, just east of the great metropolis.  http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s/DISPLAY/39wf/frame.htm & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1939

28MAR1939            Madrid falls to the Fascists and Roosevelt recognizes the Franco government on 01APR. (26/291) (72/149)

03MAY1939            Los Angeles’ Union Station opens on land that was once the city’s Chinatown.

04MAY1939            Carmen Miranda signs a movie contract with Hollywood and arrivss in the US on 4 May 1939with her band, the Bando da Lua. By 1946 she is Hollywood’s highest-paid entertainer and top female tax payer in the United States,earning more than $200,000 that year (=$2.2 million in 2010 adjusted for inflation), according to IRS records. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carmen_Miranda#Career

06MAY1939            Ingrid Bergman arrives in LA and stays at Selznick’s home until a house can be leased for her during the filming of “Intermezzo”. She leaves early AUG1939 by train to return to Sweden. (104/65)

27JUN1930             Principle photography on Gone with the Wind finished. Sort of. There are many reshoots still to be done, but this was the “official” last day of filming. Also – this is the day the “Frankly my Dear” scene was filmed though at the time. “Frankly” was not included, nor was the word “damn.” This would be one of the last reshoots, stemming from disappointed feedback from two test audiences. (Facebook “GWTW…But Not Forgotten”)

28JUN1939             The first regular transatlantic passenger air service begins when PanAm flies its Dixie Clipper with 22 passengers from Long Island, New York to Lisbon, Portugal. http://xroads.virginia.edu/%7E1930s2/Time/1938/1938fr.html (79/16)

JUN1939                 Garbo meets nutritionist Gayelord Hauser, who will become a major influence in her life. She begins work on Ninotchka. November 9, 1939 –Ninotchka is released and is a triumphant success. Garbo will garner her final Academy Award nomination for the film. She will lose to Vivien Leigh for Gone with the Wind.

01JUL1939             Principal photography for “Gone With The Wind” is finished. (13/137)

18JUL1939             Los Angeles preview of The Wizard of Oz after which execs decide to take out “Over the Rainbow”. (21/149)

20JUL1939             Orson Welles arrives in Hollywood and checks into the Chateau Marmont. (21/149)

21JUL1939             Orson Welles and Houseman sign their contract with RKO. (58/1)

AUG1939                James Cagney, Humphrey Bogart, Fredric March and screenwriter Philip Dunne tell the HUAC at its San Francisco hearings that they are not communists. (21/15)

15AUG1939            The Wizard of Oz premieres at Grauman’s (21/149) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1939

17AUG1939            New York premiere at Loew’s Capital of The Wizard of Oz. It was accompanied during its Capital run by a stage show with Garland and Rooney. This is the first time in almost five years that the Capitol offers a live act along with a feature film, and the added entertainment undoubtedly contributes to the box-office records Oz sets during its initial weeks. On opening day it plays to a phenomenal 37,000 paid admissions. By week’s end it had generated $93,000 at the Capitol, but despite its quick start, Oz slowed in the hinterlands and ran out of steam in its initial release. (p268/129)

21AUG1939            Orson Welles signs 2-picture deal with RKO. (21/150)

23AUG 1939           Hitler and Stalin sign the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact agreeing to divide Europe between themselves (Finland, Estonia, Latvia and eastern Poland to the USSR; Lithuania and western Poland to Germany) so they would not have to fight on two fronts. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1939#August, (75/170) The news is made known on 24AUG and sends a shockwave around the world, especially in Hollywood where it had the effect of shattering the informal coalition between Communist Party members and progressive-minded, liberal writers, actors and directors. The Hollywood Anti-Nazi League lost most of its important members and was forced to change its name.

The Hollywood Anti-Nazi League changed its name to Hollywood League for Democratic Action. They printed a newsletter under the name of “Hollywood Now” which was discontinued in 1940. The organization was financed by membership dues, contributions, motion picture producers, and prominent stage and screen stars. By 1942, this organization was no longer in existence. http://foia.fbi.gov/foiaindex/hollywoodleague.htm

Late AUG 1939       Retakes of opening scenes on Tara’s front porch for Gone With The Wind. (13/??)

31AUG1939            Premiere of ‘The Women’ at Grauman’s. (21/150)

01SEP1939             Germany invades Poland. (23/330)

03SEP1939             Following Britain’s final ultimatum to Germany, war breaks out in Europe with The United Kingdom, France, New Zealand and Australia declaring war on Germany. (19/333), http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1939#September

05SEP1939             The United States declares its neutrality in the war. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1939#September

05SEP1939             Ginger Rogers, Grauman’s ceremony http://www.amug.org/~scrnsrc/chinese_theater.html

SEP1939                 2-week heatwave

09SEP1939             GWTW:  surprise previews held at the Fox Theater in Riverside. (21/146) (51.??)

24SEP1939             Carl Laemmle dies of a heart attack.

10OCT1939            Judy Garland, Grauman’s ceremony http://www.amug.org/~scrnsrc/chinese_theater.html

20OCT1939            1939  David O. Selznick sends a memo to Will H. Hayes at Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America, Inc. requesting permission to include the word “damn” in his film of Gone with the Wind. He receives approval as well as a $5000 fine. Selznick says it was some of the best money he’d ever spent.

21OCT1939            Hedda Hopper outscoops Louella Parsons for the first time with the announcement that the President’s son – Jimmy Roosevelt – was getting a divorce. … The opening shots had been fired, and the feud had officially begun. (15/210)

30SEP1939             The first televised football game (Fordham vs. Waynesboro College) airs.


OCT1939                Lana Turner is the first Hollywood star reported to be wearing nylons. (21/151)

25OCT1939            Betty Grable signs with 20th Century Fox. (21/151)

06NOV1939            The radio show Hedda Hopper’s Hollywood debuts with Hollywood gossip columnist Hedda Hopper as host (the show ran until 1951 and made Hopper a powerful figure in the Hollywood elite). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1939

22NOV1939             The murder of Harry Greenberg takes place for which Ben Siegel and accomplice Frankie Carbo, goes on trial MAY1942. (39/66)
Ben Siegel’s invasion of Hollywood was resented by local racketeers, and gangland warfare flared intermittently. One of the first victims of the underworld feuding was Harry (Big Greenie) Greenberg, who was cut down in front of his flat at 1804 Vista Del Mar Ave. Nov. 22, 1939. (JP)

NOV1939                   Streamline Modern Academy Theater opens at 3141 West Manchester Boulevard, Inglewood. (51/96)   http://cinematreasures.org/theater/7/

30NOV1939            Winter War begins: Soviet forces attack Finland and reach the Mannerheim Line, starting the war, three months after the invasion of Poland by Germany. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1939

05DEC1939            Orson Welles submits his prelim budget for “Heart of Darkness” – $1,057,761 (58/12)

12DEC1939            Douglas Fairbanks Sr dies of a heart attack at his beach house at the age of 56. His wife at the time – Sylvia Ashley will later become the 4th Mrs. Clark Gable. (p250/130)

15DEC1939            Atlanta premiere of Gone With The Wind.

28DEC1939            Gone With The Wind Hollywood premiere at Carthay Circle. (21/146) See 28/119 for description of the night.

Late 1930s              Adrian at MGM is earning $75,000 a year – the same as the president of the United States. (47/214)

1939                        Imported by David O. Selznick, Alfred Hitchcock arrives in Hollywood to make Rebecca. (48/21) (77/270)

1939                        Howard Hughes buys Transcontinental and Western Air (the precursor to TWA) and asks Dave Chasen to make it the first airline to serve passengers hot food – on good china and linens – instead of the usual boxed sandwiches. (48/36)

1939                        A new category is added to the Oscars: Special Effects. (p67/114)

1939                        Busby Berkeley moves from Warner Bros. to MGM. (215/107)

1939                        While planning his American film debut – Rebecca – Alfred Hitchcock has his first run-in with Joseph Breen. (77/109)

1939                        By the end of the 1930s, France and Great Britain were the only major European countries with democratic governments. (79/13)

1939                        New attorney general of California, Earl Warren, outlaws all oceangoing gambling off the California coastline. (39/28)

1939                        The Hollywood Anti Nazi League was founded in 1937, in an effort to unite Jewish people and others in the Hollywood movie colony into organizing to combat Naziism on a local scale. In 1939, the Hollywood Anti Nazi League changed its name to Hollywood League for Democratic Action. They printed a newsletter under the name of “Hollywood Now” which was discontinued in 1940. The organization was financed by membership dues, contributions, motion picture producers, and prominent stage and screen stars. By 1942, this organization was no longer in existence. http://foia.fbi.gov/foiaindex/hollywoodleague.htm

1939                        Partnering with Simon & Schuster Robert de Graafissues line of books in the U.S. similar to Britain’s successful Penguin Books, called the  Pocket Books imprint. The term “pocket book” became synonymous with paperback in English-speaking North America. Booksellers were initially reluctant to buy his books. But Woolworths, placed a large order on the books, and the books sold extremely well. After this initial success, booksellers were no longer reluctant to stock paperbacks. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paperback_books#History

1939                        Jolly Time popcorn

1939                        Igor Sikorsky invents the first successful helicopter

1939                        Douglas Fairbanks Snr dies of heart attack at 56yo at 705 Palisades Beach Rd, Pac Palis (2/54)

1939                        Walt Disney builds studio at 500 S. Buena Vista St, Burbank on 51 acres he paid $100,000 for. (2/70) and moves in 1940. (http://www.americassuburb.com/timeline.html)

1939                        The future rival to film — television — was formally introduced at the New York World’s Fair in Queens. The Radio Corporation of America (RCA) unveiled a display of its first TV sets for sale to the American public. http://www.filmsite.org/milestones11939                        Nylon stockings are sold for the first time. (23/333)

1939                        Mulholland Highway renamed Mulholland Drive. http://www.studiocityresidents.org/history.php

1939                        Baseball game is first televised. (23/333)



Top stars: Mickey Rooney, Spencer Tracy, Clark Gable (21/153)

Top grossing films of 1940

  1. Pinocchio
  2. Fantasia
  3. Boom Town
  4. (tie)Rebecca and Santa Fe Trail
  5. Strike up the band
  6. Strange Cargo
  7. Buck Benny Rides Again
  8. Kitty Foyle
  9. Northwest Passage
  10. Arizona

Pulitzer Prize Fiction: The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck

1940 SONGS: (71/242)

  • I’ll never smile again
  • When you wish upon a star
  • Imagination
  • Fools rush in
  • When the swallows comes back to Capistrano
  • Blueberry hill


1940                        population of the U.S. is about 132 million; California is the 5th most populous state with 5.7 million people (79/5)

1940                        In 1940 scarcely more than half of all U.S. homes had hot and cold running water, bathtubs and indoor toilets.

1940                        In 1940 less than half the population belonged to the institutionalized churches, but by the late 1950s over 63% were officially enrolled. (89/85)

1940s                      The most popular box-office stars of the entire decade were: James Cagney, Clark Gable, Tyrone Power, Judy Garland, Bette Davis, Mickey Rooney, Spencer Tracy, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Wallace Beery, Gene Autry, Gary Cooper, Greer Garson, Humphrey Bogart, Cary Grant, and Ingrid Bergman. http://www.filmsite.org/40sintro2.html

08JAN1940             The Screen Writers Guild adopts a resolution forbidding its members to advertise in the trade papers. (22/67)

16JAN1940             Police raided Lee Francis’s house of prostitution and arrested dozens of customers, prostitutes, and the grandmotherly Frances. The only arrest in her 40-year career put her out of business. (96/96)

21JAN1940             Ciro’s opens (Hollywood’s largest and grandest nightclub) by W.R. Wilkerson (who also owned the Troc). 1942 to 1957 owned by Herman Hoover. Closed 1957. Opened in 1983 as the Comedy Store. (21/154) (2/34) It was not an immediate success but after a few years and a shift of management, it soon became the choice venue of several classic entertainers. (67/42)31JAN1940        A hardy Vermonter named Ida May Fuller becomes the cery first retiree to receive a monthly Social Security benefit check, that totalled $22.54 (Vanity Fair, April 2009)

07FEB1940             Walt Disney’s animated film Pinocchio is released. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1940_in_film

10FEB1940             Tom & Jerry, created by Hanna & Barbera, debut in MGM’s Puss Gets the Boot. (Tom was called Jasper and Jerry didn’t have a name yet.) http://www.filmsite.org/milestones1940s.html (21/154)

14FEB1940             The cancellation of the Screen Playrights contract is formally announced, a few months after the studios had reported themselves ready to negotiate with the Screen Writers Guild on the basis of a minimum contract running 5 years instead of 7. (72/157)

19FEB1940             Mdelivery of the Citizen Kane script. … During MAR, APR and early MAY the first installments of “Citizen Kane” were written at a guest ranch in Victorville, California. (58/17)

20FEB1940             Tom and Jerry make their debut in the animated cartoon Puss Gets the Boot. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1940_in_film

28FEB1940             Oscars ceremony where Gone With The Wind sweeps the night.

FEB1940                 HUAC chairman Martin Dies, in “The Reds in Hollywood” in Liberty magazine, charges that Communists have powerful positions in the industry. The Hollywood Reporter (Feb 10)and Variety (Feb 21) attack his article. (21/155)

03FEB1940             Max Factor’s ad in the Hollywood Reporter announce his “pan-cake” make-up, replacing greasepaint. (21/155)

02MAR1940            Elmer Fudd makes his debut in the short Elmer’s Candid Camerahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1940

Early APR1940       First draft of Citizen Kane is completed. It’s more than 250 pages long. (58/18)

09APR1940             The Nazis sweep into Denmark and Norway, crushing their defenses like so many sand castles. (64/4) http://www.neveragain.org/1940.htm

MAY1940                Nylon stockings hit the stores and women go wild for them – they last longer, look more attractgive and fit better than silk. (79/62)

09MAY1940            Citizen Kane second draft is finished. (58/24) The prelim budget submitted 14JUN1940 comes in at just over $1 million which is twice the amount specified in Welles’s contract. (58/29)

10MAY1940            Germany invades Belgium, Holland, and France. Blitzkrieg against Great Britain begins.  Winston Churchill becomes British Prime Minister. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Churchillhttp://www.neveragain.org/1940.htm

10MAY-22JUN1940       The Invasion of France. http://worldwar2database.com/html/france_40.htm

MAY1940                MGM announces extensive salary and staff cuts (150 staff members go). (19/340)

Late MAY/early JUN1940       The beginning of the most heroic and tragic maneuvers in military history – the evacuation from Dunkirk across the Channel to England. (64/4) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Dunkirk

10JUN1940             Italy declares war on Britain and France. http://library.thinkquest.org/CR0212881/italdewa.html http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_of_Italy_%281861%E2%80%931946%29

14JUN1940             During the Battle of France, Paris surrenders to the Nazis. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_France

14JUN1940             MGM’s first movie to criticize the Nazis and support pro-American intervention in the war – The Mortal Storm – opens. (189/107), http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0032811/

22JUN1940             France surrenders. (70/116)

24JUN1940             5th and final draft of Citizen Kane ready for the mimeograph. (58/30) It’s revised estimate comes in at $737,740. (58/31)

27JUN1940             Bugs Bunny makes his official debut in the animated cartoon A Wild Hare. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1940_in_film

29JUN1940             Shooting on Citizen Kane commences. The projection room sequence is the first to be shot. (58/69)

JUL1940                 In order to strengthen defenses against possible any threat from overseas, Congress approves funds for the construction of new warships and fighter planes. Even before the fall of France, Congress had voted an increase of more than a billion dollars in military spending. (79/20)

10JUL-31OCT1940                Series of intense raids directed against Great Britain by the German air force after the fall of France during World War II.
= aka The Battle of Britain (64/4) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Britain

11AUG1940            Battle of Britain begins with devastating fury. (64/40)

mid-AUG1940        Germany bans MGM movies and 20th Century Fox movies. (21/156)

18AUG1940            Ben Siegel is arrested for the murder of Harry Greenberg while hiding in his attic. He is freed from the County Jail four months later, following a series of scandals which caused the ouster of Dr. Benjamin Blank as jail physician and the removal of a jailer for permitting the suspect many privileges denied less affluent prisoners. (JP)

AUG1940               The astounding success of Selznick International Pictures spells the end of the company. Without a major studio set-up to back him, Selznick has no place to re-invest his tremendous profits and thus faced a huge tax burden. In August 1940, the stockholders vote to dissolve Selznick International Pictures. Selznick immediately form David Selznick Productions but, understandably exhausted after the strain of Gone with the Wind, he is unable to match his earlier success. http://www.hollywood.com/celebrity/David_O_Selznick/196263

28AUG1940            Laurence Olivier’s divorce from Jill Esmond is finalized, freeing him up to marry Vivien Leigh. (GWTW…but not forgotten)

05SEP1940             John Barrymore’s Grauman’s ceremony http://www.amug.org/~scrnsrc/chinese_theater.html

07SEP1940 – 10MAY1941
The London Blitz was the sustained bombing of Britain by Nazi Germany between 7 September 1940 and 10 May 1941, in World War II. While the “Blitz” hit many towns and cities across the country, it began with the bombing of London for 57 nights in a row. By the end of May 1941, over 43,000 civilians, half of them in London, had been killed by bombingand more than a million houses destroyed or damaged in London alone. London was not the only city to suffer bombing during the Blitz. Other important military and industrial centers, such as Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Coventry, Glasgow, Sheffield, Liverpool, Hull, Manchester, Portsmouth, Plymouth and Southampton, were among the cities to suffer heavy air raids and high numbers of casualties.

04SEP1940             Several isolationist leaders formed the America First Committee. The committee’s founders included well-known politicians, writers and entertainers. At the committee’s first big rally in Chicago in SEP, 1000s of people cheered speakers who accused Roosevelt of being a warmonger. Within a year, the committee had a membership of about 800,000 people. (79/23) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/America_First_Committee

Early SEP1940       President Roosevelt announces the ‘Destroyers for Bases’ deal which allows the U.S. to build bases in British territory in the Caribbean region and off the Atlantic coast of Canada for 50 (mostly WWI-era) destroyers. It was the Roosevelt administration’s boldest move thus far in its support of Britain. To isolationists, it was a big step closer to U.S. involvement in the war in Europe. (97/19)

14SEP1940             The Selective Training and Service Act of 1940, also known as the Burke-Wadsworth Act, was passed by the Congress of the United States on September 14, 1940, becoming the first peacetime conscription in U.S. history when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed it into law two days later. This Selective Service Act required that men between the ages of 21 and 30 register with local draft boards. Later, when the U.S. entered World War II, all men aged 18 to 45 were made liable for military service, and all men aged 18 to 65 were required to register. (56/298) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selective_Training_and_Service_Act_of_1940
79/22 says that if called up for military service, draftees would be required to serve for one year, but they could not be sent overseas.

16SEP1940             Congress initiates a massive buildup of the armed forces by authorizing the first peacetime draft in history. Polls show 71% of Americans supports the move. (70/13 & 116)

15OCT1940            The Great Dictator, a satiric social commentary film by and starring Charlie Chaplin, is released. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1940_in_film

16OCT1940            Proclamation 2425: “1. The first registration under the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940 shall take place on Wednesday, the sixteenth day of October, 1940, between the hours of 7 A.M. and 9 P.M.”

OCT 1940               Ultra-left-wing writer Dalton Trumbo joins the MGM payroll to write We Who Are Young (19/347)

23OCT1940            Principle photography on Citizen Kane is completed, however additional retakes continues for several weeks. (58/85) The next day Welles leaves on a 3 week lecture tour through the Southwest and Midwest. (58/87)

27OCT1940            The New York World’s Fair closes its doors after 25 million visitors since 30APR1939. (79/25)

29OCT1940            The first drawing for military service takes place in the blue and gold Departmental Auditorium on Constitution Ave in Washington. (64/75)

31OCT1940            Hollywood Palladium opens at 6215 Sunset, across the street from the Earl Carroll Theater). (14/221). Lana Turner broke ground with a silver shovel. (67/81)
Hollywood Palladium opens at 6215 Sunset, build by L.A. Times publisher Norman Chandler (2/7)
Built be L. A. Times publisher Norman Chandler for $1.6 million, it quickly became the place to dance and to hear the big bands of the day, and performers like Judy Garland, Doris Day, Glenn Miller, Harry James and even Marilyn Monroe. (67/43)
The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and its vocalist, the soon to become legendary Frank Sinatra, opened the Hollywood Palladium to rave reviews. Over 6,500 people attended each show during its peak, filling the dance floor, dining areas, and mezzanine. http://hollywoodheritage.org/newsarchive/spring01/palladium.html
According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_Palladium it opened 23SEP1940
According to http://proquest.umi.com.ezproxy.lapl.org/pqdweb?index=4&did=410480981&SrchMode=1&sid=2&Fmt=10&VInst=PROD&VType=PQD&RQT=309&VName=HNP&TS=1211921442&clientId=13322 it opened 31OCT1940

05NOV1940            Election Day – Roosevelt gets 55% of the vote, Willkie gets 45% (64/42) (79/24)
November 5, 1940 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt continues his dominance of presidential politics with a 449 to 82 Electoral College victory over Republican candidate Wendell Wilkie, winning his third presidential election.  Roosevelt becomes the first man to hold office for three terms. http://americasbesthistory.home.att.net/abhtimeline1940.html

10NOV1940            Walt Disney agrees to spy on Hollywood subversives for the FBI. (21/156)

13NOV1940            World premiere of Walt Disney’s Fantasia, the first film to be released in a multi-channel sound format (see Fantasound). The film also marked the first use of the click track while recording the soundtrack, overdubbing of orchestral parts, simultaneous multi-track recording and lead to the development of a multi-channel surround system. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1940_in_film

Early 1940s            The feud between Louella Parsons and Hedda Hoppa reaches its most sensational peaks.  (16/237)

DEC1940                The price of gasoline in Rhode Island was 9 cents a gallon plus 4.5 cents tax per gallon. (97/17)

11DEC1940            Bugsy Siegel walks away Scott free from an indictment for murdering mob turncoat Ralph Greenberg. The same day writer Flora Muir uncovered a $50,000 contribution from Siegel to John Dockweiller, who replaced the corrupt DA Buron Fitts. A year later, as Dockweiller began an investigation in the L.A. police, he died at his desk of pneumonia. Strangely he wasn’t reportedly ill at the time. (190/96)

16DEC1940            Newspapers across the country carry on their front pages a notice that any man between 21 and 35 must register today for selective service. (64/71)

19DEC1940            Romanoff’s – opens at 325 (326?) North Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills. When “Prince Michael Romanoff” (aka Harry Gerguson) decided to open a restaurant, he asked Garden of Allah’ers Benchley, Parker, Jock Whitney and others to chip in. (1/83) In 1951 he moved to 240 S. Rodeo – south of Wilshire – to expand but it was never the same The restaurant prospered through the late 50s but it became hard to fill the room. It also didn’t help that he became ultra Republican in a Democratic community. The restaurant closed New Year’s Eve 1962. (49/53)

21DEC1940            F. Scott Fitzgerald dies at Sheilah Graham’s home. (1/63)

29DEC1940            President Roosevelt gives his “arsenal of democracy” speech in the form of a fireside chat. It is his boldest challenge yet to the resistant forces of isolationism, which was a diminishing but still potent influence in American public opinion. (64/141)

30DEC1940            The Arroyo Seco Parkway opens, modeled after “parkways” built in the east, it is Los Angeles’ first “freeway;” today more commonly known as the Pasadena Freeway. Late 1940/early 41  Controversy over Citizen Kane swells.

1940                        A six-mile stretch of the Arroyo Seco Parkway (Pasadena Freeway) is opened, becoming the first freeway in the western United States. http://www.laalmanac.com/history/hi01g.htm

1940 to 1944           780,000 new immigrants moved to Southern California. (42/118)

1940                        ‘Original Screenplay’ category is added to the Academy Awards. (189/107)

1940                        Buron Fitts leaves the DA office which he has held since 1929. (83/96)

1940                        The fastest air schedule from New York to Los Angeles is 15 hours, given good weather all the way. (64/9)

1940                        Hedda Hopper switches to the Register-Tribune. When the Chicago Tribune and the New York Daily News picks up the column, her circulation soars to more than 17.5 million readers. The column appears in 85 metropolitan papers, 3000 small dailies, and 2000 weeklies. Her salary grows to $110,000 a year. (45/288)

1940                        Texas Congressman Martin Dies, chairman of the newly formed House Committee on Un-American Activities, arrived in Hollywood to continue the attack on filmland’s Communist sympathizers that he had launched earlier in the press. (47/343)

1940                        Publisher Quigley was paying Bob Harrison $70 a week which was respectable coin in 1940. (88/26)

1940                        The League of American Writers sets up the ‘League of American Writers School For Writers’. (72/163)

1940                        The Smith Act is introduced. The Alien Registration Act or Smith Act of 1940 is a United States federal statute that makes it a criminal offense for anyone to knowingly or willfully advocate, abet, advise or teach the duty, necessity, desirability or propriety of overthrowing the Government of the United States or of any State by force or violence, or for anyone to organize any association which teaches, advises or encourages such an overthrow, or for anyone to become a member of or to affiliate with any such association. From 1941 to 1957, hundreds of socialists were prosecuted under the Smith Act. The first trial, in 1941, focused on Trotskyists, the second trial in 1944 prosecuted alleged fascists and, beginning in 1949, leaders and members of the Communist Party USA were targeted. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smith_Act

1940                        Legal gambling in California restricted to horse racing tracks. (39/28)

1940                        There are 395 accredited permanent Hollywood correspondents, including 89 newspapermen, 77 U.S. magazine reporters and 63 representatives of  foreign periodicals. There were, in short, 3 or 4 journalists for every star of any consequence, including hasbeens and singing cowboys. (40/xi)

1940                        Henry Grace helps to found the Society of Motion Picture Interior Designers. (10/288)

1940                        Peter Goldmark invents modern color television system.

1940                        Mickey Cohen moves to Los Angeles and worked with Jack Dragna and Meyer Lansky’s partner, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel. http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/organized_crime/81372

1940                        Karl Pabst invents the jeeP.

1940                        An African-American scientist, Dr. Charles R. Drew, figures out a way to separate and store blood plasma, changing the way that blood can be stored. (79/89)

1940                        CBS demonstrates color television in New York. http://www.infoplease.com/year/1940.html

1940                        WNBT, the first regularly operating television station, debuts in New York with an estimated 10,000 viewers. http://www.infoplease.com/year/1940.html

1940                        It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Superman! The radio show debuts. http://www.infoplease.com/year/1940.html

1940                        The 40-hour work week, part of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 goes into effect. (23/335)

1940                        Konrad Zuse’s Z3, the first computer controlled by software.



Top stars: Mickey Rooney, Clark Gable, Abbott & Costello (21/156)
Top grossing films of 1941

  1. Sergeant York
  2. Buck Privates, starring Abbott and CostellO
  3. Tobacco Road
  4. Dumbo
  5. How Green Was My Valley

1941 SONGS: (71/242)

  • I hear a rhapsody
  • There’ll be bluebirds over the white cliffs of dover
  • Chattanoog Choo Choo
  • Intermezzo
  • Till Reveille

1941 BOOKS: Sales of the bible increased 25% through out the war (71/247)

  • The White Cliffs of Dover by Alice Miller
  • My Friend Flicker by Mary O’Hara


02JAN1941             The Andrews Sisters record “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” on Decca Records. http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2811

03JAN1941             The Mocambo opens at 8588 Sunset. Closed 1958 (2/33) (21/158)Owned by Charlie Morrison (former agent) and Felix Young. (8/118) – Closes 1958, shortly after Morrison’s death. (14/217)

03JAN1941             When an advance leak in the Hollywood Reporter described the showing of a rough cut of “Citizen Kane” as a showing for “a group of friends”, Welles is forced to apologize to Hedda Hopper and invite her also because of a long-standing promise that she would be the first to see the film. (58/111)

06JAN1941             President Roosevelt delivers his state of the union address at the opening of the 77th Congress in which he announces his Four Freedoms. (64/198)

13JAN1941             A front page story in the Hollywood Reporter carried a claim, attributed to “authoritative Hearst sources” that Hearts papers were about to begin a series of editorials attacking Hollywood’s practice of hiring refugees and immigrants jobs that could be held by Americans. The deliberate aim, the article went on, was to bring pressure on the other studios to force RKO to shelve “Citizen Kane”. Meanwhile Louella Parsons began waging a one-person campaign of intimidation by telephone. The strategy worked: in a short time. George Schafer was approached by Nicholas Schenck, head of MGM’s parent company with an offer on behalf of Louis B. Mayer and other Hollywood execs to reimburse RKO its total picture cost if it would destroy the film. (58/111)

21JAN1941             RKO gives its official reply to the offer (see above): “Citizen Kane” would be released as scheduled with one of the largest publicity campaigns in the studio’s history. (58/112)

Early 1941              Howard Hughes launches a huge publicity build up for his latest protégée Jane Russell and her movie ‘The Outlaw’ (which wouldn’t be released until 1943. (77/136 and 251 and onwards)

13FEB1941             The final cut of “Citizen Kane” – approved by the lawyers – is shipped from Hollywood with a running time of 1 hour 59 minutes 16 seconds. (59/113)

13FEB1941             Abbott and Costello have their first starring roles in Buck Privates. (21/158)

27FEB1941             For the first time, the winners’ names of the Academy Awards are sealed in an envelope. The ceremony was at the Biltmore; President Roosevelt addressed the crowd via radio. (21/158) (44/69)

FEB&MAR1941       There were special previews in RKO’s screening rooms throughout FEB and MAR, sometimes more than one the same evening. The guest lists were studded with Hollywood royalty. This one for 06MAR included Cary Grant, David O. Selznick, Roy Disney, Walter Wanger, Jesse Lasky, Samuel Goldwyn, director Leo McCarey, Harry Cohn, and William Wyler. (58/115)

21MAR1941            After first bringing it to the people in a radio speech on 29DEC1940 and debating through the early months of 1941, Roosevelt’s ‘Lend-Lease’ bill is passed through both houses of Congress. (79/27)

21MAR1941            The ‘Motion Picture Society for the Americas’ is chartered by organized the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs (OCIAA), a U.S. government agency lead by Nelson Rockefeller, which worked with the Hollywood studios during the 1940s to illuminate how government agencies, Latin American artists and performers, business interests, and popular culture industries worked together to shift both international policies and perceptions of Latin America. (77/168)

24MAR1941            Carmen Miranda, Grauman’s ceremony http://www.amug.org/~scrnsrc/chinese_theater.html

28MAR1941            Radio show Hollywood Premiere, hosted by Louella Parsons, debuts on CBS. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1941_in_radio

06APR1941             Hearst papers played up an attack by the American Legion on a Welles radio show, “His Honor, the Mayor” (“The Free Company”, CBS, April 6) as un-American and subversive; not coincidentally, a Heart reporter was publicity chief for the Legion. Radio City Music Hall decided not to open “Citizen Kane” after all; Schafer told Kael it was because of an implied threat by Louella Parsons to Nelson Rockefeller that a defamatory story on his grandfather in Hearst’s American Weekly might be a possible consequence. For fear of retaliation, other exhibitors also refused to handle the film, so that Schaefer and his sales organization were forced to line up what theaters they could on their own. (58/115)

11APR1941             Roosevelt creates the Office of Price Administration to plan wage and price controls. (70/116)

25APR1941             Joseph Breen quits his $50,000 job at the Hays Office to take a $100,000 general manager job at RKO. By APR1942 he’s back at the Hays Office. (77/132)

01MAY1941            Citizen Kane shown for the first time at the RKO Palace in NY. (21/159) It opened in Chicago on 06MAY and in Los Angeles on 08MAY. (58/115)

15MAY1941            After what is delicately termed “an amicable agreement on certain revisions” a Code Seal is issued for ‘The Outlaw’…but Howard Hughes keeps the film in statsis. (77/254)

23MAY1941            George Brown (Mafia-controlled union leader who later became President of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) and Willy Bioff (along with Paul Ricca, Frank Nitti, Nick Circella, Charlie Gioe, and Phil D’Andrea) were indicted for extortion and tax evasion. (75/211) http://www.americanmafia.com/Feature_Articles_208.html , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willie_Bioff

27MAY1941            Germany’s mighty battleship the Bismarck is attacked and sunk by the Royal Navy after it had sunk the British battlecruiser Hood on 24MAY1941. http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/GERchron.htm (79/29)

MAY1941                The Office of Civilian Defense (OCD) is created to assist people to prepare for air raids. (79/35)

MAY1941                Glenn Miller’s two week engagement at the Hollywood Palladium attracted throngs of crowds, with 5200 dancers crowding the floor on opening night. (82/50)

15MAY to 17JUL1941           Joe DiMaggio – aka the Yankee Clipper – hits 56 games in a row. (79/36)

18JUN1941             Nine years after the Guild had organized, the Screen Writers Guild have their first contract. (72/173)

22JUN1941             Roosevelt declares unlimited state of emergency. (70/116)

22JUN1941             Germany invades the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa, one of the most dramatic turning points of WWII. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/June_22

25JUN1941             President Roosevelt signs executive order 8802, which bars discrimination in federal defense industry work. (82/20)

JUL1941                 Japan invades Indochina (Vietnam, Laos, Kampuchia). (70/14)

JUL1941                 U.S. troops land on Iceland (whose Danish government had been conquered by Germany in April) to prevent German forces from using it as a base. (79/28)

25JUL1941             Roosevelt embargoes shipments of scrap iron and gasoline to Japan and freezes all Japanese assets in the U.S. (70/117) (79/33)

28JUL1941             Harry Cohn ends his 18-year marriage to Rose. Three day later, he married Joan Perry at the St Regis in New York. (p182/141)

07AUG1941            Cecil B. DeMille, Grauman’s ceremony http://www.amug.org/~scrnsrc/chinese_theater.html

15AUG1941            The New York Times announces Roosevelt and Churchill have secretly gotten together and draft their 8 peace aims. (64/200) They met aboard a warship off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. The resulting agreement – called the Atlantic Charter – was no a military or political alliance between the U.S. and Britain but it pledged the 2 nations to achieve a common end. (79/31)

23AUG1941            Ava Gardner arrives in L.A. with her sister and a 7-year, $50-a-week MGM contract in hand. They stay at the Plaza Hotel at Hollywood and Vine for a week at MGM’s expense and after that, they’re on their own. (Ava Gardner: The Secret Conversations by Peter Evans and Ava Gardner.)

11SEP1941             Ground is broken for The Pentagon in Washington, DC. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pentagon

09SEP1941             During WWII, Leningrad (now St Petersburg) was besieged by Nazi Germany and co-belligerent Finland. The siege lasted 872 days from SEP1941 to JAN1944. The Siege of Leningrad was one of the longest, most destructive, and most lethal sieges of major cities in modern history. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leningrad#History

27SEP1941             The Tripartite Pact, also called the Three-Power Pact, Axis Pact, Three-way Pact or Tripartite Treaty was a pact signed in Berlin, Germany by Saburo Kurusu of Japan, Adolf Hitler of Germany, and Galeazzo Ciano (foreign minister) of Italy entering as a military alliance and officially founding the Axis Powers of World War II that opposed the Allied Powers. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tripartite_Pact (79/32)

03OCT1941            The Maltese Falcon premieres at the Strand. (21/1590

OCT1941                A U-boat torpedoes the U.S. destroyer USS Kearny, which was protecting a convoy sailing south of Iceland. Two weeks later another German torpedo sinks the destroyer USS Reuben James, causing the loss of 115 men. The President gives the U.S. Navy orders to attack any German planes for vessels in the safety zone.

OCT1941                Due to insufficient funding, the Mt Rushmore sculptures are completed, having been begun in 1927. (23/334) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Rushmore

OCT1941                Future Confidential publisher Bob Harrison publishes a front runner Beauty Parade magazine. (88/7)

30NOV1941            What turns out to be Greta Garbo’s final movie, the George Cukor directed Two Faced Woman is released with a Production Code Administration seal of approval but is condemned by the Legion of Decency – it is the first studio release to be condemned by the Legion. (77/144) and is a flop.
In Two Faced Woman Garbo’s role was ill-suited to her. It attempted to Americaize her since the war makes it impossible for the studios to reap its usual European profits from a Garbo film. (194/107)

18NOV1941            Much of the provisions of the Neutrality Acts were repealed on November 17, 1941: merchant vessels were allowed to be armed and to carry any cargoes to belligerent nations. (72/174) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutrality_Act

07DEC1941            Japanese launch a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor at 0755…by 0945 it’s over. The United States enters World War II.

Neighborhood movie business reports a 50% drop in attendance as people stay home to listen to radio bulletins about Pearl Harbor. (21/160) (23/336) (64/49)

On orders from Roosevelt martial law is declared throughout the Territory of Hawaii at 4.30pm (64/52)

Many Americans first heard about the attack on Pearl Harbor when news bulletins interrupted the popular Sunday afternoon radio broadcast of the NBC Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra’s conductor, Arturo Toscanini, was a refugee from Fascist Italy. (79/37)

08DEC1941            Roosevelt delivers his “day of infamy” speech. The US officially declares war on Japan.
China officially declares war on Japan. The Netherlands declares war on Japan.
Japan launches invasions in Hong Kong, Malaya, Manila, and Singapore.

Japan launches invasions in the Philippines we started beginning of the Japanese occupation of the Philippines from the Filipino, American and Allied forces in the Philippines.

09DEC1941            Roosevelt’s Fireside chat on radio: On the Declaration of War with Japan http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1941_in_radio

MID DEC1941         in the days immediately following the Pearl Harbor attack, newspaper throughout the West Coast fanned the public’s fears with graphic maps and details which specifically emphasized that the Hawaiian Islands were only 2550 miles away from California. As fear mounted, rumors quickly proliferated. The most frequent object of these rumors were Japanese Americans. Japanese gardeners would allegedly be discovered in a nearby California town or city cleverly trimming lawn bushes into directio0nal markers for that soon-to-come Japanese air attack. Of course such rumors could never be verified. (82/14)

12DEC1941            (72/179) Three days after Pearl Harbor, the Hollywood Victory Committee, operating out of Beverly Hills, was organized as a clearing house for the volunteer war efforts of all Hollywood talent. The “soldiers in greasepaint” – performers from stage, screen and radio – toured hospitals, USO camps, and fighting fronts and sold War Bonds in fevered drives. The Hollywood Victory Committee was chaired by actor Kenneth Thompson, with director Mark Sandrich as vice-chairman and MGM publicity head Howard Strickling as secretary. The board also featured people such as James Cagney, Howard Eastabrook and Eddie Mannix.

The Actors Committee was a coalition that included Charles Boyer, Bette Davis, Joan Blondell, Cary Grant, John Garfield, Bob Hope, Ginger Rogers, Merle Oberson, Rosalind Russell, and Adolphe Menjou who, although he had been Hitler’s guest at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, had transferred his devotion to the American cause.

The material for these patriotic efforts was being provided by the Hollywood Writers Mobilization, a group organized within a week after the Pearl Harbor bombing…It was, theoretically, a pool of writer talent to fill the needs of the Hollywood Victory Committee and of the government…The members of the Hollywood Writers Mobilization were interested in doing anything they could for the war effort, from writing camp shows to writing political speeches.

DEC1941/JAN1942                There were people so terrified of an attack by Japanese planes that they sold their houses or simply left for inland safety. Suddenly real estate in the Pacific Palisades was cheap. (72/176)

20DEC1941            U.S. freighter the Emidio is attacked by Japanese submarine off the coast of Eureka/Santa Cruz coast. The Emilio was torpedoed and floated up the coast and finally came to rest in the Crescent City harbor. http://www.triplicate.com/news/story.cfm?story_no=3452

(42/115) http://www.militarymuseum.org/Agwiworld.html

Three other freighters – the Larry Doheny, the Agwiworld and the H. M Storey were also fired upon almost within sight of the shoreline.

22DEC1941            Japanese subs attack and sink the Union Oil Tanker Montebello off the central California coast (near San Luis Obispo. … That same day, Life magazine hit newsstands and includes a “helpful” issue captioned with illustrated photos on how to tell “Japs from Chinese.” (82/11)

27DEC1941            Rubber rationing goes into effect. (71/233)
For more on ration/rations/rationed/rationing, see http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1674.html
and http://www.ameshistoricalsociety.org/exhibits/events/rationing.htm

1941                        The Revenue Act of 1941 lowers the top tax bracket to only $200,000 That put someone earning a salary of $200,000 in the 90% tax bracket, resulting in take-home pay of only $20,000 after taxes. Hollywood’s highest-paid talent could avoid that tax bit only by decreasing their work load (and therefore their income level) or finding some alternative to a salaried income. Thus top talents grew wary of long-term contracts and salaried income; instead they pursued profit-sharing and one-picture deals whereby their salaries could be invested into a picture and taxed as capital gains at a rate of only 25%. These changing tax laws had a staggering effect on both the studio system and the star system. It’s worth noting that the Act posted a great a threat to the stability of the studio system as did the federal antitrust suits. (p299/129)

DEC1941                2 weeks after Pearl Harbor, the War Powers Act is passed, giving the president extraordinary powers to manage the nation’s industrial might. (70/21)

DEC1941                Ernst Lubitsch’s butler was picked up by the FBI and named as a relative of one of the top-ranking Nazis in Europe. He was “paymaster” for the US Nazi sympathizers. Lubitsch was shocked. (28/135)

Late DEC1941        Congress revised the Selective Service Act, making all men between the ages of 18 and 44 eligible to be called up for service. (79/44)

13DEC1941            Two Faced Woman is released. It receives the worst reviews of Garbo’s career, is condemned by the Catholic Church (who later reduce their judgments after some changes are made) and does poorly at the box office. http://hiwaay.net/~oliver/timeline4.htm

End DEC1941        By the end of DEC, Japanese forces had captures two U.S. Pacific islands, Wake and Guam, and landed in the Philippines. In the Philippines, U.S. Douglas MacArthur left the city of Manila and retreated to the Bataan Peninsular with about 75,000 U.S. and Filipino troops. (79/51)

End of 1941            President Roosevelt appoints former newspaperman named Lowell Mellett as the chief of the Office of War Information’s Bureau of Motion Pictures. (42/21)

1941                        The USO was founded in 1941 in response to a request from President Roosevelt to provide morale and recreation services to U.S. uniformed military personnel. Roosevelt was elected as its honorary chairman. This request brought together six civilian organizations: the Salvation Army, YMCA, YWCA, National Catholic Community Service, National Travelers Aid Association and the National Jewish Welfare Board. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USO

1941                        Mines Field was dedicated and opened as the official airport of Los Angeles in 1930, and the city purchased it to be a municipal airfield in 1937. The name was officially changed to Los Angeles Airport in 1941, and to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in 1949. Prior to that time, the main airport for Los Angeles was the “Grand Central Airport” in Glendale.


1941                        In 1941, the Vegas boom kicks of with the building of Tom Hull’s El Rancho Vegas. By 1945 there are 10 hotels and 13 casinos lit with neon. (39/33)

1941                        Adrian – MGM’s leading costume designer – leaves MGM (in a huff) to be replaced by Irene (nee Irene Lentz). (59/72) He opens his own couture salon, which he would maintain until 1952. (p49/122)

1941                        During WWII there was a $5000 limit on the costs of movie sets. (57/126)

1941                        The Hollywood Women’s Press Club debuts its Golden Apple Awards Christmas party. http://www.oscars.org/mhl/sc/hollywood_72.html

1941                        Samuel Goldwyn distributes through RKO (until 1952) (p56/114)

1941                        Ava Gardner arrives in Hollywood with her sister and an MGM contract in hand. They check into the Hollywood Plaza hotel but then move to the cheaper Wilcox Hotel on Selma Ave when the realities of a starlet’s low pay kick in. (p241/113)

1941                        Hearst cleared out some of his warehouses and put things up for sale – including his collection of arms and armor – at Gimbel’s department store in New York in 1941. (46/183)

1941                        Photoplay (one of the first film fan magazine) merges with another fan magazine, Movie Mirror. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photoplay

1941                        Americans witness the highly publicized banter between Howard Hughes and the Production Code Administration over The Outlaw. (16/245)

1941                        Aerosol spray cans invented by American inventors, Lyle David Goodloe and W.N. Sullivan.

1941                        Reclusive Swedish actress Greta Garbo retires early at age 36, after the release of the disastrous box-office flop Two-Faced Woman. http://www.filmsite.org/milestones1940s.html

1941                        Romanoff’s opens in Beverly Hills by Prince Michael Romanoff, whose real name was Harry Gerguson from Cincinnati who arrive in Hollywood in 1927. (6/167) Romanoff’s closed on New Years Eve, 1962.

1941                        Workers at the Disney Studio call a strike because of abominably low salaries, poor working conditions, a series of lay-offs and Disney’s adamant refusal to sit down and negotiate. (22/182)

1941                        The FCC authorizes TB broadcasting and by the end of the year, over 1 million sets have been sold. (23/337)

1941                        Japan declares war on the US, Britain, Australia, Canada, NZ, and South Africa. (23/336)

1941                        Germany increases its air attacks on England. (23/334)

1941                        Water from the Colorado Aqueduct begins flowing. (23/33&

1941                        Aerosol spray cans are introduced. (23/337)



Top stars: Abbott & Costello, Clark Gable, Gary Cooper (21/164)

Top grossing films of 1942

  1. Mrs. Miniver
  2. Reap the Wild Wind
  3. Random Harvest
  4. Yankee Doodle Dandy
  5. Road to Morocco
  6. Holiday Inn

1942 SONGS: (71/243)

  • White Christmas
  • Deep in the heart of Texas
  • Don’t sit under the apple tree

1942 BOOKS (71/247)

  • The Moon Is Down by John Steinbeck
  • The Robe by Lloyd Douglas


Early 1942              Slacks explode in popularity among women, as much as 5 to 10 times higher than 1941. (71/170)

Early 1942              The practice of displaying banners in the window (with one to more blue stars, each star for each son serving in the military, a gold star meant a son had given his life) was started in WWI and began again early 1942. (79/70)

01JAN1942             In the Oval Office, the Declaration by the United Nations is signed by President Roosevelt and members of the signing countries. (64/208) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nation#History

02JAN1942             Manila falls to Japan causing MacArthur and troups to withdraw to Bataan, Philippine. (70/117)

06JAN1942             In his annual message to Congress, Roosevelt enunciates the Four Freedoms which he says must stand as the moral foundation of whatever role the nation might have to play in world affairs: Freedom of speech and expression, Freedom for every person to worship God in his own way, Freedom from want, Freedom from fear. (64/68)

16JAN1942             Actress Carole Lombard is killed in a plane crash west of Las Vegas while returning home to Los Angeles from a War Bond tour. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1942_in_film

JAN1942                 The War Production Board is created. (79/54)

LATE JAN/EARLY FEB 1942                 Ben Siegel goes on trial for the NOV1939 murder of Harry Greenberg. The high profile case attracts widespread attention in Los Angeles, and Siegel’s notoriety becomes impossible to ignore. When George Raft was called to testify, crowds flocked to the courtroom. Siegel’s preferential treatment in jail was a hot topic at Hollywood’s society parties. He refused to eat prison food and had Wilkerson arrange for Ciro’s finest meals to be delivered to his cell. He was allowed female visitors and was even granted leave for “dental visits”. Shortly after the trial began, witnesses against Siegel and his accomplice Frankie Carbo suddenly died, stripping the DA of his case and on  05FEB all charges are dismissed. (39/66)

09FEB1942             Production of civilian cars was halted by the government so that vehicles could be made for the military. (71/153)

19FEB1942             President Franklin D. Roosevelt signs Executive Order number 9066 ordering the internment of Japanese citizens. 35,000 Japanese-American citizens of Los Angles are sent to internment camps. (79/42)

19FEB1942             Roosevelt’s Executive Order 9066 gives the head of the Western Defense Command – General DeWitt – the authority to expel as many Japanese as he chose from the entire area under his command. DeWitt promptly orders all of them, aliens and citizens alike, eastward from the coast. (42/114)

23FEB1942             A submarine surfaces off the coast of Santa Barbara, Southern California and fired 25 shells at an oil refinery known as the Ellwood oil fields 12 miles north of Santa Barbara. Some shells landed a mile inland but did little damage. (70/28) (71/88) (82/18) http://www.militarymuseum.org/Ellwood.html , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elwood_Oil_Field#World_War_II_shelling

26FEB1942             “The Battle of Los Angeles,” a false alarm of a Japanese attack, causes city-wide scare, including anti aircraft fire into the night sky. (82/18)



28FEB1942             The first U.S. warship is sunk by enemy subs – the USS Jabob Jones off Cape May, NJ. (71/88)

17MAR1942            MacArthur withdraws to Australia in the wake of advancing Japanese forces. (70/117) 1000s of starving U.S. and Filipino troops die on their way into captivity in what became known as the Bataan Death March. (79/51)

SPRING 1942         The first gasoline rationing in the spring of 1942 was invoked less to conserve gasoline that to conserve tires. (64/152) There was a resurgence of pedestrianism among the populace who could not buy cars, gas or tires. (82/3)

SPRING1942          Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps – WAAC – is created and converted to full status as the WAC in 1943. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Women%27s_Army_Corps

Congress enacts measures forming women’s auxiliaries of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and Coast Guard. (23/338) (64/195) (70/39)

Week of 24APR1942               Sugar rationing commences. (71/82) The sale of sugar is totally prohibited, and it was strictly regulated afterwards. Because food was rationed, children were urged to join the Clean Plate Club, eating every bit of foodon the plate. Nothing was to be wasted. (79/69) “Roses are red, violets are blue, Sugar is sweet, remember?” Walter Winchell (82/13)

APR1942                 General DeWitt decrees the compulsory evacuation of 100,000 Japanese who live within 200 miles of the coast to 16 “assembly centers” – sports stadiums, fairgrounds, tent cities (including the Santa Anita racetrack). … Just as Hollywood had been mildly surprised at the disappearance of its gardeners, it now looked the other way as still more of its inhabitants looked the other way. (42/115+116)

18APR1942             The Doolittle Raid on Tokyo was the first air raid by the United States to strike the Japanese home island of Honshū during World War II. It demonstrated that the Japanese home islands were vulnerable to Allied air attack. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doolittle_Raid

APR1942                 To ensure that movies were patriotic and fully supported the war, in April 1942 the government created the Bureau of Motion Pictures (BMP), part of the Domestic Branch of the Office of War Information (OWI), the government propaganda agency. (70/59)

MAY1942                After quitting his job at the Hays Office 25APR1941 to take a general manager job at RKO, Joseph Breen returns to the Hays Office. (77/132)

04-08MAY1942       The Battle of the Coral Sea takes place and was a major naval battle in the Pacific Theater of World War II between the Imperial Japanese Navy and the United States and Australia. It was the first fleet action in which aircraft carriers engaged each other. It was also the first naval battle in history in which neither side’s ships sighted or fired directly upon the other. It is considered a tactical victory for Japan, since the U.S. lost fleet carrier USS Lexington in exchange for the light carrier Shōhō. At the same time, the battle was a strategic victory for the Allies because the Japanese abandoned their attempt to land troops to take Port Moresby, New Guinea. The engagement ended with no clear victor, but the damage suffered and experience gained by both sides set the stage for the Battle of Midway. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Coral_Sea

15MAY1942            The closest thing to home for fighters on a Hollywood furlough was “Mom” Lehr’s Hollywood Guild and Canteen at 1284 North Crescent Heights Boulevard. To 1000s from all the allied nations who sought temporary refuge in Hollywood, “Mom’s” place was the nearest berth to heaven. On an average, 800 stayed there each week night, with as many as 1200 on weekends. (14/196+197)

MAY1942                 The film industry organized the Hollywood Victory Caravan, a special train packed with entertainers scheduled to whistle-stop the county in May 1942. raising funds for Army and Navy relief. Over the next three years it raised over $2 million. On board was an array of film and radio stars: James Cagney, Charles Boyer, Claudette Colbert, Joan Bennett, Joan Blondell, Olivia de Havilland, Cary Grant, Merle Oberon, Pat O’Brien, Spencer Tracy, Eleanor Powell, Bert Lahr, Laurel and Hardy, Groucho Marx, Bing Crosby, Dezi Arnaz, and Bob Hope. From ‘Embattled Dreams’ by Kevin Starr

JUN1942                 The Office of War Information (OWI) is formed under the directorship of CBS news analyst Elmer David as is tasked with coordinating wartime propaganda across the civilian media. (77/155)

04JUN1942             Mrs. Miniver, starring Greer Garson and Walter Pidgeon, opens at Radio City Music Hall in New York, in what will become a record-breaking 10-week run. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1942_in_film

04-06JUN1942       The Battle of Midway. (70/117)
June 4-7, 1942 – The Battle of the Midway is fought at Midway Islands in the Pacific with the Japanese fleet encountering its first major defeat of the war against the United States military.  As the Battle of Midway comes to an end on June 7, Japan invades the Aleutian Islands, the first invasion of American soil in 128 years. http://americasbesthistory.home.att.net/abhtimeline1940.html

06JUN1942            On June 6, 1942, six months almost to the day after Pearl Harbor, the Navy issues a list of bars in Los Angeles it was putting off limits to sailors; within days, the Army releases a list of its own. As many as 62 bars, taverns and “cocktail resorts” are banned by both services. Both branches’ lists include the same three clubs in the county’s West Hollywood district, including two on the Strip – Café Internationale and Chez Boheme at 8950 Sunset – and Club Flamingo on La Brea Avenue.

13JUN1942             The White House announces the creation of the Office of War Information and the appointment of its chief, Elmer Davis. (http://history.sandiego.edu/gen/st/~ksoroka/hollywood3.html)

27JUN1942             Press announces that FBI have arrested 8 German agents landed by submarines in NY and FL. (99/291)

JUL1942                 The U.S. Navy establishes the Woman Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) in which 86,000 women served under the command of Lieutenant Commander Mildred McAfee. (79/50)

22JUL1942             The U.S. issues gasoline rationing coupons. (70/17)

24JUL1942             Henry Fonda, Rita Hayworth, Charles Laughton, Edward G. Robinson, and Charles Boyer, Grauman’s ceremony http://www.amug.org/~scrnsrc/chinese_theater.html

04AUG1942            Holiday Inn premieres and along with it, Bing Crosby’s White Christmas. (21/166)

07AUG1942 to FEB1943        The battle of Guadalcanal http://worldwar2database.com/html/guadalcanal.htm (79/52)

The United States Marines land on Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands in the first American offensive of World War II.  A naval battle would commence on November 12 for three days with the U.S. Navy able to retain control despite heavy losses. http://americasbesthistory.home.att.net/abhtimeline1940.html

AUG1942                  The Sleepy Lagoon murder. The case arose from the homicide of Jose Diaz, whose body was found at the Sleepy Lagoon reservoir in southeast Los Angeles, California on August 2, 1942. Racial prejudice and press hysteria, primarily in the Herald-Express and The Los Angeles Times, resulted in the arrest of 600 Latino youths in connection to the murder and led to the criminal trial of 21 Latino young men; the convictions were reversed on appeal in 1944. The case is considered a precursor to the Zoot Suit Riots of 1943. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleepy_Lagoon_murder

AUG1942                The Bracero Program begins, allowing Mexican citizens to enter the U.S. to work on farms for specific periods of time. (79/63) (The program doesn’t end until 1964.)

12AUG1942            Clark Gable enlisted in California on Aug. 12, 1942, with the statement to the news media: “There is a war to win, and I consider it my right to fight.” (Carole Lombard died in January.) He was ordered to Miami for basic training. http://www.geocities.com/cactus_st/article/article122.html
The chain that held his dog tag also held a gold locket that enclosed the remnant of the earring Eddie Mannix found near Lombard’s body. The only solder allowed redesign his dog tag, Gable remade a box to hold Lombard’s picture. Mannix arranged for him to serve with MGM cameraman Andrew McIntrye who wouldn’t leave is side for 2 years. (208/96)
13AUG1942            Walt Disney’s animated film Bambi opens at Radio City Music Hall in New York. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1942_in_film

20AUG1942            The entire Pacific Coast is ordered dimmed out: not more klieg light Hollywood premieres. (21/166)

28AUG1942             The premiere of The Talk of the Town and subsequent celebrations at Ciro’s raises $6500 for the Hollywood Canteen and breaks racial barriers for the first time in Hollywood. (p16/119)

28AUG1942            The Office of Price Administration (OPA) is established within the Office for Emergency Management of the U.S. Government by Executive Order 8875. The functions of the OPA were originally to stabilize prices and rents after the outbreak of WWII. (79/55) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Office_of_price_administration

SEP1942                 The Hollywood War Activities Committee’s Sept “Stars Over America” was the culmination of a nine month drive by such big names as Bette Davis, Walter Pidgeon, Adolphe Menjou, Ralph Bellamy, Ronald Colman, Janet Gaynor, Ginger Rogers, Edward Arnold, Gene Tierney, Andy Devine, James Cagney, Fred Astair, Dorothy Lamour, Jane Wyman, Greer Garson, Veronica Lake, Hedy Lamarr, Irene Dunne, Paulette Goddard, Myrna Loy, and Charles Laughton. In SEP alone, “Stars Over America” sold $775 million worth of bonds, including $86 million raised at a huge rally at Madison Square Garden. (94/209)

03OCT1942            Bette Davis and John Garfield found the Hollywood Canteen at 1451 Cahuenga (on the corner of Sunset) at a former night-join called The Barn, with Eddie Cantor MC’ing (2/11) (6/178) (14/201) (28/137) Bolstered with funds donated by Ciro’s and Columbia. Studio artists and cartoonists decorated the walls, Cary Grant donated a piano, Jack Warner provided linoleum and countless hours of work by studios plumbers, electricians and plumbers into a cosy Western-themed nightclub. Opening night stars paid $100 a seat to watch the festivities and the parade of servicemen who crammed the hall. Among the people there were Bette Davis and John Garfield, Abbott and Costello, Kay Kyser, Rudy Vallee, Duke Ellington played for the dancers; and among the hostesses were Carole Landis, Loretta Young, Irene Dunne, Marlene Dietrich, Joan Crawford and Rita Hayworth. (40/208) (41/108) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_Canteen

08OCT1942            The Abbott and Costello Show mixed comedy with musical interludes premieres on radio sponsored by Camel cigarettes. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abbott_and_Costello#Radio

NOV1942                Coffee rationing commences. (71/82)

NOV1942                Twentieth Century-Fox signs Alfred Hitchcock to direct Lifeboat at $300,000 for 18 weeks. (p326/129)

08NOV1942            The first American invaders swarm ashore in French North Africa, reviving the Allied hopes that the tide could be turned in their favor. (64/210) (70/50) (79/67) http://americasbesthistory.home.att.net/abhtimeline1940.html

26NOV1942            Casablanca premiere at the Hollywood Theater in NY. (21/166) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1942_in_film

01DEC1942            Gas rationing begins on the West Coast, curbing the use of location shots. (21/167)

1942                        Los Angeles’ Westlake Park at Wilshire and Alvarado is renamed MacArthur Park in honor of General Douglas MacArthur.

NOV1942                Tallulah Bankhard was playing in “The Skin of Our Teeth” in Washington DC (104/263)

02NOV1942            Errol Flynn faces preliminary hearing on charges filed 16OCT42 by 17yo Betty Hansen that he had been intimate with her on 27SEP42 at the Bel-Air estate of British sportsman Fred McEnvoy.                                                                                 http://proquest.umi.com.ezproxy.lapl.org/pqdweb?index=3&did=416444101&SrchMode=1&sid=2&Fmt=10&VInst=PROD&VType=PQD&RQT=309&VName=HNP&TS=1178740114&clientId=13322

Errol Flynn was charged with three counts of statutory rape of teenagers Peggy LaRue Satterlee and Betsy Hansen, although later acquitted during his Los Angeles trial in 1943. His career and personal life suffered as a result. The risqué expression “In like Flynn” may have been derived from his alleged sexual indiscretions and womanizing.



DEC1942                As gasoline rationing commences, traffic noticeably thins out. With families unable to take their ritual Sunday drives or their long-distance vacations, many parks and tourist attractions close down. (71/82) See JAN1943

02DEC1942            Enrico Fermi achieves a chain reaction at the University of Chicago, splitting uranium atoms into a new form of matter called plutonium. He had found the key to unleashing the power of atomic energy, including the destructive potential of the atomic bomb. (70/52)

05DEC1942            War Dept announces that no men over the age of 38 will be inducted into the military.

19DEC1942            On the Pacific coast, a tanker ship was shelled by a Japanese submarine off Santa Cruz. Four other ships were also attacked along California, two of them sinking. (71/88)

1942 and much of 1943         The war was going against the U.S. in 1942 and much of 1943. (64/101) The national mood fluctuated inevitably according to the fortunes of war. During most of 1942 a bleakness overhung the military outlook as the Japanese rampaged across the Pacific and fascism scored almost unchecked triumphs in Europe and North Africa. (64/175)

31DEC1942            Sinatra opens at the Paramount Theater in NY. It is there that ‘Sinatramania’ really begins, an event which led Sinatra’s rival Bing Crosby to jokingly declare: “Frank’s the kind of singer that comes along once in a lifetime, but why did he have to come along in mine?” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Sinatra#Early_life
After a couple of years with Tommy Dorsey, Frank Sinatra launches his solo career. (70/86)

WWII YEARS          Ben Siegel’s personal income during this period is a mystery but it is said to be enormous, in the neighborhood of $20,000 a month from race tracks, races and race wire services. It is likely that he owned a small percentage of Agua Caliente and the Clover Club

1940s(?)                 Winchell’s readership in the NY Mirror reaches 48 million when Walter started broadcasting on Sunday night, he had reached 89 of 100 adults in the US. (99/218)

1942                        In his first move up the ladder, Mickey Cohen opens a bookie shop a block from the Warner studio. While his partners, Fred and Joe Sica, handled bookmaking operations in the film and aircraft factories, Cohen oversaw Dincara Stock Farm – a horse ranch with a casino. (115/p60)

1942                        The shortage of tin cans during WWII encouraged the growth of frozen foods which could be packaged in paper, cellophane and cardboard which remained available during the war.

1942                        V-Mail (Victory Mail) – a system of sending letters shrunk onto thumb-sized microfilm starts. (79/73) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V-mail

1942                        The first motion picture unit of the Army Air Forces was established in 1942. The position of the creative person in Hollywood was undergoing a change. Over the course of the next 3 years, 228 films were produced – educational films, orientation films, special psychological testing films. It was a cooperative set-up, with no credits listed. (72/189)

1942                         Edith Head: “A directive that we referred to as L-85 had come from Washington, which drastically limited the amount of fabric that could be used in any garment construction—including Hollywood costumes. It meant to pleats, no cuffs, no ruffles, no long jackets, no extra frills. (p55/122)

1942                       Frank Ross, a producer at RKO buys the rights to The Robe before the book has even been released, but the movie version gets stuck in pre-production. Ten years later, in August 1952, Darryl F. Zanuck buys the rights, determined to reclaim the religious from Cecil B. DeMille. (p129/45)

1942                        After a year of renovation, the El Capitan Theater on Hollywood Boulevard re-opens as the Hollywood Paramount Theater where it remained the west coast flagship for Paramount Pictures until the studio was forced by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the antitrust case U.S. vs. Paramount Pictures, et al. to divest itself of its theater holdings. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Capitan_Theatre

1942                        Spyros Skouras, a one-time Greek shepherd boy, become 20th Century Fox’s president, operating from New York. (47/51) Left in 1962 when he was replaced by Darryl Zanuck.

1942                        Dave Chasen takes over the running of Saks Fifth Avenue’s rooftop restaurant on top of their Wilshire Boulevard store, changing the name from “Terrace Snack Bar” to “Chasen’s Atop Saks Fifth Avenue.” Following that he starts concessions at the Agua Caliente race track in Tijuana and El Capitan Theater in Hollywood. (48/35)

1942                        Bette Davis is the highest paid woman in America. (FB)

1942                        By the end of 1942, all special curbs (8pm curfew) on California’s 58,000 Italian and 23,000 German aliens were dropped. (42/113)

1942                        Fearing for his personal safety (perhaps from the gangsters and mobsters who came into regular contact with), Billy Wilkerson pays gambling ship proprietor Tony Conero $6500 for his allegedly bulletproof, custom-built, pale blue Cadillac. (39/65)

1942                        As more and more women entered the industrial workforce, clothing manufacturers reported in 1943 that sales of women’s trousers rose by 500% over 1941 levels.

1942                        Movie attendance reaches a record high of 80 million a week. A total of 488 features were made, a number never to be surpassed. (59/184)

1942                        The Movie Theater – a theater devoted to silent movies – is built by John and Dorothy Hampton on Fairfax and opens. (22/427)

1942                        Congress lowers the draft age to 18. (23/338)

1942                        The Social Security system is adopted in 1935 and fully implemented in 1942. (56/139)

1942                        US begins strict rationing of food and materials needed for the war effort: sugar, coffee, fuel oil, gasoline, butter, meats, and, finally, shoes. A coupon system begins in July. (23/339)


Go to next TIMELINE page – 1943 to 1947

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