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1933 Trivia, Facts & History

<< - 1932

1933 History Snapshot

  • Politics: Twentieth Amendment to the US Constitution changes the date on which a new President, Vice President and Congress take office, thus shortening the time between Election Day and the beginning of Presidential, Vice Presidential and Congressional terms. The Twenty-first Amendment repealed the Eighteenth Amendment and returned the regulation of alcohol to the states.
  • Influencial Songs include: Stormy Weather by Ethel Waters, Sophisticated Lady by Duke Ellington and Pop Standard April in Paris
  • The Big Movies included King Kong, 42nd Street and Cavalcade
  • Price of Boy's knickers (pants) in 1933: 95 cents
  • The World Population was ~ 2,184,000,000
  • Richard M. Hollingshead created the first (home made) drive-in in Camden, NJ.
  • And... The German Reichstag voted to give Hitler absolute control. One person spoke against it: Social Democratic leader Otto Wels, who spoke the last free words in the Reichstag:"You can take our lives & our freedom, but you cannot take our honor. We are defenseless but not honorless."
1933 Books

World Series Champions

New York Giants

NFL Champions

Chicago Bears

Stanley Cup Champs

New York Rangers

U.S. Open Golf

Johnny Goodman

U.S. Tennis (Men/Ladies)

Fred Perry/ Helen H. Jacobs

Wimbledon (Men/Women)

Jack Crawford/Helen Moody

NCAA Football Champions


Kentucky Derby

Brokers Tip

1933's New Faces, Top Stars, Models and Actresses

Josephine Baker, Joan Blondell, Claudette Colbert, Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Marion Davies, Marlene Dietrich, Kay Francis, Jean Harlow, Katharine Hepburn, Hedy Lamarr, Myrna Loy, Dolores Del Rio, Ginger Rogers, Barbara Stanwyck, Thelma Todd, Raquel Torres, Mae West, Fay Wray

"The 1933 Quotes"

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself"
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"Oh, no, it wasn't the airplanes. It was Beauty killed the Beast.
- Robert Armstrong, in 'King Kong'

"Well, here's another nice mess you've gotten me into!"
- Oliver Hardy, in 'Sons of the Desert'

"When I'm good, I'm very very good, but when I'm bad, I'm better"
- Mae West, in 'I'm No Angel'

"Why don't you come up sometime and see me?"
- Mae West, in 'She Done Him Wrong'

"Sawyer, you're going out a youngster, but you've got to come back a star!"
- Warner Baxter, in '42nd Street'

Both co-directors of King Kong appeared in the 1933 film as the pilots who finally killed him, because "We should kill the sonofabitch ourselves."

Anton Cermak, a Czech immigrant and mayor of Chicago, was shot and killed during an apparent assassination attempt on President FDR. His last words to FDR before he passed: "I'm glad it was me instead of you."

Time Magazine's Man of the Year

Hugh Samuel Johnson

Miss America

Marian Bergeron (West Haven, Connecticut)

Scandals, RIP and Odd News

The song Gloomy Sunday published by a Hungarian, Rezso Seress, in 1933, became known as the 'Hungarian suicide song' and was banned from radio when over 19 suicides were attributed to the song including the composer himself. Of course, this may be an urban legend.

Rep. Wesley Lloyd proposed a constitution amendment limiting personal wealth to $1,000,000.

Kiyoko Matsumoto committed suicide by jumping into a volcanic crater on the island of Oshima. Japan. This started a trend in Japan, and in the year after her death 944 other people (804 men and 140 women) leapt into the same crater

The Law of Three Spikelets passed by the USSR during the 1932-33 famine to prosecute people for stealing even the smallest amount of food. A starving person with just 3 specks of grain in their pocket during the famine qualified them as a thief of state-owned food, eligible for execution.

The Reichstag Fire Decree was issued in 1933 and nullified many key civil liberties of German citizens, including free of expression, public assembly, and secrecy of the post & telephone. This decree remained in force for the duration of the Nazi era, allowing Hitler to rule under martial law.

The first 'Nude Scene' in a mainstream film is often credited to Hedy Lamarr in Extase (Ecstasy).

America's most senior, most decorated Marine, General Smedley Butler, told the House of Representitives that wealthy businessmen tried to recruit him to overthrow President Roosevelt in a coup, and install a fascist government.

1933 Pop Culture News

After the Empire State Building opened in New York City in 1931, much of its office space went unrented. It was nicknamed the "Empty State Building" by New Yorkers and didn't become profitable until 1950.

An expedition led by W. Douglas Burden to Komodo Island in 1926 yielded 12 preserved and 2 live Komodo Dragon specimens. This expedition is what inspired the 1933 movie King Kong. King Kong was the first over-the-top Sci Fi Blockbuster Movie.

During prohibition, an exemption was made for whiskey prescribed by a doctor and sold through a pharmacy. The Walgreens pharmacy chain grew from 20 retail stores to almost 400 during this period, from 1920 to 1933.

The first soap box derby started in Dayton, Ohio.

The Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was repealed, allowing sale and consumption of alcoholic drinks, and ending Prohibition. The 18th amendment was the first (and only) constitutional amendment that actually withheld a right from American citizens - the constititution has traditioninally protected individual rights.

Up until 1933 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloons were released into the air at the conclusion of the parade and would stay airborne above the city for as long as a week. A return address was stitched in some and people who returned them received $100 reward.

Executive Order 6102, presidential executive order was signed on April 5, 1933, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, forbidding the American public from owning gold and forcing them to sell it to the government effectively ending the feasibility of the gold standard.

Dagwood Bumstead from the comic Blondie was the heir to millions. He was disinherited when he married Blondie Boopadoop, a poor girl.

As someone who actively avoided any kind of attention, Paul Dirac wanted to refuse the Nobel Prize in 1933 in order to avoid the publicity. He accepted it only when advised that, as the first person to refuse a Nobel Prize, the publicity would be even greater.

The Gallo (Ernest & Julio) Winery opened.

Frances Perkins was named secretary of labor by President Roosevelt, the first US female cabinet member.

The Thomas E. Wilson Company (later called Wilson Sporting Goods) introduced the R-90 sand wedge golf club.

1933 was the first time you could buy a 'Betty Crocker' cookbook.

Silent cinema star, Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, made a comeback deal after his scandal. He was signed by Warner Bros. to make a feature-length film, and said: "This is the best day of my life." Later that night, he suffered a heart attack and died in his sleep.

Richard Hollingshead opened the first movie Drive-In in Camden, NJ.

"The Girl In Blue" - a mysterious friendly visitor in Willoughby, Ohio walked in front of a moving train on Dec. 24, 1933-despite not knowing who she was the town donated funds to give her a head stone and 3,000 locals came out to say goodbye.

Two kids from Cleveland, Ohio, Jerome Siegel and Joseph Shuster, had a little self-published science fiction fanzine called 'Science Fiction', and in issue #3, had a story about a super-powered telepath who attempted to take over the world. A few years later they evolved the Super-Man idea and brought to it to National Allied Publications, which later became DC Comics, and the character named Superman became the most popular fictional character of all time.

U.S. News and World Report (1933-2010)

Newsweek began publication

The Habit

Reading Anthony Adverse by Hervey Allen

Popular Movies:

42nd Street, The Bitter Tea of General Yen, Bombshell, Cavalcade, Dinner at Eight, Duck Soup, Footlight Parade, Gold Diggers of 1933, I'm No Angel, The Invisible Man, King Kong, Land Without Bread, Little Women, Morning Glory, The Private Life of Henry VIII, Queen Christina, She Done Him Wrong, Sons of the Desert

More Pop Culture Resources

Popular Music in 1933
# 1 Hits of 1933
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