Pop Culture Madness!
Pop Culture Madness!

1939 Trivia, Facts & History

<< - 1938

World Series Champions

New York Yankees

NFL Champions

Green Bay Packers

Stanley Cup Champs

Boston Bruins

U.S. Open Golf

Byron Nelson

U.S. Tennis (Men/Ladies)

Robert Riggs/Alice Marble

Wimbledon (Men/Women)

Bobby Riggs/Alice Marble

NCAA Football Champions

Texas A&M

NCAA Basketball Champions


Kentucky Derby


Sex Symbols and Fashion Icons

Ingrid Bergman, Claudette Colbert, Olivia de Havilland, Betty Grable, Rita Hayworth, Katharine Hepburn, Hedy Lamarr, Vivien Leigh, Myrna Loy, Brenda Marshall, Ginger Rogers, Barbara Stanwyck, Lana Turner

"The 1939 Quotes"

"Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth."
- Lou Gehrig, July 4, 1939, to the 62,000 who attended Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day, at Yankee Stadium.

"There's no place like home"
"Toto, I've got a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."
- Judy Garland in 'The Wizard of Oz'

"Better living through chemistry"

"Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn"
- Clark Gable in 'Gone With The Wind'

"After all, tomorrow is another day!"
"As God is my witness, I'll never be hungry again."
- Vivien Leigh, in 'Gone with the Wind'

"Elementary, my dear Watson*"
- Basil Rathbone, in 'Adventures of Sherlock Holmes'
* never actually said in the original Arthur Conan Doyle stories about Mr. Holmes!

"I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog too!"
- Margaret Hamilton, as the Wicked Witch of the West, in 'The Wizard of Oz'

"Either I'm dead right, or I'm crazy! "
-James Stewart, as Jefferson Smith in 'Mr. Smith Goes To Washington'

Time Magazine's Man of the Year

Joseph Stalin

Miss America

Patricia Donnelly (Detroit Michigan)

The Scandal, Deaths and Odd News

The Los Angeles Times got the Oscar Winner's names before the official presentations. THAT's why Price Waterhouse gained control of holding the winner's names, although they had been tabulating the votes since 1935.

Lina Medina, the world's youngest mother who gave birth at the age of five in 1939 had started menstruating at three, developed breasts at four and broader hips by five. The biological father was never found and she is still alive today.

Between 73% and 100% of all individuals with schizophrenia living in Germany between 1939 and 1945 were sterilized or killed. Today Germany does not show deviation from first world levels of schizophrenia.

Adolf Hitler was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1939.

The film Jesse James became the focus of public outrage when a horse died during a dangerous stunt. That resulted in the American Humane Association officially monitoring the treatment of animals on film.

On Nov. 28, 1939, which became known as Black Tuesday, the smog was so thick in St. Louis that streetlights stayed on during the day and drivers had to use their headlights to get around.

The word "Dord" was a ghost word for five years. It was printed in the "Webster's New International Dictionary" in 1934 and supposed to read "D or d" for density. It wasn't until 1939 that the mistake was discovered. #dord

1939 Pop Culture News

The 1939/1940 New York World's Fair opened - 'The World of Tomorrow'

Futurama is named after an exhibit at the 1939 World's Fair that showed what they thought the world would be like in 1959.

In the film The Women, no men or even male animals or portraits appear on-screen. The only visibly male creatures are a drawing of a bull and an advertisement.

There is no accurate record of what Lou Gehrig's actually said in his famous "Luckiest Man" retirement speech.

The note A=440Hz definition was not set until 1939. Mozart, Beethoven and Bach's "A" pitch varied.

Berkely student George Dantzig found the solution to two unsolved math problems (actually unproved statistical theorems for which he worked out proofs) that he mistook for homework in 1939.

1939 is considered to be the greatest year in the history of Hollywood with such classics as Gone with the Wind, Goodbye Mr. Chips, Stagecoach, The Wizard of Oz (not considered a hit until later) and Mr. Smith goes to Washington.

Gone with the Wind sold an estimated 200 million tickets domestically. The US Population in 1939 was only 131 Million. Adjusted for inflation Gone with the Wind (1939) is the highest-grossing movie of all time, at about $3.5 billion.

The Cowardly Lion costume from the 1939 Wizard of Oz was made from real lion pelts.

The popular dance craze in America, The Jitterbug, was a slang term (i.e. "the jitters") used to describe someone so under the influence, they'd shake or jitter.

War of the Worlds Broadcast

n 1939, Ethel Waters became the first black person seen on television, on NBC's The Ethel Waters Show.

The population of London in 2015 exceeded its 1939 population by only one person.

The first time a reigning British monarch set foot in America was in June of 1939. FDR welcomed King George VI by serving hot dogs. It was dubbed the "Hot Dog Summit."

Winston Churchill coined the term "a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma" in 1939 during a BBC broadcast.

In 1939 the New York Times predicted that the television would fail because the average American family would not have enough time to sit around watching it.

The first Thin Mint cookies were baked by the Girl Scouts in 1939.

In 2014, Betty White was awarded the Guiness World Record for "Longest TV Career for an Entertainer (Female)", with a 1939 debut.

In September 1939 the last thing BBC television aired before going off the air was a Mickey Mouse cartoon. When broadcasts resumed in 1946, the same cartoon was replayed.

The current world record holder for world's oldest dog is Bluey, who lived from 1910 to 1939 and died at the age of 29 years and 5 months.

Penicillin, discovered in 1925, was tested on human beings, curing many diseases including tuberculosis and gonorrhea. It was the first true anibiotic.

NBC broadcast its first black-and-white television images. Only approximately 1,000 homes had television sets in the New York area at this time.

World War II News and Information

British reporter Clare Hollingworth broke the news of Hitler invading Poland. British embassy didn't believe her until she held a telephone out of the window of her room to capture the ongoing sounds of war. Hers was the 1st report the British Foreign Office received about the invasion of Poland

WW2 started on September 3rd, 1939, but the British did not suffer their first service fatality in France until 3 months later, on December 9th (Corporal Thomas W. Priday was killed leading a patrol). This period of relative calm is commonly referred to as the Phony War, or Sitzkrieg.

At age 16, Queen Anne of Romania fled from the Nazi Germans in 1939 and eventually escaped to the US. She attended college in NY and worked as a sales assistant at Macy’s department store. In 1943, she volunteered for military service in the French Army, where she received the Cross of war.

In 1932 Oskar Speck was an unemployed contractor in Germany who left via kayak to seek work, but en route changed his plan & decided to see the world. By 1939 he kayaked all the way to Australia. Unbeknown to him, WW2 started & upon arrival, he was detained as an enemy foreigner until WW2 ended.

During 1939-1940, a Chinese diplomat in Vienna named Ho Feng Shan risked his life and career and acting against the orders of his superior, issued visas to any Jews that requested one. Because of his action, thousands of Jews were able to escape out of Austria during WWII.

The famous 'Keep Calm and Carry On' slogan was a propaganda poster produced by the British government in 1939 in preparation for the Second World War.

The last Nuremberg rally was planned for 1939 under the title 'Rally of Peace', but was cancelled on short notice when Hitler started the Second World War by invading Poland. It took about 40 years for Poland's population to return to its 1939 level.

The Habits:

On March 3, 1939, Harvard freshman Lothrop Withington, Jr, became the first goldfish swallower, winning a $10.00 bet.
Watching Gone With The Wind in movie theaters.
Reading The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
Reading The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West
Reading Finnegans Wake by James Joyce

1939's Most Popular Christmas Gifts

Batman Comics

Popular Movies:

Another Thin Man, Babes in Arms, Beau Geste, Charlie Chan at Treasure Island, Dark Victory, Daybreak, Destry Rides Again, Drums Along the Mohawk, The Four Feathers, Gone With The Wind, Goodbye Mr. Chips, Gunga Din, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The LIttle Princess, Love Affair, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Ninotchka, Of Mice and Men, Only Angels Have Wings, The Roaring Twenties, The Rules of the Game, Stagecoach, The Story of the Last Chrysanthemums, The Wizard of Oz, The Women, Wuthering Heights, Young Mr. Lincoln

More Pop Culture Resources

Popular Music in 1939 ~ # 1 Hits of 1939
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