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Pop Culture Madness!

1942 Trivia, Facts & History

<< - 1941

1942 History Snapshot

  • Politics: 1942 through the end of teh war, Hawaii had its own unique US banknotes. In case of Japanese invasion, the US government would have declared the notes worthless to prevent use by Japanese troops.
  • Influential Songs include: White Christmas by Bing Crosby, Deep In The Heart of Texas by Alvino Rey and There'll Be Bluebirds Over (The White Cliffs of Dover) by Glenn Miller or Kay Kyser or Kate Smith or Jimmy Dorsey or Sammy Kaye
  • The Big Movies included Bambi, Mrs. Miniver and Yankee Doodle Dandy
  • Price of a woman's Bulova Watch in 1942: $29.75
  • Price to tune a piano: $3.00
  • The World Population was ~ 2,396,000,000
  • In the original cut of the film To Be or Not To Be, Carole Lombard's character speaks the line, "What can happen on a plane?" The line was removed before the movie was released, because in the interim Carole Lombard died in a plane crash.
  • And... In 1942 the BBC banned the song 'Deep In the Heart of Texas' during work hours on the grounds that its infectious melody might cause wartime factory workers to neglect their tools while they clapped in time with the song.
1942 Books

World Series Champions

St. Louis Cardinals

NFL Champions

Washington Redskins

Stanley Cup Champs

Toronto Maple Leafs

U.S. Open Golf

Not played due to WWII

U.S. Tennis (Men/Ladies)

Fredrick Schroeder, Jr./Pauline Betz

Wimbledon (Men/Women)

not held

NCAA Football Champions

Ohio State

NCAA Basketball Champions


Kentucky Derby

Shut Out

FIFA World Cup (Soccer)

not held

1942's Icons, New Faces, Leading Ladies, Models and Actresses

Ingrid Bergman, Ava Gardner, Betty Grable, Rita Hayworth, Katharine Hepburn, Lena Horne, Veronica Lake, Hedy Lamarr, Carole Landis, Brenda Marshall, Alexis Smith, Gene Tierney, Lana Turner

"The 1942 Quotes"

"Here's looking at you, kid"
"Of all the gin joints in the world, she had to walk into mine"
"Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship"
"We'll always have Paris."
- Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca

"Play it, Sam. Play As Time Goes By"
-Ingrid Bergman, in Casablanca

"Round up the usual suspects."
- Claude Rains, in Casablanca

"Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth."
- Gary Cooper, as Lou Gehrig , in Pride of the Yankees

"Oh, Jerry, don't let's ask for the moon. We have the stars."
- Bette Davis, in Now, Voyager

"My mother thanks you. My father thanks you. My sister thanks you. And I thank you."
- James Cagney, as George M. Cohan, in Yankee Doodle Dandy

Poon Kim holds the record for surviving adrift in a life raft at 133 days in 1942-43. When told no one had ever survived longer on a raft at sea, he replied, "I hope no one will ever have to break that record."

Time Magazine's Man of the Year

Joseph Stalin

Miss America

Jo-Carroll Dennison (Tyler, TX)

Scandals, RIP and Odd News

The Cocoanut Grove fire in Boston: over 400 people lost their lives because the doors opened inwards. This prompted the regulation that all doors in a public building must open outwards. Coast Guardsman Cliff Johnson survived the Coconut Grove nightclub fire with 3rd degree burns over 55% of his body, becoming, at that time, the most severely burned person ever to survive his injuries. However, 14 yrs later, he burned to death in a fiery car crash.

There was a man called the Phantom Barber, who would break into peoples houses in Pascagoula, Mississippi at night and cut their hair.

The Battle of Los Angeles took place , in which the Coast Artillery Brigade fired over 1,400 shells at we-still-don't-know-what on February 24/25.

When the USS Juneau was sunk in Nov 1942 all five brothers of the Sullivan family, Waterloo, Iowa were killed.

Sodium fluoride was accidentally added to the scrambled eggs meal at a mental home. At about 1 teaspoon per patient, the sodium fluoride caused violent reactions including vomiting blood and paralysis within 15 minutes, and killed 47 of the 467 patients within the day.

On August 16, 1942, a military blimp left San Francisco bay on a routine submarine-spotting mission. A few hours later, the airship wandered back over land and crashed with nobody aboard. Life rafts and other gear had not been touched. To this day the two man crew has never been found.

The Skeleton Lake of Roopkund: A British forest guard in India made an alarming discovery- some 16,000 feet above sea level, at the bottom of a small valley, was a frozen lake absolutely full of skeletons. They were the remains of a 9th century AD party killed by a freak hail storm.

Dr. Alf Alving, working for the US Army's Office of Scientific Research and Development, tested some 441 convicts from Statesville Penitentiary for Malaria drugs without their knowledge.

Airplane Celebrity Death: Carole Lombard. Side Note: Carole had agreed to fake her death in a plane crash, back in 1940, for publicity.

World War II News and Information

The German city of Konstanz sits on the Swiss border, survived WW2 without being bombed by leaving all house and streetlights lit at night, making Allied bombers raiding nearby Dornier and Zeppelin aircraft factories think it was part of Switzerland.

Walt Disney helped the Army design a Mickey Mouse gas mask in the '40s to make chemical warfare less frightening to kids.

Nutella was invented in World War II because of chocolate rations.

Captain Richard Antrim was captured in 1942 & held as a POW. During this time, he impressed with his engineering skills & helped the Japanese arrange trenches. From the air, the trenches spelled out "US", warning bombers not to attack and that it was a POW camp, saving hundreds of lives.

Chattanooga Choo Choo was the first single since 1927's My Blue Heaven to sell 1 million copies, and RCA Victor gave Glenn Miller the first gold record as a reward.

During the battle of Stalingrad, Mikhail Panikakha had only two Molotov cocktails left after helping repel German attacks. He raised the one to throw when a bullet hit it, setting him on fire. He then took the last bottle, jumped out of the trench and hit the nearest German tank with it.

Napalm was developed in 1942 in a secret laboratory at Harvard University.

Audie Murphy: the most decorated American soldier in the entire Second World War. In 1942 he falsified his age to 18 to join the Army and until 1945 he participated in battles on Sicily, at Salerno, Anzio and Rome, and also in southern France and the Alsace region.

13-year-old Seaman Calvin Graham was decorated for valor in battle. That is how his mother learned where he had been and revealed his secret to the Navy.

The action movie Barb Wire (1996), starring Pamela Anderson, is based on the classic Casablanca (1942) with many of the original characters' genders being switched

Coca-Cola Deutschland created Fanta as a result of difficulties importing Coca-Cola syrup into Nazi Germany during World War II due to a trade embargo, to create a new product for the German market, using only ingredients available in Germany at the time.

The Declaration of Independence spent World War II in Fort Knox placed in a box and sealed with lead.

Joseph Stalin was technically not the leader of the USSR during the Second World War. When the Big Three Allies (Churchill, FDR, Stalin) met, FDR presided, being the only head of state present. Mikhail Kalinin was the nominal head of state of the USSR during WWII.

During World War II American factory workers produced more than twice their German counterparts and had four times the output of Japanese workers prompting industrialist Donald Douglas to observe, "Here's proof that free men can out-produce slaves."

Had Japan won the Battle of Midway in 1942, it might have next attacked and conquered Hawaii. The US would have only had one aircraft carrier in the Pacific for six months.

On Christmas Day, 1942 during the Battle of Stalingrad, Radio Moscow broadcasted the message that "Every seven seconds a German soldier dies in Russia" to the besieged Nazi Army. The message was accompanied by the sound of a ticking clock. The ticking clock was broadcast all day.

There is only one recording of Hitler's voice where he is not giving a speech - a private conversation between himself and Finnish leader Mannerheim recorded in secrecy by a sound engineer in 1942

1942 Pop Culture News

Before the 20th century, people reported usually dreaming in color. But in 1942, 70% of college sophomores "rarely/never" remembered color dreams. By 2001 that rate had dropped to 17%. The change is thought to be because of the influence of black and white media in the mid 1900's.

The BBC banned Deep In the Heart of Texas during work hours on the grounds that its infectious melody might cause wartime factory-hands to neglect their tools while they clapped in time with the song.

The original version of the famous painting, "Washingtong Crossing the Delaware", was destroyed in an Allied bombing raid on Germany in 1942.

A build up followed by a fake scare in a horror film is called a 'Lewton Bus', named after a scene in Val Lewton's 1942 horror film Cat People.

Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed a maximum income of $25,000, equivalent to roughly $350,000 today.

The ball atop One Times Square started in 1907 as 100 incandescent light bulbs on a wood and iron structure hoisted with a rope. The ball drop tradition has been observed every year since, except in 1942 and 1943 in observance of wartime blackouts.

3 Musketeers Bars originally had 3 smaller chocolate bars. A chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla variety. In 1942 the strawberry and vanilla flavors were cut in response to increased production costs as a result of sugar rationing.

Bambi and Bambi II hold the record for the record for the longest gap in between movie sequels, the first being released in 1942, the second being released 64 years later in 2006.

Hoagy Carmichael's 1942 song I'm a Cranky Old Yank in a Clanky Old Tank on the Streets of Yokohama with My Honolulu Mama Doin' Those Beat-o, Beat-o Flat-On-My-Seat-o, Hirohito Blues held the world record for the longest song title.

The 1942 Rose Bowl was played in Durham, NC due to fears of Japanese attack on west coast of US.

The word nimrod comes from a biblical figure, king Nimrod, who was a mighty hunter, but now means a stupid person after Bugs Bunny sarcastically referred to the hunter Elmer Fudd as nimrod in a cartoon (several times actually, but we have not determined the first one yet). Most people did not get the joke and assumed it meant 'stupid'.

48% of Americans approved of Canada and the US becoming a single country according to a poll conducted by Gallup.

A Lakota Native American named Dewey Beard, was the last survivor of the Battle Of Little Bighorn and the Wounded Knee Massacre only to have his home land confiscated from him yet again in 1942 so that the US Department Of War could use it for a gunnery range.

University of Chicago produced the first nuclear chain reaction, using uranium isotope U-235.

Ronald Reagan's first autobiography was titled Where's the Rest of Me? (1965) from a line in the movie King's Row (1942) where his character wakes up to find that his legs have been amputated.

Hollywood Detective Magazine (1942-1950)

The Habits

Working your 'Victory Garden' so US troops would have more food for the war. (Through 1945)
Watching Casablanca and Bambi at the local theater

1942's Most Popular Christmas Gifts

Little Golden Books

The Habits

Reading The Song of Bernadette by Franz Werfel
Watching Casablanca and Cat People in theaters

Popular Music

The Biggest Pop Artists of 1942 include:
The Andrews Sisters, Connee Boswell, Bing Crosby, Jimmy Dorsey and His Orchestra, Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra, Benny Goodman and His Orchestra, Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orchestra, Woody Herman and His Orchestra, Horace Heidt and His Orchestra, Harry James and His Orchestra, Spike Jones and His City Slickers, Dick Jurgens and His Orchestra, Sammy Kaye, Kay Kyser and His Orchestra, Jimmie Lunceford and His Orchestra, Freddy Martin and His Orchestra, The Merry Macs, The Glenn Miller Orchestra, Vaughn Monroe, Alvino Rey and His Orchestra, Dinah Shore, Freddie Slack and His Orchestra, Kate Smith, Charlie Spivak and His Orchestra

Charts based on Billboard music charts.

Popular Movies

Bambi, Casablanca, Cat People, Gentleman Jim, In Which We Serve, Kings Row, The Magnificent Ambersons, The Man Who Came To Dinner, Mrs. Miniver, Now Voyager, The Palm Beach Story, The Pride of the Yankees, Random Harvest, Road to MOrocco, The Talk of the Town, This Gun for Hire, To Be or Not To Be, Woman of the Year, Yankee Doodle Dandy

More Pop Culture Resources

Popular Music in 1942
# 1 Hits of 1942
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