Notable Events - 1933

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Greeting the New Year

Happy New Year 1933

on the Beach in 1933

1933 - Top Entertainment

Wilson Keppel and Betty 1933 Sand Dance

Being a big fan of Wilson, Keppel and Betty - it's great to see that they were going strong in 1933 - watch the dance here on You Tube

The Lone Ranger - Radio Show

All the Lone Ranger actors

The original 1933 radio 'Lone Ranger' George Stenius (George Seaton) far left

Newspaper Ad for Lone Ranger Radio Show

Lone Ranger newspaper or periodical advert - image courtesy of Durnmoose Movie Musings

Lone Ranger Comic

One of the early magazine covers (post-1933) - image source Martingrams blog no provenance available

Lone Ranger cast

All the programmes were performed and broadcast 'live' with an apparent enthusiasm for the story lines (see above) - "Inside the WXYZ studio during one of the episodes" Photo: pdxretro

From I like History : "The program was created by George Trendle, the radio station owner, and Fran Striker, the show’s writer. It quickly became one of the most popular radio programs on the air and was loved by children for the non-stop action. Adults also loved the program, especially parents, because of the positive moral example offered by the upstanding masked man. The Lone Ranger didn’t smoke, drink, or use profanities. As a matter of fact, he went out of his way to use grammatically correct speech without the use of slang. Maybe most importantly, he never shot to kill when taking down law-breaking outlaws. The Lone Ranger made an effortless transition to television in 1949 and ran until 1957, and has since been turned into a feature-length Hollywood film, as well as numerous books all other forms of media.

In 1933, the first of 2,956 radio episodes of the hit show, The Lone Ranger, debuted on the Detroit radio station called WXYZ. The first airing was said to happen either late night on January 30th or early morning on the 31st depending on whom you ask. The Lone Ranger is a fictional masked cowboy who used to run with the Texas Rangers that now fought outlaws of the Wild West. He did this with the help of his trusty Native American sidekick, Tonto, and his loyal horse that went by the name Silver. This led to one of the programs most popular catch phrases 'Hi-yo, Silver! Away!'"

From the Lone Ranger Fan Club : "The Lone Ranger takes to the air. Though the exact date of the first Lone Ranger broadcast is often debated, it has been widely accepted that Jan. 30, 1933, marked the first time the masked man sprang into action. We acknowledge Feb. 2, 1933, as the date of the first official broadcast. George Stenius (George Seaton) played the Ranger for the first three months. When Stenius quit, Brace Beemer was selected to play the lead, but Beemer quit after a few months to open his own advertising agency. Earle W. Graser took the part until his death in an automobile accident in April of 1941.Beemer was the brought back to play the part. Nowhere in the pages of history can one find a more popular voice on the radio as the Lone Ranger than Brace Beemer."

Interesting snippets from Jim Ramsburg : True introduced the program’s first test broadcast over WXYZ on January 20, 1933 and improvised with gusto, “The Jewell Players present a fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty, Hi-Yo, Silver!  The Lone Ranger!”
The Lone Ranger’s theme song, eventually familiar to millions of listeners, was March of The Swiss Soldiers, finale to Rossini’s William Tell Overture.  The needle drop was with the program from the beginning - recorded public domain music requiring no talent fees and no royalties. With the Rossini theme and bridges supplied by Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Schubert, Borodin, and Mendelssohn the producers saved millions of dollars over the years of the show’s run.    
After several more dry runs the show was deemed ready by Trendle, Pierce, Campbell, Jewell, Striker, True, Campbell and everyone else involved in its production.  The Lone Ranger debuted on WXYZ and its new Michigan Radio Network on Tuesday, January 31, 1933.
At first The Lone Ranger was really alone with no one to talk to - and to advance the plot’s narrative - except Silver and supporting members in each story’s cast. To solve this problem Striker created the Ranger’s “faithful Indian companion Tonto” - his constant sidekick with a name borrowed from Tonto Basin, a tiny community in western Arizona and the title of a 1921 Zane Grey novel.  Tonto was introduced in the program’s twelfth episode - a back-story in which young Texas Ranger John Reid, wounded in an ambush and left for dead, was discovered and nursed back to health by his boyhood kemosabe now an adult, Tonto.
Unlike the role of The Lone Ranger which changed hands several times, Tonto became steady work for veteran British stage actor John Todd, who was 56 when he introduced the character on the broadcast of February 25, 1933.  Todd remained in the role until the program went out of production in 1954 when he was 77.

Read more : George Seaton IMDB Biog | Lone Ranger Radio Fan Club | Jim Ramsburg | Durnmoose Movie Musings | Martingrams blog

1933 - First acknowledged film 'strapline' created

Thrills! Chills! Mystery!

'Thrills! Chills! Mystery!' promised in 'The Circus Queen Murder'

Film Poster 1933 Newspaper Ad for Film 1933

"A film’s tagline is essentially a slogan, strap, hook, catchphrase or USP (Unique Selling Point). But the cleverest, wittiest and most durable somehow transcend their marketing brief and enter the national discourse. “Be afraid… Be very afraid” is a timeless example used all the time, but not everyone remembers it comes from the 1986 remake of The Fly. “Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water” is possibly the best thing about Jaws 2, and the original Superman was a perfect package, its tagline the perfect wrapping: “You’ll believe a man can fly.” Source : Radio Times

Promotional Poster for tje Circus Queen Murder 1933

Promotional Poster for tje Circus Queen Murder 1933

Promotional Poster for tje Circus Queen Murder 1933

Promotional Poster for tje Circus Queen Murder 1933

Images sourced from and courtesy of IMDB

The gorgeous, illustrated Hollywood posters from the 30s employed a straightforward hard sell. “Thrills! Chills! Mystery!” promised The Circus Queen Murder in 1933, a shopping-list gambit still used 40 years later for the Charles Bronson flick Cold Sweat: “Action! Thrills! Suspense!” Source : Radio Times who are promoting their new edition of the Radio Times Guide to Films 2018 - still it makes for a fun read! IMDB

1933 - The Top 50 films

Full listing from IMDB can be found here

1933 Top 50 Films 1-7

1933 Top 50 Films 8-18

1933 Top 50 Films 19-30

1933 Top 50 Films 31-41

1933 Top 50 Films 42-50

9th February, 1933 - The Oxford Union Debate

Your Country Needs you poster

The Oxford Union 'King and Country' debate in 1933

In 1933 the Oxford Union, the university undergraduate debating society, passed a famous motion that "This House would not in any circumstances fight for King and Country". It made headline news at the time: Churchill called the vote "abject, squalid, shameless" and "nauseating", and it is even said to have misled Hitler into thinking the British had lost the will to fight, so it is clearly important historical evidence, but of what? The debate cannot be taken as evidence of what people of all classes were thinking. Oxford undergraduates were hardly typical of the population as a whole. They came largely from wealthy upper- or middle-class families; they were highly literate and well-read; and they were more prepared than most people to engage with abstract issues of principle. Also, they were young, and young people often like to take stand or an extreme position precisely because they know it will provoke a strong reaction - as the Oxford vote certainly did. On the other hand, Oxford and Cambridge undergraduates were an influential group, far more so than they are today. They were regarded - rightly - as the rising stars of politics and both the press and politicians took an interest in what the students were saying, especially in their debating societies. Remember also that the vote took place in 1933, before the full implications of Hitler's rise to power had become apparent. When war finally came in 1939 many of those who had taken part in the debate did indeed fight - and die - for King and Country. Source : Churchill College Cambridge| Read more at Strange

27th May - 1st November 1933

Chicago World's Fair - 1833 'a Centenary of Progress' 1933

Souvenir pin world's trade fair Chicago 1933

In best 'Flash Gordon' style - one of many (I'm sure) souvenir pins available at the Fair

1930s Cars Chicago Poster

Poster for the 1933 Exposition in Chicago featuring NAI

The official poster for Chicago's 1933 World's Fair beckons the word* (sic) to come and see her Century of Progress Exposition. She is the Miss Chicago the world has known since the famous World's fair of 1893. The familiar Phoenix on her head blazons (sic) the City's motto "I Will". The Indian head in the background recalls the Chicago of 1833, a little village in the Red Man's wilderness. A bold white checkmark against the dark map of the United States will serve to remind America - and the world - that Chicago will be the Mecca of tourists during the Exposition. *world

Detail of the 1933 Official poster for the Chicago World's Fair in 1933

Image sourced from which carries an excellent page of memorabilia from the Fair - read more

Chicago Worlds Fair 1933 Centery of Progress

Map of Chicago's Fair South

Map of Chicago's World's End

Map images courtesy & © of - Full Title - A Century of Progress, 1833-1933 : Chicago World's Fair Exposition, south end : Chicago World's Fair Exposition, north end : A geographical map of the Century of Progress Exposition held in Chicago, Illinois, 1933. Faithfully executed and drawn in a carnival spirit by Tony Sarg. Printed in water colors by Lakeside Press. Copyright, 1933, by the Reuben H. Donnelley Corporation, Chicago. Midway of the Chicago World's Fair as seen by Tony Sarg, 33.

2 pictorial maps on one sheet, a panorama view of exposition grounds, whimsical sea monsters, whales, planes, and boats in the water. Includes numerous insets, many with explanatory texts, notes, and a numerical index to the buildings. The cartouche framed the title with elaborate decorations with the globe, people, plants, and mode of transportation. A Century of Progress International Exposition was held in Chicago during the summers of 1933 and 1934 to commemorate the incorporation of the city in 1833. This was the second world's fair that Chicago had hosted, and by the time it closed, it had been visited by nearly 40 million fairgoers. As was the case with the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. Sponsors of the fair sought to broaden its appeal by adopting a theme of universal significance - the spectacular advances of science and technology during the period 1833-1933. The exposition was to serve as the dramatization of the progress of civilization during the hundred years of Chicago's existence. Source:

Aerial view of the Sky Rider Route of Cables

The Sky Rider

The Sky Ride travelled at 6mph or 9kph across a lagoon. Image sourced from 'Voice of America' via

The Sky Ride was built in 1933 for the Chicago’s World Fair and was heralded as the fairs' architectural symbol and show piece. During its one year operational period, it is estimated that the 32 “rocket riders” (i.e. cabins) helped transport 4.5 million passengers! There is some debate whether this ride should have been considered a transporter bridge or an aerial tram. (Either way you wouldn't have got me to travel on it any more than Burgh Island's tractor - which I did in the end)

Sky Ride with buildings in background

Sky-Ride “rocket” car crossing the lagoon between Northerly Island and the lakefront. Each car fit 36 passengers who paid 40¢ for a 4 minute ride. - Sourced from Chicagology which covers the whole of 1933 Worlds Fair comprehensively

Poster advertising the Sky Ride Poster for the 1933 exposition featuring the Sky Ride

Two different posters featuring the 'Sky Ride' one for the ride itself (l) and the other using the ride as a backdrop for the Fair itself (r) - images sourced from Chicagology

27th July, 1933 - The Boots Company, Nottingham - D10 Factory Opens

Boots D10 Building Beeston 1933 - Day

Image source & © of Architectural Record

The D10 factory on the Beeston site was hailed in the press as the ‘factory of Utopia’. Designed by the renowned engineer, Owen Williams, it was praised for its impressive size, functional design and innovative features. The factory epitomised the scientific credentials of the company, where modern equipment brought efficiencies in production and improvements to working conditions. The 1000th Boots store opened in Galashiels, Scotland. The company came back into British ownership. Source : Boots

1933 - The Aborigines Advancement League

The Australian Aborigines' League (AAL)

The Australian Aborigines' League (AAL) was founded in Melbourne in 1933 by an elderly Yorta man, William Cooper, and several other Aboriginal people, most of them exiles from Cumeragunja, a government reserve on the Murray River, who gathered in Fitzroy and other inner-city suburbs. They regarded the AAL as their organisation, and its constitution stipulated that only Aboriginal people could be full members and that they should mainly fill its administrative positions. Yet Cooper, as secretary, also relied on sympathetic non-Aboriginal activists like Helen Baillie and Arthur Burdeu, who became the president. Adopting a motto of 'A fair deal for the dark race', the AAL campaigned for the repeal of discriminatory legislation and for programs to 'uplift the aboriginal race'. In seeking equal rights and integration, however, its spokespersons expressed pride in being Aboriginal and some of their demands rested on an assertion of Aboriginality.

The League mostly focused on and reflected the needs of Aboriginal people in Melbourne and their kin on Victorian and New South Wales reserves but, unlike most other contemporary Aboriginal organisations, also projected itself as a national body representing all Aboriginal people. This is evident in a petition to King George V that Cooper had drawn up in 1933, which featured a call for representation in the Commonwealth Parliament. The petition was typical of the League's political methods: letters to political leaders, deputations to ministers, appeals to the public through public meetings and the press, and approaches to other pressure groups. But in the late 1930s, disheartened by government indifference, it adopted more dramatic means of publicising the Aboriginal plight, sanctioning a Day of Mourning to mark Australia's sesquicentenary and supporting a walk-off at Cumeragunja.

The League became defunct during World War II but was revived in 1944-45 by Cooper's protégé Doug Nicholls and by Bill Onus. In 1957 its role was largely assumed by a new organisation, the Aborigines Advancement League. Source : eMelbourne

The Petition

Petition to King George V

PETITION of the Aboriginal Inhabitants of Australia to His Majesty, King George V, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland, and British Dominions beyond the seas, King; Defender of the Faith; Emperor of India.

TO THE KING’S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY, IN COUNCIL THE HUMBLE PETITION of the undersigned Aboriginal inhabitants of the Continent of Australia respectfully sheweth: —

THAT WHEREAS it was not only a moral duty, but a strict injunction, included in the commission issued to those who came to people Australia, that the original inhabitants and their heirs and successors should be adequately cared for;

AND WHEREAS the terms of the commission have not been adhered to in that —

(a) Our lands have been expropriated by Your Majesty’s Governments, and

(b) Legal status is denied to us by Your Majesty’s Governments;

AND WHEREAS all petitions made on our behalf to Your Majesty’s Governments have failed.

YOUR PETITIONERS humbly pray that Your Majesty will intervene on our behalf, and, through the instrument of Your Majesty’s Governments in the Commonwealth of Australia — will prevent the extinction of the Aboriginal race and give better conditions for all, granting us the power to propose a member of parliament, of our own blood or a white man known to have studied our needs and to be in sympathy with our race, to represent us in the Federal Parliament.


Australian penny obverse 1933

Image sourced from :

William Cooper 1861-1941 - A leader of leaders

In 1933, Cooper relocated to Melbourne with his third wife Sarah. While ostensibly a move to allow Cooper to claim the old age pension – denied to those living on Aboriginal reserves - a quiet retirement was not on the cards for the indefatigable 70-year-old. Cooper became a prominent figure among Melbourne's small Aboriginal community, which, from its base in the suburb of Fitzroy, was to emerge as a political force in the fight for Aboriginal rights in Victoria. One of Cooper's most famous campaigns was a petition to King George V. Its primary demand was for the right to propose a Member of Parliament who directly represented Aboriginal people. Between 1934 and 1937, Cooper obtained 1,814 signatures from around the country. Unfortunately, on a constitutional technicality, the Commonwealth Government refused to pass the petition to the King.

In 1936, Cooper, along with others, established the Australian Aborigines' League. In doing so he formalised the actions of a group of ex-Cummeragunja residents who had been working together for several years. It was the first advocacy organisation with an entirely Aboriginal membership and the predecessor to the Victorian Aborigines Advancement League, into which it was eventually incorporated. With Cooper as secretary, the League's approach was to use existing democratic channels to achieve positive outcomes for Indigenous Australians. Although success was limited, they did influence a decision by the Commonwealth Government in 1937 to hold a conference to discuss the formation of a national policy on Aborigines.

Cooper held an 'Aboriginal Day of Mourning' on 26 January 1938. It coincided the 150th anniversary of the landing of the First Fleet and raised awareness of what this meant for the Indigenous population. The day evolved into a National Aborigines Day, or Aboriginal Sunday, first observed in 1940 on the weekend before Australia Day. Today, the celebrations of NAIDOC Week have their roots in Cooper's original day of remembrance. Source/read more : and

I am grateful to the biography of Evonne Goolagong Cawley for bringing to my attention a momentous series of events coincidentally starting in 1933 and culminating in 1936, the two years from the 1930s I have chosen to showcase from the decade.

1933 - Escape from Nazi Germany

Judith Kerr in 1929

A young Judith Kerr, author of the 'Mog' series and most famously "When Hitler stole Pink Rabbit" - image courtesy & © of Getty

‘Judith Kerr ‘ was born on 14 June 1923 in Berlin but escaped from Hitler’s Germany with her parents and brother in 1933 when she was nine years old. Her father was a drama critic and a distinguished writer whose books were burned by the Nazis. The family passed through Switzerland and France before arriving finally in England in 1936. Judith went to eleven different schools, worked in the Red Cross during the war, and won a scholarship to the Central School of Arts and Crafts in 1945. Since then she has worked as an artist, a BBC television scriptwriter and, for the past thirty years, as author and illustrator of children’s books. Her three autobiographical novels are based on her early wandering years (which against all the odds she greatly enjoyed), her adolescence in London during the war, and finally on a brief return to Berlin as a young married woman. The stories have been internationally acclaimed and, to the author’s considerable satisfaction, have done particularly well in Germany where they are sometimes used as an easy introduction to a difficult period of Germany history. Judith has a daughter who is a designer and a son who is a novelist. She lives in London. Source : Harper Collins | Read more from the Hay Festival and the Mirror

When Hitler stole Pink Rabbit 1971 When Hitler stole Pink Rabbit

l to r 1971 first edition and the 2009 edition still being enjoyed by 21st century readers

Born in 1933

Jaybe Mansfield on cover of Life Magazine 1956

Jayne Mansfield, born on 19th April 1933, graces the cover of Life Magazine on 23rd April (very fitting as it is St. George's Day and her background is British) 1956

Jayne Mansfield was an American actress born on April 19, 1933, in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. A provocateur of her time, she gained fame and pin-up status during the 1950s and was offered roles in several films such as Kiss Them for Me (1957), The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw (1958) and It Takes a Thief (1960). She experienced a career lull in the 1960s, though she did continue to act in small roles on film and stage. Mansfield died in a horrific car accident on June 29, 1967, at the age of 34. Her daughter, Mariska Hargitay, is a well-known and respected television actress. Source :

1933 - Car of the Year

The Pierce Arrow - Silver Arrow (complete with Archer)

Silver Arrow Archer Hood Ornament

Silver Arrow Archer Hood Ornament

Archer images courtesy and © of the Antique Automobile Club

Silver Arrow Car of the year 1933

Image sourced from & © of Cloudlakes

A very moving tribute from From PreWarCars : "It was 1933, the year that Franklin D. Roosevelt took office in The White House, New York City was terrorized by a giant monkey (King Kong), the Great Depression and the Prohibition ended (I could not find any relation between those two) and Hitler became Reichskanzler. Those were also the days of....

Art Deco styling. Art Deco influenced the design of buildings, furniture, jewellery, fashion, movie theatres, trains, ocean liners, everyday objects such as radios and vacuum cleaners, and cars!! A more sleek form of the style, called Streamline Moderne, appeared in the 1930’s.

Speaking about streamline, it was also in 1933 that airship LZ-127 “Graf Zeppelin” visited the "Century of Progress" Chicago World’s Fair on its return trip from South America to Germany. At 236.6 m (776 ft), the Graf Zeppelin was the largest airship in the world at the time. It was powered by five Maybach 12-cylinder 550 hp engines. The design of the LZ-127 was based on the LZ-120 “Bodensee”, a design from Paul Jaray, also the designer of the first series built streamlined car, the 1934 Tatra T77. But that is another story.

There, on the Chicago World’s Fair, was also presented one of the most intriguing and desirable pre-war cars in my opinion, the 1933 Pierce-Arrow Silver Arrow concept car, the ultimate example of Streamline Moderne. With a design that was far ahead of its time, unexpectedly progressive for a brand like Pierce Arrow and introduced a year before other streamlined cars like the Chrysler Airflow and the earlier mentioned Tatra T77, it was the talk of the town. And beyond. Or as Sotheby’s describes it “the car that inaugurated the streamlined automotive age.” With its sleek design with integrated fenders, its innovative technique and its powerful V12 engine, it surpassed in attention other automobile masterpieces that were also introduced during the World’s Fair, like the one-off Duesenberg Model SJ Torpedo Sedan, Packard’s advanced V-12-powered Sport Sedan and Cadillac’s Aero-Dynamic Coupe with 16 cylinders.

Designer of the 1933 Pierce-Arrow Silver Arrow was Phillip O. Wright. In 1931, during a unwanted delay because his car had been stolen, he met in Chicago Roy Faulkner, who was at that time president of the Cord Corporation. Together they created the elegant Cord L-29 Speedster. When Roy Faulkner became Vice-President of Pierce-Arrow he asked Phil Wright to join him. Wright, aged 26, then designed the Silver Arrow, a car that was developed with Studebaker in South Bend, together with a streamlined car for Studebaker, the 1934 Land Cruiser, that was also presented during the Chicago World’s Fair. Although the Great Depression was on its end, the Silver Arrow was to expensive for most. To make a comparison with the Studebaker Land Cruiser, that car retailed for $1,510, whereas the Silver Arrow had a price tag of $10,000!! Only five were built, of which three are still existing. Nr. 3 has been sold in December 2015 by RM Sotheby’s for $3,740,000."

What was being advertised in 1933?

Typical 1930s graphics

A 1933 library exhorting the public to read The Daily Telegraph tomorrow (the 2d paper sold for 1d!) - from the Western Morning News & Daily Gazette dated Monday, 9th January 1933 source : British Newspaper Archive

Lacoste T-Shirt

Founded in 1933 by René Lacoste, the label famously known by its small green crocodile emblem celebrates eight decades of fashion expertise and creation. (Image and information © Lacoste and Vogue)

"It all began on a tennis court in 1933, when tennis champion René Lacoste decided to swap the traditional long-sleeved shirt for a  short-sleeved t-shirt with a collar, which has become known today as the Lacoste polo. More than just a sports shirt,, René Lacoste generated a real French joie de vivre through his pieces by bringing together traditional know-how and innovative ideas."

"René Lacoste and André Giller launch the Lacoste L.12.12 polo shirt. Made of a new breathable fabric and featuring the crocodile logo, the shirt is flexible and lightweight."

1933 - Fashion

Pcture of a 1933 Bride

Very typical 1930s bride with enormous bouquet of Calla Lillies - from the Western Morning News & Daily Gazette dated Monday, 9th January 1933 source : British Newspaper Archive

April 1933 Fashions

As seen in the West London Observer dated Friday, 7th April, 1933 - source : British Newspaper Archive

Gary Cooper and Roosevelt Jnr 1933

Elliott Roosevelt, son of the president, chats with Gary Cooper on the Paramount lot while Gary waits outside his dressing room for a call back to his set where he is filming One Sunday Afternoon. Image courtesy & © of Getty

Many people are using a non-Getty version of this picture, but it is the clearest I can find and just epitomises the relaxed 'loucheness' of the 1930s and 1940s that certain men (including my father) possessed! It also helps to be over 6 feet in height!

I was also immediately reminded of the lyrics of 'Puttin' on the Ritz'! :

"If you're blue and you don't know where to go to | Why don't you go where fashion sits | Puttin' on the Ritz.
Different types of wear all day coat pants | With stripes and cut away coats for perfect fits | Puttin' on the Ritz.
Dressed up like a million dollar trooper | Trying hard to look like Gary Cooper | Super-Duper
Come let's mix where Rockefellers ! Walk with sticks or umbrellas ! In their mits|Puttin' on the Ritz."

The 'Rainbow Room' at Derry & Tom's 1933

The Derry and Toms department store was designed and built by Barker’s in house architect Bernard George in 1932 and featured metalwork by Walter Gilbert and panel reliefs, entitled Labour & Technology, by Charles Henry Mabey Jnr.

The Rainbow Room was designed by French architect Marcel Hennequet who was better known for designing Art Deco buildings in Paris; in particular on the Boulevard Periere and Rue Sheffer which have particularly distinctive undulating and curving Art Deco windows. One of the buildings helps timeline identification by displaying a construction date. Source : Paris is invisible

Panorama of ceiling in the Rainbow Room

Rainbow Room at Big Biba

Marcel Hennequet’s Rainbow Room restaurant at Derry & Tom's was opened in 1933 and acclaimed as an Art Deco classic. Images are from the 'Big Biba' restoration in the the 1970s as no original images are available at this time.

Alcatraz designated as a Prison in 1933

In 1933 the island's original buildings were demolished to make way for the unmistakeable style of 1930s architecture. No small irony that as the prison went up to accommodate a huge number of prisoners - Prohibition was repealed!

Newspaper announcement New York Times

As announced in the New York Times in October 1933

Alcatraz from the air

Alcatraz from the Sea

Alcatraz images courtesy and © of the Everett Collection

Principal Buildings on Alcatraz

Alcatraz Island, principal buildings and locations 1. Shoe and Furniture shop, 2. Power House, 3. Prison Yard, 4. Hall and Kitchen, 5. Main Cell Block, 6. Administration and Warden Office, 7. Warden Home, 8. Dock, 9. Guard Recreation Yard, 10. Catwalk, 11. Guard Tower.

Prohibition is repealed

Permission to drink - prohibition is repealed in 1933

The Daily News headlines on 6th December 1933 proclaim 'You can Drink!'

Beer is Back

The 1933 One Penny Coin

A very collectable 'collectible' - full story here

1933 Penny

The obverse of the elusive 1933 1d penny

Generations of schoolboys searched through their change in the vain hope of finding one.

Then, a 1933 penny bearing the head of King George V surfaced on the eBay internet auction site. Experts have always worked on the assumption that only seven such coins were minted and, if genuine, this one would be worth at least £80,000. 

Nick Hart, of the London Mint company, said the history and rarity of the 1933 penny make it a very valuable coin. 'It is not quite clear how many were struck. It is certainly less than ten. 'The price is difficult to be sure of, because they sell so rarely. A genuine coin would fetch more than £80,000, while some versions would be more than £100,000.'

Two versions to the coin were struck. It is thought that four had a slightly different image of the King in preparation to an updating of his likeness on all coins. These are particularly valuable. After seeing the image on eBay, Mr Hart said he had suspicions about the coin. He said the spacing of the digits was irregular, which would mean it is a fake. 'It would need to be examined by an expert, but I have serious doubts. I would be very surprised if this is a real 1933 penny.'  

Historical Postscript

The Royal Mint had no plans to make any pennies in 1933 because there were already plenty around. However, a small number were produced following requests for a commemorative coin. experts have always worked on the basis there were seven. Of these, three were placed by the King under the foundation stones of buildings, two were presented to the British Museum and two found their way to private collectors.

In September 1970, during building work, one of the coins was stolen from the cornerstone of the Church of St Cross in Middleton, Leeds. Rather than risk a further theft, the Bishop of Ripon ordered that another coin buried at St Mary's Church in Hawksworth should be unearthed and sold. Today the Mint Museum, British Museum and the University of London each hold one of the coins, with three in private collections.

Trains & Locomotives in 1933

K4S Pennsylvania Railroad

The man and his train ~ 1933, le brillant Raymond Loewy devant sa locomotive à vapeur K4S de la Pennsylvannie Railroad ©

Pullman Railplane

The Pullman Railplane painted 1933

The Pullman Railplane streamlined design, painting by William Bushnell Stout, 1933.

This train is unlikely to have pulled in at Morecambe Station - but as it is a 'Streamline Moderne' example it has its place on this page. It is also remarkably similar to the MV 'Kalakala' streamline moderne passenger ship. More about 1930s travel by rail here.

1933 - Year of the Haunted Watch

Curse of the £15million watch:

- Haunting story of the most elaborate watch ever made - and the man who wished he had never owned it 
- US banker Henry Graves Jr ordered the 'Supercomplication' watch Swiss manufacturer Patek Philippe in 1925
- It was so complex that it later became known as the 'Holy Grail' of watches and sold at auction this week for £15.1m  
- The timepiece featured 24 complications including perpetual calendar, moon phases and night sky of New York City
- But it never brought Graves the pleasure he expected and just seven months after he received it, his best friend died
- Worse was to come when his youngest son George was killed in car crash on a boulevard in Pasadena, California
- Graves came close to selling watch believing it to be a bad talisman but his daughter persuaded him to keep it

By Guy Walters for the Daily Mail |Published: 22:32, 13 November 2014 | Updated: 17:33, 25 November 2014

Henry Graves Jr The timepiece

Time lord: American Banker Henry Graves Jr (left) commissioned the 'Holy Grail' of watches (right) in 1925 only to suffer its curse - images ©

There were few wealthier men in the United States than Henry Graves Jr.  Born into an august banking family, he had spent his life accumulating a multi-million-dollar fortune by investing shrewdly in railways and banking.

Like many rich men, Graves liked to collect objects as well as money. While most ordinary men collected stamps or coins, he acquired holiday homes, modern art, motorboats and expensive watches. His favourite boat was his 50-foot speedster, the Eagle, on which he liked to potter around the Upper Saranac Lake in upstate New York.

One afternoon late in 1936, Graves took out the Eagle with his daughter Gwendolen, who found her father in a morose mood.  Her eyes widened when he pulled a large watch out of his pocket and looked at it intensely.

‘Such things bring one nothing but trouble,’ said Graves, who by then was in his late 60s. ‘Notoriety brings bad fortune.’ 

Watch schematics

Gwendolen knew that this was no ordinary timepiece. It was the ultimate expression of her father’s obsession with collecting watches and, in particular, those made by the Swiss firm Patek Philippe. This week, that watch broke records at auction when it was sold by Sotheby’s in Geneva for £13.4 million to an anonymous bidder. With auction house costs, the mystery buyer will have to fork out a total of £15.1 million.

It comes as no surprise, for the watch is commonly regarded as the most important ever made, the ‘Holy Grail of Horology’. Graves had been buying watches from Patek Philippe since 1903, and by 1910 he had started to commission them. Many were engraved with the family’s coat of arms. But he wanted more than mere engravings to make his watches special. 

He wanted his Patek Philippes to be the most complex watches in the world, including as many ‘complications’ as possible - the horological term for any feature of a watch that goes beyond simply showing hours, minutes and seconds. Such was his obsession that he started competing with James Ward Packard, a luxury car manufacturer, to see who could produce the most impressive timepiece. Graves secretly approached Patek Philippe in 1925. He wanted, he insisted, nothing less than ‘the most complicated watch’ on the planet, one that was ‘impossibly elaborate’. What followed was, in the words of author Stacy Perman in her book A Grand Complication, ‘a nearly eight-year odyssey’ in which teams of Patek Philippe’s craftsmen, scientists and engineers did, indeed, create the most complicated watch made before the age of computer-aided design.

They spent three years researching the project and five years making the watch. In total, the timepiece — with two clock faces, one on each side — has 24 complications. One shows the phases of the Moon, others the times of sunset and sunrise in New York and even the pattern of the stars each night above Mr Graves’s apartment in the city. There are complications revealing the days of the week, an alarm, a stopwatch and a perpetual calendar. Grave’s masterpiece blew Packard’s out of the water. 

Packard had got there first and his was the first watch to feature a sky chart, including 500 golden stars, centered above his home in Ohio. Yet the masterpiece that became known as the Graves Supercomplication never brought its owner the pleasure he expected. Far from it. After he had taken delivery of it in 1933 at a cost of $15,000 (about £650,000 at today’s prices) the Supercomplication seemed to bring him not only unwanted attention but great misfortune - so much so that on the Eagle on that day in 1936, Graves cut the engine of the boat and looked from the watch to the water. ‘What is the point of being wealthy and owning such objects if something like this could happen?’ he asked his daughter. It was the time of the Great Depression, and Graves had become a figure of public resentment after people who were starving and destitute discovered that he could spend thousands on such luxuries.

But the banker believed the watch had brought him far worse than opprobrium in the public prints.  In fact, he became convinced that it had come with a deadly curse. Just seven months after Graves received the watch, his best friend died. And worse was to come. In early November 1934, Graves answered the telephone to be told that his youngest son, George, had been hurtling in a car down a boulevard in Pasadena, California, and crashed, killing himself. The news was devastating, and made even worse by the fact that Graves had lost his eldest son, Harry, in a car crash in 1922 when he was just 25 years old. 

For Graves, the Supercomplication was a bad talisman, something that was meant to have brought him joy but had, instead, ushered in grief and hateful publicity. At one point he had come close to selling the watch, but decided against it. As the boat bobbed in the water, Gwendolen watched her father pull back his arm. In his hand was the Supercomplication and he was about to throw it into the lake. ‘No, Daddy!’ Gwendolen implored. ‘Let me hold on to that. Some day I might want that.’ Graves slowly let his arm fall to his side. Gwendolen reached forward gingerly and took the watch from his hand, then put it in her pocket. 

From then on, Gwendolen held on to the watch. Her father lost interest in an item that he had craved all his life - a life that was to end in 1953, when he was 86. After his death, Gwendolen inherited the Supercomplication and in 1960 passed it to her son, Reginald ‘Pete’ Fullerton, who sold it to an industrialist from Illinois for $200,000 — some £1million today. Until 1999 the watch was displayed in a museum in Illinois, then it was sold to a private collector by Sotheby’s in New York for $11 million (about £10 million today). The auction house will not be drawn on the identities of either the seller or the buyer. 

But both will for ever thank Gwendolen Graves for stopping her father throwing the world’s most extraordinary timepiece into a cold lake in upstate New York all those decades ago.

This article draws on the book, A Grand Complication: The Race To Build The World’s Most Legendary Watch by Stacy Perman, published by Atria/Simon &Schuster. 


In total, the timepiece - with two clock faces, one on each side - has 24 complications. One shows the phases of the Moon, others the times of sunset and sunrise in New York and even the pattern of the stars each night above Mr Graves’s apartment in the city - image © AP

Christmas 1933 - The Radio Times

Christmas Edition Radio Times 1933

Radio Times Provenance

Details of the main programme for Christmas Day in 1933 including a play, the King's Speech and a pantomime - nothings' changed!

1933 - The Legend of 'Nessie' is born

The Picture that started it all!

In a Daily Mail article devoted to the finding of a missing film prop from 1970 - the very first picture (taken in 1933), giving credibility to the legend, is published :

1933 image of Nessie starting the legend

This picture, said to show the loch's famous monster, was taken by Hugh Gray in 1933 - image courtesy of the Daily Mail

The legend of the Loch Ness Monster has been around since the sixth century, when Irish monk Saint Columba witnessed locals burying a man who had been attacked by a 'water beast.' Sightings were scarce until the first modern newspaper report of a monster in the Northern Chronicle of in 1930 which told of fishermen in a boat on Loch Ness being 'disturbed' by a 18ft (5.5metre) long creature. But it was a sighting in 1933, when George Spicer and his wife claimed they saw 'a most extraordinary form of animal' which was four-foot high (1.2metre) and 25 foot (7.6 metre) long crossing the road near the loch, that started Nessie mania. - source Daily Mail

Revealed, the English plot to kidnap Nessie: Papers from 1933 show how Scots feared monster would be taken to London and its carcass put on display

- The Scottish Office opened a file on Nessie in December 1933 
- Officials had be bombarded with inquiries following sightings that year
- Similar files have also been found at the Natural History Museum in London
- Years later, Prince Philip suggested calling in the Navy to search for creature
- Natural History Museum and the Royal Scottish Museum wanted Nessie
- Scotland hoped to pass new laws passed to protect her
- However, London wanted her shot on sight and the carcass sent to

Sighting? This photograph, purportedly of the Loch Ness Monster was taken in 1934, a year after the Scottish Office opened a file on the creature after being bombarded with inquiries

Strange spectacle: A report in the Inverness Courier from May 1933 noted there had been a 'strange spectacle' on the famous Loch and mentions the monster

Hunted: Scotland hoped to keep hunters, such as Marmaduke Wetherell, pictured searching for the monster in 1933, at bay until a law could be brought in to protect the creature

Of all the tales about the Loch Ness Monster, it must be one of the most unlikely – an English plot to kidnap the beast and display its carcass in London.

But back in the 1930s the Scots feared that such a thing was all too possible, according to newly revealed papers, and fought to ensure she stayed north of the border. The Scottish Office opened a file on Nessie in December 1933 after being bombarded with inquiries following sightings that year.

And similar files have also been found at the Natural History Museum in London, with the contents describing Scotland’s fears that Nessie ‘should not be allowed to find its last resting place in England’ after a bounty was placed on the monster’s head. The documents also reveal that many years later Prince Philip even suggested calling in the Royal Navy to search for the creature.

By 1934 both the Natural History Museum in London and the Royal Scottish Museum in Edinburgh wanted Nessie. But while Scotland hoped that the bounty hunters could be kept at bay long enough to get new laws passed to protect her, London preferred her shot on sight. In March 1934 an unnamed official at the National History Museum made no bones about how he thought bounty hunters should deal with the creature. The files show he said: ‘Should you ever come within range of the “monster” I hope you will not be deterred by any humanitarian considerations from shooting him on the spot and sending the carcass to us in cold storage, carriage forward. Short of this, a flipper, a jaw or a tooth would be very welcome.’ According to more documents found in Edinburgh, pressure was already growing for a special Act of Parliament to prevent Nessie being killed or captured. The campaign was led by Inverness MP Murdoch MacDonald, who assured the Scottish Secretary Sir Godfrey Collins the creature was no myth.

‘Evidence of its presence can be taken as undoubted. Far too many people have seen something abnormal to question its existence,’ he wrote. He demanded a Bill be put before Parliament to protect the creature, but Sir Godfrey advised there was ‘no law for the protection of monsters’.The Royal Scottish Museum wrote to Sir Godfrey staking Edinburgh’s claim to the carcass. ‘The museum urges strongly that the RSM have the reversionary rights to the “monster” if and when its corpse should become available,’ the letter said.‘We think the monster should not be allowed to find its last resting place in England. Such a fate would surely outrage Scottish nationalism which at the moment is thriving greatly under the monster’s beneficent influence.’

Natural History Museum files from the 1960s also state that when approached by a Tory MP, David James, who was ‘obsessed’ with Nessie, Prince Philip encouraged him to contact the Royal Navy for assistance. The revelations are made by author David Clarke in his book Britain’s X-traordinary Files. He said: ‘During the 1930s … Nessie had become a Scottish icon, a symbol of national identity. There was genuine outrage at the possibility that the corpse of the monster might be taken for display in London.’

1933 - First Modern Commercial Aircraft : The Boeing 247

From the Daily Mail 'On this Day (Day 247 of 2015)' - 4th September, 2015 - " In 1933, the Boeing 247 - considered the first modern commercial aircraft - went into service. It took 20 hours, with seven stops, to fly from New York to Los Angeles. That flight takes just six hours today."

Boeing 247 1933

The Boeing Model 247 is considered the first modern airliner. It was an all metal, twin-engine, retractable gear, streamlined airliner that could hold ten passengers in air conditioned comfort.

Source : The Aviation History On-Line Museum - The year 1933 was extremely important in the history of air transport, for it was then that the two original ancestors of the modern airliner appeared. One was the Boeing Model 247 which made its inaugural flight on February 8, 1933, and the other was the Douglas DC-1, which flew later in the year in July.

Boeing 247 flying over Chicago

Flying over Chicago

Boarding the Boeing 247


Disembarking Boeing 247

Disembarking - more about 1930s air travel here

1933 - GB success in the Davis Cup

Gb beat France in 1933 Davis Cup

Fred Perry helped Britain win the Davis Cup four times in a row between 1933 and 1936 before turning professional.

Triumphant 1933 Davis Cup team returns

The triumphant return of the 1933 Davis Cup Team - image © Getty Images

1933 - Books that captured the imagination

The Shape of Things to Come by H.G. Wells

First edition of the H G Well THings to Come

H.G. Wells: The Shape of Things to Come. (London: Hutchinson & Company, 1933), first edition - image courtesy of Heritage Auctions

Original Artwork for 1933 edition of Things to Come

Original Artwork for the Dust Jacket of Hutchinson Edition, 1933 - sourced from

An original review from the Sheffield Independent - Monday 4th September 1933 shortly after publication :

The Independent 4th September 1933


Original review for 1933 of the Shape of Things to come


Tomorrow has always interested Mr. H. more than to-day. He is always living in the future, and in his latest book he gives us a brilliant picture of a dream of the future based on the apocryphal reminiscences of a Dr. Phillip Ravens, who died at Geneva in 1900 (?) The customary Wellsian pacifism takes us through the war period and its familiar episodes onto Versailles and the unsettling “peace”. He praises J. M. Keynes as the only outstanding voice of the period that protested against the absurd reparations agreements and condemns the League of Nations as a hindrance rather than a help to achieve world peace. After crystallising his old and well-known attacks on modern education and politics, he goes on to give vivid pictures of new war poisons and death gases which imperil the future of mankind. He is horrible in his notions of the death dealing weapons of the future, including a section on germs and “a disease of captive baboons” which is in the typically Wellsian tradition of inventiveness, his descriptive pass(ag)es (sic) dealing with the new weapons of war which science has made available to mankind are of the grimmest character, and his attack on Hitlerism and the swastika is in the liveliest Wellsian vein'




He calls the voice of Hitler the voice of German out of control. Mr. Wells describes Ramsay MacDonald as the “fine flower and summary of professional politics who rolls his r’s and his eyes. When he comes to describe the influenza ravages of mankind beats all the descriptive reporters, as he does when dealing with outbreaks of crime, piracy and ruffianism. It was in 1965 that the world began to become safer at a conference in Basra at the bidding of the Transport Union. The air had become by this time the chief power, and the air forces were united, being independent of the countries to which they were severally were attached. Of course he gives us an outline of the “World State” after criticising a period of aggressive and turbulent youth when power was chiefly in the hands of the young. His world State remedies that. And towards the end of the 21st century “the graver years” are upon us. Mr Wells is simply reiterating his faith in the World Commonwealth throughout this book and he does it with a gusto and bravura not impaired by years.


Every thinker will want this book, will want to quarrel and argue about it. It is in the best Wellsian manner. As Chesterton says about him, “You lie awake at night and hear him grow”. Here are more of the growing pains. C.B.R.


A 21st century review from, highlighting the uncanny forecast of the world's future :

"First published in 1933, “The Shape of Things to Come” is science fiction novel written by H. G. Wells. Within it, world events between 1933 and 2106 are speculated with a single superstate representing the solution to all humanity's problems. A classic example of Wellsian prophesy, this volume is highly recommended for fans of his work and of the science fiction genre. Herbert George Wells (1866 – 1946) was a prolific English writer who wrote in a variety of genres, including the novel, politics, history, and social commentary. Today, he is perhaps best remembered for his contributions to the science fiction genre thanks to such novels as “The Time Machine” (1895), “The Invisible Man” (1897), and “The War of the Worlds” (1898). Many vintage books such as this are becoming increasingly scarce and expensive. We are republishing this book now in an affordable, modern, high-quality edition complete with a specially commissioned new biography of the author."

Lost Horizon by James Hilton

'Novel by James Hilton, published in 1933. Hugh Conway, a veteran member of the British diplomatic service, finds inner peace, love, and a sense of purpose in Shangri-La, a utopian lamasery high in the Himalayas in Tibet.' Source - The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature

Full dustjacket Lost Horizon 1933

Cover Art - James Hilton, Lost Horizon, The Macmillan Company (1933)

Lost Horizon 1933

Promo - 1st Edition 1933

Review from on the 2012 re-issue - 'James Hilton’s famous utopian adventure novel, and the origin of the mythical sanctuary Shangri-La, receives new life in this beautiful reissue from Harper Perennial. A book that the New Yorker calls “the most artful kind of suspense . . . ingenuity [we] have rarely seen equaled,” Lost Horizon captured the national consciousness when first published in the 1930s, and Frank Capra’s 1937 film adaptation catapulted it to the height of cultural significance. Readers of Mitchell Zuckoff’s harrowing history of a real-life plane crash in Dutch New Guinea, Lost in Shangri-La, as well as fans of novels ranging from The Man Who Would Be King to Seven Years in Tibet to State of Wonder will be fascinated and delighted by this milestone in adventure fiction, the world’s first look at this sanctuary above the clouds. The new Perennial edition also features a bonus essay on Lost Horizon by Don’t Know Much About History author Kenneth C. Davis.'

To read this book on-line visit Project Gutenberg Australia

1933 - 'La Chatte' (the Cat) by Collette

La Chatte by Collette frontispiece

La Chatte by Collette autographed

La Chatte by Collette offered for sale details

COLETTE. La chatte. Grasset éd. First edition. Paris, Bernard Grasset, 1933, small quarto (18.5 x 13cm). 207 pages. Original cover preserved; Red half leather, gilt spine. Copy numbered on Alfa. Autographed for Comte Espierre. Ex libris Jean Cassan.- image courtesy & © of Libretis

(Sidonie Gabrielle Colette, known as COLETTE ) - ORIGINAL EDITION. The text was serialized in the newspaper Marianne from April 12 to the June 7, 1933, before it was published on the same year by Grasset as the third volume of the fourth series in a collection entitled “Pour mon plaisir”, “There is no ordinary cat”. In this short novel, Colette (1873-1954) describes the passion of a young man for his cat Saha, at the expense of the life he shares with his young wife.

The writer, who was also an immense lover of cats, wrote many texts and poems about them. Source : Libretis

1933 - Edward VIII and his nieces captured 'doing the Nazi salute'

Pretty appalling of Edward to encourage this nonsense and of course in the 21st century we can't really get away from everything being available on the internet!

Edward VIII and royal family members

It would take the 'Sun' to find this 'exclusive' - images and story from the Daily Mail - "A grainy photograph has emerged of the Queen performing a Nazi salute with her family in the gardens at Balmoral"

The British public has reacted with fury after footage of the Queen performing a Nazi salute as a young girl was published by The Sun. The shocking film from 1933 shows Edward VIII teaching his nieces the seven-year-old future Queen and her three-year-old sister Princess Margaret how to do the salute in the gardens at Balmoral. The publication of the 17-second film has outraged thousands across the nation who believe that the Queen cannot be held responsible for her actions as a girl playing with her family. Scores of Twitter users vented their anger this morning, saying The Sun had 'sunk to a new low' and calling for the newspaper's owner Rupert Murdoch to be banned from the UK. 

Buckingham Palace last night slammed The Sun for the publication of the footage, from the family's private archive, saying it was 'disappointing' that the film had been 'obtained and exploited in this manner'. 

1933 Quiz

Q1. - Who was British Prime Minister in 1933
A1. - James Ramsay MacDonald

Q2. - Who introduced his New Deal in the USA
A2. - Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Q3. - What was the result of Amendment XXI to the US Constitution
A3. - Amendment 21, which repealed Amendment 18 "The transportation or importation in any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited", was proposed on February 20, 1933.

Q4. - George Carwardines Invention
A4. - The Anglepoise task light

Q5. - Malcolm Campbell Speed Record
A5. - 272.46mph

Q6. - Polythese discovered by scientists from which company?
A6. - It was discovered in 1933 by Reginald Gibson and Eric Fawcett, two scientists working at ICI’s research laboratory at Winnington, Durham, who accidentally discovered the white, waxy solid while attempting to react ethylene with benzaldehyde in an autoclave.

Q7. - Richard Byrd 1933 expedition
A7. - Second Antarctic Expedition II 1933-35

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