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1929 History, Trivia and Fun Facts

<< - 1928

1929 History Snapshot

  • The Arts: "Un Chien Andaloue" was a 1929 surrealist short movie made by Salvador Dali and Luis Buñuel. At the Paris premiere Buñuel put stones in his pockets "to throw at the audience in case of disaster".
  • Influential Songs include: Makin' Whoopee by Eddie Cantor and Ain't Misbehavin' by Fats Waller
  • The Big Movies included Welcome Danger, Sunnyside Up and The Broadway Melody
  • Price of a watermelon (in season) in 1929: 50 cents
  • The World Population was ~ 2,103,000,000
  • US Life Expectancy: Males: 55.8 years, Females: 58.7 years
  • Mass Produced Sunglasses were marketed by Sam Foster in 1929.
  • And... God's Man is a wordless novel by Lynd Ward via 139 captionless woodblock prints telling the story of an artist who trades his soul for a magic paintbrush.

World Series Champions

Philadelphia Athletics

NFL Champions

Green Bay Packers

Stanley Cup Champions

Boston Bruins

US Open Golf

Bobby Jones

US Open Tennis (Men Ladies)

William T. Tilden/Helen Wills

Wimbledon (Men/Women)

Henri Cochet/Helen Wills

NCAA Football Champions

Notre Dame

Bowl Game

Rose Bowl: January 1, 1929 - Georgia Tech over California

Kentucky Derby

Clyde Van Dusen

Westminster Kennel Best in Show Dog

Laund Loyalty of Bellhaven

Time Magazine's Man of the Year

Owen D. Young

Miss America


1929's Fresh Faces and Top Celebrities

Josephine Baker, Clara Bow, Dolores Costello, Louise Brooks, Joan Crawford, Marion Davies, Mary Eaton, Greta Garbo, Jean Harlow, Myrna Loy, Dolores Del Rio, Thelma Todd, Anna May Wong

"The Quotes"

"Once in the racket you're always in it"
- Al Capone

"The pause that refreshes"
- Coca-Cola

1929 Pop Culture History

Alfred Hitchcock made the first recorded "Thats what she said" joke in 1929 - "as the girl said to the soldier."

Charlie Chaplin was removed as a nominee for Best Actor, Best Writer and Best Director, Comedy for The Circus at the 1929 Academy Awards. Instead he received a single Honorary Award.

William Howard Taft is the only former President to swear in subsequent Presidents, giving the oath of office to both Calvin Coolidge (in 1925) and Herbert Hoover (in 1929).

"Elementary, my dear Watson," is a misquote. In all sixty of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories, the quote is never once said. It was first used in the 1929 film, The Return of Sherlock Holmes, which is not written by Doyle.

In 1929 the League of Nations outlawed war via the Kellogg-Briand Pact.

Lambert Field in St. Louis was the first airport to feature air traffic control. Archie League was the first air traffic controller. His "control tower" consisted of a beach chair with an umbrella. He communicated with the planes by waving a series of flags.

The 1953 film Singin' in the Rain was not the first movie to feature its title song. The song originally debuted in The Hollywood Revue of 1929 and was featured in several films before Gene Kelly's famous performance.

The 1929 Science Fiction Film Woman in The Moon influenced the space program as we know it today. The verbal "Countdown" used for rocket launches originated with this German silent film. Other influences include the use of a launch pad, G-force requirements, and modern multistage orbital rockets.

Rocky Road became the first widely available ice cream combination flavor.

The 1971 Led Zeppelin hit When the Levee Breaks is a cover of a 1929 blues song written about the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927.

According to Hollywood legend, dog actor Rin Tin Tin received the most votes for the first Academy Award for Best Actor in 1929, but the Academy wanted to appear more serious and decided that a human had to win the award.

The American Tobacco Company marketed cigarettes to feminist emancipators by calling them "torches of freedom." Smoking of cigarettes was "a way for women to challenge social norms and fight for equal rights as men".

After the devastating stock market crash, Al Capone opened soup kitchens throughout Chicago and provided food and clothing to numerous struggling families.

The Oval Office of the White House did not have a telephone until 1929. The US president previously had to use the phone in the foyer outside the office if he wanted to call someone.

J M Barrie gave the rights for Peter Pan to Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Texas Pete, a Louisiana-Style hot sauce made in North Carolina, was advised to be marketed Mexican Joe. The creator's father insisted the name be American.

Times New Roman is a modified version of Times Roman, a font created in 1929 for British newspaper The Times.

Sophia Kleegman became the first woman to be appointed to the faculty of obstetrics and gynecology at the New York University College of Medicine.

Vladimir Zworykin invented the cathode-ray tube called the kinescope, which is the basis for 20th century television screens.

In 1929, 23.9% of a family's income went to food, versus 10.7% in 1997.

The Zildjian musical instrument company, which started in 1623 in Turkey and moved to the US in 1929, is widely recognized as the oldest family owned business in America.

Pine-Sol cleaner invented.

'Zombie' was introduced to the western world in the book, 'The Magic Island' by W.B. Seabrook in 1929.

When the soft drink 7 Up first launched in 1929 it contained lithium citrate, the same mood-stabilizing drug used to treat mania and bi-polar disorder. It was removed from the forumla in 1950.

RIP, Scandals, Sad and Odd News

THE SAINT VALENTINE'S DAY MASSACRE - Al Capone's men allegedly killed 7 other alleged gangsters in an alleged shooting on February 14th. This would have given Mr. Capone control of Chicago's mob underworld, if such a thing, in fact, actually existed. Mobster Frank Gusenberg told police "Nobody shot me" after being shot 8 times at the St Valentines Day Massacre.

STOCK MARKET CRASH: Black Monday October 28, 1929 -38.33 points, -12.82% down, Final: 260.64. Black Tuesday October 29, 1929 -30.57 points, -11.73% down, Final: 230.07

During the great market crash of 1929, Albert Wiggin, the head of Chase National Bank, "shorted" Chase National Bank stock and made the equivalent of $50 million in today's money.

Japan didn't sign the 1929 Geneva convention on treatment of POWs, and nearly half of all Americans captured by the Japanese in WW2 were killed in custody.

The founder of the Coors Brewing Company, Adolph Coors, committed suicide by jumping out of a hotel window in Virgina Beach in 1929.

Roger Babson correctly predicted the Wall Street Crash of 1929 using the unorthodox notion that gravity and Sir Isaac Newton's law of action and reaction can be used to explain movement in the stock markets.

Louis B. Mayer pretty much "fixed" the first Academy Awards presentation.

The 'Atlantic City Conference' hosted the 'The Big Seven Group' crime bosses. This conference organized the future of the 'National Crime Syndicate' for the next 50+ years. This why it is call organized crime.

General Motors and Chevrolet were founded by the same man, William Durant, who later lost all his money in the stock market crash in 1929 and died nearly bankrupt while managing a bowling alley.


Radio-Electronics Magazine (1929-2003)

Wonder Stories Magazine (1929-1955)

Bloomberg Businessweek began publication

The Habits

Reading All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
Reading The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
Reading A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes
Reading A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

Popular Music Artists

The Biggest Pop Artists of 1929 include:
Gus Arnheim & His Orchestra, Gene Austin, Eddie Cantor, Cliff Edwards, Ruth Etting, Johnny Hamp & His Orchestra, Bob Haring and His Orchestra, Libby Holman, Al Jolson, Helen Kane, Ted Lewis and His Band, Nick Lucas, George Olson and His Orchestra, Leo Reisman and His Orchestra, Nat Shilkret & the Victor Orchestra, Rudy Vallée & His Connecticut Yankees, Ethel Waters, Ted Weems and His Orchestra, Paul Whiteman & His Orchestra

Charts based on Billboard music charts.

Popular Movies

Alibi, An Andalusian Dog, Applause, Blackmail, The Broadway Melody, The Cocoanuts, Coquette, Diary of a Lost Girl, Disraeli, Hallelujah, The Hollywood Review of 1929, The Love Parade, The Man With a Movie Camera, Pandora's Box, Sadie Thompson, Sunnyside Up, The Virginian, The Wild Party

More Pop Culture History Resources

Popular Music in 1929
# 1 Hits of 1929
Pop Culture News

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