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1938 History, Trivia and Fun Facts

<< - 1937

1938 History Snapshot

  • Politics: Congress passed the Fair Labor Standards Act, which established the first minimum wage and forty-hour week.
  • Influential Songs include: Begin The Beguine by Artie Shaw and I Can't Get Started by Bunny Berigan and A-Tisket A-Tasket by Chick Webb
  • The Big Movies included The Adventures of Robin Hood, Sweethearts and Boys Town
  • Minimum Wage in 1938: 25 cents/hour
  • The World Population was ~ 2,290,000,000
  • US Life Expectancy: Males: 61.9 years, Females: 65.3 years
  • The Ballpoint Pen was introduced by Charles Biro in 1938.
    Nescafe (freeze-dried) coffee was invented.
  • And... Ottorino Barassi, an Italian sport official, secretly took the FIFA world cup Jules Rimet trophy from a bank in Rome and hid it in a shoebox in his house, aving it during WWII and until the 1950 tournament.

World Series Champions

New York Yankees

NFL Champions

New York Giants

Stanley Cup Champions

Chicago Black Hawks

US Open Golf

Ralph Guldahl

US Open Tennis (Men Ladies)

J. Donald Budge/Alice Marble

Wimbledon (Men/Women)

Don Budge/Helen Moody

FIFA World Cup Soccer


NCAA Football Champions


Bowl Games

Orange Bowl: January 1, 1938 - Auburn over Michigan State
Rose Bowl: January 1, 1938 - California over Alabama
Sugar Bowl : January 1, 1938 - Santa Clara over LSU

Kentucky Derby


Westminster Kennel Best in Show Dog

Daro of Maridore

Time Magazine's Man of the Year

Adolf Hitler

Miss America

Marilyn Meseka (Marion, OH)

Fashion Icons and Movie Stars

Claudette Colbert, Olivia de Havilland, Betty Grable, Katharine Hepburn, Hedy Lamarr, Myrna Loy, Ginger Rogers, Barbara Stanwyck, Lana Turner, Mae West

"The Quotes"

"Who's on first?"
- Abbott and Costello

When JRR Tolkien was asked for proof of Aryan descent in Germany, 1938, he replied, "If impertinent and irrelevant inquiries of this sort are to become the rule in matters of literature, then the time is not far distant when a German name will no longer be a source of pride."

Will Purvis, who was convicted of murder in 1894 and had always maintained his innocence, told the jury he would "live longer than the lot of them". He survived a hanging, was re-incarcerated, and eventually pardoned and released. He died in 1938, three days after the last juror had died.

French biologist Jean Rostand wrote: "Kill one man, and you are a murderer. Kill millions of men, and you are a conqueror. Kill them all, and you are a god."

Sigmund Freud was permitted to leave Austria by the Gestapo if he signed a document that Stated that he had been treated well. Freud signed the document and added a postscript saying " I can highly recommend the Gestapo to everyone." #sarcasm

1938 Pop Culture History

In 1938, RCA engineers picked up a "televisor" signal from the BBC because of a "freak weather incident," which is the only pre-war footage of television to exist.

George Bernard Shaw is the only person to win a Nobel Prize AND an Oscar. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925 and an Oscar for Pygmalion in 1938.

Assassin's Creed was based on a 1938 Slovenian novel.

FDR founded an organization, National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, to find a cure for polio, and believed that if everyone gave only a dime, polio would be eradicated. Because of this motto, after his death in 1945, FDR's face was put on the dime, and his organization was officially renamed "The March of Dimes."

The screenplay for John Carpenter's 1982 film The Thing was based on a 1938 science-fiction novella entitled Who Goes There?. The character names and main plot points are almost identical, and the creature is referred to as "the Thing" within the story.

DC Comics paid $130 in 1938 for exclusive rights to Superman.

A dog's nose print is as unique as a humans finger print. In fact, the Canadian Kennel Club has been accepting nose prints as proof of identity since 1938.

After the von Trapp family left Austria in 1938, the Nazis used their abandoned home as Heinrich Himmler's headquarters

National Donut Day was not created by donut manufacturers but instead by the Salvation Army in 1938 to honor the "Doughnut Dollies", women volunteers who served donuts to soldiers in France during WW I.

A reunion of Gettysburg veterans occurred in 1938, with about 25 veterans attending.

British magazine Homes and Gardens published a profile article on "Hitler's Mountain Home" complete with tasteful and attractive photos, including one with Hitler and his dog

In The Adventures of Robin Hood, the producers wanted a realistic 'look' when people were killed by arrows. Instead of SFX or editing tricks, they just hired an expert archer (Howard Hill) to shoot extras wearing padding. Extras were paid $150 each time they were shot.

British Hero John Logie Bard invented color television in London's West End.

1938's Bringing Up Baby was the first film to use the word gay to mean homosexual. In one scene Cary Grant was wearing a lady's négligée. When asked about it he responds, "Because I just went gay". At the time, most audiences didn't get it, many thought it meant he was "being carefree".

Coelacanth was (is?) a prehistoric fish more related to reptiles and mammals than modern fish, was thought to have gone extinct 65 million years ago until fishermen caught one in 1938.

Aviator Douglas 'Wrong Way' Corrigan was denied permission to fly from New York to Ireland. Since he was denied, he told navigators he planned to fly to California instead. 27 hours later he arrived in Ireland, telling officials that he must have mistakenly gone the wrong way.

Volkswagen was sued by Czechoslovakian car maker Tatra before WWII because the original Beetle was so similar to the Tatra T97. After Germany invaded Czechoslovakia in 1938 the lawsuit was cancelled by the Nazis.

When Walt Disney studios embarked on production of Snow White in 1934 the endeavor of an animated film in Technicolor was criticized and called Disney's folly. Disney studios ran out of money and took on loans to finish production which upon release was the most successful film of 1938. Walt Disney won a special Oscar in 1938 for Snow White that had one regular sized statuette and seven miniature Oscars.

Samsung was formed in 1938 as a company selling noodles.

The Supreme Court ruled in 1938 that the press is "every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of information and opinion."

Where began publication

RIP, Scandals, Sad and Odd News

Rock and Roll or Blues Death: Robert Johnson, age 27 (poisoned?)

The reason school buses are required to stop at all railroad crossings is because of a 1938 accident in Sandy, UT. The bus and train collided during a whiteout snowstorm killing 26 onboard.

An impostor accepted the Academy Award for Best Supporting Role for Alice Brady who was absent from the ceremony. To this day the Oscar has never been recovered and the identity of the thief is unknown.

John Deering agreed to have himself monitored on a electrocardiogram as he was executed to see the effects on his heart.

Chinese Nationalists purposely flooded around the Yellow River area in attempt to stop the Japanese advance into central China. The plan failed, and killed an estimated 800,000 of their own people, displaced 10 million, and destroyed the inundated land.

Helen Hulick, a kindergarten teacher who witnessed a burglary was jailed for five days because she wore a pair of slacks into court the day she was called to testify.

Frank Sinatra was arrested for seduction in 1938 for sleeping with a single, reputable woman. The charges were dropped after it was revealed she was married.

American auto-maker, Henry Ford, recieved Germany's highest honor for a non-German, The Order of the German Eagle, along with a personal note from Adolf Hitler.

In the 1938 World Cup Sweden advanced to the quarterfinals due to an Austrian forfeit. The Austrians were forced to withdraw as their home country had just been invaded by Germany.

When Australia celebrated the 150th anniversary of the first European settlement in 1938, officials tried to hide the fact that it was a prison colony by using the terms "transportees" or "deportees" instead of "convicts"

Firsts and the Biggest Christmas Gifts

Go To The Head Of The Class Game, Criss-Cross Words Game

The Habits

Reading The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
Reading U.S.A. by John Dos Passos
Reading Scoop by Evelyn Waugh
Reading The Death of the Heart by Elizabeth Bowen
If in New York City, watching Our Town on Broadway

Popular Music Artists

The Biggest Pop Artists of 1938 include:
The Andrews Sisters, Mildred Bailey, Count Basie and His Orchestra, Connee Boswell, Larry Clinton and His Orchestra, Bing Crosby, Bob Crosby and His Orchestra, Dolly Dawn & Her Dawn Patrol, Al Donahue and His Orchestra, Jimmy Dorsey and His Orchestra, Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra, Eddy Duchin and His Orchestra, Duke Ellingon, Shep Fields and His Rippling Rhythm, Ella Fitzgerald, Jan Garber and His Orchestra, Benny Goodman and His Orchestra, Horace Heidt and His Orchestra, Billie Holiday, Sammy Kaye, Andy Kirk and His 12 Clouds of Joy, Kay Kyser and His Orchestra, Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians, Russ Morgan, Ozzie Nelson and His Orchestra, Ray Noble and His Orchestra, Red Norvo & His Orchestra, Artie Shaw and His Orchestra, Slim and Slam, Fats Waller, Lawrence Welk and His Orchestra

Charts based on Billboard music charts.

Popular Movies

The Adventures of Robin Hood, Alexander's Ragtime Band, Algiers, Angels With Dirty Faces, The Baker's Wife, Blondie, Boys Town, Bringing Up Baby, The Citadel, Four Daughters, Holiday, Jezabel, The Lady Vanishes, Pygmalion, The Road to Reno, Test Pilot, You Can't Take It With You

More Pop Culture History Resources

Popular Music in 1938
#1 Hits of 1938
Pop Culture News

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pop, as in 'popular' :(adjective) Pertaining to the common people, or the people as a whole as distinguished from any particular class.
Having characteristics attributed to the common people and intended for or suited to ordinary people.

culture:(noun) That which is excellent in the arts.
A particular stage of civilization. The behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group.

madness: (noun) The state of being mad. insanity, senseless folly, intense excitement or enthusiasm.
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