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1941 History, Trivia and Fun Facts

<< - 1940

1941 History Snapshot

  • Politics: On Januray 6, 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt stated that Four Freedoms should prevail everywhere in the world... 1- freedom of speech and expression, 2- freedom of worship, 3- freedom from want, and 4- freedom from fear.
  • Influential Songs include: Stardust by Artie Shaw, A String of Pearls by Genn Miller and Take The "A" Trian by Duke Ellington
  • The Big Movies included Sergeant York, Citizen Kane and Tobacco Road
  • Price of cigarettes in 1941: 12 cents per pack of 20
    Seagrams Crown Scotch, 90 proof: $9.95/half gallon
  • The World Population was ~ 2,373,000,000
  • US Life Expectancy: Males: 63.1 years, Females: 66.8 years
  • And... The first TV commercial aired on July 1, 1941. Bulova Watches paid for the 10 second spot, shown before a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies at Ebbets Field.

World Series Champions

New York Yankees

NFL Champions

Chicago Bears

Stanley Cup Champions

Boston Bruins

US Open Golf

Craig Wood

US Open Tennis (Men Ladies)

Robert Riggs/Sarah Palfrey Cooke

Wimbledon (Men/Women)

not held

NCAA Football Champions


NCAA Basketball Champions


Bowl Games

Orange Bowl: January 1, 1941 - Mississippi State over Georgetown
Rose Bowl: January 1, 1941 - Stanford over Nebraska
Sugar Bowl : January 1, 1941 - Boston College over Tennessee

Kentucky Derby


Westminster Kennel Best in Show Dog

My Own Brucie

Time Magazine's Man of the Year

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Miss America

Rosemary LaPlanche (Los Angeles, CA)

Fashion Icons and Movie Stars

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

"The Quotes"

- Orson Wells, in Citizen Kane

"The stuff that dreams are made of"
- Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon

Harry Truman said "If we see that Germany is winning we ought to help Russia, and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany, and that way let them kill as many as possible."

1941 Pop Culture History

Disney's Dumbo wasn't deformed by his large ears- he was just delivered to the wrong species' mother. The circus elephants were Asian elephants and he was an African elephant calf, which is why his ears are so large.

Fantasia and Citizen Kane both bombed at the box office.

Curious George was named 'Zozo' in the U.K. in 1941 to avoid using the name of King George VI for a monkey.

The British Secret Intelligence Service, using fake charities, delivered copies of Monopoly to prisoners of war held by the Nazis. Hidden inside these games were maps, compasses, real money, and other objects useful for escaping.

Coach bags, introduced in 1941, were based on the design and surface wear on a baseball glove.

The benefits of Magnesium in dental health were unknown until an absence of tooth decay was linked to high Magnesium levels in Deaf Smith County, Texas.

The term "robotics" was accidentally coined by science fiction author Isaac Asimov in 1941.

The concept for Coruscant, the city planet in Star Wars was inspired by Trantor, the Galactic Empire's capital in Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series. Trantor is first described in a Foundation short story by Asimov in 1941.

Cheerios were called CherriOats when they were invented in 1941.

Samuel R. Caldwell (February 11, 1880 - June 24, 1941) was the first person convicted of selling marijuana under the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, according to federal files.

In 1941, more than three million cars were manufactured in the United States. Only 139 more were made during the entire war.

There was a children's book published in 1941 called "Make Way For Ducklings." It follows the story of Mrs. Mallard and her eight ducklings, and how four Boston police officers stopped traffic to let them cross the busy intersection. There is a commemorative statue in the Boston Public Garden.

Using Dr. Charles Drew's idea, the American Red Cross decided to set up blood donor stations to collect plasma for the US Armed Forces.

Glenn Miller's Chattanooga Choo-Choo was awarded the first Gold record.

A new state called Jefferson, made up of northern California and southern Oregon, was proposed in 1941. But then Pearl Harbor was attacked and the movement faded away.

Plutonium was officially chemically identified on February 23rd by Dr. Glenn T. Seaborg's team.

A political dispute led to Thanksgiving 1941 being celebrated twice: "Democratic Thanksgiving" on November 23rd and "Republican Thanksgiving" on November 30th. "Franksgiving" was coined in 1939 after FDR divided the country by moving Thanksgiving to the next to last Thursday in November as an attempt to boost retail sales. He reversed the decision in 1941 after half the country refused to celebrate it.

Ground was broken for construction of the pentagon on the 11th of September 1941. Exactly 60 years to the day of 9/11

A ten second ad for Bulova watches, is aired by NBC. This was the first television commercial, and cost $7.

Mrs. Japp's Potato Chips changed their name to Jays Potato Chips, due to the negative connotation associated with the word 'Jap'.

The first year power windows appeared on cars was in 1941. The first car to have this feature was the Packard 110.

Henry Ford made a car from hemp and soybean plastic. It ran on ethanol.

John Huston made his directorial debut in the gritty detective movie The Maltese Falcon starring Humphrey Bogart. Many historians consider this film to be the first example of film noir.

World War II News and Information

The US was the only nation to ever receive a declaration of war from Nazi Germany.

Despite facing enemy fire at Pearl Harbor, Doris Miller helped move his wounded Captain to safety, and later operated an anti-aircraft gun until running out of ammunition. He was the first African American to be awarded the Navy Cross, and is one of the "first US heroes of World War II."

December 7th 'a date which will live in infamy.' Many American's believe that President Franklin D. Roosevelt knew about the Japanese "sneak attack" on Pearl Harbor. They say he let it happen because it was the only way he could get Americans involved in the war.

During WWII, from 1941 - 1945 the US manufactured 47 billion rounds of small arms ammunition.

The British royal family refused to flee London during the Blitz, instead choosing to endure the horrific bombings and support the common people during a time of crisis. The Buckingham Palace suffered 9 direct hits, and the royal family earned adoration and respect from the country's citizens.

During World War II, the British Government covered the Taj Mahal with Bamboo scaffoldings to protect it from German Bombers. This was done again during 1965 and 1971, when India were involved in conflicts with Pakistan.

Frank Sinatra did not serve in World War II because he was classified 4-F, but also that doctors believed that he was "neurotic" and "not acceptable material from a psychiatric standpoint".

Stalin's son Yakov was captured while fighting Nazis in 1941. Nazis offered to exchange him for Friedrich Paulus, the German Field Marshal captured by the Soviets, but Stalin turned the offer down allegedly saying, "I will not trade a Marshal for a Lieutenant."; Yakov died in captivity.

The "Axis" powers of WWII were named as such because Mussolini declared that all other European countries would from then on rotate on the Rome-Berlin axis.

The longest echo ever recorded in a man-made structure was set in an underground fuel depot constructed in Scotland before World War Two when a blank was fired from a pistol it lasted 112 Seconds.

The average infantryman in the South Pacific during World War II saw about 40 days of combat in four years. The average infantryman in Vietnam saw about 240 days of combat in one year.

Ivan Sidorenko was a Soviet sniper who by the end of the Second World War, was credited with about five hundred confirmed kills and had trained over two hundred and fifty snipers. Ranked a Major, he was the most successful Soviet sniper of WW2.

Glenn Miller's "Chattanooga Choo Choo" was the number one hit single on December 7,1941 when America entered the Second World War.

Life Magazine posted an article on how to tell the difference between the Chinese and Japanese, as the U.S was essentially friends with the former, and at war with the latter.

RIP, Scandals, Sad and Odd News

Mercury use in hat-making, which causes "Mad Hatters Disease", was banned in France in 1898, However the practice continued in the US until 1941, despite 80% of hatmakers being diagnosed with "mercurial tremors", until it was abandoned due to the wartime need for mercury.

George Hopkins, a professional parachutist parachuted onto the top of Devil's Tower in Wyoming, where he became stranded for six days after the rope (which was also dropped from the plane) missed the target, resulting in a rescue operation to retrieve the man.

Regis Toomey and Jane Wyman held the longest screen kiss at 3 minutes and 5 seconds in You're In The Army Now.

Firsts and the Biggest Christmas Gifts

FAO Schwartz opened in New York City.

Aquaman debuted in More Fun Comics, issue number 73.

M&Ms were invented in 1941 as a means for soldiers to enjoy chocolate without it melting. During the war the candy was sold exclusively to the military.

The Habits

Talking about Citizen Kane at the local barbershop, after they watched it in theaters.
Reading The Keys of the Kingdom by A.J. Cronin
Watching The Maltese Falcon, Dumbo, The Wolf Man and The Little Foxes in theaters

Popular Music Artists

The Biggest Pop Artists of 1941 include:
The Andrews Sisters, Charlie Barnet and His Orchestra, Bing Crosby, Xavier Cugat and His Waldorf-Astoria Orchestra, Jimmy Dorsey and His Orchestra, Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra, Duke Ellingon, Benny Goodman and His Orchestra, Horace Heidt and His Orchestra, Woody Herman and His Orchestra, The Ink Spots, Harry James and His Orchestra, Dick Jurgens and His Orchestra, Sammy Kaye, Hal Kemp and His Orchestra, Wayne King and His Orchestra, Gene Krupa and His Orchestra, Kay Kyser and His Orchestra, Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians, Freddy Martin and His Orchestra, The Glenn Miller Orchestra, Vaughn Monroe, Artie Shaw and His Orchestra, Dinah Shore

Charts based on Billboard music charts.

Popular Movies

Ball of Fire, Blondie's Lawyer, Citizen Kane, The Devil and Daniel Webster, Dumbo, Here Comes Mr. Jordan, High Sierra, Hold Back the Dawn, How Green Was My Valley, The Lady Eve, The Little Foxes, The Maltese Falcon, Meet John Doe, Never Giva Aa Sucker and Even Break, One Foot in Heaven, Sergeant York, Shadow of the Thin Man, Sullivan's Travels, Suspicion, That Hamilton Woman, The Wolf Man

More Pop Culture History Resources

Popular Music in 1941
# 1 Hits of 1941
Pop Culture News

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