Interesting Questions, Facts and Information
- There are a total of 10 general entries.
Interesting Questions, Facts, and Information
|This man started off his singing career during the era of swing, and went on to become one of the most successful solo singers during the first five years of the 1940s. Girls, known as "bobby soxers" screamed, fainted and wept hysterically during his shows if he even looked their way. Who was he? ||It Wasn't All War in the 1940s
Frank Sinatra. Frank Sinatra, an only child of Italian parents, was born in New York in 1915. He was expelled from high school for misbehaviour. Oh goodness me, this could explain a lot: His mother ran an "illegal abortion business from her home" for which she was "arrested several times and convicted twice"! At the same time she exerted a strong influence in her local area and in her local Democratic Party. One can see then how Sinatra, in his adult years, could switch so easily between respectability as a performer and his private dabblings in the criminal and seamier side of life. By the age of eight, he was singing at a local bar (standing on the countertop) and earning tips for his efforts, and by the time he was in his teens, he was singing professionally. In 1935 he joined a local group of three singers, and their newly formed quartet promptly won first prize on radio in the popular "Major Bowes Amateur Hour". The prize was a six month radio and stage tour of the US. From here, his recording career took off, and he subsequently became even more well known after he joined the Tommy Dorsey band in 1939. And that's when the girls started screaming.
Sinatra's success in film was just as big as his success as a singer. It was amazing in fact. He won an Academy Award for his role as Private Angelo Maggio in the 1954 film "From Here to Eternity" which details life in Hawaii before the Pearl Harbour attack. He could sing, dance, act, the works. Three of his other well known films include the 1940 movie "Pal Joey", the 1955 "Guys and Dolls" and the 1962 "Manchurian Candidate".
Frank Sinatra suffered badly from mood swings all his life, and once described himself in an interview as an "18-karat manic depressive (who'd lived) a life of violent emotional contradictions". He was married four times during the course of that life, and was rumoured to be involved with organised crime bosses and the mafia. The FBI in fact had a file on him that was almost 2,500 pages long and he was kept under surveillance by them for fifty years. Yet this was a man who could break hearts with the power of his acting and singing, such was his perfection in these areas. Frank Sinatra kept on performing all his life until just before his death when he began exhibiting the early onset of dementia. Following a heart attack in 1997, he finally retired from the stage. In May 1998, following another heart attack, Old Blue Eyes, an extraordinary man of many contradictions, died. Engraved on his headstone are the words from one of his most popular songs: "The Best Is Yet To Come".
|By the 1940s, radio was really beginning to make its mark as a form of entertainment on the world. Concerts, news, popular music, comedy and drama shows, sports events - all made their way into homes via the magic of that little box. The 1920s to the late 1950s became known as the "Golden Era of Radio", and this peaked in the forties when people were desperate to be distracted from the worries of the years leading up to the war and beyond. Many of the great film stars began their careers as performers in radio shows. These included Red Skelton, Jack Benny, Bob Hope, and a couple of comedians known as Abbott and...(who)?||It Wasn't All War in the 1940s
Costello. Bud Abbott and Lou Costello, who would go on to make movies such as "Pardon My Sarong" (1942) and "Lost in a Harem" (1944), performed in radio shows such as "Father's Day" during this period of history. The basic plot of this production featured the pair going to a department store to buy a present for Lou's father - and it's all downhill from there. Abbott (1895-1974) always played the straight man in their long years together, while Costello (1906-1959) played the clown.
They first appeared on radio together in 1938 in a show called "The Kate Smith Hour". Kate Smith was rather large in size and remarked of her singing, for which she was known, that "When I sing, I sing all over!" A problem with the comedic duo at this time was the similarity in their voices. This caused difficultiess for radio listeners who were trying to tell them apart, so it was then that Costello developed the high-pitched squeaky voice that he became noted for. The two comedians made an astonishing total of 35 films together during their long partnership. On both radio and film, they were the most popular (and best paid) entertainers during the war years. They worked on radio from 1941 to 1951.
Their most famous routine was that known as "Who's On First" which has gone down as one of the classic comedic routines of all time. Even today they can still be seen in old films on television. Personally, I think they were a pair of idiots, but they brought laughter to the world, in a decade which most desperately needed that gift. After Costello's death in 1959, Abbott attempted a comeback with a new partner. In spite of the production being successful, he resigned, remarking sadly that "No one could ever live up to Lou."
|Professional ballroom dancing, as opposed to your regular everyday dancing, began to grow very popular in the 1940s as a form of entertainment, and, by some, was even considered an artistic sport. A form of competitive ballroom dancing that was hotly contested then, and is still competed in today, is known by what name?||It Wasn't All War in the 1940s
Dancesport. Ballroom dancing then, as now, is such a visually exciting display to watch. The exquisite and sometimes extremely skimpy outfits of the women, combined with the debonair appeal of the men's clothing, accentuated by the skill and grace of the movements, the rhythm and beauty of the music, the sparkling lights overhead - what more could a person ask for in a visual feast?
The first official debut of dancesport took place way back in 1909; it then appeared on the dance floor of London's Astoria Ballroom in 1932; and, by the early 1960s, was first presented on television. It required the completion of various categories, one of which was a Latin American number. The steps involved in that alone would put my back out for at least a century. There are many competitions today for ballroom dancing. Dancesport is just one of them. Ballroom dancing is also performed just for pure enjoyment and fun, with no competition involved at all.
Dances performed then, as now, included the cha-cha, rumba, samba, the exciting paso doble, the wicked tango, bolero, jive, foxtrot, Viennese waltz, quickstep, and many others. If done competitively, dancers are judged on elements such as poise, frame, expression, posture, timing and just about everything else under the sun. During the war years, the exacting and beautiful ballroom dance nights provided a welcome relief from the cares of the day - even though there was a scarity of male partners at the time. Even poor old grandpa was dragged up from his rocking chair and coaxed into taking part. It was, and is, pure and lovely escapism, and all kept in front of the populace's attention in the 1940s, with the beautiful dancing of actors such as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, in the films that lit the theatre screens in that period of history.
|This question has more of an Australian focus. Something we take completely for granted today was considered a rare form of entertainment back in the 1940s. Which of the choices listed below do you think that was?||It Wasn't All War in the 1940s
Going for a drive in a car. Early in the 1940s, production of new cars basically ground to a complete halt. The work of vehicle manufacturing firms was frozen. This was a result of the governments' focus on the "war effort...with (leftover models) rationed out on an as-needed basis for civilian and military use". People who lived in small rual towns and villages had it easier than those in the bigger cities during this time, and simply used shank's pony, or horses, to get to where they had to go. In the cities, people had to rely on whatever public transport there was available. It therefore became, especially for those in the country, though not a rarity, a real treat to go out driving for a few hours. In Australia, when these days happened along, families tended to go as whole groups on these outings, with the few cars available loaded with as many people as possible for the grand occasion. Or social groups of unmarried people went on tennis outings, or dances, or picnics where a game of cricket would usually be played some time during the day.
Children in institutions were particularly delighted with a car trip in this period of history. Very many institutions abounded then, the majority of which were bursting at the seams with orphans or abandoned small ones. There were also many institutions filled with children who were the victim of childhood diseases such as poliomyelitis, before the vaccine became available for this terrible illness. In Australia, and I imagine in other countries at this time, a wonderful event used to occur once a year for these children. Those residents of the large cities who did possess working vehicles banded together one precious day a year, decorated their cars with streamers and balloons, and picked up groups of these children to take them for long drives through the city and down to the beaches for a wonderful day's outing. These were known as the RACQ picnics, and they continued after the 1940s right up until the 1960s when going for a drive in a car was no particular thrill at all. It was a unique time in history, in spite of being such a terrible time in history. And the look of delight on the faces of the children in those old photographs of that time had to be seen to be believed. Some had never seen a car in their entire lives.
|Cheerleading really began to forge ahead in the 1940s when women began to incorporate major gymnastics displays into their routines. Minor attempts at this new form of cheerleading had tentatively started in the 1920s but the routines were still very sedate, as became a lady. Is it true that the first cheerleaders were men?||It Wasn't All War in the 1940s
Yes. I think that's so funny. Shake those pom-poms, boys! Cheerleading began way back in the 1880s when Princeton University men came up with what became known as the Princeton cheer. It's unknown who instigated this. By 1884, one of the graduates from Princeton, Tom Peebles, introduced cheering to the Minnesota University. This didn't catch on though until 1898, and was quite possibly even considered an undignified thing to do until then, bellowing like a common hooligan in your handlebar moustache. In 1898 however, it took off, organised by Minnesota student, Johnny Campbell, who felt that the university's losing team of footballers needed some organised vocal cheering from the stands as encouragement. By 1903, he'd also organised, not only the first official male cheerleading squad, but also the first official cheerleading fraternity in the history of the sport. It was known as "Gamma Sigma".
Then those wretched women began muscling their way in. In spite of being informed that men's voices projected further, they still wanted to cheer. There's a wonderful postcard on the internet from that era, showing a cheerleading women - complete with flags, floor length skirt, bustle, and flowered hat.
By the 1920s, women began to take cheerleading seriously, but still relatively sedately. A few graceful moves were incorporated into their routines, and some of the abandoned floosies even attempted minor pyramids and throws! By the 1930s the sport had developed further, but it would be in the 1940s that it really took off for women. Sadly, many men who may have resisted this even then, were away at war. 1948 saw the formation of the first cheerleading clinics. By the close of that decade, "girls had almost totally overtaken the males as the nation's cheerleaders". Cheerleading had become a combination of exercise, dance, voice, gymnastics - and entertainment. Today, 97% of the nation's cheerleaders are female. There's still rare groups of male cheerleaders around though, and even one or two groups with both genders incorporated. Hopefully, one day, it will be considered an equal form of sport and entertainment for both sexes. Rah, Rah, Rah!
Oh - PS: Did you know that four of the nation's leaders were once cheerleaders? These were George W. Bush (Phillips Academy Andover, Massachusetts); Ronald Reagan (Eureka College); Dwight D. Eisenhower (West Point Academy); and Franklin D. Roosevelt (Harvard).
|The original Broadway production of this stage musical, which made its debut in 1943, was performed 422 times. Written by the multi-gifted composer Cole Porter, and starring Ethel Merman, this show was particularly designed to show support for soldiers fighting overseas. Bearing in mind this focus, can you complete its title? "Something For the ... " ||It Wasn't All War in the 1940s
Boys. Full of catchy song and dance numbers, excellent lyrics, a great story line and plenty of gags, this show was an outstanding success for its era, even though it hasn't particularly bridged the years as successfully as many of Cole Porter's other works have. The plot was that of two cousins who eventually converted their fine old southern mansion into a place of residence for war brides, while their husbands were away. This beautiful old mansion was not so beautiful after all however, and was having trouble staying up following an onslaught by termites. It wasn't until the soldiers from an army camp located nearby decided to put on a show to raise funds to repair the house and make it suitable for the brides, that the musical moved into top gear. And it all ended happily ever after.
Cole Porter emerged into the world in 1891 and died in 1964. Not only was he born with a silver spoon in his mouth, he was good-looking, talented, witty, sophisticated and charming to boot. He went to both Yale and Harvard where he studied law, and then he moved to Paris where he began to develop and perfect his intense interest in, and talent for, music. In fact, he was the perfect combination to write the wonderful music that so appealed to the general population at that time. He wrote over twenty successful Broadway scores, a huge number for his time. Of all the memorable songs he composed, "Night and Day" and "Begin the Beguine" are just two examples. His most successful production perhaps was the show "Anything Goes" which is still being performed well into the 21st century by various musical theatre groups everywhere.