Notable Events - 1933

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Top Entertainment in 1933

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

Which films were released in 1933?

Full listing from IMDB can be found here

The Top 50

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

Escaped from Nazi Germany in 1933

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 :

What was being advertised in 1933?

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."

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 - Probibition 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.

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

The Radio Times - Christmas 1933

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!

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.’

Boeing 247 - First Modern Commercial Aircraft

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

GB win the Davis Cup in 1933

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

Books that captured the imagination written in 1933

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

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

Edward VIII and his neices '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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Page updated : 14th June 2017