1923 Fun Facts, Trivia and History

1923 History, Fun Facts and Trivia

Quick Facts from 1923

  • World (Pop Culture) Changing Event: Howard Carter opened the inner burial chamber of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun’s tomb and found the sarcophagus
  • Influential Songs include: Yes! We Have No Bananas by Billy Jones and others. Also, Parade of the Wooden Soldiers and I’ll Build A Stairway to Paradise by Paul Whiteman.
  • The Big Movie: November 23, 1923: Cecil B. DeMille’s (first) version of The Ten Commandments premiered.
  • Other Movies to Watch include Safety Last!, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Pilgrim, Three Ages and The Extra Girl
  • The Most Famous Person in America was probably Babe Ruth
  • Notable books include The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
  • Price of Men’s Mohair Suit in 1923: $14.00
  • Roy and Walt Disney founded The Walt Disney Company.
  • Yankee Stadium opened in The Bronx.
  • The Funny Guy was Harold Lloyd
  • The Date: November 9th is known as the day of fate in German history- on the same November Day, Robert Blum was executed in 1848, Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated in 1918, Hitler’s Munich Putsch occurred in 1923, Kristallnacht occurred in 1938, and the Berlin Wall came down in 1989.

Significant news events that occurred in 1923

  • January: The signing of the Dawes Plan, which restructured Germany’s World War I reparations and led to economic stability in the country.
  • February: The burial of Vladimir Lenin’s body in a mausoleum in Moscow became a major tourist attraction in the Soviet Union.
  • March: The governor of Oklahoma signs House Bill 197 with the Montgomery amendment outlawing the theory of evolution in public school textbooks purchased by the state, the first anti-Darwinian legislation passed in the US.
  • April: The first game at Yankee Stadium, “The House That Ruth Built,” was played in New York City.
  • May: The Riegelmann Boardwalk at Coney Island officially opened.
  • June: Frank Hayes, 35, an American jockey, died while riding the horse Sweet Kiss to victory at Belmont Park in New York.
  • July: The Hollywood Sign was inaugurated in California (initially reading Hollywoodland).
  • August: The Hollywood Studios, a group of film studios later known as the “Big Five,” was formed.
    (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Warner Bros., Paramount, Fox, and RKO)
  • September 1923 Berkeley Fire: Berkeley, California erupted, consuming 640 structures, including 584 homes. No one was killed.
  • October: Roy and Walt Disney founded The Walt Disney Company.
  • November: Adolf Hitler’s political party, the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (Nazi Party), failed to win a majority in the German elections, but Hitler was appointed Chancellor of Germany in January of the following year.
  • December: The Cecil B. DeMille-directed epic film The Ten Commandments premiered at Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood.

Top Ten Baby Names of 1923

Mary, Dorothy, Helen, Margaret, Betty, Ruth, Virginia, Mildred, Elizabeth
John, Robert, William, James, Charles, George, Joseph, Edward, Richard, Donald
*”John” was the most popular name for boys in America every year from 1880 to 1923.

US Life Expectancy

(1923) Males: 56.1 years, Females: 58.5 years

The Stars

Theda Bara, Marion Davies, Pola Negri, Mary Pickford

Miss America

Mary Katherine Campbell (Columbus, Ohio)
*Mary Katherine won twice and was 1st Runner-up at the 1924 pageant.

Firsts, Inventions, and Wonders

The word Junkie, in the context of a drug addict.

The Hollywood(land) Sign, constructed in 1923, was designed to only stand for 18 months.

The first 24 Hours of Le Mans motor race was held (won by André Lagache and René Léonard).

Time Magazine began publication.

Warner Brothers Film Studio incorporated.

The Firestone Tire and Rubber Company started producing inflatable tires.

The first recorded use of the word Guesstimate.

The Poinsettia as we know it was created in 1923 by grafting two other types of poinsettias.

On April 28, 2023, Wembley Stadium opened.

Coca-Cola invented the six-pack in 1923.

The Biggest Pop Artists of 1923 include:

Nora Bayes, Ben Bernie and His Orchestra, Henry Burr, Eddie Cantor, Carl Fenton & His Orchestra, Ernest Hare, Marion Harris, Al Jolson, Isham Jones and His Orchestra, Billy Jones, Dolly Kay, Benny Krueger and His Orchestra, Art Landry & His Orchestra, Ted Lewis & His Band, Abe Lyman and His Californians, The Original Dixieland Band, Blossom Seeley, Ed Smalle, Bessie Smith, John Steel, Fred Waring’s Pennsylvanians, Van & Schenck, Paul Whiteman, and His Orchestra

US Politics

August 3, 1923 (Friday): First inauguration of Calvin Coolidge

Baby Ruth Candy Bar

As a promotional stunt in 1923, Otto Schnering, founder of Curtiss Candy Company, had Baby Ruth candy bars dropped from airplanes in cities around the country, with tiny parachutes attached to each candy bar. The Baby Ruth candy bar was named after President Grover Cleveland’s daughter, Ruth Cleveland, who was known as “Baby Ruth.” The company that created the candy bar, the Curtiss Candy Company, claimed that it was named after Ruth Cleveland to capitalize on the popularity of the president’s daughter. However, some people believe that the candy bar was named after baseball player Babe Ruth, as the candy bar’s introduction coincides with Babe Ruth’s rise to fame. Despite the controversy surrounding the name, the Baby Ruth candy bar has remained popular since it was first introduced in the 1920s, and the Nestle company now owns it. It is a chocolate-covered candy bar filled with peanuts, caramel, and nougat.

Pop Culture Facts & History

Alma Cummings was the first ‘known’ dance marathon winner, who danced for 27 hours without stopping. Vera Sheppard overtook her record a few months later with 69 hours of dancing. The American Society of Teachers of Dancing had a petition against them because it was “dangerous and a disgrace to the art of dancing.”

The Coca-Cola ‘6 pack’ was introduced. The famed curved bottle was made beginning in 1916. That specific curve is copyrighted, so no one else can use it. The Coca-Cola logo is written in the Spenserian font.

After filming the 1923 film The Ten Commandments, the set pieces, including 21 sphinxes, 35-foot statues, and a set of gates 110 feet tall, were left to fall over and be buried by the wind. Most are still there, covered by sand in the desert near Santa Barbara County, California.

Frederick Banting discovered insulin in 1923; he refused to put his name on the patent. He felt it was unethical for a doctor to profit from a discovery that would save lives. Banting’s co-inventors, James Collip, and Charles Best, sold the insulin patent to the University of Toronto for $1.

Between 1869 and 1923, seven out of the eleven US Presidents were born in Ohio.

In 1923, the USPS required that all delivery addresses feature a mailbox or drop slot to reduce the time mail carriers waited at each door.

The single-year car model sales record had remained unbroken since 1923, when Ford sold 2,011,125 Model Ts.

Every Vegemite jar has come from the same factory in Melbourne, Australia, since 1923.

Gene Salazar, a professional golfer who signed a lifetime endorsement deal with Wilson in 1923 and collected paychecks for 75 years until he passed away in 1997.

A man calling himself “The Human Fly” asked county officials in Murfreesboro, TN, if he could climb the courthouse unassisted. Given permission, the man completed his climb but fell forty feet to his death as he started down. A collection of $12 was taken up for his burial.

In 1923, Goodyear Tire created a subsidiary known as the Goodyear Zeppelin Company to manufacture airships, and between 1923 and 1995, it made over three hundred zeppelins.

The Monroe Cheese Company invented Velveeta in 1923 to fix imperfect, unsellable cheese wheels and lost the company money. The smooth cheese product was made with leftover cheese bits and whey, a byproduct of the cheesemaking process.

John Cleese’s surname was changed in 1923 by his father, who believed the original ” Cheese ” surname was embarrassing.

The Sacramento Kings are the oldest team in the NBA. The franchise was formed in 1923 as the Rochester Seagrams, a semi-professional team from Rochester, New York.

When organized cheerleading began in 1898, it was an all-male activity. It wasn’t until 1923 that the University of Minnesota permitted the first female cheerleaders.

The record for the longest gap between Major League appearances is 22 years, held by Paul Schreiber. Having pitched earlier in 1923 for the Brooklyn Robins, Schreiber, now a coach for the Yankees, pitched two more games in 1945 to help out a roster depleted by World War II.

Two-Thirds of Soviet Men Born in 1923 Didn’t Survive World War II.

In 1914, the exchange rate of the German mark to the American dollar was about 4.2 to one. Nine years later, it was 4.2 trillion to one, thanks to hyperinflation. The price of a loaf of bread went from 250 marks in January 1923 to 200 trillion in November ’23.

During the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 in Japan, 44,000 residents who had sought refuge near Tokyo’s Sumida River were immolated in only a matter of minutes by a freak pillar of fire known as a ‘dragon twist.’

Despite being dead, Frank Hayes became the first-ever jockey to win a horse race. He died from a heart attack mid-race, but somehow, his body stayed strapped onto the horse, and he crossed the finish line in first place, beating 20-1 odds.

John Hertz, the owner of the Yellow Cab Company, bought Walter Jacob’s Chicago-based car rental company and renamed it after himself. The yellow/black Hertz logo is a carry-on from the Yellow Cab Company.

Skippy Peanut Butter was originally a merchandising gimmick for a comic strip called Skippy, which ran from 1923 to 1945.

Yankee Stadium – ‘The House That (Babe) Ruth Built’ was opened.

Lou Gehrig had a better batting average than Babe Ruth in 1923-25, but Ruth had a better average than Gehrig over the three years combined. This is an example of a mathematical curiosity called Simpson’s Paradox.

Delaware’s chicken industry can trace its origins to 1923 when an Ocean View, Delaware farm received 500 chicks instead of the 50 they ordered.

The Distress Call “Mayday – Mayday – Mayday” was first used by Frederick Stanley Mockford, a senior radio operator in London. Because most of the radio traffic was between London and Paris, Mayday comes from the French word “m’aider” in “Venez m’aider,” which means “come help me.”

Gene Salazar was a professional golfer who signed a lifetime endorsement deal with Wilson in 1923 and collected on it for 75 years until he passed away in 1997.

In 1914, the exchange rate of the German mark to the American dollar was about 4.2 to one. Nine years later, it was 4.2 trillion to one. The price of a loaf of bread went from 250 marks in January 1923 to 200 trillion in November ’23.

Joseph Goebbels attributed everything he knew about population control to just two books, Propaganda (1928) and Crystalizing Public Opinion (1923). Today, the techniques in these books are used extensively by figures in politics, media, and advertising.

To get women to smoke cigarettes in the 1920s, tobacco companies devised a campaign to equate cigarettes as “torches of freedom.” The campaign helped women smoke from 5% in 1923 to 18.1% in 1935.

An estimated 70/80% of Soviet males born in 1923 didn’t survive World War II.

The first American president to visit Canada was Warren Harding in 1923. He spoke and played golf in Vancouver but contracted pneumonia and died a week later.

“American” was the official language of Illinois from 1923 to 1969.

Nerd News:
The discovery of other galaxies outside our Milky Way was made in 1923 by Edwin Hubble. Edwin Powell Hubble was an American astronomer widely considered one of the most influential figures in the history of astronomy. He is best known for discovering that the universe is expanding, fundamentally changing our understanding and place.

One of Hubble’s most significant contributions was his observation and measurement of the Andromeda galaxy, also known as M31. In the 1920s, Hubble used the 100-inch telescope at the Mount Wilson Observatory in California to study the Andromeda galaxy in great detail. He discovered Andromeda was a separate galaxy far outside our Milky Way galaxy.

Nobel Prize Winners

Physics – Robert Andrews Millikan
Chemistry – Fritz Pregl
Physiology or Medicine – Frederick Grant Banting, John James Rickard Macleod
Literature – William Butler Yeats

Popular and Best-selling Books From 1923

Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis
Black Oxen by Gertrude Atherton
The Breaking Point by Mary Roberts Rinehart
His Children’s Children by Arthur Train
The Dim Lantern by Temple Bailey
The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
This Freedom by A. S. M. Hutchinson
The Mine with the Iron Door by Harold Bell Wright
The Prophet by Kahil Gibran
The Sea Hawk by Rafael Sabatini
Spring and All by William Carlos Williams
Wanderer of the Wasteland by Zane Grey

Sports

World Series Champions: New York Yankees
Stanley Cup Champs: Ottawa Senators
U.S. Open Golf: Bobby Jones
U.S. Tennis (Men/Ladies): William (Bill) T. Tilden/Helen Wills
Wimbledon (Men/Women): Bill Johnston/Suzanne Lenglen
NCAA Football Champions: Illinois & Michigan
Kentucky Derby Winner: Zev
Boston Marathon Winner: Clarence DeMar Time: 2:23:47

Only 5 NFL Games have ended with a 2-0 score:

  • November 29, 1923: Akron Pros 2, Buffalo All-Americans 0
  • November 21, 1926: Kansas City Cowboys 2, Buffalo Rangers 0
  • November 29, 1928: Frankford Yellow Jackets 2, Green Bay Packers 0
  • October 16, 1932: Green Bay Packers 2, Chicago Bears 0
  • September 18, 1938: Chicago Bears 2, Green Bay Packers 0

More 1923 Facts & History Resources:

Most Popular Baby Names (BabyCenter.com)
Popular and Notable Books (popculture.us)
Broadway Shows that Opened in 1923
1923 Calendar, courtesy of Time and Date.com
Fact Monster
1920s, Infoplease.com World History
1923 in Movies (according to IMDB)
Retrowaste Vintage Culture
1920s Slang
Wikipedia 1923