1929 History, Fun Facts and Trivia

1929 Fun Facts, Trivia and History

Quick Facts from 1929

  • World Changing Event: The Wall Street Crash of 1929, also known as the Great Crash, or the Stock Market Crash of 1929, began on October 24 and peaked on October 29, 1929.
  • Influential Songs include Pop Standards Singin’ in the Rain and When You’re Smiling.
  • The Movies to Watch include The Cocoanuts, Pandora’s Box, Blackmail, Hallelujah, and The Hollywood Revue of 1929
  • The Most Famous Person in America was probably Al Jolson
  • From 1928-1933, giant balloons were released into the air at the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. In 1929, they were postmarked with a return address, and you won a prize if you found one and sent it back.
  • Notable books include All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque and A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway.
  • Price of  Jell-O in 1929: 20 cents/3 packs
  • The Funny Duo were George Burns and Gracie Allen
  • The Galactic Observation: Astronomer Edwin Powell Hubble proposed the expanding universe theory.

Top Ten Baby Names of 1929

Mary, Betty, Dorothy, Helen, Margaret, Robert, James, John, William, Charles

US Life Expectancy

(1929) Males: 55.8 years, Females: 58.7 years

The Stars

Josephine Baker, Clara Bow, Dolores Costello, Louise Brooks, Joan Crawford, Marion Davies, Dolores Del Rio, Mary Eaton, Greta Garbo, Myrna Loy, Thelma Todd, Anna May Wong

The Oscars

The 1st Academy Awards rolled out the red carpet on May 16, 1929, at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel’s Blossom Room with actor Douglas Fairbanks hosting the event. Wings, a silent war film, clinched the Best Picture category, making it the only silent film to win the prestigious award. Frank Borzage bagged the Best Director title for Seventh Heaven, a romantic drama that set trends for the genre. Regarding acting, Emil Jannings was the star, winning Best Actor for his roles in The Last Command and The Way of All Flesh. Janet Gaynor made history as the youngest Best Actress winner and was then, honored for her roles in Seventh Heaven, Street Angel, and Sunrise.

Unlike today’s sprawling ceremonies, the initial event was a 15-minute affair attended by fewer than 300 guests. The term “Oscar” hadn’t even been coined yet, and the awards were officially known as “Academy Awards of Merit.” Interestingly, the awards had more nuanced categories in their early days; for example, there were two types of Best Picture awards—Outstanding Picture and Unique and Artistic Production. While Wings swooped the Outstanding Picture, Sunrise captured the Unique and Artistic category. So, the Academy Awards, initially a small, private affair, have evolved into a global spectacle, continuing to captivate audiences nearly a century later.

Miss America


Time Magazine’s Man of the Year

Owen D. Young

Firsts, Inventions, and Wonders

When first created in 1929, 7-Up (7 ounces of “Bib-Label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda.”) contained the mood-enhancing drug lithium citrate and did so until it was removed from the formula in 1950.

Mickey Mouse was the first-ever cartoon character to speak. In The Karnival Kid, Mickey’s first words were, “Hot dogs!”

Times New Roman is a modified version of Times Roman, a font created in 1929 for the British newspaper The Times. It was designed by Monotype to be used by rivals at Linotype on their typesetting machines.

Popeye first appeared in the daily King Features comic strip Thimble Theatre, on January 17, 1929.

Pine-Sol cleaner was invented.

On November 9, in New York City, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) opened to the public.

Tarzan and Buck Rogers in the 25th Century A.D. comic strips debuted.

Vatican City was founded in 1929.

Alfred Hitchcock made the first recorded “That’s what she said” (as the girl said to the soldier) joke while filming his movie Blackmail.

The Biggest Pop Artists of 1929 include

Gus Arnheim & His Orchestra, Gene Austin, Eddie Cantor, Cliff Edwards, Ruth Etting, Johnny Hamp & His Orchestra, Bob Haring and His Orchestra, Libby Holman, Al Jolson, Helen Kane, Ted Lewis, and His Band, Nick Lucas, George Olson, and His Orchestra, Leo Reisman and His Orchestra, Nat Shilkret & the Victor Orchestra, Rudy Vallée & His Connecticut Yankees, Ethel Waters, Ted Weems and His Orchestra, Paul Whiteman & His Orchestra

Scandalous News

On March 31, at New York City’s Easter Parade, a small group of young women proudly smoked cigarettes as they marched. Since smoking was considered a male-dominated activity then, these cigarettes were marketed as “Torches of Freedom” to help break the taboo and convince women to buy them. Edward Bernays, a nephew of Sigmund Freud, who was nicknamed “the father of public relations,” created the #marketingploy

Women were not legally considered ‘Persons’ in Canada until 1929.

The US Supreme Court voted 8 -1 in favor of a Eugenics program requiring forced sterilization of citizens deemed not intelligent enough to reproduce.

The Quote

Mobster Frank Gusenberg told police, “Nobody shot me,” after being shot eight times at the St Valentine’s Day Massacre.

US Politics

March 4, 1929 (Monday): Inauguration of Herbert Hoover

Pop Culture History

John F Kennedy’s father, Joe Kennedy, sold his entire stock portfolio before the 1929 crash because “a shoeshine boy gave him some stock tips. And He figured that when the shoeshine boys have tips, the market is too popular for its good.”

From 1928-1933, giant balloons were released into the air at the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. In 1929, they were postmarked with a return address, and you won a prize if you found one and sent it back.

THE SAINT VALENTINE’S DAY MASSACRE – Al Capone’s men allegedly killed seven other alleged gangsters in an apparent shooting on February 14th. This would have given Mr. Capone control of Chicago’s mob underworld, if such a thing, in fact, actually existed.

The United States Congress established the Grand Teton National Park.

Vladimir Zworykin invented the cathode-ray tube called the kinescope, the basis for 20th-century television screens.

The Zildjian musical instrument company, which started in 1623 in Turkey and moved to the US in 1929, is widely recognized as the oldest family-owned business in America.

An estimated 50% of all American films made before 1950 and over 90% of those made before 1929 are forever lost.

The practice of identifying baseball players by number was started by the Yankees in 1929.  (originally corresponding to a player’s position in the batting order).

Music and the Spoken Word is the longest-running continuous network program in the world. It debuted in 1929 and has made over 4,400 weekly broadcasts.

When the Levee Breaks is a country blues song written and first recorded by Kansas Joe McCoy and Memphis Minnie in 1929, inspired by the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927. Led Zeppelin covered it on their Led Zeppelin IV album.

‘Zombie’ was introduced to the Western world in The Magic Island by W.B. Seabrook in 1929.

Rumor is that Louis B. Mayer “fixed” the first Academy Awards presentation.

The first public demonstration of color TV was held at Bell Telephone Laboratories in New York. The first images were a bouquet of roses and an American flag.

Coco the Clown debuted at Bertram Mills Circus in Manchester, England.

All Quiet on the Western Front (Im Westen nichts Neues) by Erich Maria Remarque, was published in book form.

“Blue Chip” refers to high-value poker chips at the turn of the 20th century. It was first applied to stocks in 1929, shortly before the great stock market crash.

The Countdown we use today was first seen in Fritz Lang’s Woman on the Moon.

Strange, But True

General Motors and Chevrolet were founded by the same man, William Durant, who later lost all his money in the stock market crash in 1929 and died nearly bankrupt while managing a bowling alley.

Roger Babson correctly predicted the Wall Street Crash of 1929 using the unorthodox notion that gravity and Sir Isaac Newton’s law of action and reaction can be used to explain movement in the stock markets.

Princeton researchers successfully turned a live cat into a functioning telephone.

Nobel Prize Winners

Physics – Louis de Broglie
Chemistry- Arthur Harden, Hans Karl August Simon von Euler-Chelpin
Physiology or Medicine – Christiaan Eijkman, Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins
Literature – Thomas Mann
Peace – Frank Billings Kellogg

Popular and Best-selling Books From 1929

A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
The Bishop Murder Case by S. S. Van Dine
Dodsworth by Sinclair Lewis
Dark Hester by Anne Douglas Sedgwick
Peder Victorious by O. E. Rolvaag
Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett
Roper’s Row by Warwick Deeping
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner


World Series Champions: Philadelphia Athletics
Stanley Cup Champs: Boston Bruins
U.S. Open Golf: Bobby Jones
U.S. Tennis (Men/Ladies): William (Bill) T. Tilden/Helen Wills
Wimbledon (Men/Women): Henri Cochet/Helen Wills
NCAA Football Champions: Notre Dame
Kentucky Derby Winner: Clyde Van Dusen
Boston Marathon Winner: Johnny Miles Time: 2:33:08

More 1929 Facts & History Resources:

Most Popular Baby Names (BabyCenter.com)
Popular and Notable Books (popculture.us)
Broadway Shows that Opened in 1929
1929 Calendar, courtesy of Time and Date.com
Fact Monster
1920s Fads (BabyCenter.com)
1920s, Infoplease.com World History
1929 in Movies (according to IMDB)
Retrowaste Vintage Culture
1920s Slang
Wikipedia 1929