1932 Facts, Fun Trivia and History

1932 Facts, Fun Trivia and History

Quick Facts from 1932:

  • The Crime of the Century: Charles Lindbergh Jr., the infant son of Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh, was kidnapped from the family home near Hopewell, New Jersey.
  • Influential Songs include Brother Can You Spare a Dime by Bing Crosby, and Night and Day by Cole Porter.
  • The Movies to Watch include Grand Hotel, Emma, Freaks, Scarface, The Mummy, Blonde Venus, White Zombie, Island of Lost Souls, and Tarzan the Ape Man.
  • The Most Infamous Person in America was probably Al Capone
  • Notable books include Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • Price of 1 12 oz Perrier Water in 1932: 25 cents
  • The Funny Duo was: Laurel and Hardy
    The Funny Guy was W.C. Fields
  • The Revenue Act of 1932 created the first gas tax in the United States at 1 cent per gallon.

Top Ten Baby Names of 1932

Mary, Betty, Barbara, Dorothy, Joan, Robert, James, John, William

US Life Expectancy

(1932) Males: 61.0 years, Females: 63.5 years

The Stars

Josephine Baker, Joan Blondell, Claudette Colbert, Greta Garbo, Louise Brooks, Joan Crawford, Marion Davies, Dolores Del Rio, Marlene Dietrich, Kay Francis, Jean Harlow, Katharine Hepburn, Myrna Loy, Barbara Stanwyck, Thelma Todd, Mae West

Entertainment History: The Oscars

The 5th Academy Awards unfolded on November 18, 1932, at the Fiesta Room of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Lionel Barrymore served as the host. The movie eligibility period was August 1, 1931, to July 31, 1932. Grand Hotel won Best Picture but, interestingly, didn’t receive any other nominations, a feat unmatched in Oscar history. Walt Disney scored big with Flowers and Trees, the first-ever color cartoon, grabbing the first Academy Award for Animated Short Subject. Fredric March and Wallace Beery both won Best Actor, marking the only time in Oscar history that the category had co-winners. The ceremony also celebrated a milestone in technical advancements with the introduction of the Academy Award for Best Sound Recording.

Miss America


Time Magazine’s Man of the Year

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Firsts, Inventions, and Wonders

The 1932 Indian movie Indrasabha contained 72 songs, a record for most songs in a movie that still stands today. 2016’s Sing features 64 songs.

The word “gunk” is a genericized trademark name for a “degreasing solvent” dating from 1932.

The text “This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental” is at the end of film came about because the Russian prince who killed Rasputin sued MGM for not accurately depicting Rasputin’s murder in their 1932 film Rasputin and the Empress.

The University of Southern California (USC) was the first to print “property of” on their t-shirts in 1932.

When the BBC World Service started broadcasting in 1932, it announced five times, “The programs will neither be very interesting nor very good.”

The Staple Remover was invented.

The first science fiction program on radio, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, debuted.

Goofy’s original name was “Dippy Dawg” when he debuted in 1932’s Mickey’s Review.

Nielsen company founder, Arthur C. Nielsen invented “market share” in 1932, becoming the first to offer market research that now covers most TV ratings and radio charts.

1932’s White Zombie (Directed by Victor Halperin and starring Bela Lugosi) is considered the first feature-length zombie film.

Radio City Music Hall opened in New York City.

Walt Disney’s Flowers and Trees, the first animated cartoon to be presented in full Technicolor, premiered in Los Angeles.

Eddie Eagan is the only athlete to have won gold in different events, at both the Summer and Winter Olympics, winning his first while boxing in 1920, and his second while on the 4-man bobsled in 1932.

The Betty Boop short Minnie the Moocher features the earliest known film of Cab Calloway performing. You can watch him Moonwalk during the opening credits.

The Quote

Grand Hotel directed by Edmund Goulding and starring Greta Garbo and John Barrymore, premiered in New York.
“I want to be alone” – Great Garbo, as Grusinskaya.

The Biggest Pop Artists of 1932 include

Louis Armstrong, Ted Black & His Orchestra, Bing Crosby, Jack Denny & His Orchestra, Duke Ellington, Jimmie Grier & His Orchestra, Jack Hylton and His Orchestra, Art Kassel and His Kassels-in-the-Air, Wayne King and His Orchestra, Ted Lewis and His Band, Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians, The Mills Brothers, Ruby Newman & His Orchestra, Ray Noble and His Orchestra, George Olsen and His Orchestra, Leo Reisman and His Orchestra, Peter van Steeden & His Orchestra, Rudy Vallée & His Connecticut Yankees, Paul Whiteman, and His Orchestra

The Strange

US Navy Apprentice Seaman Charles M. “Bud” Cowart was trying to land the military airship USS Akron in New Jersey and failed to let go of the rope and had to hold on for two hours as it rose to 2000 feet over the sea until he was hoisted up. Two other men fell to their deaths.

Despite losing 2 to 9 to Japan and 1 to 24 to India, the United States still won bronze in the field hockey competition of the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles because only three teams participated.

Before 1932, Macy’s Parade balloons were intentionally released into the air after the event until one wrapped itself around an airplane wing, causing a tailspin and a near-fatal crash.

On January 15, 1932, Pasadena Junior College students left their classes and began a snowball fight that escalated into a riot that took over thirty policemen and teargas to disperse.

The Australian Military fought against the Emu birds in 1932 in an attempt to cull the population in The Great Emu War. It was said that “The Emu command had ordered guerrilla tactics.” Not even the Royal Artillery helped. TLDR: The Emus beat the Australian Military.

Welsh actress Peg Entwistle committed suicide by jumping from the Hollywood Sign. She jumped from the letter “H.”

Lilly Lindeström was found murdered in her small apartment in Stockholm, Sweden. Her body had been drained of some, if not all, of her blood. Police suspected the perpetrator used the implement to drink Lilly’s blood. The case remains unsolved.

The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker was believed to be extinct since the early 1900s. In 1932, however, to refute these claims, Mason Spencer, a Louisiana state legislator, shot and killed one of the last birds and brought the remains to their local wildlife office. The bird has been spotted as recently as 2004.

Pop Culture Facts & History

The text “This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental” at the end of the film credits came about because the Russian prince who killed Rasputin sued MGM for not accurately depicting Rasputin’s murder in their 1932 film, Rasputin and the Empress. (also, Princess Irina Yusupova sued MGM for implying that Rasputin had seduced her).

The cost of tuition for one year at Yale was $1,056 for a year.

Carl Magee invented the first parking meter used in Oklahoma City in 1935.

Ed McGivern could fire five shots at five yards into a silver dollar in 45/100ths of a second, shoot six hand-thrown clays, shoot a dime on the fly, and hold The Guinness World Record for “The greatest rapid-fire feat.”

Shemp was an original member of The Three Stooges- before Curly. Curly took Shemp’s place in 1932, and Shemp returned to the role in 1946 when Curly left.

James Chadwick discovered the neutron.
Carl David Anderson discovered the positron.

The demand for cash was so low during the Great Depression, the US Mint stopped the production of nickels between 1932-33.

Babe Ruth made his famous “called shot” in the fifth inning of game 3 of the 1932 World Series.

Eddie Eagan is the only athlete to have won gold for different events at the Summer and Winter Olympics, winning his first while boxing in 1920, and his second while on the 4-man bobsled in 1932.

In 1932, the cost of tuition for one year at Yale was $1,056 for a year.

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

Ethan Allen Interiors opened in Beecher Falls, Vermont.

Radio City Music Hall opened on December 27, 1932. The first show featured Ray Bolger (vaudeville song-and-dance man, Wizard of Oz‘s Scarecrow) and dancing great Martha Graham.

The Gift

Neils Bohr was gifted a house with free beer for life on winning the Nobel Prize. A beer pipeline was connected to this house from the Carlsberg brewery next door. Bohr stayed there from 1932 until he died in 1962.

Nobel Prize Winners

Physics – Werner Karl Heisenberg
Chemistry – Irving Langmuir
Physiology or Medicine – Sir Charles Scott Sherrington, Edgar Douglas Adrian
Literature – John Galsworthy
Peace – not awarded

Popular and Best-selling Books From 1932

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
The Fountain by Charles Langbridge Morgan
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
Inheritance by Phyllis Bentley
Magnificent Obsession by Lloyd C. Douglas
Magnolia Street by Louis Golding
Mary’s Neck by Booth Tarkington
Old Wine and New by Warwick Deeping
The Sheltered Life by Ellen Glasgow
Sons by Pearl S. Buck
Three Loves by A. J. Cronin


World Series Champions: New York Yankees
Stanley Cup Champs: Toronto Maple Leafs
U.S. Open Golf: Gene Sarazan
U.S. Tennis (Men/Ladies): H. Ellsworth Vines/Helen H. Jacobs
Wimbledon (Men/Women): Ellsworth Vines/Helen Moody
NCAA Football Champions: Michigan & USC
Kentucky Derby Winner: Burgoo King
Boston Marathon Winner: Paul de Bruyn 2:33:36

More 1932 Facts & History Resources:

Most Popular Baby Names (BabyCenter.com)
Popular and Notable Books (popculture.us)
Broadway Shows that Opened in 1932
1932 Calendar, courtesy of Time and Date.com
Fact Monster
The Great Depression Investopedia
1930s, Infoplease.com World History
1932 in Movies (according to IMDB)
Retrowaste Vintage Culture
1930s Slang
Wikipedia 1932
WW II Timeline