1933 Pop Culture Fun Facts, Trivia and History

1933 Fun Facts, Trivia and History

Quick Facts from 1933:

  • World Changing Event: Adolf Hitler’s rise as Germany’s leader.
  • Influential Songs include The Gold Diggers Song (We’re In The Money), Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf? and Stormy Weather by Ethel Waters.
  • The Movies to Watch include Duck Soup, King Kong, The Invisible Man, 42nd Street, Sons of the Desert, Gold Deggirs of 1933, Son of King, and Mystery of the Wax Museum.
  • Pop Culture Changing Moment: US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave his first ‘Fireside Chat.’
  • Notable books include: God’s Little Acre by Erskine Caldwell and
  • Price of a lightbulb in 1933: 18 cents
  • Percy Shaw invented the ‘Cat’s Eye’ red light reflector in Yorkshire, England.
  • The Funny Duo was: Laurel and Hardy
    The Funny Risque Lady was: Mae West
    The Funny Guy was W.C. Fields
  • The Yacht: From 1933 until 1977, there was a Presidential Yacht, but Jimmy Carter sold it off; it is reportedly deteriorating in a Virginia boatyard.

Top Ten Baby Names of 1933

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

US Life Expectancy

(1933) Males: 61.7 years, Females: 65.1 years

The Stars

Josephine Baker, Joan Blondell, Claudette Colbert, Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Marion Davies, Dolores Del Rio, Marlene Dietrich, Kay Francis, Jean Harlow, Katharine Hepburn, Hedy Lamarr, Myrna Loy, Ginger Rogers, Barbara Stanwyck, Thelma Todd, Raquel Torres, Mae West, Fay Wray

Miss America

Marian Bergeron (West Haven, Connecticut)

Time Magazine’s Man of the Year

Hugh Samuel Johnson

The Biggest Films of 1933

1. King Kong (Pop Culture Classic)
2. She Done Him Wrong (Crime)
3. 42nd Street (Pop Culture Classic)
4. Duck Soup (Pop Culture Classic)
5. The Invisible Man (Sci-Fi Horror)
6. I’m No Angel (Mae West)
7. Bombshell (Jean Harlow)
8. Mystery of the Wax Museum
9. Sons of the Desert
10. Little Women (Katharine Hepburn)
11. The Monkey’s Paw (Horror)
12. The Vampire Bat (Horror)
*Movies beyond the Top Five are based on (a somewhat subjective) ranking based on how much they had a long-lasting effect on Pop Culture.

Firsts, Inventions, and Wonders

The Gallo (Ernest & Julio) Winery opened.

Richard Hollingshead opened the first movie, Drive-In, in Camden, NJ.

Krispy Kreme opened in Nashville, Tennessee.

The US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was created.

The first singing telegram was delivered to actor Rudy Vallee, in New York.

The Lone Ranger debuted on Detroit’s WXYZ radio.

Chevrolet has produced the Chevy Suburban uninterrupted since 1933.

Newsweek Magazine began publication.

Esquire Magazine began publication.

Two young nerds from Cleveland, Jerome Siegel and Joseph Shuster, had a little self-published science fiction fanzine called Science Fiction. In issue #3, had a story about a super-powered telepath who attempted to take over the world. A few years later, they evolved the Super-Man idea and brought it to National Allied Publications, which later became DC Comics. The character named Superman became the most famous fictional character of all time.

The Biggest Pop Artists of 1933 include

Don Bestor and his Orchestra, Bing Crosby, Eddy Duchin and His Orchestra, Duke Ellington, Jan Garber and His Orchestra, Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orchestra, Hal Kemp and His Orchestra, Wayne King and His Orchestra, Ted Lewis and His Band, Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians, Freddy Martin and His Orchestra, Clyde McCoy & His Orchestra, George Olsen and His Orchestra, Ray Noble and His Orchestra, Don Redman & His Orchestra, Leo Reisman and His Orchestra, Rudy Vallée & His Connecticut Yankees, Ethel Waters, Paul Whiteman & His Orchestra, Victor Young & His Orchestra

US Politics

March 4, 1933 (Saturday) First inauguration of Franklin D. Roosevelt

The Strange

Gloomy Sunday, also known as the Hungarian Suicide Song, was composed by Rezso Seress and published in 1933. The song is said to have led to the suicide of 19 people. #urbanlegend

The first modern sighting of the Loch Ness Monster was by Aldie and John Mackay, who saw “something resembling a whale.” The first photo of The Loch Ness monster was taken by Hugh Gray. #nessie

William Anstruther-Gray, a member of the British Parliament, asked his Government in 1933 for an “investigation to be made into the existence of a monster in Loch Ness”. The Government concluded there was “no reason to suspect the presence of any baneful monster.”

United States Representative Wesley Lloyd proposed a constitutional amendment limiting personal wealth to $1,000,000.

Richard Hollinghead opened the first drive-in theater in Camden, New Jersey.

Ten million acres of growing cotton were plowed up, bountiful crops were left to rot, and six million piglets were killed and discarded in the US to raise prices for commodities and income for farmers through ‘artificial scarcity’.

Allan Blair, a University of Alabama professor, voluntarily allowed a black widow spider to bite him as scientists recorded him suffering for several days. Before this, some skeptics believed black widows were not dangerous to humans. He recovered.

The decision of RKO Pictures to finance King Kong may have been influenced by a 1930 hoax documentary called Ingagi, about sex between human women and gorillas.

In Syria, it was once a commonly held belief that using Yo-Yos would bring drought. So, they were banned country-wide in 1933.

During Prohibition in the US, the government denatured forms of industrial alcohol with the deadly poison methanol to prevent people from drinking illicitly. By the end of Prohibition in 1933, it is estimated that over 10,000 had died from denatured alcohol poisoning. #rip

In n 1933, actress Marlene Dietrich was threatened with arrest in Paris for wearing pants, and it was officially illegal for women to wear trousers there until 2013.

America’s most senior, and most decorated Marine, General Smedley Butler, told the House of Representatives that wealthy businessmen tried to recruit him to overthrow President Roosevelt in a coup, The Business Plot, and install a fascist government. The New York Times called it a “gigantic hoax”.

Kansas City blatantly ignored Prohibition for all 13 years (1920 to 1933).

Pop Culture Facts & History

King Kong was the first over-the-top Sci-Fi Blockbuster Movie.

The Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was repealed, allowing the sale and consumption of alcoholic drinks, and ending Prohibition. The 18th Amendment was the first (and only) constitutional amendment withheld a right from American citizens – the Constitution has traditionally protected individual rights.

During prohibition in the US, an exemption was made for whiskey prescribed by a doctor and sold through a pharmacy. The Walgreens pharmacy chain grew from 20 retail stores to almost 500 during this period, from 1920 to 1933

The ‘Gold Standard’ was dropped by the United States, which opted for a ‘modified gold bullion standard.’

Frankford Yellowjackets were sold and renamed The Philadelphia Eagles

The first Major League Baseball All-Star Game was played at Comiskey Park in Chicago.

The first “Aunt Jemima” was Nancy Green, a former slave. She died in a car accident in 1923 and wasn’t replaced for ten years until Anna Robinson (Anna Short Harrington) was discovered at the Chicago World Fair in 1933.

Mount Rushmore National Memorial was dedicated. It was completed in 1939.

The first ‘Nude Scene’ in a mainstream movie is often credited to Hedy Lamarr in Extase (Ecstasy).

When MLB’s spitball was banned from baseball in 1920, 17 pitchers were grandfathered in, and the last legal spitball was thrown in 1933 by Burleigh Grimes.

Wiley Post became the first person to fly solo around the world, landing at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, New York, after traveling east about 15,596 miles, in 7 days, 18 hours, 45 minutes.

On March 15, The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose from 53.84 to 62.10. The day’s gain of 15.34%, achieved during the depths of the Great Depression, is the most significant 1-day percentage gain for the index.

President Roosevelt named Frances Perkins Secretary of Labor, the first US female cabinet member.

The first Boeing 247 took flight.

Minnie D. Craig became the Speaker of the North Dakota House of Representatives, the first female to hold a Speaker position anywhere in the United States.

The Thomas E. Wilson Company (later called Wilson Sporting Goods) introduced the R-90 sand wedge golf club.

1933 was the first time you could buy a ‘Betty Crocker’ cookbook.

Broadway Show

Tobacco Road (Play) Opened on December 4, 1933, and closed on May 31, 1941

Nobel Prize Winners

Physics – Erwin Schrödinger, and Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac
Chemistry – not awarded
Physiology or Medicine – Thomas Hunt Morgan
Literature – Ivan Alekseyevich Bunin
Peace – Sir Norman Angell (Ralph Lane)
*Paul Dirac wanted to refuse the Nobel Prize in 1933 to avoid publicity. He accepted it only when advised that, as the first person to refuse a Nobel Prize, the publicity would be even greater.

Popular and Best-selling Books From 1933

Ann Vickers by Sinclair Lewis
Anthony Adverse by Hervey Allen
As the Earth Turns by Gladys Hasty Carroll
The Farm by Louis Bromfield
Forgive Us Our Trespassers by Lloyd C. Douglas
God’s Little Acre by Erskine Caldwell
Little Man, What Now? by Hans Fallada
Magnificent Obsession by Lloyd C. Douglas
The Master of Jalna by Mazo de la Roche
Miss Bishop by Bess Streeter Aldrich
One More River by John Galsworthy


World Series Champions: New York Giants
Stanley Cup Champs: Chicago Bears
U.S. Open Golf: Johnny Goodman
U.S. Tennis (Men/Ladies): Fred Perry/ Helen H. Jacobs
Wimbledon (Men/Women): Jack Crawford/Helen Moody
NCAA Football Champions: Michigan
Kentucky Derby Winner: Brokers Tip
Boston Marathon Winner: Leslie S. Pawson Time: 2:31:01

More 1933 Facts & History Resources:

Most Popular Baby Names (BabyCenter.com)
Popular and Notable Books (popculture.us)
Broadway Shows that Opened in 1933
1933 Calendar, courtesy of Time and Date.com
Fact Monster
The Great Depression FDR Library
1930s, Infoplease.com World History
1933 in Movies (according to IMDB)
Retrowaste Vintage Culture
1930s Slang
Wikipedia 1933
Timeline of the Holocaust