1934 History, Trivia and Fun facts

1934 Fun Facts, Trivia and History

Quick Facts from 1934:

  • World Changing Event: The first magnetic tape recorders were available, initially for radio broadcasting.
  • Influential Songs include The Good Ship Lollipop by Shirley Temple, and You’re The Top by Cole Porter.
  • The Movies to Watch include It Happened One Night, Bright Eyes, The Thin Man, The Man Who Knew Too Much, The Black Cat, Babes in Toyland, Cleopatra, and Treasure Island.
  • The Most Famous Person in America was probably Will Rogers.
  • MPAA Certificate Number 1 was for The World Moves On in 1934. 2010’s Hot Tub Time Machine was Certificate Number 45912.
  • Notable books include Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
  • Price of a baseball (Wilson) in 1934: 33 cents
  • George Nissen and Larry Griswold created the home-use trampoline.
  • The Funny Duo was: Laurel and Hardy
  • The first Three Stooges short, Woman Haters, was released.
  • The Conversation: “Why is the US Government confiscating our gold?”
  • Take our 1934 Quiz!

Top Ten Baby Names of 1934

Mary, Betty, Barbara, Shirley, Dorothy, Robert, James, John, William, Richard

US Life Expectancy

(1934) Males: 59.3 years, Females: 63.3 years

The Stars

Josephine Baker, Joan Blondell, Claudette Colbert, Joan Crawford, Marion Davies, Marlene Dietrich, Kay Francis, Jean Harlow, Katharine Hepburn, Hedy Lamarr, Myrna Loy, Ginger Rogers, Barbara Stanwyck, Thelma Todd, Mae West, Fay Wray. Jimmy the Raven, a trained crow, appeared in over 1,000 feature films between 1934 and 1954.

Entertainment History: The Oscars

The 6th Academy Awards took place on March 16, 1934, hosted by comedian Will Rogers at The Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. The film eligibility window was from August 1, 1932, to December 31, 1933. Cavalcade won the Best Picture prize, while Charles Laughton was honored as Best Actor for portraying King Henry VIII in The Private Life of Henry VIII. One notable aspect of this ceremony was the introduction of categories like Best Film Editing and Best Original Song. The first Best Original Song winner was “The Continental” from the movie The Gay Divorcee. Katharine Hepburn’s win for Best Actress in Morning Glory was the first of her four career Oscar wins, making her the actress with the most Oscars for acting to this day.

Miss America


Time Magazine’s Man of the Year

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Firsts, Inventions, and Wonders

Steve Urkel’s catchphrase, “Did I do that?”, was taken from the 1934 Three Stooges short Punch Drunks.

The Flash Gordon comic strip was first published.

In July of 1934, Babe Ruth paid a fan $20 for the return of the baseball he hit for his 700th career home run.

The FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corp) was established.

Parker Brothers released the board game Sorry.

Pennsylvania opened its first liquor stores.

MPAA Certificate Number 1 was issued to The World Moves On, in 1934.

DC Comics was founded in 1934. Archie Comics and Timely (Marvel) Comics were both founded in 1939.

Jagermeister was introduced in Germany in 1934.

The Biggest Pop Artists of 1934 include

Don Bestor & His Orchestra, Emil Coleman & His Orchestra, Bing Crosby, Eddy Duchin and His Orchestra, Duke Ellington, Ted Fio Rito & His Orchestra, Jan Garber and His Orchestra, Benny Goodman and His Orchestra, Glen Gray and the Casa Loma Orchestra, Johnny Green & His Orchestra, Jimmie Grier & His Orchestra, Richard Himber & His Orchestra, Hal Kemp and His Orchestra, Little Jack Little & His Orchestra, Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians, Enric Madriguera and His Orchestra, Freddy Martin and His Orchestra, Ethel Merman, The Mills Brothers, Grace Moore, Ray Noble and His Orchestra, Ben Pollack & His Orchestra, Leo Reisman and His Orchestra, Rudy Vallée & His Connecticut Yankees, Paul Whiteman & His Orchestra

The Strange

The (not) word “Dord” appeared in Webster’s dictionary as a term for density in chemistry. Originally, it was meant for density to be added as a definition for the abbreviation “D or d,” but the mistake wasn’t found for another five years, and removed in 1947.

Jimmy the Raven, a trained crow, appeared in over 1,000 feature films between 1934 and 1954.

London gynecologist Robert Kenneth Wilson took his famous photograph of the Loch Ness Monster.

Nikola Tesla (1856 – 1943) announced that he was working on a ‘Directed Energy Weapon’ that would be able to destroy an army 200 miles away. The super-weapon was never built, and no one knows how it was supposed to work; after his death, the FBI seized all his possessions and declared his papers Top Secret.

From 1925 to 1934, the Eiffel Tower served as a giant, lighted billboard for Citroen.

Created in 1908, the FBI had neither the authority to carry firearms or make an official arrest until 1934.

With the 1934 lease agreement, the United States continues to pay $4,085 monthly rent to Cuba for the Guantanamo Naval Station. Castro has only cashed one check by accident, in the past 52 years.

Gangster John Dillinger escaped from jail with a wooden pistol. After whittling it in his cell in March 1934, he used the fake weapon to intimidate 33 people before getting a real machine gun. “Ha, ha, ha! And I did all this with a wooden gun!” he bragged while leaving.

On January 29, 1934, the Los Angeles Times published a front-page article about a geophysical mining engineer’s search for a lost civilization of Lizard People and their buried treasure beneath the streets of Los Angeles.

Crime News

Bonnie and Clyde were ambushed and killed by police in Bienville Parish, Louisiana.
Also killed by law enforcement: John Dillinger, Charles Arthur ‘Pretty Boy’ Floyd, and George ‘Baby Face’ Nelson. #crimedoesntpay

Pop Culture Facts & History

President FDR enacted a Federal law requiring that all gold be turned over to the federal government at $20.67/oz. After the government acquired most of the gold, the market price changed to $35/oz.

Future US President Gerald Ford (R) threatened not to play for the Michigan football team because the school would not let his teammate Willis Ward, who was black, play against Georgia Tech, which refused to share the field with a black player. Ward talked Ford out of it, and Michigan won.

Donald Duck first appeared in the Silly Symphonies cartoon The Wise Little Hen on June 9, 1934, although he was mentioned in a 1931 Disney book. He was the first of many clothed cartoon characters who didn’t wear pants.

The Apollo Theater held its first ‘Amateur Night’.

It Happened One Night (1934) won all Big Five Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Writing (Original or Adapted).

The $500, $1000, $10,000 & $100,000 Bills were printed by the US Mint until 1934, and are still legal tender.

Alfred Hitchcock remade his 1934 movie, The Man Who Knew Too Much, as The Man Who Knew Too Much in 1956.

The largest pearl ever found, the ‘Pearl of Lao Tzu’ was found, weighing 31,893.5 carats (just over 14 lbs)

The (2nd) highest wind gust ever recorded was a 231 mph gust at the summit of Mt. Washington, NH, in 1934.

In 1934, when Disney began working on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, some early dwarf names included Jumpy, Deafy, Puffy, Burpy, Stuffy, Lazy, and Wheezy.

A sad realization came to six-year-old Shirley Temple when a Los Angeles department store Santa Claus asked her for her autograph…

Nobel Prize Winners

Physics – Not awarded
Chemistry – Harold Clayton Urey
Physiology or Medicine – George Hoyt Whipple, George Richards Minot, William Parry Murphy
Literature – Luigi Pirandello
Peace – Arthur Henderson

Popular and Best-selling Books From 1934

Anthony Adverse by Hervey Allen
Goodbye, Mr. Chips by James Hilton
The Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer
Lamb in His Bosom by Caroline Miller
Mary Peters by Mary Ellen Chase
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie
Oil for the Lamps of China by Alice Tisdale Hobart
Private Worlds by Phyllis Bottome
Seven Gothic Tales by Isak Dinesen
So Red the Rose by Stark Young
Within This Present by Margaret Ayer Barnes
Work of Art by Sinclair Lewis


World Series Champions: St. Louis Cardinals
NFL Champs: New York Giants
Stanley Cup Champs: Chicago Black Hawks
U.S. Open Golf: Olin Dutra
U.S. Tennis (Men/Ladies): Fred Perry/ Helen H. Jacobs
Wimbledon (Men/Women): Fred Perry/Dorothy Round
NCAA Football Champions: Minnesota
Kentucky Derby Winner: Cavalcade
FIFA World Cup: Italy
Boston Marathon Winner: Dave Komonen Time: 2:32:53

More 1934 Facts & History Resources:

Most Popular Baby Names (BabyCenter.com)
Popular and Notable Books (popculture.us)
Broadway Shows that Opened in 1934
1934 Calendar, courtesy of Time and Date.com
Fact Monster
The Great Depression Britannica
1930s, Infoplease.com World History
1934 in Movies (according to IMDB)
Retrowaste Vintage Culture
1930s Slang
Wikipedia 1934
Timeline of events preceding World War II