1936 Trivia, History and Fun Facts


1936 Fun Facts, Trivia and History

Quick Facts from 1936

  • North American Weather Changing Event: A significant heatwave struck North America, and thousands died.
  • Influential Songs include: He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands, Summertime and It Ain’t Necessarily So
  • The Movies to Watch include Modern Times, Show Boat, Reefer Madness, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Swing Time, Things to Come, Sabotage and My Man Godfrey
  • The Most Famous Person in America was probably Jesse Owens
  • Notable books include Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell and How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  • Price of a Monopoly Board Game 1936: $1.98
  • The Funny Guy was Jack Benny
  • The Conversation: The United Kingdom’s Edward VIII abdication crisis. He gave up the British throne to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.

Top Ten Baby Names of 1936

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

US Life Expectancy

(1936) Males: 56.6 years, Females: 60.6 years

The Stars

Josephine Baker, Joan Blondell, Claudette Colbert, Joan Crawford, Olivia de Havilland, Kay Francis, Jean Harlow, Hedy Lamarr, Myrna Loy, Ginger Rogers, Barbara Stanwyck, Mae West

Entertainment History The Oscars

The 8th Academy Awards lit up the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles on March 5, 1936, with Frank Capra as the master of ceremonies. Mutiny on the Bounty stood out, clinching the Best Picture award, but didn’t win in any other category. Interestingly, this ceremony marked the first time the Best Supporting Actor and Actress categories were introduced, won by Walter Brennan for Come and Get It and Gale Sondergaard for Anthony Adverse, respectively. For trivia fans, this was the only year the Academy issued write-in votes. Bette Davis received many write-ins for her performance in Of Human Bondage, even though she wasn’t officially nominated. The eligibility period for this ceremony spanned from August 1, 1935, to December 31, 1935, as the Academy began to align its eligibility timeframe with the calendar year.

Miss America

Rose Coyle (Philadelphia, PA)

Time Magazine’s Woman of the Year

Wallis Simpson

Firsts, Inventions, and Wonders

Geico (the Government Employees Insurance Company) was founded.

The Green Hornet radio show debuted.

Life Magazine debuted.

Billboard Magazine (founded in 1894) began publishing its ‘Music Hit parade’ famous music chart.

The first superhero to wear a skin-tight costume and mask, The Phantom, appeared in newspaper comic strips.

The Volkswagen Beetle (the People’s Car, aka the Käfer/Beetle) was introduced.

Professor Quiz, the first radio quiz show, premiered.

The Boulder (now Hoover) Dam was fully completed.

The first movie with zombies caused by an engineered plague (“walking disease”) was Things to Come.

The Biggest Pop Artists of 1936 include

Fred Astaire, Connee Boswell, The Boswell Sisters, Bing Crosby, Jimmy Dorsey, and His Orchestra, Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra, Duke Ellington, Shep Fields and His Rippling Rhythm, Jan Garber and His Orchestra, Benny Goodman and His Orchestra, Billie Holiday, Hal Kemp and His Orchestra, Henry King and His Orchestra, Andy Kirk and His 12 Clouds of Joy, Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians, Jimmie Lunceford and His Orchestra, Abe Lyman and His California Orchestra, Mantovani and His Orchestra, Freddy Martin and His Orchestra, Russ Morgan, Ozzie Nelson, and His Orchestra, Ray Noble and His Orchestra, Tempo King & His Kings of Tempo, Fats Waller, Teddy Wilson & His Orchestra

Pop Culture Facts & History

The Baseball Hall of Fame was founded in Cooperstown, New York. Ty Cobb got more votes than Babe Ruth in the inaugural Hall of Fame roster. Ty was a great player, but not well-liked by his peers. Only four members of the Baseball community went to his funeral.

1936 was the last year that was a mathematical square. The next will be 2025.

Margaret Mitchell’s historical romance Gone with the Wind was published.

In Raynham Hall in England, photographers Indre Shira and Captain Provand took a picture of ‘The Brown Lady,’ one of the most famous ghost pictures in the world.

Pennsylvania still charges its citizens an 18% tax on alcohol to pay for damages from the 1936 Johnstown flood. The budgeted funds were gained in about six years.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) began (radio) in Canada.

Fiesta dinnerware was founded, only to be discontinued in 1973. The antique after-marker for the products was so hot that the company was relaunched in 1986. It now discontinues/changes colors and product lines, keeping a ‘collectability’ most brands do not have.

In the 1936 Presidential Election, Franklin D. Roosevelt won 523 electoral votes, while his opponent Alf Landon only won 8.

Alan Turing published On Computable Numbers, which set out the theoretical basis for modern computers.

The Great Sphinx of Giza was once abandoned and buried by sand up to its shoulders. It was not wholly excavated until 1936.

The 1936 Olympics

At the 1936 Olympic games, boxer Thomas Hamilton-Brown lost his opening fight, so he went on an eating binge to console himself. A math error was later discovered, and he didn’t lose but was disqualified from the competition because he had gained so much weight from binge eating.

At the 1936 Summer Olympics, Haiti and Liechtenstein’s flags were identical; this was unknown until the event. A crown was added to Liechtenstein’s the following year to distinguish the flags.

Mack Robinson, brother of Jackie Robinson, (Silver) medaled in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin. Upon returning home to California, the only work he could find as an African American was sweeping streets, which he did while wearing his Olympic ‘USA’ sweatshirt.

The idea of having the Olympic torch run from ancient Olympia to the host country was invented by the Nazis for the 1936 Berlin Summer Games.

The Odd

30 Toronto men were arrested for removing the tops from their bathing suits, showing their nipples.

The Half Way to Hell Club was an exclusive club organized by the 19 men who fell from the Golden Gate Bridge during its construction in 1936 and 1937 and were saved by the safety nets.

Bronislaw Huberman’s rare million-dollar Stradivarius violin was stolen from virtuoso Hall Huberman. The thief, Julian Altman, a café musician, became famous and performed for presidents. Forty-nine years after the theft, he confessed on his deathbed, and his wife received a $263k finder’s fee.

Odd Olympics

After Jesse Owens won 4 gold medals in the 1936 Olympics held in Berlin, Adolf Hitler did not shake his hand but did send Owens a commemorative inscribed cabinet photograph of himself. Honors were not bestowed upon Jesse Owens by either President Franklin D. Roosevelt or his successor, Harry S. Truman, during their terms.


A kangaroo killed William Cruickshank. The kangaroo “broke the jaw” and inflicted “extensive head injuries” on the man, who was attacked after attempting to rescue his two dogs. It is the only documented case of a fatal kangaroo attack.

His doctor euthanized the United Kingdom’s King George V so he would die in time for the announcement to make the morning papers.

Nobel Prize Winners

Physics – Victor F. Hess, Carl D. Anderson
Chemistry – Petrus (Peter) Josephus Wilhelmus Debye
Physiology or Medicine – Sir Henry Hallett Dale, Otto Loewi
Literature – Eugene Gladstone O’Neill
Peace – Carlos Saavedra Lamas

Popular and Best-selling Books From 1936

The Doctor by Mary Roberts Rinehart
Drums Along the Mohawk by Walter D. Edmonds
Eyeless in Gaza by Aldous Huxley
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
The Hurricane by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall
It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis
The Last Puritan by George Santayana
Murder in Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie
Sparkenbroke by Charles Langbridge Morgan
The Thinking Reed by Rebecca West
We The Living – Ayn Rand
White Banners by Lloyd C. Douglas


World Series Champions: New York Yankees
NFL Champs: Green Bay Packers
Stanley Cup Champs: Detroit Red Wings
U.S. Open Golf: Tony Manero
U.S. Tennis (Men/Ladies): Fred Perry/Alice Marble
Wimbledon (Men/Women): Fred Perry/Helem Jacobs
NCAA Football Champions: Minnesota
Kentucky Derby Winner: Bold Venture
Boston Marathon Winner: Ellison Brown Time: 2:33:40

More 1936 Facts & History Resources:

Most Popular Baby Names (BabyCenter.com)
Popular and Notable Books (popculture.us)
Broadway Shows that Opened in 1936
1936 Calendar, courtesy of Time and Date.com
Fact Monster
The Great Depression & US Foreign Policy
1930s, Infoplease.com World History
1936 in Movies (according to IMDB)
Retrowaste Vintage Culture
1930s Slang
Wikipedia 1936
WW II Timeline, Digital History