1937 Fun Facts, Trivia and History

1937 Fun Facts, Trivia and History

Quick Facts from 1937

  • World-Changing Event: Television publicly debuted in America at the New York World’s Fair.
  • Pop Standards include: They Can’t Take That Away From Me, I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm, Harbor Lights and Once in a While
  • The Movies to Watch include Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, A Day at the Races, Captains Courageous, Lost Horizon, Angel, The Awful Truth, and a Girl, Stage Door, and Shall We Dance.
  • The Most Famous Person in America was probably Shirley Temple
  • Notable books include The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien and Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
  • Price of Metropolitan Opera La Traviata tickets in 1937: $2 to 5.00
  • Chester F. Carlson invented the photocopier.
  • The Funny Guy was Jack Benny
  • The Mystery: Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan disappeared after taking off from New Guinea during Earhart’s attempt to become the first woman to fly around the world.

Top Ten Baby Names of 1937

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

US Life Expectancy

(1937) Males: 58.0 years, Females: 62.4 years

The Stars

Josephine Baker, Joan Blondell, Claudette Colbert, Olivia de Havilland, Betty Grable, Hedy Lamarr, Myrna Loy, Ginger Rogers, Barbara Stanwyck, Lana Turner

Entertainment History The Oscars

The 9th Academy Awards unfolded on March 4, 1937, at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles with George Jessel as the host. The Great Ziegfeld won Best Picture, and Luise Rainer clinched Best Actress for her role in the film. This ceremony marked the first time supporting actors were honored with actual Oscar statues instead of plaques. The Best Original Song category debuted in the music arena, and the first-ever winner was The Way You Look Tonight from Swing Time. Luise Rainer became the first actor to secure back-to-back Oscars, as she had won Best Actress the previous year for The Good Earth. The Oscars for this year covered works released between January 1, 1936, and December 31, 1936.

Miss America

Bette Cooper (Bertrand Island, NJ)

Time Magazine’s Men of the Year

Chiang Kai-shek and Soong May-ling

Firsts, Inventions, and Wonders

From the family home recipe of Giovanni and Assunta Cantisano, Ragu Spaghetti Sauce hit the store shelves.

Porky’s Duck Hunt, directed by Tex Avery, for the Looney Tunes series, featured the debut of Daffy Duck.

Look Magazine debuted.

The Prince Valiant comic strip, by Hal Foster, debuted.

The first issue of Detective Comics was published. Issue #27 featured the first appearance of Batman.

The Lincoln Tunnel opened to traffic in New York City.

The world’s first shopping cart was used at Humpty Dumpty supermarket, in Oklahoma City.

San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge opened.

The Hormel company introduced spam.

The world’s first emergency call telephone service was launched in London, using the number 999.

Bras with four cup sizes (A, B, C, and D) were introduced. Before long, these cup sizes got nicknames: egg cup, teacup, coffee cup, and challenge cup.

John Steinbeck’s novella, Of Mice and Men, was published.

J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit was published

To Have and Have Not, by Ernest Hemingway, was published.

The Hindenburg Disaster

On May 6th, 1937, the Hindenburg disaster occurred. The LZ 129 Hindenburg airship caught fire and exploded while attempting to dock at Naval Air Station Lakehurst in Manchester Township, New Jersey. This tragedy claimed the lives of 35 people, including 13 passengers and 22 crewmen on board this voyage. An additional person died as a result of the explosion on the ground.

One notable thing about this disaster was that it occurred because highly flammable hydrogen gas had been used to keep the airship afloat instead of helium, which is not flammable and, therefore safer for passengers. To help prevent situations like these from happening again, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) was created in 1958. This agency is responsible for regulating and overseeing all aspects of aviation in the United States. They work to ensure that all passengers are safe when flying and set safety standards for aircraft, pilots, and air traffic controllers. The Hindenburg disaster serves as a reminder that even though new technologies can seem exciting and promising, they must be tested for safety before use. The FAA helps us learn from past mistakes so that tragedies like this don’t happen again.

The Biggest Pop Artists of 1937 include

Gus Arnheim & His Orchestra, Fred Astaire, Mildred Bailey, Connee Boswell, Larry Clinton and His Orchestra, Bing Crosby, Bob Crosby and His Orchestra, Dolly Dawn & Her Dawn Patrol, Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra, Duke Ellington, Shep Fields and His Rippling Rhythm, Jan Garber and His Orchestra, Benny Goodman and His Orchestra, Mal Hallett & His Orchestra, Horace Heidt and His Orchestra, Billie Holiday, Sammy Kaye, Hal Kemp and His Orchestra, Wayne 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, Russ Morgan, Ozzie Nelson and His Orchestra, Rudy Vallée & His Connecticut Yankees, Teddy Wilson & His Orchestra, Fats Waller

US Politics:
January 20, 1937 (Wednesday): Second inauguration of Franklin D. Roosevelt

Pop Culture Facts & History

After four years, on May 28, 1937, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge opened. Pedestrians were allowed a day earlier, on May 27th.

Hewlett-Packard was founded. The first big job for the young company was Disney, for Fantasia. Although initially a manufacturer of measurement instruments, they entered the computer industry in the 1960s.

Hector Boiardi started canning his excellent pasta sauce in 1937.
You probably know him better as Chef Boyardee.

The original film A Star Is Born was released in 1937, and there have been three remakes since in 1954, 1976, and 2018. The original film plot was not centered around singers/musicians like the successors.

Ray-Ban sunglasses were made for U.S. Air Force pilots in 1936, and were such a hit that they began to be sold to the public in 1937. The brand has been featured in many films.

They say that Picasso’s most significant work was Guernica, which he painted in 1937. It was over 11 feet high and 25 feet wide.

The 1937 Best Supporting Actress Oscar went to Alice Brady for her role in In Old Chicago, but she couldn’t attend the ceremony, so a man walked up and accepted the award on her behalf. After the show, he and the stolen Oscar were never seen again.

The 1937 Fox vault fire destroyed the silent film archives of Fox Film Corporation.

The Tomb of the Unknowns has been continuously guarded without interruption since 1937.

Lou Thesz beat Everett Marshall in St Louis, to win National Wrestling Association (NWA) World heavyweight title.

Snow Whites and the Seven Dwarfs

Disney’s Snow White became the biggest film ever (at least until Gone With The Wind Came out in 1939.) The previous holder for that title was the controversial Birth of a Nation (1915).

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered December 21, 1937, just 2 months after The Hobbit by J.R. R. Tolkien (which prominently features 13 dwarves) was published. #dwarfs or #dwarves

Adriana Caselotti was only paid $970 ($15,913 today) to voice Snow White.

Snow White was the highest-grossing animated film until Aladdin came out in 1992.

Adriana Caselotti and Harry Stockwell, the voices of Snow White and Prince Charming, were not invited to the premiere of the 1937 film, so they snuck into the theater to watch it.

Walt Disney won an honorary Oscar with seven little Oscars for Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs.


The worst school disaster in American history in terms of lives lost was the New London School in New London, Texas; there was a catastrophic natural gas explosion, killing more than 295 students and teachers.

The German airship Hindenburg burst into flame when mooring to a mast in Lakehurst, New Jersey. Of the 36 passengers and 61 crew on board, 13 and 22 crew died, as well as one ground crew member.

Broadway Show

Pins and Needles (Review) Opened on November 27, 1937, and closed on June 22, 1940

Nobel Prize Winners

Physics – Clinton Joseph Davisson, George Paget Thomson
Chemistry – Walter Haworth, Paul Karrer
Physiology or Medicine – Albert von Szent-Györgyi Nagyrapolt
Literature – Roger Martin du Gard
Peace – Robert Cecil

Popular and Best-selling Books From 1937

And So-Victoria by Vaughan Wilkins
The Citadel by A. J. Cronin
Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie
Drums Along the Mohawk by Walter D. Edmonds
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
The Hobbit or There and Back Again by J.R.R. Tolkien
Northwest Passage by Kenneth Roberts
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
The Story of Babar by Jean de Brunhoff
The Rains Came by Louis Bromfield
Theatre by W. Somerset Maugham
Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill
We Are Not Alone by James Hilton
The Years by Virginia Woolf


World Series Champions: New York Yankees
NFL Champs: Washington Redskins
Stanley Cup Champs: Detroit Red Wings
U.S. Open Golf: Ralph Guldahl
U.S. Tennis (Men/Ladies): J. Donald Budge/Anita Lizana
Wimbledon (Men/Women): Don Budge/Dorothy Round
NCAA Football Champions: Pittsburg
Kentucky Derby Winner: War Admiral
Boston Marathon Winner: Walter Young Time: 2:33:20

More 1937 Facts & History Resources:

Most Popular Baby Names (BabyCenter.com)
Popular and Notable Books (popculture.us)
Broadway Shows that Opened in 1937
1937 Calendar, courtesy of Time and Date.com
Fact Monster
The Recession of 1937-38
1930s, Infoplease.com World History
1937 in Movies (according to IMDB)
Retrowaste Vintage Culture
1930s Slang
Wikipedia 1937
WW II Foundation