1944 Facts, Fun Trivia and History
Quick Facts from 1944
Top Ten Baby Names of 1944
Mary, Barbara, Linda, Patricia, Carol, James, Robert, John, William, Richard
US Life Expectancy
1944 Males: 63.6 years, Females: 66.8 years
Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Betty Grable, Rita Hayworth, Lena Horne, Veronica Lake, Carole Landis, Alexis Smith, Jane Russell, Gene Tierney, Lana Turner
Entertainment History: The Oscars
The 16th Academy Awards were held on March 2, 1944, at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles. Bob Hope served as the host for the fourth time. Casablanca dominated the evening, winning Best Picture, Best Director for Michael Curtiz, and Best Adapted Screenplay. Humphrey Bogart was nominated for Best Actor for his iconic role but lost to Paul Lukas for Watch on the Rhine. The film The Song of Bernadette received the most nominations, with 12 but only won four awards, including Best Actress for Jennifer Jones. The eligibility period for this ceremony was the calendar year of 1943. One interesting trivia note: Harold Russell, a non-professional actor who lost both hands in a training accident during World War II, won two Oscars for his role in The Best Years of Our Lives—Best Supporting Actor and a special award “for bringing hope and courage to his fellow veterans.”
Venus Ramey (Washington, DC)
Time Magazine’s Man of the Year
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Firsts, Inventions, and Wonders
The first issue of Human Events Magazine was published in Washington, D.C.
The United Negro College Fund was incorporated.
The New York Times didn’t mention the word ‘pizza until’ 1944, 40 years after the first pizzeria came to New York City.
The original stage version of The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams premiered in Chicago.
Florence Foster Jenkins gave a recital in Carnegie Hall.
1944 Pop Culture Facts & History
In 1944, Mary Babnik Brown became the first woman to have her hair used in crosshairs for military aircraft bombsights. The hair had to fit strict criteria such as being blonde, over 22 inches long and never been treated with chemicals or hot irons.
Hitler gave orders to destroy Paris on the eve of the Allied liberation in 1944, but the Nazi German General Dietrich von Choltitz (in command) deliberately ignored the order. Frenchman Pierre Taittinger probably talked him out of giving the order.
The 1944 Summer Olympics, scheduled for London (together with the February Winter Olympics scheduled for Cortina d’Ampezzo in Italy), were suspended due to WWII.
Baseball Legend Jackie Robinson was once ordered to move to the back of a bus while in uniform. Robinson refused and received a court-martial. An army court found that Robinson was completely within his rights and fully acquitted the future baseball star.
In 1944, Russia captured an American B-29 bomber. Stalin demanded exact clones be made for the Russian air force. A small hole was found on the left wing of the captured aircraft due to a manufacturing mistake. All Russian TU-4 bombers included an unnecessary hole in the left wing. #copycat
The term ‘Gaslighting’ comes from a 1938 play and a 1944 movie called Gas Light.
Hans Asperger published his paper on Asperger syndrome. He later said, “It seems that for success in science and art, a dash of autism is essential. The necessary ingredient may be an ability to turn away from the everyday world, to rethink a subject with originality so as to create in new untrodden ways.”
The US and the USSR’s only direct military confrontation happened in October 1944 over the Serbian town of Niš, Serbia. Both governments consider it a top secret, and the exact number of casualties is unknown.
The cause of Celiac (Coeliac) Disease, gluten intolerance, was discovered during the Dutch famine of 1944 when wheat was scarce.
A crossword puzzle was printed in The Daily Telegraph with some answers containing D-Day operation “code names,” which sent MI-5 into a panic, thinking their invasion plans had been discovered. The code words included Utah, Neptune, Omaha, Mulberry, and Overlord.
The New York Dodgers, Giants, and Yankees played a “tri-cornered game,” which consisted of all three teams competing against each other and rotating between fielding, batting, and resting.
Over 100 children died among the 167 deaths in The Hartford Circus Fire, one of the worst fire disasters in the history of the United States.
Cleveland East Ohio Gas Explosion: An above-ground natural gas storage tank began to leak. The gas eventually made its way into the sewers of Cleveland and ignited, blowing manhole covers miles away and shooting flames up through the plumbing of homes. 130 people were killed.
“You know how to whistle, don’t you, Steve? You just put your lips together and blow.”
“Only you can prevent forest fires.”
Nobel Prize Winners
Physics – Isidor Isaac Rabi
Popular and Best-selling Books From 1944
A Bell for Adano by John Hersey
World Series Champions: St. Louis Cardinals
More 1944 History Resources:
Most Popular Baby Names (BabyCenter.com)