1942 Fun Facts, Trivia and History
Quick Facts from 1942:
- World Changing Event: The Manhattan Project began secret work on atomic bomb and Enrico Fermi triggered the first atomic chain reaction.
- Influential Songs include: Deep In The Heart of Texas by Alvino Rey or Bing Crosby or Horace Heidt or Merry Macs and Blues In The Night (My Mama Done Told Me) by Dinah Shore or Woody Herman or Jimmie Lunceford or Cab Calloway or Artie Shaw
- The Movies to Watch include Bambi, Casablanca, Woman of the Year, Mrs. Miniver, Random Harvest, For Me and My Gal, Holiday Inn, Road to Morocco, and Yankee Doodle Dandy
- The Most Famous Person in America was probably Gary Cooper
- Douglas Albert Munro (October 11, 1919 – September 27, 1942) was the only US Coast Guard to receive the Medal of Honor. While providing cover for ground troops with his boat, Munro was fatally wounded. The last words he said were, “did they get off?” referring to the soldiers he’d saved. He was 22 years old.
- Notable books include: The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis and The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey
- US Life Expectancy: Males: 64.7 years, Females: 67.9 years
- Silly Putty was created.
- Price of 12 oz. Pepsi in 1942: 5 cents
- The Funny Trio Were: Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Dorothy Lamour
Top Ten Baby Names of 1942: Mary, Barbara, Patricia, Linda, Carol, James, Robert, John, William, Richard
US Life Expectancy: 1942 Males: 64.7 years, Females: 67.9 years
The Stars: Ingrid Bergman, Betty Grable, Rita Hayworth, Katharine Hepburn, Lena Horne, Veronica Lake, Hedy Lamarr, Carole Landis, Brenda Marshall, Alexis Smith, Gene Tierney, Lana Turner
Miss America: Jo-Carroll Dennison (Tyler, TX)
Time Magazine’s Man of the Year: Joseph Stalin
Firsts, Inventions and Wonders:
Train Kept A-Rollin was recorded by Freddie Slack in 1942, Tiny Bradshaw in 1951, Johnny Burnette in 1956, the Yardbirds in 1965, Led Zeppelin in 1968 and Aerosmith in 1974.
The Voice of America began broadcasting.
C.S. Lewis’s The Screwtape Letters was first published in book format in England.
Pop Culture News:
The idea that the federal government can regulate almost any business was established in a 1942 Supreme Court case, Wickard v. Filburn. Since a farmer could theoretically sell produce over state lines, the US government had the authority to control what he could grow.
The US government made a short film in 1942 called “Hemp for Victory” which discussed the many virtues of hemp and its products
Actor Audie Murphy was rejected by the Marines for being too short and the navy for being too skinny. The Army accepted him, but did not want to send him into combat because he looked so young. He went on to receive every military award for valor available from the Army.
Camp David was converted to a presidential retreat by Franklin D. Roosevelt and renamed “Shangri-La” (for the fictional Himalayan paradise). Camp David received its present name from Dwight D. Eisenhower, in honor of his father and grandson, both named David.
DDT was first used as a pesticide.
University of Chicago produced the first nuclear chain reaction, using uranium isotope U-235.
Before the 20th century, people reported mostly dreaming in color. But in the 1942, 70% of college sophomores “rarely/never” had color dreams. By 2001 that rate had dropped to 17%. The change is thought to be because of the influence of black and white media in the mid 1900’s.
Due to wartime blackouts, there was no lit New Year’s Eve Ball at One Times Square in 1942 and 1943.
On March 18, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9102, creating the War Relocation Authority (WRA), which caused the internment of Americans of Japanese and, to a lesser extent, German and Italian descent, many of them legal citizens.
Pinball machines were banned in NYC from 1942-1976 as lawmakers considered them luck based, similar to gambling and were ‘stealing’ money from kids.
Bing Crosby’s recording of White Christmas was so popular that he had to re-record it in 1947 using the same musicians and backup singers in the 1942 original master because it had become damaged due to its frequent use. There was no digital recording in the 1940s.
The Battle of Los Angeles: In February 1942, unknown objects were reportedly seen over the city of Los Angeles. A nearby artillery brigade fired over 1400 rounds into the skies over the city in response.
Hoagy Carmichael’s 1942 song I’m a Cranky Old Yank in a Clanky Old Tank on the Streets of Yokohama with My Honolulu Mama Doin’ Those Beat-o, Beat-o Flat-On-My-Seat-o, Hirohito Blues arguably holds the world record for the longest song title.
Bambi and Bambi II hold the record for the record for the longest gap in between movie sequels, the first being released in 1942, the second being released 64 years later in 2006.
On June 12, 1942 Anne Frank received an autograph book from her father for her 13th birthday. That book became her diary.
Dr. Alf Alving, working for the US Army’s Office of Scientific Research and Development, tested some 441 convicts from Statesville Penitentiary with Malaria drugs without their knowledge.
Poon Kim holds the record for surviving adrift in a life raft at 133 days in 1942-43. When told no one had ever survived longer on a raft at sea, he replied, “I hope no one will ever have to break that record.”
Jack Kerouac, author of the book On the Road, enlisted in the US Navy in 1942, but served only 8 days of active duty before being dismissed after doctors diagnosed him with dementia and a schizoid personality.
Stephen Hawking was born on January 8, 1942, exactly 300 years after the death of Galileo on January 8, 1642.
The 1942 Rose Bowl was played in Durham, NC due to fears of Japanese attack on west coast of US…
The Cocoanut Grove Fire on November 28, 1942, killed nearly 500 people in a mad panic to escape the fire people when they were crushed against the inward opening doors and could not pull them open. It changed fire, door and safety laws in the United States forever.
In 1942,over 300 skeletons were found around Roopkund, an obscure high altitude lake in India. The skeletons were the remains of a 9th century AD party killed by a freak hail storm.
When USS Juneau was sunk in Nov 1942 all five brothers of the Sullivan family, Waterloo, Iowa were killed. Soon after, the U.S. War Department adopted the Sole Survivor Policy.
“Here’s looking at you, kid”
“Of all the gin joints in the world, she had to walk into mine”
“Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship”
“We’ll always have Paris.”
– Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca
“Play it, Sam. Play ‘As Time Goes By.'”
-Ingrid Bergman, in Casablanca
“Round up the usual suspects.”
– Claude Rains, in Casablanca
Physics – not awarded
Chemistry – not awarded
Medicine – not awarded
Literature – not awarded
Peace – not awarded
Popular and Notable Books From 1942:
And Now Tomorrow by Rachel Field
Dragon Seed by Pearl S. Buck
Drivin’ Woman by Elizabeth Pickett
Frenchman’s Creek by Daphne du Maurier
The Keys of the Kingdom by A. J. Cronin
Kings Row by Henry Bellamann
The Moon Is Down by John Steinbeck
The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey
The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas
The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis
The Song of Bernadette by Franz Werfel
The Stranger by Albert Camus
The Sun Is My Undoing by Marguerite Steen
Windswept by Mary Ellen Chase
World Series Champions: St. Louis Cardinals
NFL Champs: Washington Redskins
Stanley Cup Champs: Toronto Maple Leafs
U.S. Open Golf: Not played due to WWII
U.S. Tennis (Men/Ladies): Fredrick Schroeder, Jr./Pauline Betz
Wimbledon (Men/Women): not held
NCAA Football Champions: Ohio State
NCAA Basketball Champions: Stanford
Kentucky Derby Winner: Shut Out
FIFA World Cup (Soccer): not held
Boston Marathon Winner: Joe Smith Time: 2:26:51