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.
World War II News:
Produced in 1942, and released on January 1, 1943, the only Donald Duck film to ever win an Oscar was a Disney propaganda called Der Fuehrer’s Face.
In spring of 1942 German U-boats patrolled east coast of the United States, sinking fuel tankers and cargo ships, often within sight of shore and in less than 7 months destroyed 22 percent of the tanker fleet and sank 233 ships killing 5,000 people, mostly civilians.
Nazi U-Boat U-166 was sunk 100 miles off the coast of Louisiana the day after attacking a US Naval Patrol in the Gulf of Mexico. Between 1942 and 1943, more than 20 German U-boats operated in the Gulf of Mexico. They attacked tankers transporting oil from ports in Texas and Louisiana, and successfully sank 56 vessels.
Invented in 1942, by Julius Fieser, a Harvard organic chemist, napalm was the ideal incendiary weapon: cheap, stable, and sticky—a burning gel that stuck to roofs, furniture, and skin. It killed more Japanese than both Atomic Bombs combined.
Between 1941 and 1945, the USA built almost 6,000 ships. The average time to build a ship went from 240 days in early 1942 to only 56 days at the end of the year.
Hawaii had it own money during WW2 with a “Hawaii stamp” on it, so if of the Japanese took over the island, America could say that that the money was no good.
In January 1942, Lytle S. Adams, a dentist, proposed strapping tiny incendiary bombs to bats, to bomb Japanese cities to the White House. “Think of thousands of fires breaking out simultaneously over a circle of forty miles in diameter for every bomb dropped. Japan could have been devastated, yet with small loss of life.”
From May of 1942 to August of 1945 the US had a nationwide speed limit of 35 miles per hour called The “Victory Speed Limit”.
Stop That Tank! is a 22-minute 1942 instructional film created during World War II by Walt Disney Productions to demonstrate proper use and handling of the Mk.1 Boys Anti-Tank Rifle.
The last time Congress declared war was in 1942 (against Bulgaria, Hungary, and Romania). The Korean war was declared by the Executive branch.
The 1942 Battle Of The Coral Sea was the first naval battle in history in which the opposing ships never saw each other, the engagement being entirely one of opposing air strikes from carrier-borne aircraft.
Calvin Graham was 12 years old and enlisted in the Navy in 1942. During WW2, was awarded The Bronze Star, Purple Heart other medals. Thye were taken away because he was under age. President Jimmy Carter Approved all the medals except his Purple Heart to be reinstated. His Purple Heart was reinstated in 1994.
During World War II, penicillin was scarce, so it was common to collect urine from patients to recycle the penicillin.
In 1942 Japanese troops landed and occupied the Aleutian Islands of Attu and Kiska. They were driven out entirely a year later between May and August 1943 by American and Canadian forces. This was the first significant foreign occupation of American soil since the War of 1812.
In 1942 a Finnish sound engineer secretly recorded 11 minutes of a candid conversation between Adolf Hitler and Finnish Defence Chief Gustaf Mannerheim before being caught by the SS. It is the only known recording of Hitler’s normal speaking voice. (11 min, english translation)
Super Glue was accidentally invented by Dr. Harry Coover during World War II. In 1942, he was in search of materials for making clear plastic gun sights to be used by Allied soldiers in the war against the Axis.
yudmila Pavlichenko, a female Soviet sniper with 309 credited kills, toured the US in 1942 to gain support for a second front in Nazi-occupied Europe. Of course the press was more interested in her appearance and if she wore make-up on the front lines.
“If Day” was a simulated Nazi German invasion and occupation of the Canadian city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and surrounding areas on February 19, 1942.
Tea was so important for morale in the British army that in 1942 the UK bought the entire world’s crop of tea.
The Savoia Cavalleria Charge at Izbushensky that many consider history’s last major cavalry charge. It took place on August 24th, 1942. 700 Italian cavalrymen took on and drove back over 2500 soviet foot soldiers armed with machine-guns and mortars.
The original painting of “Washington Crossing the Delaware” was destroyed by a British bombing raid in 1942. It was in Breman, Germany at the time.
The deadliest battle in history was the Battle of Stalingrad from 1942-1943. Lasting several months, the clash between Russian and German forces ended 1,971,000 lives, making it 23 times deadlier than the next deadliest, the Battle of Leipzig in 1813.
In 1942 The Japanese,led by General Imamura, fed 200 American POW’s to the sharks off Java Island in what became known as the “Pig Basket Atrocities”.
The “The Death Match” was a 1942 soccer match between Nazi soldiers and Ukrainian prisoners of war. It was the inspiration behind the movie The Longest Yard.
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.
On Mexico’s Mother’s Day in 1942, the government made the announcement that all Mexican women could reclaim their pawned sewing machines from the National Pawnshop at no cost.
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.
Hollywood actress Carole Lombard visited her hometown (Indiana) in 1942 and in one night raised $2 million in war bonds (about $35 million today). She died in a plane crash on her return home due in part to lack of airport lighting turned off to conceal American airstrips from the Japanese
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.
President Gerald Ford worked as a male model in his late 20’s and was featured on the cover of Cosmopolitan in 1942 wearing his Navy Uniform
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.
On August 16, 1942, a military blimp left San Francisco bay on a routine submarine-spotting mission. A few hours later, the airship wandered back over land and crashed with nobody aboard. Life rafts and other gear had not been touched. To this day the two man crew has never been found.
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.
Three Musketeers Bars originally had 3 smaller chocolate bars. A chocolate, strawberry, and vanilla variety. In 1942 the strawberry and vanilla flavors were cut in response to increased production costs as a result of sugar rationing.
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
*No Nobel prizes were awarded from 1940-1942, due to world war II. When Norway was occupied, the members of the Nobel committee fled into exile.
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