1943 Pop Culture History, Trivia and Fun Facts

1943 Fun Facts, Trivia and History

Quick Facts from 1943:

  • World Changing Event: Nachos were invented circa 1943 by Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico.
  • Influential Songs include: Paper Doll by The Mills Brothers
  • The Movies to Watch include The Ox-Bow Incident, Cabin in the Sky, For Whom the Bell Tolls, A Guy Named Joe, Lassie Come Home, This is the Army, Shadow of a Doubt and The Song of Bernadette
  • The Most Famous Person in America was probably Betty Grable
  • Notable books include: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  • Price of 12 Quart sized Mason Jars in 1943: 98 cents
  • The Football Team(s): Due to a player shortage caused by WWII, The Pittsburgh Steelers and The Philadelphia Eagles merged and were known as the Steagles.
  • The Mystery: The USS Eldridge, docked at the Philadelphia Naval Yard, reportedly disappeared for a few minutes in a ‘transporter experiment’, after which members of the crew reportedly suffered from sporadic invisibility, madness, and spontaneous combustion. The 1984 film, The Philadelphia Experiment was very loosely based on this report.
  • On August 13, 1943, J. Edgar Hoover received a letter alleging that the popularity of Frank Sinatra was being used to prepare the masses to accept a new “Hitler.” The FBI kept surveillance over Sinatra for the next 40 years.
Top Ten Baby Names of 1943: 
Mary, Barbara, Patricia, Linda, Carol, James, Robert, John, William, Richard
US Life Expectancy: 
1943 Males: 62.4 years, Females: 64.4 years
The Stars: 
Ingrid Bergman, Betty Grable, Rita Hayworth, Lena Horne, Veronica Lake, Hedy Lamarr, Carole Landis, Brenda Marshall, Jane Russell, Alexis Smith, Gene Tierney, Lana Turner
Miss America: Jean Bartel (Los Angeles, CA)
Time Magazine’s Man of the Year: George Marshall

Firsts, Inventions, and Wonders:
Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Émile Gagnan invented the first commercially successful open circuit type of scuba diving equipment, the Aqua-lung.

Mexican farmer named Dionisio Pulido had a volcano (Volcán de Parícutin) start to form in his cornfield. By the early 1950s, it was over 400 meters tall. Before being evacuated and leaving his home for the last time, he left a sign that read “This volcano is owned and operated by Dionisio Pulido.” In 1997, CNN included Parícutin in its list of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

Pizza Uno first created the first Deep-Dish Pizza in 1943.

Bea Arthur (Dorothy from The Golden Girls) was a US Marine from 1943-1945 with an honorably discharged rank of staff sergeant.

Vicodin and Lortab were first produced in Germany.

1943 ‘Wartime’ Pennies and Nickels:
‘Wartime nickels’ aka ‘war nickels’ were minted from 1943 to 1945. The temporary composition was 56% copper, 35% silver, and 9% manganese. Minted since 1938, the original design of the Jefferson nickel was created by Felix Schlag.

1943 Silver Pennies – Like nickel, copper was needed for the war effort. 1943 steel pennies were made with low-grade steel and coated with zinc. They had previously been made with a 95 percent copper-based bronze. The Mint switched back to creating copper pennies in 1944.
There were an estimated 40 copper pennies that were created by accident in 1943 which have become some of the most valuable and sought after coins by collectors.

World War II News:
In Russia, the Battle of Stalingrad came to an end, with the surrender of the German 6th Army.

Stalin’s son, Yakov Dzhugashvili, was captured by the Germans during World War 2. The Germans proposed a prisoner-exchange: Stalin’s son for a German Field Marshall. Stalin’s response to this request was ”I will not trade a Marshall for a Lieutenant.” His son died in 1943.

US General Dwight D. Eisenhower became the supreme Allied commander.

On November 5th, four bombs were dropped on the neutral Vatican City. The aircraft responsible was never identified.

The Pentagon, considered to be the world’s largest office building was completed.

During a press conference in June 1943, Congressman Andrew May noted that Japanese depth charges detonated too soon to be effective. The Japanese changed depth-charge tactics after the press releases, killing 800 US submariners.

The Four Chaplains of the U.S. Army were among those drowned when their ship, Dorchester, was struck by a German torpedo in the North Atlantic.

The Gloster Meteor, the first Allied jet fighter, was introduced.

In the United States, rationing included gasoline, canned food, meat, shoes,  cheese, butter and cooking oils went into effect.

Due to wartime blackouts, there was no lit New Year’s Eve Ball at One Times Square in 1942 and 1943.

The RMS Queen Mary carried 16,683 American troops from New York to Great Britain, the (still) standing record for the most passengers ever transported on one vessel.

Future American President John F. Kennedy’s command the PT-109 was sunk by a Japanese destroyer, the Amagiri. Kennedy was awarded the Purple Heart for injuries he sustained in the collision.

The Rescue:
Chinese steward Poon Lim was rescued by Brazilian fishermen, after being adrift for 130 days.

Pop Culture News:
Duke Ellington played at New York City’s Carnegie Hall for the first time.

The Conical Bra was made famous by Jane Russell.

January 22, 1943, the temperature in Spearfish, South Dakota, changed from -4°F to 45°F in just two minutes, setting a world record. This was caused by a Chinook wind, which increased the temperature eventually up to 54°F before dying down, dropping the temperature back to -4°F.

Sliced bread was banned temporarily in the United States in 1943 for wartime conservation.

The Governor-General of Canada declared Princess Juliana of the Netherland’s hospital room extraterritorial so that her child born would still be in the line of succession.

Because so many players joined the WWII military service, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles combined to become the Steagles during the 1943 season.

Disney made an animated short with Donald Duck titled Der Fuehrer’s Face to mock Hitler and the Nazis

David Niven was the only British star in Hollywood to enlist during World War 2. When suspicious American guards asked during the Battle of the Bulge who had won the World Series in 1943, he answered “Haven’t the foggiest idea … but I did co-star with Ginger Rogers in Bachelor Mother!”

Due to a player shortage caused by WWII, The Pittsburgh Steelers and The Philadelphia Eagles merged and were known as the Steagles.

July 1st, the U.S. government started the payroll withholding tax.

Kryptonite, the only substance that can hurt or even kill Superman, was created as a plot device to allow his radio voice actor (1943) to take some time off, not from the comic books.

The first person ever diagnosed with autism was Mississippi resident Donald Triplett, in 1943.

In early June, The Zoot Suit Riots erupted between military personnel and Mexican-American youths in East Los Angeles.

Philip Morris ran an ad acknowledging Smoker’s cough in 1943. They claimed it was caused by smoking brands other than Philip Morris.

Oklahoma! was the first great American Musical. It was the first musical play that truly added a full story to the production. Older musicals primarily had a loose plot revolving around songs and often major dance and stage productions. The show began on March 31, 1943, and ran for 2,212 performances through its initial run, ending in 1948. It has had many revivals as well.

Packard Motors promoted 3 blacks to work next to whites on the assembly line causing 25,000 workers to walk off the job.

Chinese immigrants were officially banned from the United States for 61 years (from 1882 to 1943).

Mohandas Gandhi held a hunger strike from February 10 until March 3,  to protest his imprisonment.

Norman Rockwell’s Rosie the Riveter first appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post.

The Disasters:
An explosion at Smith Mine #3 in Bearcreek, Montana, United States killed 74 coal miners.

Gulf Hotel fire: A fire at the Gulf Hotel in Houston, Texas killed 55 people.

Popular Quote:
“Grown-ups never understand anything for themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them”
– The Little Prince
Unpopular Quote:
Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, said in 1943, “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”
Broadway Shows:
The Voice of the Turtle (Play) Opened on December 8, 1943, and Closed: January 3, 1948
 Oklahoma! (Musical) Opened on March 31, 1943, and Closed: May 29, 1948
Nobel Prizes:
Physics – Otto Stern
Chemistry – George de Hevesy
Physiology or Medicine – Carl Peter Henrik Dam, Edward Adelbert Doisy
Literature – not awarded
Peace – not awarded
Popular and Notable Books From 1943:
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
The Apostle by Sholem Asch
The Forest and the Fort by Hervey Allen
The Fountainhead – Ayn Rand
The Human Comedy by William Saroyan
Hungry Hill by Daphne du Maurier
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Mrs. Parkington by Louis Bromfield
The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas
So Little Time by John P. Marquand
The Song of Bernadette by Franz Werfel
The Valley of Decision by Marcia Davenport
World Series Champions: New York Yankees
NFL Champs: Chicago Bears
Stanley Cup Champs: Detroit Red Wings
U.S. Open Golf: Not played due to WWII
U.S. Tennis (Men/Ladies): Lt. Joseph R. Hunt/Pauline Betz
Wimbledon (Men/Women): not held
NCAA Football Champions: Notre Dame
NCAA Basketball Champions: Wyoming
Kentucky Derby Winner: Pensive
Boston Marathon Winner: Gérard Côté Time: 2:28:25