Category Archives: 1921-1930

“The Pasternak Saga”
…and Zhivago Chronicles

[…] This story generally covers the biography of Russian poet and author, Boris Pasternak, and particularly his struggles with his famous novel, “Doctor Zhivago,” a decades-long project showcasing epic Russian history that casts the individual vs. the state – a book that helped him win a Nobel Prize, which he was prevented from collecting, since the novel’s views on Soviet ways were less than flattering … Laudatory press & literary reaction in the West are also covered here, using headlines, photos & critic commentary… Along the way there are real-life Pasternak love stories apart from his novel, confrontations with Soviet authorities, CIA involvement, and more, plus new biographies, memoirs, films & research that continue to probe the Pasternak/Zhivago sagas to this day […]

“Gehrig vs. Ruth, 1927”
Home Run Race

[…] In 1927, two New York Yankee baseball sluggers – established star Babe Ruth and upstart Lou Gehrig – became engaged in a “home run race,” culminating in Ruth setting, at that time, the single-season home run record at 60 (later surpassed in 1961). This story tracks the contest between Gehrig and Ruth during the 1927 season, using newspaper and magazine headlines from that era to chronicle their battle from April through September 1927, while also listing contemporary books, photos, and selected baseball statistics that document their careers beyond 1927 – including Lou Gehrig’s battle with ALS disease that later took him out of baseball […]

“The Flying Flapper”

[…] In the fall of 1928, a 17-year old female pilot named Elinor Smith from Long Island, New York took up a challenge to fly her plane beneath a bridge on NY city’s East River… Not only did she fly under one bridge, but four, all on the East River, making her an instant celebrity in New York and beyond, and launching a flying career in which she would continue to set records and advance the cause of female aviation… Her story is covered here with period photographs […]

“Empire Newhouse”

[…] Advance Publications is a sprawling media empire of leading magazines, newspapers, cable TV and websites owned by the Newhouse family of Long Island, New York. In recent years the Newhouse/Advance empire has ranked among the 50 largest privately-held companies in the U.S. This article dips into the 90 years of Newhouse empire-building history, with some focus on the newspaper and magazine parts of the story, celebrity and political issues, and the Newhouse publishing and media impact on America culture…[…]

“Baseball Stories”

[…] This “topics page” provides thumbnail sketches and links to 14 baseball stories at this website, including in-depth profiles and photos of Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, Sandy Koufax, Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson, Honus Wagner, Christie Mathewson, Lou Gehrig, and others […]

“Talkie Terror”
Late 1920s

[…] Hollywood’s silent screen stars faced a new peril with the coming of “talking motion pictures” – their recorded voices… Norma Talmadge, featured in Photoplay’s December 1929 cover story, “The Microphone–The Terror of The Studios,” was one of the casualties… The Pop History Dig story here features famous actors and directors who recount the difficulties of the silent-to-sound era, the carnage it created, and which Hollywood studios became the big players in its aftermath […]

“Babe Ruth & Tobacco”

[…] Baseball great Babe Ruth and his wife Claire are shown in a 1938 Los Angeles Times newspaper ad for White Owl cigars. Ruth’s involvement with other tobacco advertising – cigarettes, pipe, and chewing tobacco – is also covered, with some advertising samples & photos. Ruth’s throat disease is also discussed…[…]

“Al Jolson & Luckies”

[…] In 1928, Al Jolson, fresh from the fame of appearing in the first talking motion picture, “The Jazz Singer” of 1927, also began appearing in American Tobacco Co. cigarette advertising for their Lucky Strike brand… American Tobacco, and other tobacco companies, would soon make film-star and celebrity advertising of cigarette brands a staple in their tobacco promotion campaigns through the 1930s, 1940s, and beyond… This story covers some of that history […]

“Ruth at Oriole Park”

Statue of a young Babe Ruth just outside the gates of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore. Statue by Susan Luery; photo by Leo Cloutier, See other statue perspective, below.     In Baltimore, Maryland, at the Camden Yards baseball park, home of the Baltimore Orioles professional baseball team, there is a statue of Babe Ruth, … Continue reading “Ruth at Oriole Park”

“Baseball, 1929”
Jimmie Foxx

Jimmie Foxx, 21 year-old baseball star of the Philadelphia Athletics, featured on Time magazine cover, July 29, 1929. Click for collectible copy.     In the summer of 1929, the year in which the stock market crashed, America was a nation not expecting disaster.  These were, after all, the “Roaring Twenties” and America was feeling pretty good … Continue reading “Baseball, 1929”
Jimmie Foxx

“Dempsey vs. Carpentier”
July 1921

     In 1921, they called it “the largest audience in history,” the 300,000 or so people estimated to have heard one of the first radio broadcasts of a special event — the outdoor heavyweight championship boxing match between American Jack Dempsey and French challenger, Georges Carpentier.  Dempsey was reigning world champ at the time, and Carpentier … Continue reading “Dempsey vs. Carpentier”
July 1921

Pearl White

…Shown here on the April 1920 cover of “Photoplay” is Pearl White, a popular silent film star. …At least part of White’s notoriety in “The Perils of Pauline” series was due to a business battle in the newspaper industry. The premier of “The Perils…” film arrived in Chicago in the midst of local turf war between William Randolph Hearst and Rufus McCormick of the Chicago Tribune…

Anna Q. Nilsson

Anna Quirentia Nilsson, shown here on Photoplay’s November 1920 cover, became a star of the silent screen and was the first Swedish-born actress to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Nilsson’s story, however, is quite American in many ways […]

“Babe Ruth Days”
1947 & 1948

…On April 27th, 1947, more than 58,000 fans packed Yankee Stadium to honor former New York Yankee baseball star Babe Ruth… It was 20 years since he had set baseball’s most revered record — hitting an unheard-of 60 home runs in one season — and it was more than a dozen years since he had been an active player… Still, on this Babe Ruth Day, the fans loved him…