There was no Google yet. Or Email or Yahoo.
In 1932, the year of Dick Vernon’s birth, the top selling movie was Shanghai Express.
Remember, that was before there were DVDs. Heck, even before there was VHS and 8 track recordings. People were indeed watching movies in the cinema, and not downloading them online. Imagine the packed seats, the laughter, the excitement, the novelty. And mostly all of that without 3D computer effects.
In the year 1932, the time when I arrived on this planet, books were still popularly read on paper, not on digital devices. Trees were felled to get the word out. The number one US bestseller of the time was The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck. Oh, that’s many years ago. Have you read that book? Have you heard of it?
In 1932… The Stimson Doctrine is proclaimed, in response to the Japanese invasion of Manchuria. Adolf Hitler obtains German citizenship by naturalization, opening the opportunity for him to run in the 1932 election for Reichspräsident. Japan occupies Shanghai. The Sydney Harbour Bridge opens. John Cockcroft and Ernest Walton focus a proton beam on lithium and split its nucleus. The Benelux customs union is negotiated. The Dow Jones Industrial Average reaches its lowest level of the Great Depression, bottoming out at 41.22. The San Francisco Opera House opens. Buck Rogers in the 25th Century airs on American radio for the first time.
That was the world I was born into. Since then, you and others have changed it.
The Nobel prize for Literature that year went to John Galsworthy. The Nobel prize for physics went to Werner Heisenberg from Germany for the creation of quantum mechanics, the application of which has, inter alia, led to the discovery of the allotropic forms of hydrogen. The sensation this created was big. But it didn’t stop the planets from spinning, on and on, year by year. Years in which I would grow bigger, older, smarter, and, if you were lucky, sometimes wiser. Years in which I also lost some things. Possessions got misplaced. Memories faded. Friends parted ways. The best friends, you tried to hold on. This is what counts in life, isn’t it?
The 1930s were indeed a special decade. The Dirty Thirties. There was a Great Depression with traumatic effects worldwide. In Germany, the Nazi’s Third Reich rose, ultimately leading to World War II. Intercontinental aviation and radio began. The German airship Hindenburg explodes in the sky above Lakehurst, New Jersey. Gandhi’s peaceful resistance movement against the British colonial rule in India gains worldwide attention. Radar is invented, and so is Kodachrome.
Do you remember the movie that was all the rage when you were 15? Cass Timberlane. Do you still remember the songs playing on the radio when you were 15? Maybe it was Peg o’ My Heart by The Harmonicats. Were you in love? Who were you in love with, do you remember? I wasn’t really in love until I met Danna at age 19.
There’s a kid outside, shouting, playing. It doesn’t care about time. It doesn’t know about time. It shouts and it plays and thinks time is forever. I was once that kid.
When I was 9, the movie Here Comes Mr. Jordan was playing. When I was 8, there was The Blue Bird.
Progress, year after year. Do you wonder where the world is heading towards? The technology available today would have blown your mind in 1932.
1932, North of Baton Rouge
Louisiana nights are darker than before
Along the Mississippi, that is where it is
The old colonial house, a mansion if you will
White as snow, the mansion still seems to have its glow
…That’s from the song LOA House by King Diamond.
In 1932, a new character entered the world of comic books: Goofy. Bang! Boom! But that’s just fiction, right? In the real world, in 1932, Don King was born. And Donald Rumsfeld. Elizabeth Taylor, too. And you, of course. Everyone an individual. Everyone special. Everyone taking a different path through life.
The world is a different place. Oh for the good old days.
Today, February 21, 2011, I am 28568 days old.