Depression Thanksgiving


November 26, 1991|By MIKE BOWLER


Fifty-five years ago, Nov. 26, 1936, Baltimore was reeling from the Depression. Unemployment was high. Across the Atlantic, Hitler's menace was sensed but not fully realized.

Ruxton suits were reduced to $18 at Stewart's.

Molly Picon was on stage at the Hippodrome. On the screen at the Hipp -- Irene Dunne, "who makes 'My Man Godfrey' and 'Mr. Deeds' both look like sissies," according to the Hipp ad. Dunne was starring in "Theodora Goes Wild."

The Gas & Electric Co. was advertising the "1937" Zenith radio, "the radio a year ahead of its time," for $52.95.

Baltimoreans could subscribe to Morning, Evening and Sunday Suns for 25 cents a week.

Portions of Maryland, particularly in the west, were suffering from a "moderate drought."

But the lead story in The Evening Sun was about off-peak fares being offered for the first time on Baltimore Transit Co. buses. Between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., two trips could be purchased for 15 cents.

"We follow the practice already established in other lines of business," explained Bancroft Hill, president of the company. Moving picture theaters, he noted, charged lower admission prices in the morning and early afternoon. Railroads reduced their fares on weekends, steamship passenger fares were lower in winter. Even the telephone company had started reducing its long-distance rates after 7 p.m.

A photo on the back page (then the local page) of The Evening Sun showed mounted members of the Greenspring Valley Hunt "following the pack under lowering skies."

And large balloon characters appeared in Hochschild, Kohn's annual "Toytown" Thanksgiving parade.

Bad times, those 55 long years ago, but there was much to be thankful for.

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