Look Back 1935
In 1935 the US was still struggling with the depression and unemployment of over 20%, Amelia Earhart is the first person to fly solo across part of the Pacific Ocean (Hawaii to California), the first technicolor Mickey Mouse short film is released, and Hitler began building Germany’s armies and weapons, Italy attacked Ethiopia.
While the major news events are remembered, sometimes the lighter sides of everyday life that often gives us a sense of the time period are overlooked. Here are a variety of tidbits of information, print ads, videos and other items that gives a sense of what living in 1935 was all about. And wait until you see the Yeast Tablet ads, I am not sure they would be published today.
Each Look Back page will contain unique content that will grow over time, with one goal to try and showcase the esthetic, style and interests of that year.
Here is a Look Back 1935
Even though it was the depression, people were energized by Swing music. While the origins of swing music can be traced to the 1920s, Jimmy Lunceford’s “Rhythm Is Our Business,” and Benny Goodman’s “Sing Sing Sing (with a swing) turn swing music mainstream in 1935 and this upbeat music would influence radio hits for the next decade and beyond.
Top Movies 1935
• Top Hat – Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers
• The Bride of Frankenstein – Boris Karloff, Elsa Lanchester
• The 39 Steps – Robert Donat, Madeleine Carroll
• A Night at the Opera – The Marx Brothers – Groucho, Chico, Harpo
• Mutiny on the Bounty – Charles Laughton, Clark gable, Franchot Tone
Top Celebrities 1935
In 1935 the top celebrities and starlets that caught our attention on the silver screen, on the radio and on the covers of Silver Screen, Screenland and Hollywood magazine were a diverse mix. Shirley Temple seemed to garner the most attention, even though she was the youngest star in Hollywood.
Ladies that Captured our Attention included:
Joan Blondell, Claudette Colbert, Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Dolores Del Rio, Marlene (Marie) Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Jean Harlow, Katharine Hepburn, Hedy Lamarr, Carole Lombard, Ginger Rogers, Shirley Temple, Mae West, Loretta Young
The Men who Caught our Attention included:
Fred Astaire, Bing Crosby, Gary Cooper, Henry Fonda, Clark Gable, Will Rogers
A New Cartoon Character Hits the Big Screen
The first Mickey Mouse film produced in color is released, The Band Concert – 1935. Check out vintage 1930s Mickey Mouse items that include games, stuffed animals, buttons, figurines, watches and more.
Ford was the best selling car in 1935 with almost a million units and the 1935 Ford V-8 focused on power and a smooth ride. The style and power of these Fords (especially the coupes) made them a favorite to become street hot rods of the 1950s. Discover 1935 Ford V8 parts, advertisements, and memorabilia for sale.
GM teamed up with Fisher to sell a modern look with solid steel strength in 1935.
If you are a automobile collector, and have a million dollars then this is the most prized car of 1935; the Duesenberg Model J Convertible. One of these beautiful vehicles sold for over a $1 million in 2021. You can get Duesenberg Model J models of this beautiful car for much, much less.
1935 Food & Beverage
It is hard to look at this Coca-Cola ad and not think it was inspired by the Bride of Frankenstein! What a fun 1935 print ad and nod to a classic monster franchise. Love vintage Coca-Cola advertising? Then check out these 1930s Coca-Cola prints ads, signs and collectibles.
Here is the 1935 Bride of Frankenstein poster to compare the Coca-Cola advertisement against.
So whimsical and full of expression are these Vernon Grant illustrated characters. Vernon was the artist who created the original Snap, Crackle and Pop! characters that would become the identity of the brand. Check out all the vintage Snap, Crackle, & Pop dolls, dishes and memorabilia.
Sometimes we forget that something as common as paper towels was new and had to be sold and promoted. I love the line, Towels you don’t have to wash!
There is always room for Jell-O! Jell-O has an amazing history and is one of those rare desserts that sometimes contains a surprise. In this case melon balls, but I have had Jell-O with marshmallows, fruit, and even candy inside it.
These two Yeast tablet ads really go after the fear of being skinny and not being attractive. I would say that some of today’s diet and fitness ads continue to focus on being desirable to the opposite sex as a way to sell their products.
If you ever have enjoyed beer in a can, you can thank Krueger’s Brewery for being the first beer producer to do so in 1935. Oh, and you should also thank American Can as they installed the equipment for free, hoping that sales of the cans to the brewery would cover the cost of the equipment. And within months of the launch Krueger’s was buying 180,000 cans a day!
It it is hard to look back on 1935 and not mention that Parker Brothers acquired the rights to Monopoly and began selling it in the US. The original concept came from a game called The Landlord’s Game and often include homemade boards and more complex rules. Ironically in 1934 Parker Brothers and Milton Bradley rejected Monopoly, but after learning of strong sales FAO Schwarz in NYC and Philadelphia stores during Christmas 1934 Parker Bros. reached out to set up a meeting.
The rest is history as Monopoly has gone on to become the best selling board game of all time and there are hundreds if not thousands of themed variations of the board game. Feeling nostalgic? Find vintage Monopoly board games from the 1930s to the 2000s.
For those who love trains, the 1935 Lionel was sure to impress with a real locomotive whistle on a model train. This child is way beyond excited and most likely drove his parents crazy that Christmas, but if you are a Lionel fan then you totally understand his expression. Find vintage Lionel model trains, buildings and track for sale and relive your childhood.
Buck Rogers toys were extremely popular in the mid-1930s. Show above the Buck Rogers XZ-31 Pistol Space Gun by Daisy. The first Buck Rogers toys came out in 1933. Check out more Buck Rogers space toys from the 1930s.
This is a holdover from Look Back 1934 as the Shirley Temple doll was the best selling toy of 1935. Shirley Temple was a Hollywood star and every girl wanted to be like her. You can still find Shirley Temple dolls on eBay, and some are still in excellent shape.
1935 Top Radio Shows
Radio was the king of media in 1935 and many people spent the evenings sitting and listening to news, mystery shows and entertainers who provides comedy, stories and celebrity interviews. Some of the top radio shows of 1935 were
• Jack Benny – Jell-O Program
• Major Bowes Amateur Hour – Frank Sinatra / The Hoboken Four first live radio appearance was in 1935!
• Burns & Allen Show (George & Gracie)
• Amos & Andy
• Believe It or Not
Fun Radio Facts / Trivia from 1935
• Bob Hope has network radio debut on the variety show – The Intimate Revue. (January)
• The music program Your Hit Parade, debuted on NBC. (April)
• Flash Gordon, the popular comic strip, premieres as a radio serial show on Mutual Broadcasting System. (April)
• First musical comedy series, Uncle Charlie’s Tent Show, premieres on NBC. (June)
• Bing Crosby guest hosts of the Kraft Music Hall in December and in January 1936 he becomes the full-time host.
This RCA Victor D-22 radio-phonograph plays records and tunes in to your favorite radio station. What is striking about this elegant print advertisement is how dressed up she is in trying to sell that the sounds of a live orchestra performance can be created at home.
Cleaning the home is still a chore, but back in 1935 vacuum cleaners were revolutionizing house work. While $50 does not seem like much today, with inflation this Hoover vacuum would cost around $1,100 in today money (2023).
The print ad we found here is more about basic kids clothes / sweaters and understanding what items cost back in 1935.
These are classic style and Montgomery Wards even had a Mickey Mouse Sweater. Want to know what these kids clothes would cost in today’s dollars (2023), an easy rule of thumb is take the price and multiple by 20 and you’ll roughly have an idea of how much it would cost today.
Here are 2 pages of women’s dresses (pages 69-70) from a 1935 Sears spring – summer catalog. The dress are simple, tailored, yet proper and still have design cues from the 1920s. The surprising thing is that many of these dresses cost less than the children’s winter items above.
What is pretty amazing is that you can still find hundreds of dresses, blouses and skirts from the 1930s that are in excellent shape. View vintage 1930s dresses now.
New York City’s department stores often had some of the most elegant dresses in the entire country. These Lord & Taylor dress sketches showcase the glamour and fashion that still make NYC one of the world’s top fashion centers.
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Thank you for checking out Look Back 1935.
It was fun showcasing music, movies, radio, cars, radio, food toys and more related to 1935. As we find new items and commentary we will add to this page.