On the Lighter Side: A trip in the time machine

Joe Guilbeau

We may not have the time machine H.G. Wells wrote about in his classic bestseller, but the help of books and film gives us a nice look at America in the past.

Joe Guilbeau

Let’s take a nostalgia trip and turn the clock back to 1936, a very interesting year.

  • Franklin Roosevelt is President of the United States.
  • John Nance Garner is Vice President.
  • William Bankhead is Speaker of the House of Representatives.
  • William Mackenzie King is the Canadian Prime Minister.
  • Harold L. Davis wins the Pulitzer Prize for his novel "Honey in the Horn."
  • Carlos L. Lamas, Argentine Academic and politician,  is the Nobel Peace Prize winner.
  • Rose Coyle of Philadelphia is Miss America.
  • Life expectancy is 59.7 years for men and 60.6 years for women.
  • The British Broadcasting Company launches its first television system. I was once interviewed by the BBC.
  • “Gone with the Wind” is published by Margaret Mitchell.
  • The Dirigible Hindenburg competes its first transatlantic flight.
  • A bridge linking Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx opens.
  • Influential Rock-and-Roll pioneer Buddy Holly is born in Lubbock, Texas. He would top the charts with “Peggy Sue,” “That’ll Be the Day” and “True Love Ways,” among other hits.
  • “Professor Quiz,” the first radio quiz show, premieres on CBS.
  • German President Adolf Hitler introduces the Volkswagen.
  • The Oakland Bay Bridge opens in California.
  • The pictorial magazine “Life” is first published.
  • Girl Scout Cookies make their debut.
  • The Veterans of Foreign War (VFW) is officially chartered by Congress.
  • Semiautomatic rifles are adopted by the United States Army.
  • The Owens-Illinois Glass Co. completes its first glass house.
  • The 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin marked the debut for basketball competition. 
  • In Stockholm, Sweden, the first Nobel prizes are awarded for excellence in the fields of chemistry, physics, medicine, literature and peace.
  • The New York Yankees won the World Series.
  • The Green Bay Packers are Pro Football Champions.
  • Minnesota is the College Football Champion.
  • Notre Dame wins the NCAA basketball championship.
  • Larry Kelley of Yale wins the Heisman Trophy.
  • Louis Meyer is the Indy 500 winner.
  • Songs of 1936 included “It’s Been So Long” (Benny Goodman), “The Way You Look Tonight” (Fred Astaire), “The Broken Record” (Guy Lombardo), “A Fine Romance” (Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers) and “Goody Goody” (Benny Goodman).

1936 marked the middle of the Great Depression, and I was groist wing up on a farm in Lafayette Parish. We had large gardens, an orchard, cows and chickens. I was never hungry. In my junior class, I was 6 feet tall.