Thursday, April 21, 2011

April 21, 1951

Saturday April 21, 1951.

The headline, in bold print, streamed across the front page of the Toronto Daily Star. It exclaimed - REDS HALT RETREAT, FIGHT BACK. World attention at this time was focused on the Korean conflict. The story underneath the headline, detailed a battle which took place at the transportation hub of Chorwon. The raw nature of conducting this fight between Korean and Allied troops can be found in the following paragraph, "At other points U.N. infantry men used fists and clubbed rifles in hand-to-hand conflict."

Back in Toronto, the weekend forecast called for rain in the morning and showers come evening. The temperature was expected to peak at 54 degrees Fahrenheit and dip to 34 degrees.

On the local beat, there was a story on how the Bell Telephone Company were co-operating with police on a criminal matter. In a move to restrict bookmaking activity, law enforcement and Bell were working in unison to remove phones from locations associated with such activities.

On Palmerston Avenue and Lennox Street, there was an automobile accident which made the news. The collision between a taxi and another vehicle, resulted in serious injuries. Following an initial impact, the taxi was propelled 100 feet north and smashed into the porch of a house. Minutes earlier, a 2 year old child was playing on the front lawn.

Under a headline titled, "Women Really Weaker Sex Swede Treadmill Tests Show", were results of a study conducted by the Stockholm Central Gymnastic Institution. Men and women running on a treadmill were tested for oxygen intake, pulse rate and lactic acid. The results? Women scored 30 per cent lower than men

The Simpson's department store was advertising their advance May Sale. For men, rayon suits, single or double-breasted, could be purchased for $35.55. Ladies could pick up an artists' smock for $1.98, Racello Straw Hats $3.98 and a striped Pinafore for $2.98. A Moulton Continental Bed was reduced by $10.00, now selling for $99.50.

Adams, a floor covering store, were offering imported Lancastreum Rugs ranging in size from 6x9 / $4.45 to 9x12 / $9.50. On sale at Loblaws was Old Cave - "The good old cheddar cheese." Frank Stollery, located at Bloor and Yonge, were advertising a Stetson Hat which was produced for them - The Squire - and sold for $10.95.

The Greek Line, a passenger ship company, were offering one-way fares to Europe for $141.75. The New York State Department of Commerce provided information on how to obtain a free 1951 vacation guide.

The Toronto Daily Star printed a review of a new book - A King's Story - written by the Duke of Windsor. Included in the memoir is an account of his abdication from the throne on December 10, 1936. Purchase of the book would set a buyer back by $4.50.

In New York, Kid Gavilan fought Aldo Minelli as a tune-up for his May 18 welterweight clash with Johnny Bratton. Kid Gavilan scored a unanimous decision over his opponent in the 10 round fight.

At Famous Players Theatres spread across the city, a variety of offerings were being projected onto the silver screens. Fans of westerns could see Alan Ladd in "Branded" at Shea's. The Palace at Danforth and Pape featured a double-bill - James Gagney in "The West Point Story" and Gary Cooper in "Dallas".

A sure sign that spring was in the air, came with the announcement that 2 Drive-Ins were opening on April 23, 1951. Starting at dusk, 2 shows, a colour cartoon and first run news would fill the night sky. Remember, kids and cars are free!

The Royal Alexandra took out an ad for a booking of Walt Disney's film "Fantasia", scheduled to open on April 23. Massey Hall was promoting an upcoming concert by pianist William Kapell. Seat prices ranged from $1.50 to $3.00.

Hungry before or after attending a show? Lichee Garden, situated on Elizabeth Street, offered a full menu of their famous Chinese food.

The Odeon Toronto, at Carlton and Yonge, presented Columbia Pictures " The Valentino Story". Actor Anthony Dexter portrayed Rudolph Valentino and his leading lady was Eleanor Parker.

A short distance down the road at Carlton and Church, the Globe newspaper documented a tale from the previous night. A photograph depicted Stan Smith and George Hancin as they camped-out hoping to obtain standing room tickets for game 5 of the Leafs and Canadiens Stanley Cup final series.

Approximately 24 hours later at 11:07 pm, history would take place mere steps away from where they huddled, drinking tea from a flask in order to keep warm.

At 2:53 of the first overtime period, Bill Barilko would score and provide the City of Toronto with another Stanley Cup. News of the day would come to a standstill. The sporting world supplying a temporary diversion from war, criminal activity and horrendous traffic accidents. There was a new story and it was one for the ages.

The following link - Bill Barilko Goal - to the CBC Archives, provides the audio call made by Foster Hewitt on April 21, 1951. Turn down the lights and close your eyes as you listen. Let the sound fill your head, but switch on your imagination to capture the magic of the moment. Just as it did for the entire Nation 60 years ago this evening on Saturday April 21, 1951.

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