June 28, 2009

Favorites of the week June 23-28, 1930

I'm no longer going to do a full digest of the week, since I'm now separating out the boring stuff day-by-day. However, I can't resist doing a collection of my favorite items of the week. These aren't a representative selection but just the ones that made me smile or take notice.

June 28:

Brokerage letters have taken to quoting poetry, particularly Kipling's “If” [If you can keep your head ...]

Childs (restaurant chain) earnings for first half 1930 up approx. 100% over 1929. Sales had suffered over the past 6 years when management eliminated most meats, printed calorie counts for menu items, and changed slogan from “The Nation's Host from Coast to Coast” to “Watch Your Step - Get Vegetable Wise.” Present management took over in March 1929 and reversed these policies.

E.D. Sullivan says racketeering is “national industry” with $3B of revenue from bootlegging alone, “furnishing easy living to 6,000,000 Americans”; calls liaison between politician and gangster “greatest menace of century.”

June 27:

Severin, the renowned French mime, has died. Performed for many years in prewar Paris, best known for Pierrot character. Career ended after the World War, as “Comedy was no longer finely and delicately etched; it was painted with a broad brush.” Severin's death recalls the tragic case of Marcelline, the great American circus mime who headlined for years at the Hippodrome. When movies ended his career, he comitted suicide - in full costume and makeup.

Liquid Carbonic (soda fountains and carbon dioxide) earnings for 6 months ended March 31 were $0.85 vs. $0.82 in 1929. Business improved by increase in carbonated beverage consumption during Prohibition.

June 26:

Henry W. Thornton, president Canadian National Railways, says conflicts of industry over trade are a threat to world peace; sees the fundamental obstacle to peace as “our hereditary contentious psychology, perhaps generally dormant but always explosive.”

June 25:

Market observers becoming reluctant to give opinions, even the usually outspoken ones. Caution urged. Trying to pick a bottom can be disastrous. [Note: this day was, of course, a bottom]

June 24:

J. Westerfield of the NY Stock Exchange lectures civics clubs of Yonkers on the causes of the current business recession. ... Concludes that an illusion grew popular that “paper profits in ... quoted values for real estate, commodities, securities, and other forms of property increased fortunes and thereby spending power.”

Census indicates New York City contains “300,000 unemployed and 100,000 drifters.”

June 23:

Col. Ayres, VP Cleveland Trust, predicts an abrupt recovery in stock and commodity prices by Labor Day due to current consumption exceeding production. Distinguishes between two types of depression, “V”-shaped and “U”-shaped.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer production plans for upcoming year include 50 feature films, 60 comedy/novelty shorts, and 104 Hearst Metrotone newsreels.


  1. "Market observers becoming reluctant to give opinions, even the usually outspoken ones. Caution urged. Trying to pick a bottom can be disastrous." [Note: this day was, of course, a bottom]

    I used to have a book called, "Oh, Yeah?" that was full of learned and other comments about the Crash and Depression as they were happening, written after the fact, of course. How so many people could get it so wrong...

  2. In terms of valuation, we are closer to July 1931. Perhaps news from that year might be more appropriate?

  3. Gary - it appears to still be in print:

    Matt - will reply in the other place you posted (the "Just what is the point ..." link on the right)