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Mae West shattered an illusion by proclaiming: "I don't drink or smoke; I don't go to Hollywood parties and sometimes I work so hard I fall asleep over dinner." But Hollywood had its share of troubles. Archbishop John Timothy Mc-Nicholas of Cincinnati organized the 2-million-strong Legion of Decency, and installed Joseph I. Breen, onetime A.P. newsman, as watchdog. Producers releasing a picture without a seal of approval would henceforth face the Legion's wrath and boycott. Of Human Bondage and Nana did all right without seals, but such pictures as Little Women, The Thin Man (the first of the unruffled, wisecracking private eyes) and The Barretts of Wimpole Street, which had them, did better.
It was a grand year for songs and singers, though RUDY VALLEE's megaphone was silenced momentarily by a tabloid divorce trial, and schmalz lovers lost an idol when Russ (You Call It Madness, But I Call It Love) Colombo was accidentally but permanently silenced with an antique dueling pistol. People were dancing to The Continental and La Cucaracha, whistling Tumbling Tumbleweeds and Stars Fell on Alabama.
Broadway was seldom brighter, never more tuneful. Cole Porter's Anything Goes gave the country Ethel Merman and four timeless melodies: Anything Goes, All Through the Night, I Get a Kick Out of You and You're The Top. FANNY BRICE ("What did 'oo say?"), all wide-eyed innocence and pink hair ribbons, stole the Ziegfeld Follies. Drama audiences were chilled by Lillian Hellman's The Children's Hour and scandalized by the glandular Lester family in Tobacco Road.
Stars, producers and backers of indifferent plays cringed before the witty, acidulous critiques of ALEXANDER WOOLLCOTT.
Music lovers were dismayed when Leopold Stokowski quit the Philadelphia Orchestra after 22 years, and connoisseurs of the exotic dance were titillated when SALLY RAND offered her famous fans to the Smithsonian Institution.
The reading public had a meaty year. Social protest continued to flourish in fiction and nonfiction. Matthew Josephson's The Robber Barons shed a harsh light on the fortune makers of the preceding half century. But one of the most severely castigated tycoons, ancient JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER, peacefully played out the year on the golf links, confident that his controversial transactions had been more than balanced by the unequaled munificence of his benefactions. Another Robber Baron, J. P. MORGAN, spent the year on his yacht Corsair, putting in to port only to protest the huge taxes levied against his estates by revenue-hungry town assessors. André Malraux won world acclaim with publication of Man's Fate, a grim account of the revolution in China. William Saroyan, seeking to establish "the truth of my presence on earth," brought out his first book, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze. But the literary milestone of the year was a legal opinion. Federal Judge John Munro Woolsey ruled that James Joyce's Ulysses could be distributed in the U.S.
It was a year of good guys and bad guys, and the bad guys came to no good end. All but one of the nation's public enemies were killed or captured. AL CAPONE was whisked off to Alcatraz. Good guy J. Edgar Hoover's federal cops scragged John Dillinger, the country's most notorious killer, and displayed his body on a slab in the Chicago morgue, where it briefly became a major tourist attraction.
The good guys carried the day in New York behind FIORELLO (Little Flower) LA GUARDIA. He took over as mayor and quickly began clearing out a "cesspool of corruption."
In Callender, Ontario a kindly old country doctor named ALLEN ROY DAFOE delivered Mrs. Elzire Dionne, age 24, of five girls, and he, Mama Dionne, Papa Dionne, Marie, Emilie, Cecile, Annette and Yvonne and Callender were on the way to everlasting fame.
Admiral Richard (Dickie) BYRD spent seven historic pain-racked months in an antarctic outpost. Overcome by the fumes from his kerosene stove, he fell gravely ill, suffered indoor temperatures of 30° below zero, withheld his desperate plight from his radio contact in Little America. It was a great sports year—one of the greatest of all time. The Gashouse Gang of the St. Louis Cardinals took the National League pennant, Pepper Martin repeatedly stopping the fans' hearts with his daring head-first slides. It was BABE RUTH's last and worst year with the Yankees (22 HRs and a batting average of .288), and Lou Gehrig's best year (49 HRs, a batting average of .363). It was the year the Dean boys, Dizzy and Paul, won 30 and 19 games respectively.