Friday, March 9, 2012

Finishing 38

On November 13, 1938 there was a BBC broadcasting official visiting Toronto when he heard that the Vancouver based Mart Kenney orchestra that happened to be playing in Toronto. The official was so impressed that he arranged to have it heard on a worldwide broadcast. NBC's Blue Network featured Kenney and his orchestra on a programme that was heard the next day.

November 14 members of the Vancouver Board of Trade were taken on an inspection tour of the present day Hotel Vancouver.

The Vancouver City council wanted to limit the amount of Oriental business licences but on November 23, 1938 these bigots lost their bid to do that.

But on December 9 of the same year the BC Legislature voted to encourage the federal government to pass the Oriental Exclusion act.

December 15, 1938 was the opening night for a legendary nightclub here in Vancouver. This was the night that the Cave Cabaret opened. That night Vancouver's 'smart set' danced on floors constructed of the latest technology to the sounds of Earl Hill's orchestra. The Cave Cabaret was designed to look like the interior of a cave and was the place to go until it closed in 1981.

Henry Torkington "Harry" Devine was our city's first photographer. Born in England in 1865, Devine started his career as a photographer in Brandon Manitoba. In 1884 Devine partnered with J.A. Brock and the two men moved to Vancouver in 1886. After the great fire in June of that year Devine photographed our first city council and our first police department in front of a tent. (I have a book with those photos in it) Devine's partnership with Brock ended in 1887 but Devine returned to work as a photographer from 1895 to 1897 before going on to do other work.

John Devine, Harry's father, was our first auditor. Harry Devine died on December 17, 1938.

On December 30, 1938 The Province newspaper had a music critic by the name of R.J. (Rhynd Jamieson) and R.J. was not a fan of swing music. Not by any means. R.J. was a good sport and agreed to take part in a mock trial on CBC Radio's National Forum in which this genre of music was the defendant.

The audience was the jury. R.J. was the prosecutor. Appearing for the defense were the art critic of Toronto Saturday Night, Graham MacInnes, and a CBC conductor, Percy Faith.

R. J. claimed that swing music was 'a menace to real musical development in its true sense'. Sounds like something someone would have said over twenty years later about rock 'n roll!

Well that was a look at what happened in Vancouver in 1938, thanks to the History of Metropolitan Vancouver website for the information. There is more but that I will leave for another time.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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