by M. Ruth Myers
Since my mystery series is set in the 1940s, I accumulate lots of research that can’t fit in the books, but is fun nonetheless. Enjoy a little time-traveling with these snippets on books, movies and new additions to everyday life that ordinary people were enjoying in 1940.
An official bestseller list didn’t come into being until 1945. Books whose popularity would have put them in the running for that label in 1940 included How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn, Kitty Foyle by Christopher Morley, Mrs. Miniver by Jan Struther and For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway. Another contender was The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, which won that year’s Pulitzer Prize.
Best picture award went to Rebecca, based on the wonderful gothic romance by Daphne du Maurier. (Alfred Hitchcock directed.) Jimmy Stewart was named best actor for his role in The Philadelphia Story. Best actress honors went to Ginger Rogers for Kitty Foyle.
In May of 1940, nylon stockings went on sale to the general public, following their introduction late the previous year at the World’s Fair. Dupont, the chemical company that developed nylon, decided not to trademark the name in hopes the word “nylon” would become synonymous with hoisery.
Bugs Bunny made his screen debut in 1940, as did Woody Woodpecker, but my favorite innovation of 1940, hands down, was the arrival of soft-serve ice cream. Dairy Queen opened its first outlet in Joliet, Illinois.
Shamus in a Skirt, Maggie Sullivan Mystery #4, is 99c now through 8/29. Hey, it just happens to be set in 1940, as the war in Europe crosses the Atlantic to draw Ohio private eye Maggie into a case of murder and jewels slipping in and out of the safe at an upscale hotel. Amazon Apple Nook Kobo