The adventures of Johnny Graphic are set in motion on October 1, 1935, when Burilgi the ghost warrior murders Mongke Eng in Silver City–halfway across the continent from Johnny’s hometown of Zenith.
What, I wondered, was happening on October 1, 1935, in our universe? A trip to the microfilm room at the University of Minnesota’s Wilson Library provided the answers, in the form of the New York Times of that date. This was, of course, right in the heart of the Great Depression–worse by far than our Great Recession of the last few years. At the same time, dark clouds were forming over Europe. Hitler was preparing to throw the entire world into war.
The top front-page story, though, was about the ocean liner Rotterdam going aground near Morant Cays in Jamaica. Four-hundred-sixty passengers and crew were taken to safety and transferred to the British steamer Ariguant.
The headline next to it reports that the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini is about to launch a war in Africa. Thirty thousand troops are on the way, with 220,000 awaiting their orders.
Another story describes how Europe is dividing into two camps. Democracy, led by Great Britain, is seeking allies to face the dictatorships of Germany and Italy.
President Franklin Roosevelt gave a speech at Boulder Dam in Nevada, where he urged American industry to take more responsibility for speeding up employment. On the same trip, his automobile encountered hazardous conditions on a narrow mountain road and had to turn back.
Mayor LaGuardia of New York City has warned motorists to turn down their radios late at night. Those who don’t comply will face drastic action.
Inside the paper, there’s a report from Boston on the world premiere of George Gershwin’s great folk opera, Porgy and Bess. On the sports page, baseball prepares for tomorrow’s first game of the World Series–the Detroit Tigers vs. the Chicago Cubs, in Detroit. A three-ticket grandstand package for the three games to be played at Wrigley Field in Chicago costs $15.50; a bleacher seat for a single game is only $1.10.
Yesterday, in 1935, San Francisco (Silver City) had a high of 76, a low of 58, and partly cloudy skies. Duluth (Zenith) reported a high of 54, a low of 46, with clear skies.