THE GREAT DEPRESSION: FIVE CENT CIGARS, PENNY CANDY AND TAXI DANCERS

THE GREAT DEPRESSION: FIVE CENT CIGARS, PENNY CANDY AND TAXI DANCERS

While the economy began to suffer earlier, the great depression became a national reality with the stock market crash on October 29, 1929, "Black Tuesday,"and lasted until the start of World War II in 1941.

During the depression in 1930 the average income was about $1,800 a year and you could buy a new Model T Ford for around $520.00. Driving was cheap. A gallon of gas cost ten cents. Houses could be bought new for under $2,000 and the average house could be rented for $15 a month. A ticket to a move was a quarter.

And there was the five cent cigar. You’ve read about President Woodrow Wilson, right? Well, can you name his vice president? No? His name was Thomas Riley Marshall and he was vice president of the Cigar United States under Wilson from 1913 to 1921. He isn’t known for a great deal of accomplishments, but he is known for quipping during a senate debate: "What this country needs is a really good five cent cigar." At the time he said this, most cigars sold in the United States cost ten cents. That was the cost for the ordinary cigar. Cuban premium cigars were selling for thirty five cents each. By the time of the depression in 1930 the the ten cent cigar was now  selling for five cents.  

Today few of us would stop to pick up a penny, but in 1930 you would have picked it up. The daily paper was two cents. A candy bar was Penny only five cents and a penny could buy a stick of candy at the store. In the nineteenth century the candy wasn’t wrapped, but was kept in large glass jars with lids. The candy cost a penny each and the jars were Candy located near the cash register where it sold better. Throughout much of American history children looked forward to the treat of penny candy when they went to the store.

We also had "taxi dancers" in 1930. In the 1920's and 1930's there were a type of dance hall where young women called taxi dancers would Taxi dancer dance with male patrons for ten cents a dance. The hall provided the music and dance floor. With ticket in hand the men would pick one of the women and for ten cents was entitled to dance with her through a song. The young woman got a commission out of the ten cents. In fact, Ruth Etting stopped her night club show night after night singing the Rodgers and Hart's 1930's hit Ten Cents a Dance.

What amazes me is the obstructionist Republican's in Congress and the Rush Limbaugh crowd hope our President and his administration will fail in the struggle to avoid another depression like the 1930's. All for totally selfish political advantage. As a nation, we are like people together in a boat. Some passengers can't drill a hole in the bottom without the entire boat and everyone going down with it. We are all in this together and should be working together.  When Bush was office, any opposition to anything his administration did, was labeled as unAmerican and being a disloyal traitor. Now that we are on the brink of prolonged disaster these idiots see nothign wrong with doing everything they can to ensure disaster for our country. It's nuts.

2 thoughts on “THE GREAT DEPRESSION: FIVE CENT CIGARS, PENNY CANDY AND TAXI DANCERS

  1. I do not like what we have to do, capitalist on the way up and socialist on the way down, it is not a working formula in a democracy, but who has a better plan? Obama and his crew are smart enough to have the governors put pressure on their Senators, but it is still politics as usaul, idealogy lst, what they have to do next and common sense no where to be found. It almost wants a person to see it get tougher so some of these politicians will be forced to act, but some will not and I believe cannot as is their heritage. We must get back to buying USA and quit out sourcing jobs, etc., The new Tacoma Bridge is a classic out sourcing of jobs and material, I believe you may pay more initially but in the long run much better to have it Made in the USA. The initial cost of large projects is just one part of a multiple equation. We also must prosecute some of the offenders if nothing else to build up public trust – confidence. CB

  2. Part of the problem has been that too many citizens have failed to read or reread the Constitution. Today, many believe that the United States is a democracy. In a world of difference, we are a “Republic”.
    With a deeper understanding of the definition, we the people can better understand our nation.

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