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Tag Archives: 1943


PM, May 31, 1943, p. 26 (Photo by Weegee)

“The can-can girls in the When Paris is Paree Again number of the new show at Billy Rose’s Diamond Horseshoe.”

Billy Rose Retreats Into the Future

By Louis Kronenberger

Having purveyed nostalgia and Gay-Ninetyish frou-frou at the Diamond Horseshoe for several years, Billy Rise about-faced Saturday night and marched into the future…
Whatever its shortcomings, the thing has pace, color, and looks. At Diamond Horseshoe prices, it’s a good buy.

Billy Rose’s new show in the late spring of 1943, at his Times Square Diamond Horseshoe venue, was called “Post-War Preview,” (“The Musical Shape of Things to Come”).

It was in four or five parts: “The Night of Unconditional Surrender,” a post-war Broadway; “When Paris is Paree Again,” a post-war Paris; a post-war Vienna; the fourth part featured a post-war poet, Bob Hall; and the final “The Victory Ball” (in Washington) featured performers wearing masks of FDR, Churchill, Chiang Kai-shek, and Stalin, and an international cast.

It was a wildly successful, and well-reviewed, musical revue that played for over 10 months. Performances were at 8 PM and 12 AM; dinner from $3.50, (same buying power as $51.28 in April 2020).

And most importantly, a review in PM featured an obscure, almost unknown, not-published-in-77-years Weegee photo… A good example of his seldom-seen, war-time, home-front work…

Some of the performers included: Three Ross Sisters, Bob Hall, Herman Hyde, Billy Banks (died in Tokyo in 1967), Rosalie Grant, Vivien Fay, Four Rosebuds, Vincent Travers, and significantly Bobby Davis, (tap dances and “Puts one table on top of another and several chairs on top of the tables, leans down, takes a bite of the tables and lifts them up above his head with his teeth.” Brooklyn Eagle, June 1, 1943)

…There were no glasses, of course, on any of the girls last night. They are beautifully costumed in pink, blue and other colors, and Billy Rose told me that there wasn’t a single costume that cost him less than $360, which is considerable when you consider the amount of the gals that isn’t covered.
A radio announcer’s staccato voice starts the ‘Post-War Preview.”It is the Night of Unconditional Surrender and the announcer says that crowds in New York are dancing in the streets, 50,000 lights are aglow, and people are tearing up their ration cards into confetti… (The New York Post, June 1, 1943.)


The New York Post, May 28, 1943

May 22, 1943. (Published)

No mention of a portable darkroom in the (possible) first publication of this amazing selfie; (self) portrait of the photographer as an author. (Arthur the author:-) A “candid camera”?

Of course two years later that photo was an end page in the recently republished “Naked City”!!!

(To be continued…)


PM, May 20, 1943, p. 18. (Photo by Weegee, PM)

Potatoes au Bay Rum

If you think the potatoes you buy during the next few days smell like hair tonic, chances are they are part of the batch of 17,000 pounds Mayor LaGuardia, the cops, Market Dept. inspectors and the Office of Price Administration found in a midtown barbershop. Yesterday the jobber who brought them here agreed to sell them. They are being taken to Bronx Terminal market for distribution to retailers. The jobber is out on $300 bail for having put the potatoes in bags labeled wheat, oats and bran. PM, May 20, 1943, p. 18

Speaking of apples… Seventy-seven years ago today:

Potatoes with Cologne and Aftershave Lotion
might be a contemporary version of the title of this story. (“Bay rum is the name of a cologne/aftershave lotion. Other uses include as under-arm deodorant and as a fragrance for shaving soap, as well as a general astringent.” Wikipedia.) Why in the world were there tons of starchy, perennial nightshades in a midtown Manhattan barber shop? Why did Weegee take a few photos of the edible tubers leaving a midtown Manhattan barber shop? The Charles Barber Shop was at 1221 Sixth Avenue. And why was this newsworthy?

We wanted to get to the root of this potato mystery, or at least chip away at the truth. After spending a fruitful few hours planted in front of a microfilm reader at the NYPL in Midtown Manhattan, we now (our salad days) know a little more about the spuds in sacks on Sixth…


Daily News, May 20, 1943 (front page of two different editions)


Daily News, May 20, 1943 (NEWS foto)

Next! Some 18,000 pounds of tough-skinned potatoes, that haven’t even been shaved, get the vagabond’s rush from a barbershop at 1221 Sixth Ave. yesterday. The spuds, headed for a Bronx market, eventually will have their eyes picked out by New York housewives. City bought them. Benjamin Caplan, custodian of the potatoes, won a parole… $49.95 profit.


New York Herald Tribune, May 20, 1943, p.20, Herald Tribune-Acme

Sixth Avenue Barber Shop Loses Its Potatoes
Some of the 17,000 pounds of potatoes found in the barber shop of Charles Falcone at 1221 Sixth Avenue on Tuesday being removed yesterday by Bronx Terminal Market wholesalers for resale to the city’s closed markets.

The wayward potato story was front page news in The Daily News and New York Herald Tribune, while The New York Post covered the story, sadly it was photo-free. The Herald Tribune’s coverage was more digestible as it was a little more factual and less tongue-in-cheek. (The photos published in the News and Tribune are not credited to a photographer, were they made by Weegee?)

Apparently the potatoes, described as “scarce, more valuable than diamonds, and vital to the war effort” by Magistrate Anna Kross, were bought by Benjamin Caplan from a farm outside of Plattsburgh, New York, for 2 cents a pound (about 29 cents today) or $343.75 (about $5,036.21 today), where they were at risk of spoiling. Anthony Zubinsky drove them down to Manhattan, for $120 (about $1,758.10 today). Caplan asked his friend Charles Falcone, the barber, if he could store the spuds in Falcone’s barber shop while he tried to sell them, presumably legally, and not on the black market.


PM, May 20, 1943, p. 19

Apparently unloading 157 bags of the scarce, luxury food, in mislabeled bags, in the middle of the afternoon in midtown Manhattan caught the eye and ire of passersby who notified the authorities. The authorities came raining down on the Charles Barber Shop. Mayor Fiorello La Guardia (1882-1947), with a chip on his shoulder, the Commissioner of Markets , the Commissioner of buildings, (due to the weight of the potatoes, the barber was charged with violating a building code), fire and police departments, and members of the press, descended on the Charles Barber Shop, on Sixth Avenue, near 48th Street.

Mr. Caplan appeared before Magistrate Anna Kross at the Jefferson Market Court. In the end, the Office of Price Administration exonerated Benjamin Caplan, he sold his spuds for a legal price, they were brought to the Bronx Terminal Market, and were sold at the city’s markets below the maximum of 6 cents a pound.

A quote, almost like dessert, from The Herald Tribune, May 20, 1943: “You probably never want to see another potato,” a reporter said to Mr. Caplan.
“I’ll be back up there tomorrow,” he replied wearily, referring to his upstate source of supply, “and if there aren’t any potatoes, I’ll get apples.”


PM, May 20, 1943, p. 19

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PM, March 2, 1943

“When fire swept the five-story loft building at 372 E. Houston St., Manhattan, the policeman, above, rescued these two kittens from a hallway. Later he gave them to Miss Sally Strumfeld, 218 Delancey St., who promised to give them a good home. Some small manufacturing firms and the Congregation Israel Anscheigal Icie Minhagsford occupy the Houston St. building. Holy scrolls were carried out by members of the congregation.” PM Photo by Weegee


Weegee, Naked City, 1945, pp. 60-61

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“THE AUTHOR as he wrote this article. Note cigars, fireman boots, and extra camera. Stool goes back in trunk compartment and is brought out to type captions right after pix are made.” 1943. (No darkroom. No enlarger, trays of developer, stop bath, fixer, no running water, safe light, etc…)

Happy 15th Birthday Wikipedia:
“He maintained a complete darkroom in the trunk of his car, to expedite getting his free-lance product to the newspapers. Weegee worked mostly at nightclubs; he listened closely to broadcasts and often beat authorities to the scene…”


“Shorty, the Bowery Cherub, New Years Eve at Sammy’s Bar,” 1943
Barth, Miles, Weegee’s World, New York: Bullfinch Press, 1997, p.139


“Shorty, the Bowery cherub, welcomed the New Year…”
Weegee, Naked City, New York: Essential Books, 1945, p. 148


“Shorty, the Bowery cherub, welcomes the New Year…”
Weegee, Naked City, Cincinnati, Ohio: Zebra Picture Books, 1948

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PM, December 1, 1943, p. 16

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End of a Bandit Chase
Two policemen were critically injured early yesterday when their radio car cracked into a truck at 55th St. and Eleventh Ave. They were chasing two men who were fleeing in a stolen car after holding up a tailor shop at 446 W. 57th St. One suspect was later seized by other policemen.
Photo by Weegee, PM

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Proving the Cops Are Human
A look of grave concern crosses the face of this policeman as he watches an injured woman being removed from the Western Electric plant at 395 Hudson St. following explosion that killed two early yesterday.
Photo by Weegee, PM

(Perhaps a small discovery… “The Human Cop” in PM, December 1, 1943, p. 16.)

pm_1943_12_26_p13zzz
PM Daily, December 26, 1943, p. 13.
Fatal Fire on 42nd Street.
Firemen try to rescue some of the men trapped in the flaming W. 42nd St. lodging house in which 16 perished.
A chaplain performs the last rites for one of the men burned to death. Bodies were taken to the next door garage.
They spent their Christmas in the Bellevue Morgue. These are some of the 16 bodies removed from the Standard Hotel, which was gutted by the fire Friday.

16 Men Killed in 42d St. Fire
“…a fire in the Standard Hotel, rooming house for night workers at 439 W. 42d St., which took the lives of 16 men and sent 20 to hospitals Friday.
The fire broke out suddenly after it had apparently been smoldering for several hours. Most of the 200 men estimated to have been in the place were asleep at the time…
Commissioner of Building and Housing William Wilson, who was at the scene, said the city had no control over this type of building.
He said that he and Mayor La Guardia had asked for legislation requiring greater safety devices at the last session of the State Legislature but were turned down.
Thousands of persons gathered along 42d St. to watch the horrible scene.” PM Daily, December 26, 1943, p. 13.

Weegee Daily, December 26, 2012. Photos by Ceegee.
One of the least attractive, (and least pedestrian friendly) areas of Manhattan, West 42d. St., saw snow and wind and too many cars…

“These published photos are a small discovery: One of the three uncredited photos, made by Weegee, of a ‘Fatal Fire on 42d Street’ in 1943, is the well-known ‘Smiling Irishman’ photo, tastefully and respectfully cropped…” Published 28 years to the day, before the Weegee’s Death…