WHAT MADE 1938 UNIQUE? Let’s look at some of the events, movies, books and songs of that year.


March of Dimes began

Benny Goodman made jazz legitimate by playing at Carnegie Hall Jan 16

Madame Curie, by her daughter, Eve Curie, was released in 1937 but made #1 on the NYT Bestseller list around New Years


The second Sino-Japanese war began

First nylon bristle toothbrush was developed

 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs released

Northwest Passage, by Kenneth Roberts, was #3 on NYT Bestsellers List


German troops annex Austria

Jezebel, starring Betty Davis and Henry Fonda, an antebellum drama, was released

The Yearling, a coming of age story by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings was @2 on NYT Booksellers List


Superman comics were released for the first time

Adventures of Marco Polo starring Gary Cooper and Basil Rathbone was released. This was the most elaborate and costly of Sam Goldwyn’s productions.

Joseph in Egypt by Thomas Mann his #3 on NYT Bestsellers list


The Vatican recognized Franco’s Spanish government, despite the continued civil war

Adventures of Robin Hood was released, starring Errol Flynn, Basil Rathbone, Olivia de Haviland,  and  Claude Rains

The Rains Came, by Louis Bronfield, ranked #3 on the NYT Bestsellers List


The ballpoint pen was patented in England

Three Comrades, starring Robert Taylor, Margaret Sullivan, Franchot Tone and Robert Young,      was released. It was a historical fiction about the Weimar Republic.

Parts Unknown, by Frances Parkinson Keys, was #4 on NYT Bestsellers List


The conference on refugees convened in France. No European country was willing to accept Jewish refugees. The US would only accept 27,370.

Marie Antoinette, a movie starring Norma Shearer, debuted.

The Mortal Storm, by Phyllis Bottome was #3 on NYR Bestsellers List


Germany spent two months threatening to invade Czechoslovakia before doing so in October

Four Daughters, a musical comedy, was released.

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie was still selling well, over a year after its release.


European countries were changing their stances regarding Germany. America stayed neutral.

You Can’t Take It With You was a popular comedic movie/

The Evolution of Physics, by Alfred Einstein, was still selling well after hitting #1 on NYT  Bestsellers list in May.


12,000 Polish Jews were expelled from Germany. Only 4000 were allowed into Poland. The  other 8000 had to  live on the No-Mans Land at the border.

The movie, Young Dr. Kildare, starring Lew Ayres and Lionel Barrymore, was released. This was the first of nine Dr. Kildare movies in a series.

Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier, was #6 on the NYT Bestsellers List


The union, the Congress of Industrial Organization (CIO) was formed.

If I Were King, a historical drama starring Ronald Colman, Basil Rathbone and Frances Dee was released.

All This and Heaven, Too, by Rachel Field, was #2 on the NYT Bestseller list.


Otto Hahn discovered nuclear fission of uranium, the basis of nuclear power. The Nuclear Age begins.

Sweethearts, a musical starring Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy, was released. These two were a very popular singing duo.

Listen! The Wind! By Anne Morrow Lindbergh, released on 10/20 is on the NYT Bestseller List.


And the Angels Sing

At Long Last Love

Change Partners

I can Dream, Can’t I

Jeepers Creepers

Begin the Beguine

The Americans were celebrating a return to normal life, after the Depression had done its worst. They were being entertained with comedy and music. And they were trying to stay innocent.

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