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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Sins of Passion: 1937

Sins of Passion: 1937

August 1937. "Early morning scene. Tower, Minnesota." Medium format nitrate negative by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.

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North and South

It's not astrophysics, but the sidewalk is sloping downhill to the left in the Lee photo. The Google Street View below seems to show the sidewalk sloping in the opposite direction. From what I can tell, most or all of Main Street in Tower slopes downhill east to west.

The two stores are probably on the opposite sides of the street, the Street View store on the south side and the Lee photo on the north.

On the other hand, step down the street to the old building next to Hardware Hanks on the north side of Main Street.

View Larger Map

I think this is probably your old store, or at least a better candidate. The sidewalk has been raised (as wasn't too uncommon in many midwest towns as the roads were improved and built up) but the short step inside the alcove seems to still be there. The photo isn't very good and someone parked a silly trailer home partially in the way of our better view!!


[Back to school for you. The sun doesn't rise in the northeast anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere. - Dave]

Oh, yeah — just like a rocket can't work in a vacuum, I suppose. I suggest that you go back to school. In the northern hemisphere, for instance, after the autumn equinox and before the spring equinox, the sun rises south of east — and between the spring equinox and the autumn equinox, it rises north of east, the number of degrees north dependent on the latitude and date. In extreme cases, such as just south of the Arctic Circle (which one might note is in the northern hemisphere), on the day of the summer solstice, say, the sun will rise just east of due north, and set (24 hours less a bit later) just west of due north. Thus, there certainly are dates and (north) latitudes where on those days and at those locations the Sun will rise exactly in the northeast. (Similar arguments might be made about southern latitudes, but that wasn't what you tried erroneously to dismiss.)

[Back to school for me indeed! - Dave]

The sun is in the morning.

The sun is in the morning. In Minnesota, the sun rises in the northeast in the summer.

So I believe the google picture could be correct.

This ain't Florida. In summer you have 18 hour days or longer.

[Back to school for you. The sun doesn't rise in the northeast anywhere north of the Tropic of Cancer.* - Dave]

*Actually, back to school for me. The sun will never pass directly overhead north of the Tropic of Cancer, but it can rise north of due east, and therefore can shine from the northeast in the Northern Hemisphere. I think. - Dave

Censorship, Mad City style

A November 1937 edition of the Wisconsin State Journal reports that the City of Madison's censorship committee (led by its acting mayor) concluded that "Sins of Passion" could not be shown in the Capitol Theatre - but instead could be shown only "as an educational film in a school auditorium or some other public place." The Mayor's last name was Gill, not Quimby.

More Doctors Smoke Camels

Did you know?


The "Call For Philip Morris" Bellman was Johnny Roventini, a 4-foot-7 actor who was a national celebrity in his time.


We see ads for Lucky Strikes (before Lucky Strike green went to war and didn't come back) featuring actress Madeleine Carroll and soprano Helen Jepson; Chesterfields (whose theme song contains a line "while your Chesterfield burns" that was highly alarming in Canada where chesterfield is another name for a sofa); Philip Morris (featuring Johnny, the Bell Boy), Camels, as well as Van Dyck and White Owl Cigars, and "Model" which looks to me to be some sort of pipe tobacco or tobacco pouch. In fact, besides the ad for the movie, the only non-tobacco things I can see here are a sign pained onto the glass for Peoples Beer (a small brewery out of Oshkosh) and a small sign telling people that this place "serves" "we have Wrigley's" Spearmint gum.

Beautiful downtown Tower

I've been to Tower -- on business, believe it or not. Can you say "middle of nowhere"?


Reminds me of Edward Hopper's "Sunday" from 1926.

Helen Jepson says

Helen Jepson sang lead soprano with the Metropolitan Opera from 1935 to 1941. She was also popular on radio shows and had a brief film careen.

Do you suppose she REALLY smoked Luckies "because of her voice"?

On the Sunny Side of the Street

This place does not appear to be there any longer. The building below in the Google Street View is on the south side of the street facing north. The shadow of the time-traveling tterrace shows him to be on the north side of the street facing south.

Lucky Opera Singer

Helen Jepson chose Lucky Strikes because of her voice. Her arias must have been something, punctuated, as they must have been, by coughing fits.

People's Beer

From Oshkosh. First black-owned brewery in the U.S.

Opera singers!

Not only does Lucky Strike have Madeleine Carroll selling tits wares, but also Metropolitan Opera singer Helen Jepson. Even better than a doctor!

The resemblance to Oswald is spooky!

So that's where all those Norwegian bachelor farmers wound up on a Saturday night! "Sins of Passion" does not show up on IMDB. Were there second rate theaters that sidestepped the Hayes Office, showing this kind of film without getting arrested?

[The Hayes Office was an arm of the motion picture industry. Which of course didn't have the power to arrest anyone. - Dave]

As if we needed it

Even more proof that LHO had been in some unexpected places.

"Sins of Passion"

A "sex hygiene" short produced by Maurice Copeland. Generally classed as an exploitation film with the ostensible topic of venereal disease.

Time traveling tterrace

Where'd tterrace get the time machine? And if he could go back in time, why'd he pick this bar to hang around?



Saturated Market

Inexplicably, I have the desire to use tobacco products.


Ralph Fiennes, Before (Lord) Voldemort.

It's HIM!!

Wow, I was thinking the same thing! Suspicious cigarette he has there.

Still standing on Main.

I want that Phillip Morris sign.

Is this Lee Harvey Oswald's dad?

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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