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Triple Feature: 1939

Triple Feature: 1939

February 1939. "Boys sitting at table in restaurant, Raymondville, Texas." While most web sites might be content to give you one picture of a lunch joint with a Fritos calendar and a deer, Shorpy gives you not one, or even two, but three. It's practically a damn movie. We do this because you deserve it, and so much more. Photos by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.


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Gar Wood

Great spotting, kreriver! My grandfather was working for Gar Wood when that paper came out- he fact he was working for him from 1937 to 1945. Edward Gray, of Grayhaven fame where Wood had his mansion, and was Henry Ford's Chief Engineer, introduced him to Gar Wood in 1937. Grandpa worked for Gray in Oil City's Riverside Engine before they both moved to Highland Park, Gray in 1909 and grandpa soon after. Grandpa's last job before he died was modifying a Spanish outboard engine for use on Storm Boats for the invasion of Japan- which of course, never happened due to the A-bomb. He worked with Gar, Gar Jr., Paul Wearly, Orlin Johnson, Worth Boggerman (sp) and others at a private office at Grayhaven.

Boy on the left

The boy on the left is very handsome!

P-SJ-A High School

Alex, I believe the last word of that line is "AUD"; i.e., an abbreviation for "auditorium". As for the inclusion of Alamo before the districts were combined in 1959, I wouldn't be surprised to find that Alamo didn't have a separate high school in 1939. The fact that there may have been separate districts wouldn't have kept them from using a combined "multi-district" high school.

P-SJ-A High School

Well, people from Raymondville had to travel another 25 miles to go and see the "Seventeen" play, if it was given at the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo High School, unless there was an annex of the school in Raymondville.
But, I still am not sure about the school's history and location. When you read the history of the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District, it seems that the school had not encountered Alamo until 1959. That should mean that in 1939 the school should have been the P SJ High School.
To complicate things more: I read "P-SJ-A HIGH SCHOOL MISA", or something like that. Perhaps that last word will give the clue?


From the home of Fritos

is what it says on that calendar. San Antonio being where Earl and Elmer Doolin began making them in 1932 after buying the recipe for $100.

Sequence of events

Judging by the sandwich consumption rate and his page position in the newspaper, it seems the middle photo was taken first, then the bottom, then the top.

An Old Groaner

This photo reminds me of the story of the desperate guy who goes to the psychiatrist and says "Dr. please help me, no matter what I do, everyone ignores me." The doctor says "Next."

Wrong Calendar

While everyone dissects the guys I have been looking for a way to enlarge the fan dance calendar.

Big Deal

Yeah, three photos. But the people of Raymondville got FOUR acts of comedy at the high school auditorium, though admittedly they had to pay for it.

Hollywood stars?

The young fellow on the left looks a lot like Ricky Schroeder and the other guy a young Gregory Peck. I guess I watch too much TV.

On the horizon

I wonder how old the guy is on the right. Looks old enough to enlist. Since its 1939 is he thinking about trouble in Europe?

Where there's smoke

You have to be a certain age to remember when you could put a few coins in a vending machine and obtain a pack of cigarettes. In most Canadian provinces when you go into a store to buy a pack now, they are hidden from view behind sliding doors. In the second frame I see smoke rising from the hand of the boy in the rear. I like the non-dial pay phone on the wall. A nickel would pay for the call - the last place I saw a nickel pay phone was in New Orleans in 1977.

There's an App for that

In the bottom photo, the youth on the left is furtively checking his e-mail.

Gar Wood

The man pictured with goggles on the newspaper page is none other than Gar (Garfield) Wood. The same photograph of him can be seen at The image to the right of Wood is most likely one of his Miss America racers, with the bow reaching a bit upward while at speed. Miss America X was powered by four supercharged Packard V12s. Gar Wood was a truly remarkable man! Youtube has a 10 minute clip on him titled "Gar Wood Story." It also has an assortment of other clips showcasing the beautiful pleasure boats he made. These boats are timeless and a joy to behold.

Boy 1 and Boy 2

Boy on left is smoking, boy on right has Dr. Seuss socks.

Darned youth of today

If this was today, the guy on the right would be totally involved with his smartphone, completely ignoring his friend who's sitting right there in person and ... oh, wait.

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