1930s, Culture, Fun, History, Humor, Nostalgia, Photography, Pics, Vintage

One-Handed Bingo

by Edwin L. Wisherd for Nat Geo

Oh, things were so formal in days of yore! Kempt hair, belts, ties! Nothing like today, where anything goes. You think Millennials have ever worried over which fork to use? You think Generation Z  was ever nagged, “No elbows at the table”? Doubtful. At church yesterday, the boy in front of me was wearing flip-flops, and at least two grown men were wearing ballcaps. That would have never flown in my day, but today we are “accepting” and “inclusive” and it’s perfectly fine to show up, dressed like you’re headed down to the “crick” to go frog-gigging or you’re next up to work the pole . Atrocious, especially if you have perfectly good Sperrys (ies) in your closet.

Anyhoo. This here is Puerto Rico in 1939, the year that I associate with both The Wizard of Oz and Gone With The Wind. The lottery had been allowed for 35 years when in 1934, Puerto Rican legislator Maria Luisa Arcelay (evidently some women did yield political power in the 30s) suggested allowing lotteries to be legalized. By December, she had made it happen. In this image, a lottery drawing is taking place before “three prominent citizens” who act as honorary witnesses (no funny stuff!), but regular proles are allowed to attend as well. The smaller cage on the left houses the “number balls,” and the larger contains “prize amount balls.” Sounds like gambling to me, but I’m not one to turn down a flashy Stampede slot machine.

One third of the receipts were distributed to combat tuberculosis in old PR (which had a whopping 5X higher death rate than in the US proper), to relieve the destitute (of which 82% claimed to be in need of financial aid, and BTW, are the destitute ever really relieved, or do they just hang on as dependents to a government who fancies itself their Savior?), and equip hospitals (possibly with PPE). Choir boys then sang the winning number and the respective prize to the crowd gathered outside. Because that’s normal.

 

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