Monday, 16 August 2010 12:01

75 Years Ago Late Summer/Early Autumn 1933

Written by  Maurice Telleen
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(From the general news sources of the period, a childhood memory or two, and the great old song which was popular in the late summer of 1933.)

On June 22, 1933, Adolf Hitler, a madman by any standard, and his Nazi party had seized complete control of the government of Germany. All other political parties were outlawed. Hitler even threatened to take children from parents who opposed him. This man was both evil and insane–as well as head of the German government.

Scarcely a month later, on July 26 of that year, this ex-corporal from the first World War announced a new program to further purify (?) the Aryan race by sterilizing the "unfit" for the "glory of the Reich." There was quite a list of defects that would net you a free sterilization job.

It must have been a difficult time for German-Americans to watch this parade of horrors presented proudly to the rest of the world. Even so, I can recall one kid on our school bus a few years later that flaunted a copy of Mein Kampf (Hitler's book). As I recall he had written to the German embassy and they sent it to him. Whatever became of that neighbor kid I don't know. Perhaps he was drafted and, if so, I hope his service was in the Infantry just like Adolf's was in World War I ... which, in many respects, spawned World War II ... which, by any standard, was even worse than the first one.

On a more civilized note, the great story writer Ring Lardner died in late September. He aspired to be a writer from the git-go and made it to the very top. He started out as a sports editor for the South Bend, Indiana, Times and he played and watched a heap of baseball. From there he covered major league baseball in all the big league towns. He loved baseball. If you want to just read one thing by Ring Lardner, get ahold of his collection of short stories called You Know Me, Al. If you are disappointed, I'm afraid I'm disappointed in you. He had the vernacular and vocabulary down to an art.

Now I suppose I could go on and on about other happenings in the summer of 1933, but I have another idea. I think we are at another crisis in terms of our farm communities and I would rather do something patriotic.

What I wish to do is resurrect an old song entitled "Why Horses And Mules Are The Best Farm Power." It is to be sung (with GUSTO!) to the tune of "The Old Grey Mare." I suggest that our draft horse meetings and events in the coming year be opened by the singing of this tune right after the National Anthem. This goes for all breed meetings–national and state, draft horse sales and shows–large and small. It is a much easier tune to handle than our National Anthem which has a lot of troublesome high notes. There is no charge for this service–it is being done in the public interest and for the environment.

If Belgian groups wish to substitute bay or red or roan for grey–that is O.K. Same way with the Clydes if they wish to use bay instead of grey. But please don't screw it up by using a word with two syllables. That would ruin the cadence!

This is the best song I ever messed around with. Actually, I found this sheet music (and the words) on the inside cover of a little pamphlet published by the Horse & Mule Association of America. They were an outfit that fought the good fight under the generalship of Wayne Dinsmore, and I somehow doubt that Dinsmore played the piano. What a pity that Howard Johnstone left us–he could knock this out on a piano blindfolded.

So, in the memory of Wayne Dinsmore, Howard Johnstone and thousands of mighty good farmers from that era, let us hear this jingle sung loud and strong at draft horse and mule events clear across America in the coming months. I can hardly wait to hear it sung at places like the MGLI in East Lansing, the Belgian, Clydesdale and Percheron annual meetings and all our major draft horse venues.

Who knows? It may even make the Hit Parade–if such a thing still exists.


PRINCE CEDRIC 3rd–Grand Champion Clydesdale, Chicago 1933
Shown by Stringham Bros., Dexter, Iowa. In 1932, this horse stood 2nd to Signet, owned and shown by E.A. Jones & Son, from Wisconsin. They should have had me on the lead shank, he would have looked taller.
SIR WILLIAM–Grand Champion Percheron stallion, Chicago 1933
At 13 years of age this son of Laet, shown by E.A. Nicodemus, Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, was the oldest horse to ever claim a championship at Chicago. He was also the only horse shown that year by the Pennsylvania breeder.
MOORE'S LINDY–Grand Champion Shire stallion, Chicago 1933
Shown by J.C. Moore & Son, Rushville, Illinois. There were but four Shire exhibitors at that show; two from Iowa, one from Indiana and one from Illinois. The Iowa breeders provided about half the horses for the Shire show.



The music, lyrics and words are faithfully reproduced from that old pamphlet entitled Horse & Mule Power In American Agriculture. Make as many copies of the music and lyrics as you wish–let us all do our part in making America the Beautiful even more beautiful. And we will be doing the environment a favor as well. – MT
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