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Moments that Defined the ’30s

Posted on August 30, 2021

Article by Tyler Quam

Prepare for Annie with this historical timeline of the 1930s!

The thirties brought tremendous change starting with the Great Depression. By the end of the decade, the world was at war. Read on to learn more about moments that defined the ’30s.

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October 29, 1929: The Wall Street Crash of 1929 triggers the Great Depression — the worst economic crisis in U.S. history. Unemployment rose to 25% in the United States.

1930: One of the most popular songs of 1930 was “Happy Days Are Here Again” by Ben Selvin and His Orchestra.


February 18, 1930: Pluto is discovered by Clyde Tombaugh. In 2006, Pluto was downgraded from full planet status to dwarf planet.

1930s: In the first act of Annie, we are introduced to a Hooverville. During the 1930s, there were thousands of people across America living in Hoovervilles. These towns were named after former President Herbert Hoover, who was blamed for the Great Depression. Living conditions were extremely poor. These houses were built with tar paper, cardboard, and whatever materials people could salvage.


1930: Mahatma Gandhi is declared Time person of the year. Gandhi led a peaceful revolution in India leading to India gaining independence from Great Britain.


March 3, 1931: The Star-Spangled Banner becomes the official U.S. national anthem. Francis Scott Key wrote the lyrics.

April 6, 1931: The Little Orphan Annie radio series debuts, airing until 1942. It is considered by scholars to be one of the oldest children’s radio programs in America. The radio program was so successful that it inspired several movie adaptions and eventually the 1977 Broadway production.


May 1, 1931: The Empire State Building opens in New York City. The building is 1,454 feet tall. It was the world’s tallest building until the construction of the World Trade Center. With its distinct art deco style, it has become one of the most recognizable buildings in the world.


May 22, 1932: Amelia Earhart, ‘Queen of the Air’, is the first woman to fly alone over the Atlantic Ocean.


November 8, 1932: Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) is elected President of the United States.


1933: 15 million people, one-quarter of America’s workforce, are out of work.


1933: President Roosevelt establishes the New Deal creating millions of new jobs to help America recover from the Great Depression.


December 5, 1933: Prohibition comes to an end with the 21st Amendment.

1934: The Dust Bowl in the Great Plains was a period of terrible dust storms that severely damaged the ecology and agriculture in America.

February 22, 1934: It Happened One Night starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert is one of the biggest hits of 1934.


1935: The F.B.I. (Federal Bureau of Investigation) as we know it today was established with former president J. Edgar Hoover acting as its director.


May 25, 1935: Babe Ruth hits his last home run, his 714th, a record that would stand for almost 40 years.


November 5, 1935: The board game Monopoly is introduced by Parker Brothers.


1936–1938: Tennis legend Don Budge won 14 major titles overall, from 1936 to 1938.


December 11, 1936: King Edward VIII abdicates the British throne in order to marry Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee.


January 20, 1937: President Roosevelt begins his second term as President of the United States.


May 6, 1937: The Hindenburg airship explodes in New Jersey.


May 27, 1937: The Golden Gate Bridge opens in San Francisco, California.


February 8, 1938: Disney’s motion picture Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is released.


August 25, 1939: The Wizard of Oz is released starring Judy Garland as Dorothy.


September 1, 1939: World War II officially begins.

Now that you are a ’30s expert, come see CTC’s production of Annie! Times are tough, spirits are low, and the world is in dire need of hope. Enter, stage left: a delightful underdog—a good-natured, yet mischievously feisty, young girl. She takes on the world and, with an equal share of moxie and music, unlocks hearts and changes lives through kindness, love, and spirit. Like Annie and Daddy Warbucks sing, The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow!