Sunday, March 27, 2016

Sometimes you just have to scratch your head

Just about the time I start putting pieces of the puzzle together, something new appears that just makes me scratch my head and say HUH?

Today’s mystery is the Official Program of the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles.  Why did someone have this?  And, more importantly, why did they keep it?  Sure I know that both of my grandparents, as well as my parents, were packrats but what was the significance of this?

Front Cover

The cover is beautiful and I chuckled to see that you could buy it for only 10 cents.  Looks like I have the program for the opening day, July 30, 1932.  So much history is inside the cover!

Here’s the President and Vice President of the United States in 1932.

Herbert Hoover Charles Curtis

And the Founder and Life Honorary President of the Olympic Games, Baron Pierre De Coubertin.

Baron Pierre De Coubertin

In 1932, the President of the International Olympic Committee was Count De Baillet-Latour.

Count De Baillet-Latour

Hoping that maybe, just maybe, I’d come across a name that I recognized, I scoured the names of those on the International Olympic and Honorary Committees.  No such luck.

International Olympic Committee

Honorary Committee

The Riviera Country Club was located near Santa Monica and was “ideally situated for most of the colorful equestrian events of the Games”. 

Riviera Country Club

The closing events were held in the Olympic Stadium.


Today it is known as the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Photo by Ron Reiring

It is interesting to see the planned Opening Ceremony Events.  But what is even more mind boggling is that it was only about 90 minutes from beginning to end – these days it’s more like 4-5 hours with a production meant for television.

Opening Ceremony Events

And there were just 39 participating nations in 1932 – the 2016 Olympics in Brazil expects 207 countries to join in the fun!

Parade of Nations

Weightlifting, boxing, and wrestling events were held in the Olympic Auditorium.


And the Fine Arts Museum was filled with rare exhibits of ancient and modern culture.

Fine Arts Museum

I’ve always been amazed at the Olympic Athletes’ Village – I can’t imagine how large that would have had to be in 1932 and it’s impossible to wrap my head around how large it will be in Brazil this summer.

Home of the Athletes

Close by the Stadium was the swimming venue.

Swimming Stadium

Swimming is one of my favorite summer events – it would be fun to find the winning times for each event and compare them to this years’ winning times.

There is nothing like reading about the ticket prices 84 years ago.  You could see events for just $1.00! 

Program and Ticket Info

The first night of the Olympics brought Weightlifting. 


While the United States had two participants in the Lightweight class, the medals went to Rene Duverger (gold), Hans Haas (silver), and Gastone Pierini (bronze).  The light-heavyweight class proved to be a bit more productive for the United States with the medals going to Louis Hostin (gold), Svend Olsen (silver), and Hendry Ludwig Duey (bronze).  Oh wait – there were only four participants so no question the United States would take at least one medal.

The next day Track & Field began.  My grandfather was always a track & field fan and shared that love with my dad.  I like to think Grandpa Sig was there so he could partake in those events.  Who knows – maybe one day I’ll run across that program.  Until then, I can only imagine.


  1. I suppose the Olympics was a big enough deal to keep the program. The difference in Olympics then and now is very interesting.

    1. Oh I would definitely keep the program if I'd attended but otherwise, not so sure. So did someone actually attend?

  2. I still have programs from plays I saw thirty years ago. The Olympics were (and still are) a big deal---not surprising to me that they kept this. (I can only imagine what my daughters or grandchildren will say someday when they see what I saved!)

    That list of countries is so telling---almost no African countries except South Africa (a white country), very few Asian countries aside from China and Japan, no Russia. It really was mostly western Europe and the Americas. Interesting!

    1. I guess in those days you probably didn't get a program unless you were actually there - no eBay back then! I hope when my kids/grandkids see what I've saved they'll be happy for the history. Or have a big trash can.

  3. This makes me think Debi and I think I will leave some of my descendants scratching their head if I don't do a little better about recording some of my own history. When we had the Olympics here I did pick up things like a program but it won't mean much to my posterity if I don't write up some of my experiences---this is a good reminder.

  4. Debi,

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a great weekend!