23 February 1934

Leopold III becomes King of Belgium.

orn Leopold Philippe Charles Albert Meinrad Hubertus Marie Miguel in Brussels, Leopold III was crowned King of Belgium on 23 Feb 1934. The WW1 veteran of the 12th Belgian Regiment very briefly attempted to resist the invading German troops in May 1940 before he surrendered. The Belgian people, who thought their King had given up too quickly, accused him of treason, but Leopold III tried proved the accusers wrong by refusing to obey Nazi policies. London, however, never recognized his right to rule.

During the winter of 1944 to 1945, he and the royal family were placed under arrest on Heinrich Himmler’s orders and they were not freed until May 1945 when the American troops reached the last location of their captivity, Strobl, Austria. He spent the next six years in exile in Switzerland due to the accusations of him being a German collaborator. In 1950, a referendum showed a slight majority of Belgians favoring his return, but upon his return he realized the nation was deeply divided over his rule. On the verge of a civil war within Belgium, Leopold III abdicated on 16 Jul 1951 and passed the crown to his son Baudouin.

19 August 1934

The first All American Soap Box Derby is held in Dayton, Ohio.


The first Soap Box Derby was organized by Myron E. “Scottie” Scott, a news photographer for the Dayton Daily News in 1933 and was held on Hilltop Avenue in Oakwood, Ohio (suburban Dayton). Nineteen boys and nineteen race cars showed up.

Sensing the enormous interest, Scott secured sponsors for a larger effort. When the event was expanded, it was moved to Burkhardt Avenue near Smithville Road in Dayton, Ohio. On Saturday, August 19, 1933, 362 kids, aged 6-16, showed up with homemade cars built of wooden crates, sheet tin, wagon and baby-buggy wheels to race in soap box vehicles they built themselves.

The 1934 event took on national stature when champions from 34 other cities came to Dayton to compete. Put up at the Van Cleve Hotel, they were the toast of the town for three days. There were parties, a banquet and theater outings. Wild Bill Cummings, the Indy 500 winner, took part in the celebration, as did Jimmy Mattern, the round-the-world flyer. Renowned NBC radio man, Graham McNamee, broadcast the race live and Mayor Charles J. Brennan made a flying trip down the Burkhardt Hill course.

After the Dayton Championship, there was an Ohio Championship, then the All American Soap Box Derby and, finally, a Blue Flame Championship for kids 16 to 18 with advanced cars. Prizes included everything from college scholarships to a three-day trip to the World’s Fair in Chicago, a small, powered Custer Car with a 1/2 horsepower engine, box cameras, radios and Babe Ruth bats and balls.

The Dayton winner was 13- year-old Jack Collopy, whose salvage yard creation included baby-buggy wheels, gags-pipe axles greased with lard and a clothesline steering system. The national winner was Robert Turner of Muncie, Ind., who made his car from the wood of a saloon bar.

A year later, the race moved to Akron, Scott got a public relations job with Chevrolet and later named the Corvette.

9 June 1934

Donald Duck makes his cinematic debut in The Wise Little Hen.

The Wise Little Hen is a Walt Disney’s Silly Symphonies cartoon, based on the fairy tale The Little Red Hen. This cartoon marked the debut of Donald Duck, dancing to the Sailor’s Hornpipe. Donald and his friend Peter Pig try to avoid work by faking stomach aches until Mrs. Hen teaches them the value of labor. This cartoon was released on June 9, 1934. It was animated by Art Babbitt, Dick Huemer, Clyde Geronimi, Louie Schmitt, and Frenchy de Tremaudan with assistance from a group of junior animators headed by Ben Sharpsteen and directed by Wilfred Jackson. It was also adapted as a Sunday comic strip by Ted Osborne and Al Taliaferro.

The Wise Little Hen of the title is looking for someone to help her plant her corn. Peter Pig and Donald Duck both feign belly aches to get out of the chore since they would rather play than work. So, with help from her chicks, she plants it herself. Harvest time comes; again, Peter and Donald claim belly aches, but the hen sees through this when boards of their clubhouse fall off showing their little act when they shake hands with each other for getting out of doing work. She cooks up a variety of corn dishes, and heads over to Peter and Donald to help her eat them, but before she can open her mouth, they already fake their belly aches. Once she asks, they are miraculously “cured” but all she gives them is castor oil, to teach them a lesson. As the hen and her chicks eat the corn themselves, Peter and Donald, with nothing but an appetite, repent with all their might by kicking each other on the rear.

1 January 1934

Alcatraz Island, in the San Francisco Bay, becomes a United States federal prison.

The federal prison on Alcatraz Island in the chilly waters of California’s San Francisco Bay housed some of America’s most difficult and dangerous felons during its years of operation from 1934 to 1963. Among those who served time at the maximum-security facility were the notorious gangster Al “Scarface” Capone (1899-1947) and murderer Robert “Birdman of Alcatraz” Stroud (1890-1963). No inmate ever successfully escaped The Rock, as the prison was nicknamed, although more than a dozen known attempts were made over the years. After the prison was shut down due to high operating costs, the island was occupied for almost two years, starting in 1969, by a group of Native-American activists. Today, historic Alcatraz Island, which was also the site of a U.S. military prison from the late 1850s to 1933, is a popular tourist destination.

11 December 1934

One of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, Bill Wilson, takes his last drink.

On December 11, 1934, William Griffith Wilson took his last drink of alcohol. He didn’t know it at the moment, nor did he know he was about to start a new chapter in his life, and the lives of thousands of Americans.In the aftermath of his last bout of drinking, Wilson once again entered a detoxification program. He was hoping this time he could end the 13-year struggle with alcohol that had destroyed his career and his health.

Six years passed. Two thousand Americans had joined the program and many had recovered sobriety and sanity in their lives. But the program was still relatively unknown, and had never promoted itself to the public. Then, in March, the Post published “Alcoholics Anonymous” by Jack Alexander and introduced this unusual program to the rest of America. But of all the remarkable aspects of the program, the most important was its success. Over the years, thousands of Americans were able to reclaim their lives, their families, and their careers through the program.


19 August 1934


The first championship Soap Box Derby is held in Dayton, Ohio.

The Soap Box is a youth soapbox car racing program which has been running in United States since 1934. Each July, the World Championship finals are held at Derby Downs in Akron, Ohio. Cars competing in this event are are unpowered and it relies completely upon the gravity to move.

The All-American Soap Box derby began the Rally World Championship in 1993. The Rally derby is a grand prix style of race in which each district sends back a number of champions based on number of racers and races in each district. Today there are broader categories that extend the age range to younger racers and permit adults to assist in construction. This is especially helpful for younger children who cannot use power tools, as well as to provide an outlet for adults.