This film is part of Free
When does reading a Betty Boop comic count as a political act? Possibly when it’s done by an unemployed protester amusing his child during a daring sit-in in Trenton, New Jersey.
A mixture of real footage and reconstructed sequences make for an enthralling and witty March of Time issue. Behind the hoopla of the 1936 US elections lies the reality of unemployment and legalised begging: the March of Time cameras expose the truth with film of the occupation of the New Jersey State House of Assembly. In Albania, King Zog sacrifices Albanian independence for Italian money and in England, the football pools - hugely successful, but unregulated - cause concern in Parliament.
From humble beginnings in a Liverpool back street in 1923, the football pools had become big business by 1936, with hundreds of outfits springing up alongside the original promoters, Littlewoods. The final story in this issue, which was made for the UK edition, is a reminder of just how controversial the pools were at the time. Setting the concerns voiced by politicians, the National Anti-Gambling League and the Football League against the vast popular appeal of the weekly coupon, the issue explains how huge sums of money were generated for the government because of the massive increase in postal order sales generated by people sending in their coupons.