Tuesday, July 5, 2016

News You Can Use: "...Budapest Had a Smile Club to Stop People from Killing Themselves in the 1930s"

Have you waited too long to get that private compound hidey hole in order?
Not to worry, bunky. From Vintage Everyday:

 “In the Smile School of Budapest, a woman looks at herself in the mirror with a grim bandage on her face.” Het Leven, 1937.
An epidemic of suicide sweeps through Budapest, and the city tries to stop it in an odd way: by creating a “Smile Club”, where people are taught to smile again. The initiative is covered in the 17 October 1937 issue of Sunday Times Perth:

Budapest, Saturday

Although a magnet for tourists from all over the world, Budapest has for several years been known to its own people as The City of Suicides.

Budapest suffered badly after the war and has received unpleasant publicity from the number of cases of self-destruction occurring every year within its boundaries. Some of them are alleged to have been inspired by the Budapest song, “Gloomy Sunday”, but, be that as it may, the suicide rate in Budapest is definitively very high.

The favorite method adopted by most Budapest melancholics is drowning, and patrol boats are stationed along the boundary near the bridges to rescue citizens who seek consolation in the dark waters of the Danube.

Now, however, a “Smile Club” has been inaugurated to counteract the suicide craze. It was originally began more as a joke by a Professor Jeno and a hypnotist named Binczo, but somehow it caught on. The organisers have now a regular school and guarantee to teach the Roosevelt smile, the Mona Lisa smile, the Clark Gable smile, the Dick Powell smile, the Loretta Young smile, and various other types, the rates varying according to the difficulties encountered.

Jeno says the methods employed at his school, aided by better business conditions in Budapest, are making smiling popular, and before long it is hoped that the name of Budapest will be change to the City of Smiles.”
“In the Smile School of Budapest, a woman looks at the smiling woman’s faces held in front of her. On the wall, two smiles and the picture of Mona Lisa.” Het Leven, 1937.
Gloomy Sunday, the popular 1933 hit of Rezső Seress was in fact propagated by the press as “the Suicide Song” or simply “the Killer Song” in more than a hundred languages all over the world, claiming that dozens, or even hundreds of people committed suicide because of it....MUCH MORE