MovieChat Forums > Gold Diggers of 1935 (1935) Discussion > Depression money...hilarious prices...

Depression money...hilarious prices...

Did I hear right? Somebody told Dick Powell there was a joint down the street where you could get an 8-course dinner for 65 cents.

"Including dessert?" asks Alice Brady, who's wealthier than God.

"Yes, including dessert."

Those '35 prices were something. And she was irate about being charged $15 a day for her swanky hotel room after giving the porters a quarter to split between them for a tip. After that cheap move, Frank McHugh tells her, "You should at least have given them a dollar."


That 65 cents would be $10.05 in 2009 money, and $15 would be $232. The 25 cent tip wold be worth $3.87 (still chump change after they split it and give their boss his share), while they suggested $1 tip would have been a more reasonable $15.47.

Also, the per capita wage in 1935 was $474!

Of course, the Brady character's immense wealth made her stinginess funny to Depression audiences. And notice she never seemed to feel she was entitled to anything but the best treatment. She just didn't feel like paying.


It's not just '35 prices that are astonishing. Try '65. I recently refurbished an old barn/storage building that my dad built back in 1965. Up in the attic I stumbled upon a spare aluminum louvered air vent, which I needed to use to finish the work. It still had the price written on it, by hand, in permanent ink: $3.65. Just for grins, I was at a local building supply store the other day and priced one of those aluminum vents: they now go for 53 dollars each!!! That's nearly a 15-fold increase. Sales tax is more than double what it was in 1965, too...

You understand, Captain, that this mission does not exist, nor will it ever exist… – Apocalypse Now


That's what printing lots of money based on air and running up a huge deficit will get you. If people were aware of what that means they wouldn't think it was so funny.