Rio Moderno – 1930

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“Rio of the 1930s is a city of constant surprises. Its vertiginous progress challenges the most ample perspectives and the most fertile imaginations. We don’t speak anymore of its incomparable natural beauty […] One unique aspect of this progress would suffice to define it: the rapid evolution of our services of telephonic inter-communication. The process of the telephone with an intermediary (switchboard operators) will become inefficient to our needs: thus the installation of the automatic telephone which the Brazilian Telephonic Company is endowing, progressively, every zone of the city. Our images show panoramic aspects of the elegant neighborhoods of Copacabana, Ipanema, Leblon and Gávea where it will be inaugurated, in the days to come, the 7th station of these telephones.”

First, I doubt “every zone of the city” included the Zona Norte. Second, it’s amazing to consider how populated the Zona Sul was in May 1930 when there would have been residents living there who could easily remember the area being practically untouched, a few decades prior.

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I’ll leave some jokes of the era, about the automatic phone, from January 1930

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Ernesto Varela in Rio – 1985

Days before the first Rock in Rio, Ernesto Varela (a character created by Marcelo Tas) goes to Rio to try to understand what makes someone an authentic Carioca. The star of the video is debatable – not sure if it’s Tas himself or the kid on the beach. Each video seems to have both Portuguese and English subtitles in the settings section.

The cameraman, called Valdeci, is none other than Fernando Meirelles, the City of God director. You can see this video and more on Tas’ official site.

Places to date in Rio – 1951

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I came across a January 1950 article about “Pontos de namoro no Rio de Janeiro” (Places to date in Rio), and although it isn’t entirely focused on Rio, I thought I’d extract the interesting parts, which I’ll attempt to expand upon. The word “date” here refers more to making out and/or being affectionate.


In the section on how to date in secret,

Right after the Radio Patrol (emergency police patrol, circa 1948) showed up, it wasn’t possible anymore to even hold someone’s hand without running the risk of being arrested.


In the section on the best dating spots,

Dating in a small city is one thing; in a big one, it’s another. The guys in Rio know this. Here, love is distributed, according to the social condition of the couple, via cinemas, public transport, beaches and streets. But dating on the street is the most important. In the opinion of those in-the-know, the adequate quintessential neighborhood for honest dating is Botafogo. […] the neighborhood, once called aristocratic, was always said to be a great place for love. Its streets lined with old houses and trees, at night, allow for conveniently dark areas on certain walls, and these, naturally, become full of couples. They are decent, calm and poetic places. Showing themselves useful, at times, due to shadows that extend for about five meters, perfectly fit for five couples. Those who pass by hear nothing. They seem mute. The most one can see are mouths that are glued together. The neighbors never call the Radio Patrol, which apparently no longer deals with this kind of thing.

It seems that the best dating spots in Rio are varied. Meier, when speaking of the suburbs, comes in first as the most preferred. To date in Meier is good, even if he and she come from different (train) stations. The streets there are calm, remote and full of dark spots. Not all stations have this. Madureira, for example, isn’t good for dating. The streets are without vegetation and are dangerous – there are bad people there who attack couples.

But this is from one side of the suburbs, from the other, the most credentialed is Penha, where the streets are duly calm. Couples from several of Leopoldina’s stations make it their meeting place.

Dating in Copacabana is always unattractive. In truth, couples from Copacabana kiss unabashedly. No one really cares. [There’s a part that’s hard to read, but that’s the end].

Revista Careta – 1923

Most of the time when I’m rummaging around old magazines and newspapers, if I’m lucky, I find one interesting thing to share, per every 10 editions I go through. With the January 1923 edition of Careta, I found several at once!

The Cavalo from Cantagalo

Sometimes, one comes across the strangest of stories. A prime example being this one below from Careta magazine’s November 1957 edition.

In this apparently true story (I looked up the police commissioner’s name, and he a was real person), a horse falls off the Cantagalo hill at night and lands in a third story apartment of a residential building. The rest of the story is mostly people trying to understand what the hell is going on. The poor horse survives, by the way.

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Note: The article says it took place in Copacabana, but the address is Barão da Torre, 33, which is clearly Ipanema. There’s nothing I can find of the era that would hint at a change in delineation of neighborhoods. Of course, if one goes back far enough, the entire area used to be known as Fazenda de Copacabana but that’s not really relevent here. The 2nd district police station being telephoned was actually located in Copacabana, so maybe that’s what’s being referred to.