The stock market crash in 1929 led to bank runs and bank holiday's shortly thereafter. The bottom line was a loss of liquidity. That is to say, people or businesses could not access their money, and could not access credit. Also, people who owed them money became unable to pay. This very quickly turned into an economic death spiral which affected everyone, not just those who owned stock. As businesses failed due to lack of liquidity, they could no longer employ people. As those people became unemployed, they could not buy things, and that lack of spending would lead other businesses to fail. Then finally you end up with large portions of the nation looking like the family above. It happened so quickly, and almost no one saw it coming. Notice the stark contrast between the picture above and the frivolity of last week's pictures from the 1920's. The scary thing to me is that we have forgotten the lessons of the 1920's, and we assume that something like this could never happen again in the US.