1948 Fun Facts, Trivia and Information

1948 Fun Facts, Trivia and Information

Quick Facts from 1948

  • World-Changing Event: Scientists at Bell Labs invented the transistor.
  • Popular Songs include Buttons and Bows by Dinah Shore, I’ve Got My Love To Keep Me Warm by Les Brown, and It’s Magic by Doris Day.
  • The Movies to Watch include The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Easter Parade, Key Largo, Rope, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, The Paleface I Remember Mama and The Boy with Green Hair.
  • The Most Famous Person in America was probably Bing Crosby
  • Notable books include The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer and Sexual Behavior in the Human Male by Alfred C. Kinsey
  • Price of 2 pounds of Charcoal briquettes in 1948: 39 cents
    A telephone call from Morristown, NJ-San Francisco, CA, 3 minutes: $2.50 + tax
  • The Funny Duo was: Abbott and Costello
    The Funny Guy was Jack Benny
  • The World’s Smallest Park Dedicated: Mill Ends Park is a tiny urban park located in the median strip of SW Naito Parkway, approaching the esplanade along the Willamette River near SW Taylor Street in downtown Portland, Oregon, United States. The park has a total area of 452 sq inches.

Top Ten Baby Names of 1948

Linda, Mary, Barbara, Patricia, Susan, James, Robert, John, William, David

Fashion Icons and Sex Symbols

Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth, Lauren Bacall, Lana Turner, Betty Grable

Entertainment History: The Oscars

The 20th Academy Awards ceremony was held on March 20, 1948, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Bob Hope served as the host of the evening. Gentleman’s Agreement, a film that dealt with anti-Semitism in America, took home the Best Picture award, and Elia Kazan received the Best Director Oscar for the same film. Meanwhile, Ronald Colman snagged the Best Actor statue for his role in A Double Life, and Loretta Young won Best Actress for The Farmer’s Daughter. Interestingly, this ceremony marked the first time the international press covered the Oscars. The eligibility period for the 20th Academy Awards spanned from December 1, 1946, to December 31, 1947. This was the first ceremony to be held at the Shrine Auditorium, which would later go on to host numerous other Academy Awards events.

“The Quotes:”
“Tonight, we have a really big show (pronounced shoe).”
– Ed Sullivan

“Badges? We ain’t got no badges! We don’t need no badges! I don’t have to show you any stinking badges!”
– Alfonso Bedoya, as Gold Hat, in ‘Treasure of the Sierra Madre’

“A diamond is forever”
– DeBeers

Time Magazine’s Man of the Year

Harry S. Truman

Miss America

BeBe Shopp (Hopkins, MN)

The Biggest Pop Artists of 1948 include

The Andrews Sisters, Tex Beneke, Frankie Carle, and His Orchestra, Buddy Clark, Nat ‘King’ Cole, Perry Como, Bing Crosby, Vic Damone, Ella Fitzgerald, Dick Haymes, Eddy Howard, Red Ingle, and the Natural Seven, Spike Jones and His City Slickers, Sammy Kaye, Stan Kenton, and His Orchestra, Evelyn Knight, Frankie Laine, Peggy Lee, Art Lund, Gordon MacRae, Vaughn Monroe, Art Mooney, Frank Sinatra, Jo Stafford, The Three Suns, Jimmy Wakely, Margaret Whiting

The Scandal

Actor Rex Harrison’s mistress, Carole Landis, committed suicide. His career survived, and his marriage to Lilli Palmer survived until 1957.

The Kindness

Since 1948, The Arlington Ladies at Arlington National Cemetery has attended every funeral to support and comfort families or to be the only one who attends to ensure no one is ever buried alone.

Dewey Did Not Defeat Truman

The presidential election of 1948 was a close one – the two candidates, Harry Truman and Thomas E. Dewey, were neck and neck in the polls. On November 3rd, just days before the general election on November 4th, it became clear that both sides had an equal number of states secured as their own. With only five percent of votes left to be counted, Truman suddenly pulled ahead with 49.6% of the vote while Dewey fell back to 48%.

The next day, Americans woke up to headlines such as “Dewey Defeats Truman” (New York Times) or “How Wrong Can They Be?” (Chicago Daily Tribune). The day after the election, Truman won an upset victory over Dewey by winning 303 electoral votes to 189 for his opponent. After holding up a newspaper that had already printed “Dewey Defeats Truman”, he told reporters: “That’s one of the happiest moments of my life.”

1948 Pop Culture Facts & History

Due to Mahatma Gandhi’s (October 2, 1869 – January 30, 1948) assassination, the Nobel Committee refused to give the Nobel Peace Prize that year because there was “no suitable living candidate.” The Prize cannot be given to deceased candidates. That kept Gandhi’s place on the list silently but respectfully left open.

“Highway Gothic” is a standard set of fonts specifically designed in 1948 to maximize legibility at a distance and high speed and are used on highway signs worldwide.

Lithium (lithium citrate) was used in the 7 UP beverage until 1948.

It is estimated that Bing Crosby’s recordings filled more than half of the radio time allocated to recorded music in 1948.

Almost all chickens eaten today come from the winner of the 1948 ‘Chicken of Tomorrow‘ Contest, whose genetics now dominate poultry farms worldwide.

Swiss engineer George de Mestral took his dog on a hike this year. When he got home, he noticed there were many burrs on the dog. He examined one under the microscope. He noticed that the burrs had small hooks that enabled them to cling to the soft fur. De Mestral patented Velcro in 1955.

London was the first city to have ever hosted the Olympics thrice: 1908, 1948, and 2012.

The shortest movie review ever was for the film Isn’t It Romantic? By Leonard Maltin, it read simply “No.”

The reason sprinkles are called Jimmies in New England is that in 1948, Dr. Farber founded The Jimmy Fund, and an ice cream shop named Brigham’s would charge an extra penny for chocolate sprinkles on a cone, which went to The Jimmy Fund.

Cheetos were first created this year.

Under the Smith–Mundt Act of 1948, Voice of America was forbidden to broadcast directly to American citizens until July 2013. The legislation intended to protect the American public from propaganda actions by its government.

Eliza Moore (1843 – January 21, 1948) was the last known black slave of the US.

Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder bet $10,000 at 17–1 odds on Harry Truman to defeat Thomas Dewey in the ’48 election because Dewey had a mustache and “American women didn’t trust men with a mustache.”

The Ford F-series truck was introduced.

Muddy Waters’ 1948 hit Rollin’ Stone inspired a 1960s band a few decades later.
(Hint: It was NOT “The Beatles”, “The Who,” “The Kinks,” or “Cream.”)

Bernard Silver and Norman Woodland invented bar codes.

The Crazy Horse Memorial in the Black Hills of South Dakota has been under construction since 1948 and is “far from completion”.

McCulloch chainsaws were introduced.

The Habit

Hiding behind their newspapers and magazines, many people were reading the Kinsey Report on Sexuality on the Human Male.

1st Appearances & 1948’s Most Popular Christmas Gifts, Toys and Presents

Scrabble, Slinky Jr.

Nobel Prize Winners

Physics – Patrick Maynard Stuart Blackett
Chemistry – Arne Tiselius
Medicine – Paul Hermann Müller
Literature – T. S. Eliot
Peace – not awarded (planned for Gandhi, but he passed away)

Popular and Best-selling Books From 1948

The Big Fisherman by Lloyd C. Douglas
The Bishop’s Mantle by Agnes Sligh Turnbull
Cry, the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
Dinner at Antoine’s by Frances Parkinson Keyes
Eagle in the Sky by Van Wyck Mason
East Side, West Side by Marcia Davenport
The Golden Hawk by Frank Yerby
House Divided by Ben Ames Williams
The Ides of March by Thornton Wilder
The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
Pilgrim’s Inn by Elizabeth Goudge
Raintree County by Ross Lockridge, Jr.
Saggy Baggy Elephant by Kathryn and Byron Jackson
Sexual Behavior in the Human Male by Alfred C. Kinsey
Shannon’s Way by A. J. Cronin
Tomorrow Will Be Better by Betty Smith
The Young Lions by Irwin Shaw

Broadway Shows

Mister Roberts (Play) Opened on February 18, 1948, and closed on January 6, 1951
Kiss Me, Kate (Musical) Opened on December 30, 1948, and closed on July 28, 1951

Best Film Oscar Winner

Gentleman’s Agreement (presented in 1948)


World Series Champions: Cleveland Indians
NFL Champions: Philadelphia Eagles
NBA Champions: Baltimore Bullets
Stanley Cup Champs: Toronto Maple Leafs
U.S. Open Golf Ben Hogan
U.S. Tennis: (Men/Ladies) Richard A. Gonzales/Margaret Osborne DuPont
Wimbledon (Men/Women): Bob Falkenburg/Louis Brough
NCAA Football Champions: Michigan
NCAA Basketball Champions: Kentucky
Kentucky Derby: Citation (Triple Crown Winner: Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes)

More 1948 Facts & History Resources:

Most Popular Baby Names (BabyCenter.com)
Popular and Notable Books (popculture.us)
Broadway Shows that Opened in 1948
1948 Calendar, courtesy of Time and Date.com
Fact Monster
Forties Nostalgia
1940s, Infoplease.com World History
1948 in Movies (according to IMDB)
Retrowaste Vintage Culture
1940s Slang

1948 Television
1940 US Census Fast Facts
Wikipedia 1948
Arab-Isreali War of 1948