1951 Fun Facts, Trivia & History
Quick Facts from 1951
Top Ten Baby Names of 1951
Linda, Mary, Patricia, Deborah, Barbara, James, Robert, John, Michael, David
Fashion Icons and Sex Symbols
Lauren Bacall, Martine Carol, Dorothy Dandridge, Doris Day, Diana Dors, Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth, Grace Kelly, Eartha Kitt, Marilyn Monroe, Jane Russell, Elizabeth Taylor, Lana Turner
Sex Symbols and Hollywood Hunks
Marlon Brando, Humphrey Bogart, Montgomery Clift
Oscars: 23rd Academy Awards
The 23rd edition of the Academy Awards happened on March 29, 1951, at the RKO Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. Fred Astaire charmed as the host of the event. The night it belonged to All About Eve, which tied the record for the most nominations (14) and won six awards, including Best Picture. Jose Ferrer won Best Actor for Cyrano de Bergerac, becoming the first Hispanic actor to win an Academy Award. The Best Actress award went to Judy Holliday for Born Yesterday.
Emmy Awards: 3rd Primetime Emmy Awards
Fast forward to the 3rd Primetime Emmy Awards, which occurred on February 15, 1951, at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Walter O’Keefe was the host. One notable winner was The Alan Young Show, bagging the Best Variety Show trophy. Robert Montgomery was awarded Most Outstanding Kinescoped Personality, a title that makes you appreciate how far television technology has come.
Both ceremonies were a testament to the ever-expanding scope of motion picture and television artistry. The Oscars had an eligibility period from January 1, 1950, to December 31, 1950. Meanwhile, the Emmy Awards, still in their infancy, didn’t yet have a standardized eligibility period and were still primarily recognizing shows produced in the Los Angeles area.
“Gort! Klaatu barada nikto!”
“I have always depended on the kindness of strangers”
“Stella! Hey, Stella!”
Time Magazine’s Man of the Year
Yolande Betbeze (Mobile, AL)
1951 Pop Culture Facts & History
MLB’s Joe DiMaggio had a 56-game hitting streak.
In 1951, MGM owed the dog who played Lassie $40,000 in back pay. Not planning any more Lassie movies, MGM gave the rights to the Lassie trademark to the dog’s trainer, who spun it off into a TV show that ran for 19 seasons.
Clarence Karcher and Eugene McDermott renamed their ‘Geophysical Service Inc” to Texas Instruments.
Ike Turner, the ex-husband of Tina Turner, recorded what is considered by many to be the first rock and roll song, Rocket 88 (credited to Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats, who were Ike Turner’s Kings of Rhythm).
UPI photographer Arthur Sasse asked Albert Einstein to smile, but instead, he stuck his tongue out, creating the famous photo. Leo Strauss coined the term ‘Reductio ad Hitlerum’ to describe the fallacy of trying to refute an opponent’s argument by comparing it to a view that Hitler or the Nazis would hold.
Eddie Gaedel, a dwarf, became the shortest person in MLB history when he went up to bat a single time. His jersey number was 1/8. He was released from the team the following day.
Joe Gold opened the first ‘Gold’s Gym’ in New Orleans. Things didn’t work out, but he started again in Venice, California, in 1965. The second time was the charm.
The first production car with power steering was the 1951 Chrysler Imperial.
The standard set for Compact Discs to hold 74 minutes of audio was made so that one disc could have Wilhelm Furtwangler’s recording of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 from the 1951 Bayreuth Festival.
The actor credited for performing in the most movies for a long time was Oliver Hardy, of Laurel and Hardy fame, with a record 417 movies between 1914 and 1951.
The first sex-change operation was performed in Denmark. George William Jorgensen, Jr. was transformed into Christine Jorgensen.
“The World’s First Porn Star” was 16-year-old Candy Barr (Juanita Slusher) starring in a silent porn film called Smart Alec.
Eric Morley organized a bikini contest as part of the Festival of Britain, and it was intended as a promotion for the recently introduced bikini, which was widely regarded as immodest. It then became an annual event called the Miss World Competition.
The movie Distant Drums contains the first known instance of “The Wilhelm Scream” (a sound effect of a man screaming, since used in hundreds of other films and television shows).
Le Bal Oriental was a costume ball held in Venice and was considered the “party of the century.” Hosted by Count “Charlie” Beistegui, a thousand guests attended, including Salvador Dali, Christian Dior, & Orson Wells.
Hallmark’s Hall of Fame is the longest prime-time running TV show in history. It has been on several networks but has continued without interruption and has won over 80 Emmys.
It was this year, 1951, that Lillian Vernon started mailing her catalogs.
Most of the cast and crew of the film classic The African Queen suffered from dysentery while shooting on location in Uganda. Only Humphrey Bogart remained healthy because he drank more whiskey than water.
The school board of Logan, Utah, forced 7th graders to get tattoos of their blood type in case they were injured during a nuclear war. #ouch
The 1951 Boston Marathon was the first post-World War II athletic competition to invite Japanese athletes. Shigeki Tanaka, a Japanese citizen, won it.
Two different comic strips appeared, called “Dennis The Menace,” on March 12; Dennis UK became Dennis and Gnasher. Neither author was aware of the other’s existence. They were created by Hank Ketcham in America and David Law in Britain.
The Explorers Club in NYC hosted a dinner featuring meat from a woolly mammoth.
J.D. Salinger’s cultural phenomenon, The Catcher in the Rye, was published.
Reading J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye
1st Appearances & 1951’s Most Popular Christmas Gifts, toys, and Presents
Nobel Prize Winners
Physics – John Cockcroft and Ernest Walton
Popular and Best-selling Books From 1951
A Woman Called Fancy by Frank Yerby
Oscar Best Picture
All About Eve (presented in 1951)
1951 Most Popular TV Shows
1. Texaco Star Theatre (NBC)
1951 Billboard Number One Songs
December 16, 1950 – March 2, 1951:
World Series Champions: New York Yankees
More 1951 History Resources: