1954 Fun Facts, Trivia and History

1954 Fun Facts, Trivia and History

Quick Facts from 1954

  • World Changing Event: RCA produced the first color televisions for public use
  • Biggest Songs include Three Coins In The Fountain by Four Aces featuring Al Alberts, Secret Love by Doris Day and Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight by The Spaniels.
  • Influential Songs include Mr. Sandman by The Chordettes, Gee by The Crows, Shake, Rattle and Roll by Joe Turner and His Blues Kings, Earth Angel by The Penguins.
  • The Movies to Watch include Godzilla, Rear Window, Animal Farm, Creature From the Black Lagoon, Sabrina, Demetrius and the Gladiators, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, On the Waterfront, and Dial M for Murder.
  • The Most Famous Person in America was probably John Wayne.
  • Notable books include The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien and Lord of the Flies by William Golding.
  • Price of Redwood Picnic table set in 1954: $22.00
    RCA Victor Color TV: $1000.00
  • US Life Expectancy: Males: 66.7 years, Females: 72.8 years
  • The Funny Comedy Duo were: Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis
    The Funniest TV Duo: Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca
    The Funny Late Show Host: Steve Allen
    The Funny Guy was Milton Berle
    The Funny Girl was Jean Carroll
    The Funny TV Lady: Lucille Ball
  • The Look: Maurice Tillet, a wrestler (The French Angel) suffering from acromegaly who died in 1954, was the physical inspiration for the character Shrek.
  • Take our 1954 Quiz!
Top Ten Baby Names of 1954:
Mary, Linda, Deborah, Patricia, Susan, Michael, Robert, James, John, David
Fashion Icons and Sex Symbols:
Martine Carol, Dorothy Dandridge, Doris Day, Diana Dors, Anita Ekberg, Ava Gardner, Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Gina Lollobrigida, Sophia Loren, Jayne Mansfield, Marilyn Monroe, Julie Newmar, Kim Novak, Bettie Page, Jane Russell, Elizabeth Taylor, Mamie Van Doren
Sex Symbols and Hollywood Hunks:
Marlon Brando, Harry Belafonte, Humphrey Bogart, Montgomery Clift

Oscars: 26th Academy Awards

The 26th Academy Awards took place on March 25, 1954, at the RKO Pantages Theatre in Hollywood and the NBC Century Theatre in New York City. The night was hosted by Donald O’Connor in Hollywood and Fredric March in New York, and from Here to Eternity dominated the ceremony, bagging eight Oscars, including Best Picture. Audrey Hepburn charmed her way to the Best Actress title for her role in Roman Holiday, and William Holden clinched Best Actor for Stalag 17.

Emmy Awards: 6th Primetime Emmy Awards

Meanwhile, the 6th Primetime Emmy Awards unfolded on February 11, 1954, at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles, with hosts Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. I Love Lucy again secured its spot as a fan and critic favorite, winning Best Situation Comedy. Danny Thomas was celebrated with a Best Actor trophy for his performance in Make Room for Daddy, and Eve Arden was named Best Actress for Our Miss Brooks.

Eligibility for the Oscars stretched from January 1, 1953, to December 31, 1953. As for the Emmys, the focus was mainly on shows produced within the United States.

“The Quotes:”

“Hey Kids, What time is it?”
– It’s Howdy Doody time!

“Melts in your mouth, not in your hands.”
– M&Ms

“You don’t understand! I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I could’ve been somebody instead of a bum, which is what I am.”
– Marlon Brando, in On The Waterfront

“Winston tastes good like a cigarette should.”
– Winston Cigarettes

Time Magazine’s Man of the Year

John Foster Dulles

Miss America

Evelyn Ay (Ephrata, PA)

Miss USA

Miriam Stevenson (South Carolina)

The Scandals

Rock and Roll Death: Rhythm-and-blues singer Johnny Ace died after jokingly pointing a gun toward himself and accidentally shooting himself with it. His last words were, “It’s okay! Gun’s not loaded… see?”

Fringe psychologist Fredric Wertham’s book Seduction of the Innocent claimed that most juvenile delinquents read comic books. It also asserted that Batman and Robin were gay lovers and that Wonder Woman was a lesbian, causing an outcry that led to the establishment of the Comics Code Authority. The new rules by the Comics Code Authority included: In every instance, good shall triumph over evil, no comics magazine shall use the word horror or terror in its title, and all characters shall be depicted in dress reasonably acceptable to society.

The CIA financed and re-wrote the animated film version of Animal Farm.

Bombay, India, had such a bad rat problem that they began accepting dead rats instead of taxes. This led to the mass breeding and killing of rats to use them for payment.

Actor Paul Newman took an ad out in Variety Magazine apologizing for his performance in The Silver Chalice.

1954 Pop Culture Facts & History

Roger Bannister was the first human to run a mile in less than four minutes (3:59) on May 6th. Mr. Bannister stopped running shortly after that and became a neurologist. He was knighted (for his neurologist work) in 1975.

Godzilla is the world’s longest continuously-running movie franchise, in on-going production since 1954.

The Fast and the Furious movie series is “loosely” based on an original film from 1954 – “The Fast and the Furious”

Philly-born pool player Willie Mosconi sunk 526 pool balls without missing in Springfield, Ohio. No one has come close to breaking that record.

In late 1954 and early 1955, Edgar Hetteen and David Johnson started making and selling their Polaris snowmobiles.

Jimmy the Raven, a trained crow, appeared in over 1,000 feature films between 1934 and 1954.

The term “mondegreen,” which is the term for misunderstood lyrics, was coined by writer Sylvia Green in 1954 while writing about how, as a girl, she had misheard the lyric “…and laid him on the green” in a Scottish ballad as “…and Lady Mondegreen”.

April 11, 1954, was the most boring day in history, according to a computer program tracking news. The most noteworthy events of that day included a general election in Belgium and the birth of a Turkish academic.

NBC-TV (the network), the studios of New York affiliate WPIX, with a young Marjorie Hellen as its ‘human test pattern’ regarding color tones. She sat for hours on a stool in front of color cameras while engineers adjusted the tints and the lighting and worked with costumes in different tints. Marjorie changed her name to Leslie Parrish in 1959.

Although it started as a fruit-packing business in 1947, Tropicana owner Anthony Rossi developed a ‘flash pasteurization’ process that made OJ more easily transported fresh across the country.

Until the introduction of The Marlboro Man in 1954, Marlboro cigarettes were considered feminine and marketed to women with the slogan “Mild as May.”

Before 1954, Thanksgiving turkeys were supplied by the local farmer or butcher, but Frank Swift’s well-bred, larger-than-typical Butterball turkeys changed all that.

Ann Hodges is the only verified person in history who was hit by a meteorite and survived. The Sylacauga meteorite fell on November 30, 1954.

The words ‘under God’ were added to the Pledge of Allegiance in response to the Communist threat of the times.

The call sign “Air Force One” was created to avoid confusion after an incident where a commercial flight and President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s plane carried the same number in the same airspace.

The US Senate used the same gavel for 165 years until (then vice-president) Richard Nixon cracked it on November 17, 1954. India gifted them with a new one. #oops

American surgeon Joseph Murray completed the first successful organ transplant when he moved a living kidney from one identical twin to the other. The operation took about 4 hours.

1st Appearances & 1954’s Most Popular Christmas Gifts, Toys, and Presents

The Piña Colada was invented in Puerto Rico in 1954 at the Caribe Hilton.
Matchbox Cars, Yahtzee, Lincoln Logs*, Scrabble**, and thin wooden Wiffle bats were invented to go with 1953’s Wiffleball
*Lincoln Logs originally came out in 1916
**Released in 1948, this was Scrabble’s biggest sales unit year

Nobel Prize Winners

Physics – Max Born, Walther Bothe
Chemistry – Linus Pauling
Medicine – John Franklin Enders, Thomas Huckle Weller, Frederick Chapman Robbins
Literature – Ernest Hemingway
Peace – The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Best Film Oscar Winner

From Here to Eternity (presented in 1954)

Broadway Show

The Pajama Game (Musical) Opened on May 13, 1954, and Closed November 24, 1956

Popular and Best-selling Books From 1954

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis
Benton’s Row by Frank Yerby
The Egyptian by Mika Waltari
Live and Let Die by Ian Fleming
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien (1954)
Love Is Eternal by Irving Stone
Mary Anne by Daphne du Maurier
Never Victorious, Never Defeated by Taylor Caldwell
No Time for Sergeants by Mac Hyman
Not as a Stranger by Morton Thompson
The Royal Box by Frances Parkinson Keyes
Seduction of the Innocent by Fredric Wertham
Sweet Thursday by John Steinbeck
The View from Pompey’s Head by Hamilton Basso

1954 Most Popular TV Shows

1. I Love Lucy (CBS)
2. The Jackie Gleason Show ((CBS)
3. Dragnet (NBC)
4. You Bet Your Life (NBC)
5. The Toast of the Town (CBS)
6. Disneyland (ABC)
7. The Jack Benny Show (CBS)
8. The George Gobel Show (NBC)
9. Ford Theatre (NBC)
10. December Bride (CBS)

1954 Billboard Number One Songs

November 21, 1953 – January 1, 1954:
Rags To Riches – Tony Bennett

January 2February 26:
Oh My Papa – Eddie Fisher

February 27March 12:
Secret Love – Doris Day

March 13March 19:
Make Love To Me – Jo Stafford

March 20March 26:
Secret Love – Doris Day

March 27April 9:
Make Love To Me – Jo Stafford

April 10May 28:
Wanted – Perry Como

May 29August 6:
Little Things Mean A Lot – Kitty Kallen

August 7September 24:
Sh-Boom – Crew – Cuts

September 25November 5:
Hey There – Rosemary Clooney

November 6November 12:
This Ole House – Rosemary Clooney

November 13December 3:
I Need You Now – Eddie Fisher

December 4, 1954 – January 21, 1955:
Mr. Sandman – The Chordettes


World Series Champions: New York Giants
NFL Champions: Cleveland Browns
NBA Champions: Minneapolis Lakers
Stanley Cup Champs: Detroit Red Wings
U.S. Open Golf Ed Furgol
U.S. Tennis: (Men/Ladies) E. Victor Seixas, Jr./Doris Hart
Wimbledon (Men/Women): Jaroslav Drobny/Maureen Connolly
NCAA Football Champions: Ohio State & UCLA
NCAA Basketball Champions: La Salle
Kentucky Derby: Determine
World Cup (Soccer): West Germany

More 1954 Facts & History Resources:

BabyBoomers.com (1954)
Most Popular Baby Names (BabyCenter.com)
Popular and Notable Books (popculture.us)
Broadway Shows that Opened in 1954X
1954 Calendar, courtesy of Time and Date.com
Fact Monster
Fifties Web (1954)
1950s, Infoplease.com World History
1954 in Movies (according to IMDB)
Retrowaste Vintage Culture
1954 Television
1950s Slang
Wikipedia 1954