1955 Facts, History and Fun Trivia

1955 Facts, History and Fun Trivia

Quick Facts from 1955

  • The World-Changing Event: Dr. Jonas Salk started inoculating children against polio.
  • The Other World-Changing Event: In Montgomery, Alabama, a bus boycott began after Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white person.
  • The Top Song was Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White by Perez Prado.
  • Influential Song: Autumn Leaves by… #1 Roger Williams, #35. Steve Allen, #41 Mitch Miller, #50 Jackie Gleason, #52. Victor Young, #55. Ray Charles Singers.
  • Tennessee Williams’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof won the Pulitzer Prize.
  • Disneyland opened on July 17, 1955.
  • The Movies to Watch include To Catch A Thief, Mister Roberts, East of Eden, Galapagos, Lady and the Tramp, Rebel without a Cause, Marty, Oklahoma! and Blackboard Jungle.
  • The Most Famous Person in America was probably James Dean.
  • Notable books include Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov and The Ginger Man by J. P. Donleavy.
  • AFL and CIO become one organization, the AFL-CIO.
  • The price of a German Shepard puppy, AKC registered in 1955: $50.00.
  • 1 ounce of gold value: $35.15.
  • The Funny Comedy Duo was Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.
    The Funny Late Show Host: Steve Allen
    The Funny Guy was Milton Berle
    The Funny TV Lady: Lucille Ball
  • The Hot New Game: Scrabble

Top Ten Baby Names of 1955

Mary, Deborah, Linda, Debra, Susan, Michael, David, James, Robert, John

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, Elizabeth Taylor, Mamie Van Doren

Sex Symbols and Hollywood Hunks

James Dean, Montgomery Clift

Oscars: 27th Academy Awards

The 27th Academy Awards occurred on March 30, 1955, hosted at the RKO Pantages Theatre in Hollywood. Bob Hope served as the master of ceremonies for the event. On the Waterfront stole the spotlight, winning eight awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Marlon Brando. Grace Kelly received Best Actress for The Country Girl, making headlines and further cementing her status as a Hollywood icon.

Emmy Awards: 7th Primetime Emmy Awards

As for the small screen, the 7th Primetime Emmy Awards took place on March 7, 1955, at the “Moulin Rouge Nightclub” in Hollywood. Steve Allen was the host. The ceremony marked a pivotal year for the TV industry, with Disneyland winning Best Variety Series. At the same time, Danny Thomas and Loretta Young took home the Best Actor and Best Actress awards for Make Room for Daddy and Letter to Loretta, respectively.

The Oscars had an eligibility period spanning from January 1, 1954, to December 31, 1954. The Emmy Awards, on the other hand, targeted shows produced within the United States, though the specific eligibility window was less strictly defined at this point.

“The Quote:

“Now it’s time to say goodbye to all our company, / M-I-C…
Jimmie: See you real soon.
Mouseketeers: K-E-Y…
Jimmie: Why? Because we like you!
Mouseketeers: M-O-U-S-E!” – Mickey Mouse Club

Time Magazine’s Man of the Year

Harlow Curtice

Miss America

Lee Meriwether (San Francisco, CA)

 Miss USA

Carlene King Johnson (Vermont)

The Scandals

Rosa Parks refused to give her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Alabama on December 1, 1955. This event of peaceful protest was a catalyst for the civil rights movement in the United States.

The producers of The 64,000 Question disliked Dr. Joyce Brothers, and her opponent was coached. They purposely asked her a boxing question, figuring a girl wouldn’t get the answer. She did.

John Wayne, Susan Hayward, Lee Van Cleef, Agnes Moorehead, and Dick Powell all died of cancer, probably from filming The Conquerer near a Nevada nuclear testing site in 1955.

The Horrible

Switzerland banned nearly all forms of motor racing after the tragic 1955 Le Mans disaster, which took place in France, where fragments of a crashed car flew in the stands, injuring 180 and killing 84 spectators, the most deadly accident in motorsports history. The ban is still in place to this day.

Emmett Till, a 14-year-old black teenager, was killed for allegedly flirting with a white female. The murderers were acquitted in a trial by an all-white jury.

1955 Pop Culture Facts & History

TV remote ‘clicker’ control became public.

Maurice K. Goddard, director of the Department of Parks and Forests in Pennsylvania, set the goal of having a state park within 25 miles of every citizen.

The Microwave Oven was invented.

The first Moonwalk ever recorded was performed by tap dancer Bill Bailey in 1955…

Retail giant Sears published a phone number that kids could use to “call Santa”. However, due to a misprint, the number Sears printed redirected to CORAD (now NORAD)’s top-secret emergency line. Rather than having the ad pulled, NORAD decided to “track” Santa’s progress, which they continue to do to this day.

The Guinness Brewing Company published the first edition of the Guinness Book of Records following a debate in a pub (tavern) over the fastest species of European game bird.
In case you need to know, it is the Wood Pigeon.
The fastest bird of prey would be the Peregrine Falcon.

Journalist Edward R. Murrow asked Jonas Salk who ‘owned’ the patent to the polio vaccine, and his response was, “Well, the people, I would say… There is no patent. Could you patent the sun?” Jonas made it available for no charge.

Hollywood bombshell Jayne Mansfield was ‘discovered’ during a press junket for the 1955 film Underwater that starred another buxom actress, Jane Russell. Mansfield dived into a pool given the assembled journalists and “had the genius to permit her bathing suit to split open.”

The phrase ‘In God We Trust’ wasn’t put on all US currency until 1955.

When Tomorrowland originally opened in Disneyland, it represented an anticipated city of 1986.

You’ve been there. Everybody has visited a McDonald’s since it first opened in 1955.

When Albert Einstein died on April 18, 1955, in Princeton Hospital, the nurse assigned to him did not speak German, and his last words were not understood.

Quaker Oats promoted their cereal by giving away 1 square inch of land in Canada in each box sold. In the end, it totaled up to 19 acres.

The musical film Oklahoma! was predominately filmed in Arizona.

Onions are no longer classified as a commodity due to the cornering of the onion market in 1955 (Onion Futures Act).

Boeing’s development of the B-52 began in 1946. They have been in active service with the USAF since 1955, and the last operational ones will not be replaced until 2045.

In 1955/56, Chrysler sold the Dodge La Femme, a car marketed exclusively to women. It included a designer purse with accessories, an umbrella, and an upholstery pattern of pink rosebuds for the interior.

Two labor unions, the AFL and the CIO, united to become the AFL-CIO.

Marlboro used to market its cigarettes as “premium ladies’ cigarettes.” Their slogan was “Mild as May”. In 1955, they changed their ads to Cowboys and “Marlboro Country” images. Their sales reputedly increased over 3,000 percent in 1 year.

Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita was published. US publishers were initially reluctant to associate themselves with such a controversial work.

1st Appearances & 1955’s Most Popular Christmas Gifts, Toys and Presents

Tonka Trucks, Play-Doh (off-white), Bild Lilli dolls (predecessor to Barbie), Pluto Platter Flying Saucer (a frisbee type item)

Best Film Oscar Winner

On The Waterfront (presented in 1955)

Nobel Prize Winners

Physics – Willis Eugene Lamb and Polykarp Kusch
Chemistry – Vincent du Vigneaud
Physiology or Medicine – Axel Hugo Theodor Theorell
Literature – Halldór Kiljan Laxness
Peace – not awarded

Popular and Best-selling Books From 1955

Andersonville by MacKinlay Kantor
Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis
Bonjour Tristesse by Françoise Sagan
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis
Kay Thompson’s Eloise by Kay Thompson and Hilary Knight
The Ginger Man by J.P. Donleavy
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
Howl by Allen Ginsberg
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit by Sloan Wilson
Marjorie Morningstar by Herman Wouk
Moonraker by Ian Fleming
No Time for Sergeants by Mac Hyman
Not as a Stranger by Morton Thompson
Ten North Frederick by John O’Hara
The Tontine by Thomas B. Costain
Scuffy the Tugboat by Gertrude Crampton
Sincerely, Willis Wayde by John P. Marquand
Something of Value by Robert Ruark
The View from Pompey’s Head by Hamilton Basso

1955 Most Popular TV Shows

1. The $64,000 Question (CBS)
2. I Love Lucy (CBS)
3. The Ed Sullivan Show (CBS)
4. Disneyland (ABC)
5. The Jack Benny Show (CBS)
6. December Bride (CBS)
7. You Bet Your Life (NBC)
8. Dragnet (NBC)
9. The Millionaire (CBS)
10. I’ve Got A Secret (CBS)

1955 Billboard Number One Songs

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

January 22February 4:
Let Me Go, Lover – Joan Weber

February 5February 11:
Hearts of Stone – Fontane Sisters

February 12March 25:
Sincerely – McGuire Sisters

March 26April 29:
The Ballad Of Davy Crockett – Bill Hayes

April 30 – July 8:
Unchained Melody – Les Baxter

July 9September 2:
Rock Around The Clock – Bill Haley & his Comets

September 3October 7:
Yellow Rose Of Texas – Mitch Miller

October 8October 14:
Love Is a Many – Splendored Thing – The Four Aces

October 15October 21:
Yellow Rose Of Texas – Mitch Miller

October 22 – October 28:
Love Is a Many – Splendored Thing – The Four Aces

October 29November 4:
Autumn Leaves – Roger Williams

November 5 – November 25:
Love Is a Many – Splendored Thing – The Four Aces

November 26, 1955 – January 13, 1956:
Sixteen Tons – Tennessee Ernie Ford


World Series Champions: Brooklyn Dodgers
NFL Champions: Cleveland Browns
NBA Champions: Syracuse Nationals
Stanley Cup Champs: Detroit Red Wings
U.S. Open Golf Jack Fleck
U.S. Tennis: (Men/Ladies) Tony Trabert/Doris Hart
Wimbledon (Men/Women): Tony Trabert/Louis Brough
NCAA Football Champions: Oklahoma
NCAA Basketball Champions: San Francisco
Kentucky Derby: Swaps

More 1955 Facts & History Resources:

BabyBoomers.com (1955)
Most Popular Baby Names (BabyCenter.com)
Popular and Notable Books (popculture.us)
Broadway Shows that Opened in 1955X
1955 Calendar, courtesy of Time and Date.com
Fact Monster
Fifties Web (1955)
1950s, Infoplease.com World History
1955 in Movies (according to IMDB)
Retrowaste Vintage Culture
1955 Television
1950s Slang
Wikipedia 1955