1957 Facts, Fun Trivia and History

1957 Facts, Fun Trivia and History

Quick Facts from 1957

  • World Changing Event: The Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first space satellite, starting the Space Race.
  • The Top Song was All Shook Up by Elvis Presley.
  • Influential Songs include The Banana Boat Song (Day-o) by Harry Belafonte and Wake Up Little Suzie by The Everly Brothers.
  • The Movies to Watch include An Affair to Remember, Jailhouse Rock, Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, 12 Angry Men, A Face in the Crowd, The Incredible Shrinking Man, Pal Joey, The Spirit of St. Louis, Old Yeller, and The Bridge on the River Kwai.
  • The Most Famous Person in America was probably Rock Hudson.
  • Notable books include Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand and The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss.
  • Price of 45 RPM single record in 1957: 79 cents
    Burger King Whopper: 37 cents
  • US Life Expectancy: Males: 66.4 years, Females: 72.7 years.
  • Wham-O Company produced the 1st Frisbee, the “Pluto Platter,” 1958.
  • Volvo’s Nils Bohlin invented the Three-Point Seatbelt. Volvo lets other car companies use the patent at no charge.
  • The Funny TV Lady: Lucille Ball
    The Funny Late Show Host: Steve Allen
  • The Baseball Hit(s): Richie Ashburn hit Alice Roth with a foul ball, breaking her nose, then hit her again while she was on the stretcher.

Top Ten Baby Names of 1957

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

Fashion Icons and Sex Symbols

Carroll Baker, Brigitte Bardot, Claudia Cardinale, Doris Day, Diana Dors, Anita Ekberg, Annette Funicello, Ava Gardner, Audrey Hepburn, Gina Lollobrigida, Sophia Loren, Jayne Mansfield, Marilyn Monroe, Julie Newmar, Kim Novak, Bettie Page, Elizabeth Taylor, Mamie Van Doren

Leading Men and Sex Symbols

Elvis Presley, Harry Belafonte

Oscars: 29th Academy Awards

On March 27, 1957, the Oscars ceremony was held at the RKO Pantages Theatre in Hollywood, with Jerry Lewis and Celeste Holm sharing the hosting duties. The film Around the World in 80 Days was the big winner of the night, bagging five awards, including Best Picture. Yul Brynner won Best Actor for his role in The King and I, while Ingrid Bergman was awarded Best Actress for Anastasia.

Emmy Awards: 9th Primetime Emmy Awards

The Emmy Awards took place on March 16, 1957, at the NBC Studios in Burbank, California. Art Linkletter reprised his hosting role. The Best Drama Series award went to Playhouse 90, and The Phil Silvers Show won Best Comedy Series. Robert Young snagged the Best Actor for Father Knows Best, and Loretta Young took home the Best Actress for Letter to Loretta for the second time.

In film and television, the Oscars and Emmys continued to be the pinnacles of achievement. The Oscars focused on recognizing the cinematic achievements of 1956, while the Emmys followed suit with productions aired in 1956. These award shows often provided a glimpse into the social and cultural trends of the era, and 1957 was no exception.

Time Magazine’s Man of the Year

Nikita Khrushchev

Miss America

Marian McKnight (Manning, SC)

Miss USA

Mary Leona Gage (Maryland)/ Charlotte Sheffield (Utah)

The Scandals

On March 25, 1957, US Customs agents seized over 500 copies of the Allen Ginsberg book Howl and Other Poems on obscenity charges. It was later decided in the US court that the material was not obscene.

James Vicary announced that he invented subliminal advertising at a Fort Lee, New Jersey, movie theater. He flashed the words: “Hungry? Eat Popcorn” and “Thirsty? Drink Coke” very fast between film frames. Food and beverage sales increased significantly, he claimed. In 1962, he said he made the whole thing up.

US Politics

January 21, 1957 (Monday): Second inauguration of Dwight D. Eisenhower

1957 Pop Culture Facts & History

When US President Harry S. Truman visited Disneyland in 1957, he refused to come aboard the popular Dumbo attraction. Truman, a Democrat, didn’t want to be seen riding in the symbol of the Republican

The comedy film Airplane (1980) is a parody of Zero Hour (1957)

The price of Coca-Cola was 5 cents (a nickel) from 1886 to m1959. Coca-Cola contacted the US Treasury Department, asking them to mint a 7.5 cent coin in 1953, to minimize a needed price increase for soda vending machines.

On April 10, 12 Angry Men, directed by Sidney Lumet, starring Martin Balsam as Juror 1, John Fiedler as Juror 2, Lee J. Cobb as Juror 3, E. G. Marshall as Juror 4, Jack Klugman as Juror 5, Edward Binns as Juror 6, Jack Warden as Juror 7, Henry Fonda as Davis, Juror 8, Joseph Sweeney as McCardle, Juror 9, Ed Begley as Juror 10, George Voskovec as Juror 11 and Robert Webber as Juror 12, was released.

Philadelphia’s American Bandstand, with Dick Clark, became a national television show.

Elvis asked his audience at a Seattle concert to please rise for the national anthem. He picked up his guitar and sang Hound Dog. A 15-year-old Jimmy Hendrix was there, a part of the enthusiastic audience.

Elvis Presley bought Graceland on 3734 Bellevue Boulevard in Memphis, Tennessee, for $100,000.

In 1957, 1 out of 7 US workers’ income was earned in the textile or apparel industries.

On Saturday, April 13, 1957, there was no mail delivery due to a budget crunch at the US Post Office. Additional funds insured Saturday mail continued by the following week.

Stan Laurel (of the legendary comedy duo Laurel and Hardy) refused to ever perform publicly again after the death of his friend and partner Oliver Hardy in 1957.

Fortran, an early computer language, was created.

1948 Swiss engineer George de Mestral took his dog on a hike. When he got home, he noticed many burrs on the dog. He examined one under the microscope. He noticed the burrs had small hooks that enabled them to cling to the soft fur. De Mestral got the US patent (#3,009,235) for Velcro in 1955, an upgrade from his earlier 1955 patent (#2,717,437)

Laika, a Russian dog, was the first living creature to be sent into space in Sputnik 2. Sadly, she did not make it back alive.

January 16 – January 1- Three B-52 Bombers set a record for around-the-world flight, 45 hours and  19 minutes.

The Mayflower II from Plymouth, England, sailed to Plymouth, Massachusetts.

The longest-ever speech delivered by the United Nations was eight hours long. Vengalil Krishnan Krishna Menon delivered it from India on January 23, 1957.

The US Supreme Court decided, in a 6-3 vote, that Major League Baseball is the only antitrust-exempt professional US sport.

Unlikely Heroes

Northeast Airlines Flight 823 crashed onto Rikers Island shortly after take-off from LaGuardia Airport, killing 20 and injuring 78 out of a total of 95 passengers and six crew. Fifty-seven inmates ran to help the survivors. Most prisoners who helped were either set free or received reduced sentences.

1957 Mysteries:

The Boy in the Box is a still-unsolved murder of a ~5-year-old boy whose naked and battered body was found in a cardboard box in a wooded area of Philadelphia in 1957. Found to be Joseph Augustus Zarelli in 2022.

William Laing, Michael Crowley, and Ray Baker described a ‘Timeslip‘ journey into the medieval version of the Suffolk village of Kersey.

An explosion occurred at a plutonium plant in the USSR, resulting in the world’s third-worst nuclear accident. The government kept it secret for 19 years. An estimated 6,000-8,000 people died in the event.

Oops!

Killer ‘Africanized’ bees are a hybrid species (with European Bees) that exist because they accidentally escaped quarantine in 1957.

During a 1957 Phillies game, Richie Ashburn hit a fan, Alice Roth, with a foul ball, breaking her nose. When play resumed, he hit her again with another foul ball as she was being taken out on a stretcher. They later became friends.

The United States Air Force accidentally dropped a 10 Megaton hydrogen bomb on uninhabited land owned by the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque. It did not go off, but a cow was reputedly killed.

Fake News

The BBC aired a segment about a Swiss family harvesting their “spaghetti tree” as an April Fool’s Day Prank on Panorama.

Civil Rights

The Little Rock Nine were a group of nine African American students who were escorted by 101st Airborne Division soldiers into Little Rock Central High School in 1957 after initially being blocked by the Arkansas National Guard and racial segregationists.

A 24-hour and 18-minute speech by Sen. Storm Thurmond to stall the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1957 was the longest Filibuster in US history. He read the Declaration of Independence, talked about Jury Trials, and answered questions from other Senators. He successfully spoke from 8:54 p.m. to 9:12 p.m. the next day, but the bill was passed anyway.

World War II Aftermath

Anne Frank Foundation was formed in Amsterdam.

Unorthodox Medicine

Actor Cary Grant was diagnosed with “prolonged emotional detachment” and began medical LSD therapy. He had more than 100 acid trips over 2 years and believed it helped him cope with the pain from his childhood.

The Habits

Everybody was flying those discs invented by Frederick Morrison, called ‘Pluto Platters,’ later renamed the ‘Frisbee.’
‘Frisbee’ was a pie company in Connecticut. The locals used to toss the empty pie plates, hence the name.
Wham-O bought the rights to the product from Frederick.

The cool kids were watching Dick Clark’s American Bandstand.

1st Appearances & 1957’s Most Popular Christmas Gifts, Toys and Presents

Dream Pets, Careers Game, Sea-Monkeys

More Firsts

Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes accidentally invented bubble wrap while trying to create plastic wallpaper.

Standard & Poor’s S&P 500 opened on March 4, 1957, replacing the S&P 90.

The phrase “In God We Trust” first appeared on US coins in 1864 but did not appear on U.S. paper currency until 1957.

Nobel Prize Winners

Physics – Chen-Ning Yang, Tsung-Dao Lee
Chemistry – Lord Alexander R. Todd
Physiology or Medicine – Daniel Bovet
Literature – Albert Camus
Peace – Lester Bowles Pearson

Best Film Oscar Winner

Around the World in 80 Days (presented in 1957)

Broadway Show

The Music Man (Musical) Opened on December 19, 1957, and Closed April 15, 1961

Popular and Best-selling Books From 1957

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Below the Salt by Thomas B. Costain
Blue Camellia by Frances Parkinson Keyes
By Love Possessed by James Gould Cozzens
The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
Compulsion by Meyer Levin
Eloise in Paris by Kay Thompson
From Russia, with Love by Ian Fleming
On the Beach by Nevil Shute
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
Peyton Place by Grace Metalious
Rally ‘Round the Flag, Boys! by Max Shulman
The Scapegoat by Daphne du Maurier
Syntactic Structures by Noam Chomsky

1957 Most Popular TV Shows

1. Gunsmoke (CBS)
2. The Danny Thomas Show (CBS)
3. Tales of Wells Fargo (NBC)
4. Have Gun Will Travel (CBS)
5. I’ve Got A Secret (CBS)
6. The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (ABC)
7. General Electric Theatre (CBS)
8. The Restless Gun (NBC)
9. December Bride (CBS)
10. You Bet Your Life (NBC)

1957 Billboard Number One Songs

December 29, 1956 – February 8, 1957:
Singing The Blues – Guy Mitchell

February 9February 15:
Don’t Forbid Me – Pat Boone

February 16March 29:
Young Love – Tab Hunter

March 30April 19:
Butterfly – Andy Williams

April 20June 2:
All Shook Up – Elvis Presley

June 3July 14:
Love Letters In The Sand – Pat Boone

July 15September 1:
Teddy Bear – Elvis Presley

September 2October 6:
Tammy – Debbie Reynolds

October 7October 20:
Honeycomb – Jimmie Rodgers

October 21November 3:
Wake Up Little Susie – The Everly Brothers

November 4December 8:
Jailhouse Rock – Elvis Presley

December 9 – December 29:
You Send Me – Sam Cooke

December 30, 1957 – January 3, 1958:
April Love – Pat Boone

Sports

World Series Champions: Milwaukee Braves
NFL Champions: Detroit Lions
NBA Champions: Boston Celtics
Stanley Cup Champs: Montreal Canadians
U.S. Open Golf: Dick Mayer
U.S. Tennis (Men/Ladies): Malcolm Anderson/Althea Gibson
Wimbledon (Men/Women): Lew Hoad/Althea Gibson
NCAA Football Champions: Auburn & Ohio State
NCAA Basketball Champions: North Carolina
Kentucky Derby: Iron Liege

More 1957 Facts & History Resources:

BabyBoomers.com (1957)
Most Popular Baby Names (BabyCenter.com)
Popular and Notable Books (popculture.us)
Broadway Shows that Opened in 1957X
1957 Calendar, courtesy of Time and Date.com
Fact Monster
Fifties Web (1957)
1950s, Infoplease.com World History
1957 in Movies (according to IMDB)
Retrowaste Vintage Culture
1957 Television
1950s Slang
Wikipedia 1957