1947 History, Fun Facts and Trivia
Quick Facts from 1947:
- World Changing Event: The first general-purpose computer, the almost 30-ton ENIAC ), contained 18,000 vacuum tubes, 70,000 resistors and 10,000 capacitors.
- Influential Songs include: Heartaches by Ted Weems and This Land Is Your Land by Woody Guthrie
- The Movies to Watch include Miracle on 34th Street, Gentleman’s Agreement, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty , My Favorite Brunette, Possessed, The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer and The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
- The Most Famous Person in the World was probably
- Notable books include: Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
- Price of Flexible Flyer Sled in 1947: $8.95
- The Funny Guy was: Bob Hope
- The Conversation: Was it aliens or a government weather balloon that
crashed in Roswell, New Mexico?
Top Ten Baby Names of 1947:
Linda, Mary, Patricia, Barbara, Sandra, James, Robert, John, William, Richard
The Hotties and Fashion Icons:
Ava Gardner, Gene Tierney, Dorothy Dandridge, Rita Hayworth, Lauren Bacall, Lana Turner, Betty Grable
“I have always depended on the kindness of strangers” from A Streetcar Named Desire
Time Magazine’s Man of the Year:
Barbara Walker (Memphis, TN)
The biggest Pop Artists of 1947 include:
The Andrews Sisters, Count Basie and His Orchestra, Tex Beneke, Les Brown and His Orchestra, Frankie Carle and His Orchestra, Buddy Clark, Nat ‘King’ Cole, Perry Como, Bing Crosby, Vic Damone, Arthur Godfrey, Harmonicats, Phil Harris, Dick Haymes, Woody Herman and His Orchestra, Eddy Howard, Red Ingle and the Natural Seven, Harry James and His Orchestra, Louis Jordan, Sammy Kaye, Stan Kenton and His Orchestra, Frankie Laine, Peggy Lee, Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians, Johnny Mercer, Vaughn Monroe, Pied Pipers, Alvino Rey and His Orchestra , Dinah Shore, Frank Sinatra, Jo Stafford, The Three Suns, Martha Tilton, Ted Weems and His Orchestra, Margaret Whiting, Tex Williams
Charts based on Billboard music charts.
In 1947, the SS Grandcamp, docked and loaded with over 7,000 tons of ammonium nitrate, exploded in the Port of Texas City, killing 581 and injuring over 5,000. The explosion was equivalent to 3.2 kilotons of TNT, making it one of the largest non-nuclear explosions in history.
Pop Culture History:
Thor Heyerdahl undertook his Kon-Tiki expedition in 1947, in which he sailed 8,000 km (5,000 mi) across the Pacific Ocean in a hand-built raft from South America to the Tuamotu Islands to prove the Ancients could have accomplished this too.
The first animals in space were actually fruit flies, launched in a V-2 rocket by the United States in 1947. The fruit flies were recovered alive.
The United States’ “constitutionally mandated presidential address” changed names. From 1790 through 1946 it “was formally known as the Annual Message.” Since 1947, we call it “the State of the Union Address”.
Major League Baseball allowed black players, starting with Jackie Robinson.
Wataru Misaka was the first person of asian descent to be drafted in the NBA (known as BAA at the time).
Princeton was the last Ivy League college to admit a black student in 1947. That was 90 years after Yale admitted its first black student in 1857.
The Superman radio show did a series called “Clan of the Fiery Cross” in which they exposed many of the KKK’s most guarded secrets. Membership dwindled in the months after the show.
Meet the Press is the longest running TV show in history. It began broadcasting in November, 1947.
Before the Flintstones , the first couple shown in a bed, was actually from a sitcom called Mary Kay and Johnny (1947).
Every California license plate since 1947 has been made in the infamous Folsom State Prison, where inmates produce 45,000-50,000 plates every day.
The two-term limit for U.S. Presidency only came into effect in 1947, following Franklin D. Roosevelt’s four election wins. Before then, it was only a tradition to serve two terms, following the unofficial precedent set by George Washington.
The British used 6800 ton of surplus WW2 explosives to destroy military infrastructure on the tiny island of Heligoland. Loss of the island was considered acceptable. The explosion resulted in one of the largest single non-nuclear detonations recorded.
The first course in entrepreneurship was offered at the Harvard Business School in 1947 by Myles Mace.
1980s sitcom Mr. Belvedere was based on a 1947 novel that became a 1948 movie called Sitting Pretty. The movie spawned two sequels and earned the actor who played Mr. Belvedere an Academy Award nomination.
When Linda McCartney was four years old her lawyer father asked a client (Jack Lawrence) to write a song named after her. Linda was recorded by Ray Noble and Buddy Clark and hit #1 in May, 1947. The song was recorded again in 1963, reaching #28 on Billboard, by duo Jan and Dean.
Prince Philip was not allowed to invite his three sisters to his wedding to Princess (now Queen) Elizabeth in 1947, because they were all married to German noblemen, and this would have been considered inappropriate in postwar Britain. When Queen Elizabeth II married Prince Philip in 1947, their wedding cake was 9 feet tall, and she had to save up post-war clothing ration coupons to pay for her wedding dress.
Fun Fact: Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip started dating when he was 18 and she was 13.
Suicide: Evelyn McHale’s note read, “He is much better off without me … I wouldn’t make a good wife for anybody,” then she jumped to her death from atop the Empire State Building, landing on a United Nations vehicle. The photo was later used by visual artist Andy Warhol in one of his paintings entitled Suicide.
Chung Ju-yung, the founder of Hyundai, originally wanted to become a school teacher, but his family’s dire financial situation made him unable to get higher education. Instead, he ran away from his family to Seoul, where he started a construction company, Hyundai, in 1947.
The Air Force, the Department of Defense, The Joint Chiefs of Staff, the National Security Council, and the CIA were all founded by The National Security Act of 1947, two weeks after the Roswell Incident.
A UFO may have crash-landed in Roswell, New Mexico. The United States’ Air Force and military have denied this ever happened, but have released several hole-filled stories about whatever actually did happen there*.
*Unrelated? Project Mogul was a US Air Force secret project to detect nuclear test acoustically with microphones mounted on high altitude balloons. When one such balloon crashed in Roswell, NM in 1947, they covered it up by saying it was a weather balloon.
On July 10 1947, Idaho Senator Glen Taylor said: “I almost wish the flying saucers would turn out to be space ships from another planet, because the possibility of hostility would unify the people of the earth as nothing else could.”
A British South American Airways flight was flying normally over the Andes Mountains, about 4 minutes from landing, but then it sent a Morse Code message ‘STENDEC’ three consecutive times, then vanished, the wreckage was found in 1998 on Mount Tupungato. To this day, what ‘STENDEC’ meant is a mystery.
The Transistor was invented by John Bardeen, Walter Brattain and William Shockley. It was later presented to the world in 1948.
The Howdy Doody Show appeared on NBC and ran until 1960. Host Buffalo Bob Smith was from Buffalo, New York. Howdy Doody had/has a freckle for every state in the United States. (that would be 50 today) The Howdy Doody Show was the first television show targeted towards children.
After the murder of Elizabeth Short (better known as the Black Dahlia), reporters from the Los Angeles Examiner called her mother, telling her that her daughter had won a beauty contest, once they pried enough personal information for their story, they informed her that her daughter had been murdered.
Bing Crosby’s recording of White Christmas was so popular that he had to re-record it in 1947 using the same musicians and backup singers in the 1942 original master because it had become damaged due to its frequent use. There was no digital recording in the 1940s.
Chuck Yeager became the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound, piloting a Bell XS-1.
Meredith Baxter Birney and Michael Gross, who played the parents on Family Ties, were born on the same day, June 21, 1947.
The first Cannes Film Festival was held in Cannes, France.
The term “bug” for a software malfunction was traced back to a moth stuck in the system at Harvard. The term had been used for errors in products before that as well.
The Christmas tree in London’s Trafalgar Square had been given by the country of Norway every year since 1947. It is a token of appreciation for the friendship of the British people during World War II.
Mikhail Kalashnikov presented his invention, the Avtomat Kalashnikova Obrazets 1947, better known as the AK-47.
The first person to be blacklisted from the film industry was a man named Dalton Trumbo because of his link to Communism in the 1947.
After World War II, Americans craving a front yard and home of their own began moving out of the crowded cities and into the suburbs. The first and most famous suburb, Levittown, opened in New York this year and was named after Levitt and sons, the construction firm that built the suburb. Scientists theorize suburbanization caused Americans to become dependent on automobiles, an increase in air pollution, dependence on foreign oil, and a rising obesity rate.
The ZIKA virus was discovered in the Zika forest of Uganda in 1947.
7 minutes to midnight, according to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.
1947: As the Bulletin evolves from a newsletter into a magazine, the Clock appears on the cover for the first time. It symbolizes the urgency of the nuclear dangers that the magazine’s founders–and the broader scientific community–are trying to convey to the public and political leaders around the world.
1st appearances & 1947’s Most Popular Christmas gifts, toys and presents:
Steel Pogo Sticks, John Deere Die-Cast Tractor, Lionel Trains Milk Car, Tonka Trucks
The Igloo portable cooler was introduced.
Edward Lowe invented Kitty Litter®
Wham-O introduced its first product – a slingshot. The company name came from the sound of a slingshot hitting a target.
Nobel Prize Winners:
Physics – Edward Victor Appleton
Chemistry – Sir Robert Robinson
Medicine – Carl Ferdinand Cori, Gerty Cori, Bernardo Houssay
Literature – André Gide
Peace – The Friends Service Council (UK) and The American Friends Service Committee (USA), on behalf of the Religious Society of Friends
Popular and Notable Books From 1947:
A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
B.F.’s Daughter by John P. Marquand
The Diary of a Young Girl (aka The Diary of Anne Frank) by Anne Frank
East Side, West Side by Marcia Davenport
Gentleman’s Agreement by Laura Z. Hobson
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
House Divided by Ben Ames Williams
Kingsblood Royal by Sinclair Lewis
Lydia Bailey by Kenneth Roberts
The Miracle of the Bells by Russell Janney
The Moneyman by Thomas B. Costain
Prince of Foxes by Samuel Shellabarger
The Vixens by Frank Yerby
The Wayward Bus by John Steinbeck
Best Film Oscar Winner:
The Best Year’s of Our Lives (presented in 1947)
World Series Champions: New York Yankees
NFL Champions: Chicago Cardinals
NBA Champions: Philadelphia Warriors
Stanley Cup Champs: Toronto Maple Leafs
U.S. Open Golf Lew Worsham
U.S. Tennis: (Men/Ladies) Jack Kramer/Pauline Betz
Wimbledon (Men/Women): Jack Kramer/Margaret Osbourne
NCAA Football Champions: Notre Dame
NCAA Basketball Champions: Holy Cross
Kentucky Derby: Jet Pilot