1953 Fun Facts, Trivia and History
Quick Facts from 1953:
- World Changing Event: Structure of DNA was discovered at the Cavendish Laboratory within the University of Cambridge.
- The First Big Bubblegum Pop Song? (How Much is That) Doggie in the Window by Patti Page
- The Movies to Watch include From Here to Eternity, Houdini, The Robe, Stalag 17, The Caddy, House of Wax, The Wild One, It Came from Outer Space and War of the Worlds
- The Most Famous Person in America was probably Gary Cooper
- Notable books include: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, From Here to Eternity by James Jones and Casino Royale by Ian Fleming
- Price of Packard Clipper automobile in 1953: $2,679.00
- Arthur Miller’s play The Crucible premiered.
- The Funny Comedy Team 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 TV Lady: Lucille Ball
- Atomic Espionage: Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were both found guilty of secret information about the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union and executed in 1953, becoming the first civilians to be executed for espionage in the United States.
- MKUltra: The super-secret CIA program repudedly began in 1953 and ended in 1967.
- Ray Bradbury wrote the first draft of Fahrenheit 451 on a coin-operated typewriter in the basement of the UCLA library. It charged 10¢ for 30 minutes, and he spent $9.80 in total at the machine.
Top Ten Baby Names of 1953:
Mary, Linda, Deborah, Patricia, Susan, Robert, James, Michael, John, David
The Hotties and Fashion Icons:
Marilyn Monroe, Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth, Audrey Hepburn, Doris Day, Lana Turner
Sex Symbols and Hollywood Hunks:
Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift
“The physician can bury his mistakes, but the architect can only advise his client to plant vines – so they should go as far as possible from home to build their first buildings”
– Frank Lloyd Wright
“You’ll wonder where the yellow went when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent”
“Shane. Shane. Come back!”
– Brandon De Wilde, in ‘Shane’
“Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t”
– Peter Paul Mounds/Almond Joy
Time Magazine’s Man of the Year:
Neva Langley (Macon, GA)
Myrna Hansen (Illnois)
Piltdown Man, an archaeological find from 1912, was exposed as a forgery, consisting of the lower jawbone of an orangutan combined with the skull of a fully developed, modern man. The theory of Evolution took several steps back with this scandal.
Country Pop Star Death:
Hank Williams (drugs and alcohol poisoning)
Pop Culture History:
The word ‘Frenemy” was first used in 1953 article titled Howz about calling the Russians our Frienemies? by gossip columnist Walter Winchel in the Nevada State Journal.
The Coppertone Girl was introduced to the American public. It is probably the most popular ‘butt crack’ of all time.
First musical synthesizer was invented by RCA.
Officially, Ohio is listed as the 17th state in the US, but it is technically number 47. Congress forgot to vote the formal resolution to admit Ohio to the Union, but finally did on August 7, 1953.
Kenneth H. Rowe (born No Kum-sok), a North Korean fighter pilot defected to South Korea with his MiG-15 and was rewarded $100,000 from the United States.
Swanson had 260 tons of leftover turkey from Thanksgiving and didn’t know how to get rid of it. They asked their workers for ideas, and one man thought they should package it in individual trays with sides and freeze it. Thus, the TV Dinner was born.
Colgate-Palmolive-Peet became Colgate-Palmolive. We are not sure why, but we think that the Peet brothers suffered the same fate as Alvah Curtis Roebuck, of Sears and Roebuck fame.
Playwright and Nobel laureate Eugene O’Neill was born on October 16, 1888 in a hotel at Times Square, he also died on November 27, 1953 in another hotel in Boston. His last words were “I knew it. I knew it. Born in a hotel room and died in a hotel room.”
The Cincinnati Reds baseball team was renamed the “Redlegs” this year through 1958 to avoid being associated with The Red Scare and communism.
Radios manufactured in the US between 1953 and 1963 had a white triangle on the dial at 640 AM to indicate where Civil Defense information would be broadcast.
Rolling Stone Keith Richards was a choirboy at the Queen’s 1953 Coronation.
Coca Cola attempted to persuade the US Treasury to mint a 7.5 cent coin; a can of Coke had been a nickel since 1886 and needed to be raised due to inflation, but they felt a dime was too much.
Ore-Ida offered ‘Tater Tots’ in grocery stores. There were simply pressed leftovers from their french fry line.
A Pennsylvania town named Mauch Chunk managed to get the remains of an early 20th century athlete and bought the rights to his name. They renamed the town ‘Jim Thorpe’ and it something of a tourist attraction in PA.
The first issue of Playboy, published in December, 1953, and featured Marilyn Monroe from her 1949 nude calendar shoot and sold over 50,000 copies.
Isaac Asimov wrote a short story, Sally, that set the first self-driving cars to be released around 2015.
In 1951, Ray Bradbury wrote a short story about a giant, firebreathing lizard which was made into the 1953 film The_Beast_from_20,000_Fathoms. This film then inspired Ishirō Honda, a Japanese producer, to make Godzilla in 1954.
Biologist James D. Watson and Francis Crick published “Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids: A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid.” With little more than a drawing and some accompanying text, Watson and Crick discovered the structure of DNA.
Arthur Holly Compton (the Nobel Prize winning chancellor of Washington University) was irritated by how fast people were driving through the campus. To combat this, he designed the modern speed bump.
2 minutes to midnight, according to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.
1953: After much debate, the United States decides to pursue the hydrogen bomb, a weapon far more powerful than any atomic bomb. In October 1952, the United States tests its first thermonuclear device, obliterating a Pacific Ocean islet in the process; nine months later, the Soviets test an H-bomb of their own. “The hands of the Clock of Doom have moved again,” the Bulletin announces. “Only a few more swings of the pendulum, and, from Moscow to Chicago, atomic explosions will strike midnight for Western civilization.”
1st appearances & 1953’s Most Popular Christmas gifts, toys and presents:
Scrabble, Mrs Potato Head, Wiffle Ball invented, Matchbox (U.K.)
Nobel Prize Winners:
Physics – Frits (Frederik) Zernike
Chemistry – Hermann Staudinger
Medicine – Hans Adolf Krebs, Fritz Albert Lipmann
Literature – Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill
Peace – George Catlett Marshall
Best Film Oscar Winner:
The Greatest Show On Earth
Broadway Show – The Teahouse of the August Moon (Play) Opened on October 15, 1953 and Closed: March 24, 1956
Popular and Notable Books From 1953:
Battle Cry by Leon M. Uris
Beyond This Place by A. J. Cronin
Casino Royale by Ian Fleming
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis
The Crucible by Arthur Miller.
Desirée by Annemarie Selinko
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury,
From Here to Eternity by James Jones
The High and the Mighty by Ernest K. Gann
Lord Vanity by Samuel Shellabarger
The Robe by Lloyd C. Douglas
The Silver Chalice by Thomas B. Costain
Time and Time Again by James Hilton
The Unconquered by Ben Ames Williams
1953 Most Popular TV shows:
1. I Love Lucy (CBS)
2. Dragnet (NBC)
3. Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts (CBS)
4. You Bet Your Life (NBC)
5. The Milton Berle Show (NBC)
6. Arthur Godfrey and his Friends (CBS)
7. Ford Theatre (NBC)
8. The Jackie Gleason Show ((CBS)
9. Fireside Theatre (NBC)
10. The Colgate Comedy hour (NBC)
1953 Billboard Number One Songs
December 27, 1952 – January 9, 1953:
I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus – Jimmy Boyd
January 10 – February 13:
Don’t Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes – Perry Como
February 14 – March 20:
Till I Waltz Again With You – Teresa Brewer
March 21 – May 15:
The Doggie In The Window – Patti Page
May 16 – July 24:
Song From Moulin Rouge – Percy Faith & his Orchestra
July 25 – August 7:
I’m Walking Behind You – Eddie Fisher
August 8 – October 9:
Vaya Con Dios – Les Paul & Mary Ford
October 10 – November 6:
St. George And The Dragonet – Stan Freberg
November 7 – November 20:
Vaya Con Dios – Les Paul & Mary Ford
November 21, 1953 – January 1, 1954:
Rags To Riches – Tony Bennett
World Series Champions: New York Yankees
NFL Champions: Detroit Lions
NBA Champions: Minneapolis Lakers
Stanley Cup Champs: Montreal Canadiens
U.S. Open Golf Dick Mayer
U.S. Tennis: (Men/Ladies) Tony Trabert/Maureen Connolly
Wimbledon (Men/Women): Vic Seixas/Maureen Connolly
NCAA Football Champions: Maryland
NCAA Basketball Champions: Indiana
Kentucky Derby: Dark Star