1955 Fun Facts, History and Trivia

1955 Fun Facts, History and 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
  • Influencial Song: Autumn Leaves by… #1 Roger Williamns, #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
  • Price of a German Shepard puppy, AKC registered in 1955: $50.00
  • 1 once of gold value: $35.15
  • The Funny Comedy Duo were: 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

The Hotties and Fashion Icons:
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

“The Quote:”
“Now it’s time to say good-bye 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.

Dr. Joyce Brothers was disliked by the producers of The 64,000 Question, 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 motor sports history. The ban is still in place to this day.

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

Pop Culture History:
TV remote ‘clicker’ control became public.

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

The Microwave Oven was invented.

The first Moonwalk ever recorded that we could find 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 first edition of the Guinness Book of Records was published by the Guinness Brewing Company following a debate in a pub (tavern) over the fastest species of european gamebird.
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, 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 1955 film Underwater that starred another buxom actress, Jane Russell. Mansfield dived into a pool in view of 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. Pretty much everybody has visited a McDonalds 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 not classified as a commodity anymore due to a cornering of the onion market in 1955 (Onion Futures Act).

The development of the B-52 by Boeing began in 1946, they have been in active service with USAF since 1955, and the last operational ones are not due to 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 unted to become the AFL-CIO.

Marlboro used to market their 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 Nabakov’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 Notable 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 22 – February 4:
Let Me Go, Lover – Joan Weber

February 5 – February 11:
Hearts of Stone – Fontane Sisters

February 12 – March 25:
Sincerely – McGuire Sisters

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

April 30 – July 8:
Unchained Melody – Les Baxter

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

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

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

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

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

October 29 – November 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

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