1956 Fun Facts, History and Trivia
Quick Facts from 1956:
- World Changing Event: Elvis Presley appeared on The Ed Sullivan Sullivan Show on September 9. 82.6% of American households watched.
- The Top Song was Don’t Be Cruel/ Hound Dog by Elvis Presley
- Influencial Songs include: Tutti Frutti by Little Richard and Don’t Be Cruel/ Hound Dog by Elvis Presley
- The Happy Earworm: The Happy Whistler by Don Robertson
- The Movies to Watch include The Ten Commandments, Giant, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Love Me Tender, Carousel, Bus Stop, Forbidden Planet, High Society, Seven Wonders of the World and The King and I
- The Most Famous Person in America was probably William Holden
- Soap Operas As the World Turns and Edge of Night premiered on TV
- Notable books include: Peyton Place by Grace Metalious and Eloise by Kay Thompson
- Price of 6 oz Nestles Chocolate Chip Morsels in 1956: 19 cents
Basketball, official size: $2.89
Hockey Stick: 79 cents
Hockey Puck: 25 cents
- The Funny TV Guy was: Ernie Kovacs
The Funny Late Show Host: Steve Allen
The Funny TV Lady: Lucille Ball
- The Bald Guy was: Yul Brynner
- Tween and Teen Dancing: ‘Sock Hops’- 50s school dances, were named after the fact that you had to take off your shoes to protect the varnished cafeteria and gymnasium floors.
- The Conversation: Was Elvis Presley dancing with too much sex appeal on TV?
Top Ten Baby Names of 1956:
Mary, Debra, Linda, Deborah, Susan, Michael, James, Robert, David, John
The Hotties and Fashion Icons:
Carroll Baker, 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
Sex Symbols and Hollywood Hunks:
James Dean, Harry Belafonte, Elvis Presley, Gregory Peck
“The Quotes of 1956:”
“That’ll be the day”
– John Wayne, in ‘The Searchers’
“You’re in good hands with Allstate”
“We will bury you.”
– Nikita Khrushchev
“Live fast, die young, leave a good-looking corpse”
– James Dean
“Takes a licking and keeps on ticking”
“Away go troubles down the drain”
Time Magazine’s Men of the Year:
Hungarian Freedom Fighter
Sharon Ritchie (Denver, CO)
Carol Morris (Iowa)
Charles Van Doren and Herb Stempel, the leading competitors on TV’s quiz show, Twenty-One, admitted to being coached by producers of the show.
At the 1956 Olympics, Barry Larkin, a veterinary science student at Sydney University’s St. Johns College, successfully impersonated an Olympic torchbearer, handing the mayor of Sydney a painted chair leg topped with a pair of burning underwear in front of a crowd of thousands.
Dick Clark took over hosting duties on Bob Horn’s Bandstand after Bob allegedly twiddled with female teenage dancers who appeared on his show. They changed the name to American Bandstand.
Nearly half the cast and crew (91 of ~220 people) of the 1956 film The Conqueror developed cancer after filming the movie downwind of a nuclear weapons testing site and later shipping dirt from the filming location to the studio for re-shoots.
Dodge produced the first car specifically marketed to women. The La Femme had pink exterior, and came with a pink umbrella, and a lipstick holder.
On July 9, 1956, Dick Clark began hosting American Bandstand.
The first backup camera in a car was in the 1956 Buick Centurion concept car.
The first shipping container was invented and patented (Patent #2853968A) in 1956 by Malcolm Mc Lean, which reduced his shipping cost from $5.86 to .16 cents, paving the way for globalisation and mass intercontinental shipping.
As the World Turns was first broadcast on the CBS.
NBC introduced its multicolored peacock logo in 1956 to entice people to buy color TVs manufactured by RCA, which owned the network.
Neutrinos were discovered. #science
Abigail Van Buren’s (aka Pauline Phillips) “Dear Abby” advice column first appeared in newspapers.
Jimmy Woo, Federal Agent in Antman and The Wasp and S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent in comics books, first appeared in 1956’s Yellow Claw #1 from Atlas Comics (later Marvel Comics).
Batwoman (aka Kathy Kane) first appeared in Detective Comics #233 (July 1956).
“In God We Trust” wasn’t the official U.S. motto until 1956.
Tater Tots went on sale.
1st appearances & 1956’s Most Popular Christmas gifts, toys and presents:
Yahtzee, Ticklebee Game , Play-Doh (color, actual white came out in 1958), Ant Farm
Pop Culture History:
Monkee Mike Nesmith’s mother, Bette Nesmith Graham invents “Mistake Out,” later renamed Liquid Paper.
October 8, Game 5 of the World Series, NY Yankee right-hander Don Larson pitched a ‘perfect game.’
The hovercraft was invented by Christopher Cockerell.
Built in 1954, the Capitol Records Building in Los Angeles has a light on top of that spells out the word ‘Hollywood’ in Morse code. It started blinking Hollywood in 1956 and has only stopped to celebrate Capitol Records 50th Anniversary where it blinked “Capitol 50”.
On CBS, The Wizard of Oz became the first major Hollywood film running more than ninety minutes to be televised uncut in one evening.
In 1956, the US passed the Refrigerator Safety Act, which made it mandatory for all fridges to be magnetically sealed.
The world record for “Greatest One-Minute Rainfall” is 31.2 mm (1.23 inches) in Unionville, Maryland on July 4, 1956
25 people were hospitalized after a melee at a Bill Haley concert in Asbury Park, New Jersey.
Killer bees (Africanized bees) were created in Brazil in 1956 by crossbreeding African and Brazilian honeybees in an attempt to increase honey production.
In 1956 the IBM 350 hard disk drive had 3.75 MB of storage, weighed over 2000 lbs.
The phrase “I cried all the way to the bank” reputedly came from Liberace in 1956, after a newspaper crudely accused him of homosexuality and he sued, and won.
A. The phrase was used before he said it.
B. He was a (closeted) homosexual.
Alfred Hitchcock remade his own movie, 1934’s The Man Who Knew Too Much as The Man Who Knew Too Much in 1956.
Thomas W. Attridge Jr, a test pilot, shot the Grumman F-11 Tiger plane he was flying by catching up to the fired 20 mm bullets and caused his own crash landing.
Alcohol-Related Artist Death: Jackson Pollock died in a car accident. His 1948 work, No. 5 sold to David Geffen for $140,000,000.
Albert Woolson (February 11, 1850 – August 2, 1956), the last Civil War veteran and Union Soldier, died in 1956.
There was a fourth network on American broadcast television in the 1940s and 1950s called The DuMont Television Network. The network folded in 1956, and today it has been all but forgotten because most of its archives were destroyed.
Indian illusionist P.C. Sorcar, a magician, was performing the “cut a person in half” trick using his assistant for a performance on BBC’s Panorama. Immediately after she was divided, the show ended. There is some controversy as to whether it was an coincidental or Sorcar planned it for publicity. The assistant was fine.
Nobel Prize Winners:
Physics – William Shockley, John Bardeen, Walter Houser Brattain
Chemistry – Sir Cyril Norman Hinshelwood, Nikolay Semyonov
Physiology or Medicine – André Frédéric Cournand, Werner Forssmann, Dickinson W. Richards
Literature – Juan Ramón Jiménez
Peace – Not Awarded
Reading Profiles in Courage by John F. Kennedy
Best Film Oscar Winner:
Marty (presented in 1956)
Popular and Notable Books From 1956:
A Certain Smile by Francoise Sagan
Andersonville by MacKinlay Kantor
Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis
Boon Island by Kenneth Roberts
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle by C.S. Lewis
Diamonds Are Forever by Ian Fleming
Don’t Go Near the Water by William Brinkley
Eloise by Kay Thompson
The Last Hurrah by Edwin O’Connor
The Mandarins by Simone de Beauvoir
Peyton Place by Grace Metalious
The Tribe That Lost Its Head by Nicholas Monsarrat
Broadway Show – My Fair Lady (Musical) Opened on March 15, 1956 and Closed: September 29, 1962
1956 Most Popular TV shows:
1. I Love Lucy (CBS)
2. The Ed Sullivan Show (CBS)
3. General Electric Theatre (CBS)
4. The $64,000 Question (CBS)
5. December Bride (CBS)
6. Alfred Hitchcock Presents (CBS)
7. I’ve Got A Secret (CBS)
8. Gunsmoke (CBS)
9. The Perry Como Show (NBC)
10. The Jack Benny Show (CBS)
1956 Billboard Number One Songs:
November 26, 1955 – January 13, 1956:
Sixteen Tons – Tennessee Ernie Ford
January 14 – February 17:
Memories Are Made Of This – Dean Martin
February 18 – March 2:
Great Pretender – The Platters
March 3 – March 23:
Rock And Roll Waltz – Kay Starr
March 24 – May 2:
Poor People Of Paris – Les Baxter
May 3 – June 15:
Heartbreak Hotel – Elvis Presley
June 16 – August 3:
Wayward Wind – Gogi Grant
August 4 – August 17:
I Almost Lost My Mind – Pat Boone
August 18 – September 14:
My Prayer – The Platters
September 15 – November 2:
Don’t Be Cruel/Hound Dog – Elvis Presley
November 3 – November 16:
Green Door – Jim Lowe
November 17 – December 7:
Love Me Tender – Elvis Presley
December 8 – December 21:
Singing The Blues – Guy Mitchell
December 22 – December 28:
Love Me Tender – Elvis Presley
December 29, 1956 – February 8, 1957:
Singing The Blues – Guy Mitchell
World Series Champions: New York Yankees
NFL Champions: New York Giants
NBA Champions: Philadelphia Warriors
Stanley Cup Champs: Montreal Canadians
U.S. Open Golf Cary Middlecoff
U.S. Tennis: (Men/Ladies) Ken Rosewall/Shirley J. Fry
Wimbledon (Men/Women): Lew Hoad/Shirley Fry
NCAA Football Champions: Oklahoma
NCAA Basketball Champions: San Francisco
Kentucky Derby: Needles