We all have favorite decades in our lives, that period in time when things were simpler, fun and would become memorable as we grew older. For me personally it was the decade of the 50’s. I graduated high school, joined the Air Force and began a more than 20 year career in radio, all in the 50’s. So here are some fun facts you might remember if you were around then. Even if you weren’t we think you’ll find these interesting. Yes, before you wonder, I will do a segment on the 1960’s and 1970’s in the future.
1953 – That was the year that the frozen TV dinner made its debut and became a very popular item in the home. The very first TV dinner consisted of turkey, gravy, sweet potato, peas, and cornbread stuffing. Yummy!
1951- Power steering finally makes its way to American automobiles. The very first model to put it to use was the gas guzzling Chrysler Imperial sedan.
1950 – As the decade began the very first credit card was issued and became an instant hit. It was issued by the Diners Club, which still operates today.
1955 – Disneyland opened in Anaheim, CA on July 17, 1955. It’s the only theme park actually designed and built under the direction of Walt Disney himself. It would change the entire amusement park experience.
1952 – American Bandstand, originally called Bandstand, premiered on a Philadelphia TV Station on October 7, 1952 with DJ Bob Horn serving as host. Dick Clark took over in 1957.
1950 – 1959 – When the decade began a gallon of gas was 18.9 cents. By 1958 the price had jumped all the way up to 25.9 cents. How did we get through such an increase?
1950 – 1959 -The average annual salary in the US was $3,210 in 1950 and $5,010 by 1959. That equates to approximately $34,000 and $43,300 today. Think about that for a minute.
1954- 1955 – The Lord of the Rings, the most influential fantasy literature work from J.R.R. Tolkien. The trilogy was written between 1937 and 1949 and published in three stages from 1954 to 1955.
1950 – Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the rest of the beloved Peanuts gang were introduced to the world by creator Charles Schultz in 1950. Yes, they have been around that long!
1956 – In music a new form called rock and roll takes hold and it becomes the year of “The King”, Elvis Presley much to the dismay of parents everywhere.
1958 – The Packard automobile ceases production after 60 years. At the same time it is the first year that the Toyota is available in the U.S.
1953 – A new restaurant with car hops on roller skates bringing your order right to your car begins. Sonic Drive-In starts in Shawnee, Oklahoma.
1957 – Prices were going up. While you could still get a Coke for 5 cents, 45 RPM records were now selling for 79 cents and the Burger King Whopper went from 34 cents to 39 cents.
1950 – 1959 – The average cost of a new car was $1,510 in 1950 (about $16,000 today) and $2,200 in 1959 (around $19,000 currently). Just think what some of those classics are worth today. As an example I bought a 1949 Olds 88 convertible with only 8,000 miles on it in 1952 for $450. That is the car in the photo.
There you have some fun facts about the decade of the 1950’s. There is more you can find at: http://www.heywoodwakefield.com/25-fun-facts-about-the-1950s/ So check them out. Look for Fun Facts about the decade of the 1960’s and the 1970’s coming up in the near future.
Art Koch, National Features & DVD Editor, NightMoves Magazine and AAN