1951 Annual History Facts

1951 Annual History Facts

  • Politics: The Twenty-second Amendment of the US Constitution limits an elected president to two terms in office for eight years.
  • Influential Songs include: Cry by Johnnie Ray, Too Young by Nat King Cole, and Because of You by Tony Bennett
  • The Big Movies included Quo Vadis, The African Queen, Strangers on a Train, and An American in Paris
  • Price of 1 pound of ground beef in 1951: 65 cents
  • The World Population was ~ 2,653,000,000
  • Super Glue was invented in 1951.
  • And… Alfred “Teen” Blackburn (April 26, 1842 – March 8, 1951) was the last Confederate Civil War veteran and a former slave and died in 1951

World Series Champions

New York Yankees

NFL Champions

Los Angeles Rams

National Basketball Association Champions

Rochester Royals

NHL Stanley Cup Champions

Toronto Maple Leafs

US Open Golf

Ben Hogan

US Open Tennis (Men Ladies)

Frank Sedgman/Maureen Connolly

Wimbledon (Men/Women)

Dick Savitt/Doris Hart

NCAA Football Champions


NCAA Basketball Champions


Bowl Games

Orange Bowl: January 1, 1951 – Clemson over Miami (Florida)
Rose Bowl: January 1, 1951 – Michigan over California
Sugar Bowl: January 1, 1951 – Kentucky over Oklahoma

Kentucky Derby

Count Turf

Westminster Kennel Best in Show Dog

Bang Away of Sirrah Crest

Time Magazine’s Man of the Year

Mohammed Mossadegh

Miss America

Yolande Betbeze (Mobile, AL)

Fashion Icons and Movie Stars

Dorothy Dandridge, Doris Day, Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth, Jennifer Jones, Dorian Leigh, Audrey Meadows, Elizabeth Taylor, Lana Turner

“The Quotes”

“Gort! Klaatu barada nikto!”
– Patricia Neal in The Day the Earth Stood Still

“I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”
– Vivien Leigh, in A Streetcar Named Desire

“Stella! Hey, Stella!”
– Marlon Brando, in A Streetcar Named Desire

1951 Pop Culture History

Joe DiMaggio had a 56-game hitting streak and did not strike out during the 1951 season.

MGM owed the dog who played Lassie $40,000 in back pay. Not planning any more Lassie movies, MGM gave the rights to the Lassie trademark to the dog’s trainer, who spun it off into a TV show that ran for 19 seasons.

Clarence Karcher and Eugene McDermott renamed their ‘Geophysical Service Inc” to Texas Instruments.

Every receipt at every store in Taiwan is a ticket for a government lottery with top prizes worth over 300,000 USD. It was introduced in 1951 to combat sales tax dodging by businesses.

A couple named Ray and Edith Batman sued the Commissioner of Internal Revenue in the U.S., leading to the case name being ‘Batman v. Commissioner’.

Hank Williams Sr. intentionally left his money clip behind at a restaurant. A lady returned it to him, and he thanked her, took the money out, pocketed the clip, and gave her all the money.

Wicca didn’t become a religion until England repealed anti-witchcraft laws in 1951.

Eddie Gaedel, a 3-foot 7-inch little person, played for the MLB in 1951. He drew a four-pitch walk on his only plate appearance and had his contract voided by the American League president the next day.

1951 introduced the world to Tupperware parties, although the products were first available in 1946. 1947 saw the development of the soft-burping Tupperware seal.

Eric Morley organized a bikini contest as part of the Festival of Britain, and it was intended as a promotion for the recently introduced bikini, which was widely regarded as immodest. It then went on to become an annual event called the Miss World.

Pope Pius XII declared, at the November 22, 1951, opening meeting of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, that the Big Bang theory does not conflict with the Catholic concept of creation.

The Average Potato Has Lost 100% of its Vitamin A Since 1951.

The skull from the Silence of the Lambs movie poster was an homage to the 1951 photo In Voluptas Mors, showing Salvador Dali alongside seven nude women arranged in a skull pattern.

Marlon Brando’s performance in A Streetcar Named Desire helped reverse declining sales of white t-shirts because people accepted that it was not just underwear, but outerwear as well.

UPI photographer Arthur Sasse asked Albert Einstein to smile, but instead, he stuck his tongue out, giving us the famous photo.

The initial standard for Compact Discs to hold 74 minutes of audio, was made so that one disc could hold Wilhelm Furtwangler’s recording of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 from the 1951 Bayreuth Festival.

Joe Gold opened the first ‘Gold’s Gym’ in New Orleans. Things didn’t work out, but he started again in Venice, California, in 1965. The second time was the charm.

Before becoming a Supreme Court Justice, Earl Warren hosted the Emmy Awards in 1951 while he was the Governor of California.

It was this year, 1951, that Lillian Vernon started mailing her catalogs.

The movie Distant Drums (1951) contains the first known instance of “The Wilhelm Scream” (a sound effect of a man screaming, since used in over 149 other movies, including The Hobbit and Star Wars films)

After Douglas MacArthur was relieved of command in the Korean War in 1951, Emperor Hirohito visited him to offer his condolences. It was the first time a Japanese Emperor had ever visited a foreigner who was not a diplomat or royalty

Henrietta Lacks donated her tumor cells to science without knowing it. Her cells (called HeLa) would be the first “immortal cells” that could be kept alive for medical use. They’ve been used for everything from creating the polio vaccine to cloning. Over 20 tons of her cells have been grown to date.

J.D. Salinger’s cultural phenomenon, The Catcher in the Rye, was published.

The managing director of Guinness Breweries became involved in an argument over which was the fastest game bird in Europe (the golden plover or the grouse). He was unable to confirm the answer using reference books of the time. Shortly after, the Guinness World Records were born. FYI – it’s the Golden Plover.

RIP, Scandals, Sad and Odd News

John Frank Dalton, who died at age 103 in 1951, publicly claimed to be the famous outlaw Jesse James. He wasn’t.

Lenny Bruce was arrested for impersonating a priest – not in connection with his comedy, but because he stole priests’ clothing by posing as a laundry man and then collected “donations for a leper colony”.

Shigeki Tanaka, a survivor of the atomic bombing in Hiroshima, finished first in the 1951 Boston Marathon.

The US Navy burst balloons filled with Serratia marcescens bacteria pathogen over San Francisco. Many US citizens were hospitalized.

In 1950 and 1951, for $50, you could buy the Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Lab. The toy lab set came complete with four types of uranium ore.

On July 1, 1951, Mary Reeser, of St Petersburg, Florida, was burned to ashes, a possible victim of the phenomena of SHC (spontaneous human combustion).

The school board of Logan, Utah, forced 7th graders to get tattoos of their blood type in case they were injured during a nuclear war.

The “world’s first porn star” was 16-year-old Candy Barr – she starred in a silent porn film called Smart Alec in 1951

A case of mass hallucinations and insanity in a small French village in 1951 may have been caused by a secret CIA LSD experiment called Project Span.

Between 1951 and 1992, there were 928 announced nuclear tests at the Nevada Test Site. Of those, 828 were underground.

Firsts and the Biggest Christmas Gifts

Muffin the Mule pull-toy, View-Master with Disney reels, Scrabble

Jet began publication

The Family Handyman began publication

The Habits

Reading The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Reading From Here to Eternity by James Jones
Reading A Dance to the Music of Time by Anthony Powell
Playing the Card Game Canasta.
Watching The African Queen, An American In Paris, The Day the Earth Stood Still, The Thing From Another World, A Streetcar Named Desire and Alice in Wonderland in theaters

1951/2 Biggest Television Shows

(according to Nielsen TV Research)
1. Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts (CBS)
2. Texaco Star Theatre (NBC)
3. I Love Lucy (CBS)
4. The Red Skelton Show (NBC)
5. The Colgate Comedy Hour (NBC)
6. Arthur Godfrey and his Friends (CBS)
7. Fireside Theatre (NBC)
8. Your Show of Shows (NBC)
9. The Jack Benny Show (CBS)
10. You Bet Your Life (NBC)

Popular Music Artists

The Biggest Pop Artists of 1951 include
Charles Brown, The Clovers, The Dominoes, Eddie Howard, Four Aces, Frank Sinatra, Frankie Laine, Guy Mitchell, Hank Williams, Jo Stafford, Joe Turner, Johnny Ray, Les Paula & Mary Ford, Mario Lanza, Nat ‘King’ Cole, Perry Como, Rosemary Clooney, Tommy Edwards, Tony Bennett, Vaughn Monroe, Vic Damone, Dinah Washington, The Weavers

(Data is compiled from charts, including Billboard’s Pop, Rock, Airplay, R&B/Dance, and Singles Charts. The Hot 100 is the primary chart used for this list.)

Number One Hits of 1951

December 30, 1950 – March 2, 1951: Patti Page – The Tennessee Waltz

March 3, 1951 – March 9, 1951: Perry Como – If

March 10, 1951 – April 20, 1951: Mario Lanza – Be My Love

April 21, 1951 – June 22, 1951: Les Paul and Mary Ford – How High The Moon

June 23, 1951 – July 27, 1951: Nat King Cole – Too Young

July 28, 1951 – September 7, 1951: Rosemary Clooney – Come On-a My House

September 8, 1951 – November 2, 1951: Tony Bennett – Because Of You

November 3, 1951 – December 14, 1951: Tony Bennett – Cold, Cold Heart

December 15, 1951 – December 28, 1951: Eddy Howard – Sin

December 29, 1951 – March 14, 1952: Johnnie Ray and The Four Lads – Cry

Popular Movies

A Place in the Sun, A Streetcar Named Desire, Abbot and Costello Meet the Invisible Man, Ace in the Hole, The African Queen, Alice in Wonderland, An American in Paris, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Decision Before Dawn, It Came From Outer Space, The Lavender Hill Mob. The Man in the White Suit, Pandora and teh Flying Dutcman, Quo Vadis, Scrooge, Strangers on a Train, The Thing (From Another World), When Worlds Collide
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