1955 Annual History Facts

1955 Annual History Facts

  • Dept. of Defense: The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress bomber has been in continuous service since April 1955 and, with upgrades, is expected to remain in service until at least 2040.
  • Influential Songs include April in Paris by Count Basie and Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White by Perez Prado
  • The Big Movies included Lady and the Tramp, To Catch a Thief, and Cinerama Holiday
  • Price of 1 pound of Fish (cod) steaks in 1955: 29 cents
    McDonald’s Cheeseburger: 19 cents
  • The World Population was ~ 2,184,000,000
  • Eugene Polley introduced the TV Remote
  • The TV Remote Control and Microwave Oven were introduced in 1955.
  • And… The guitar (Gibson ES-345 ) Marty McFly played in 1955 in Back to the Future wasn’t created until 1958

World Series Champions

Brooklyn Dodgers

NFL Champions

Cleveland Browns

National Basketball Association Champions

Syracuse Nationals

NHL Stanley Cup Champions

Detroit Red Wings

US Open Golf

Jack Fleck

US Open Tennis (Men Ladies)

Tony Trabert/Doris Hart

Wimbledon (Men/Women)

Tony Trabert/Louis Brough

NCAA Football Champions


NCAA Basketball Champions

San Francisco

Bowl Games

Orange Bowl: January 1, 1955 – Duke over Nebraska
Rose Bowl: January 1, 1955 – Ohio State over USC
Sugar Bowl: January 1, 1955 – Navy over Ole Miss

Kentucky Derby


Westminster Kennel Best in Show Dog

Kippax Fearnought

Time Magazine’s Man of the Year

Harlow Curtice

Miss America

Lee Meriwether (San Francisco, CA)

Miss USA

Carlene King Johnson (Vermont)

Fashion Icons and Movie Stars

Brigitte Bardot, Dorothy Dandridge, Joan Davis, Doris Day, Anita Ekberg, Anne Francis, Ava Gardner, Audrey Hepburn, Jennifer Jones, Grace Kelly, Julie London, Sophia Loren, Jayne Mansfield, Audrey Meadows, Marilyn Monroe, Julie Newmar, Kim Novak, Elizabeth Taylor, Lana Turner, Jane Wyatt

“The Quotes”

“Now it’s time to say goodbye 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

Edward R. Murrow asked Jonas Salk, who owned the patent to the polio vaccine, and his response was, “Well, the people, I would say… there is no patent. Could you patent the sun?”

1955 Pop Culture History

1948 Swiss engineer George de Mestral took his dog on a hike. When he got home, he noticed many burrs on the dog. He examined one under the microscope. He noticed the burrs had small hooks that enabled them to cling to the soft fur. George de Mestral invented Velcro (patent #2,717,437).

TV remote control became public.

In 1955, Pennsylvania set a goal of having a state park within 25 miles of every citizen.

Quaker Oats bought 19 acres of land in the Yukon, divided it into 21 million one-square-inch parcels, and sold the deeds as an advertising promotion. Ten years later, all of it was repossessed by Canada due to $37.20 in unpaid back taxes.

In 1955 and 1956, 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.

Brought to the market in 1953, ‘Eggo ‘ waffles were originally called ‘Froffles,’ but the name was changed in 1955 after feedback about their ‘eggy’ taste.

Cigarettes were sold in vending machines (yes, like soda or snack machines) that only accepted quarters, but a pack of cigarettes cost only 23 cents. Instead of raising the price, cigarette manufacturers included two pennies in the package.

In 1955, Jack Daniel’s was selling about 150,000 cases annually of its black-labeled Tennessee whiskey. That year, Frank Sinatra endorsed the liquor during a performance. Because of that, by the end of 1956, Jack Daniels sold about 300,000 cases.

Clint Eastwood’s first acting role was in a science fiction horror film, Revenge of the Creature. His role was uncredited.

Robert Duvall, Gene Hackman, and Dustin Hoffman were roommates in NYC before landing any film or television acting roles. The group has since accumulated 19 Academy Award nominations and 5 wins for acting, so far.

In the 1955 film The Seven Year Itch, Marilyn Monroe’s character is never introduced or called by name and is credited as ‘The Girl.’

As she became known, Grandma Gatewood was the first woman to hike the entire 2K+ miles of the Appalachian Trail by herself in 1955. She was 67 years old, a mother of 11 and grandmother of 23.

A crew working in a Temple dropped a 600+-year-old plaster statue of Buddha, only to discover, after some of the plaster chipped off, that the statue was solid gold. It was big, over 5 tons.

The Guinness Brewing Company published the first edition of the Guinness Book of Records following a pub (tavern) debate over the fastest species of european gamebird. It is the Wood Pigeon. The fastest bird of prey would be the Peregrine Falcon.

You’ve been there. Just about everybody has visited a McDonald’s since it first opened in 1955.

When Pete Seeger was brought before the US House Un-American Activities Committee for alleged Communist activities, he responded to questions by offering to sing songs for the committee. He was sentenced to a year in jail for contempt of Congress.

Jonas Salk chose not to patent his polio vaccine for the betterment of humanity. As a result, he missed out on earning an estimated $7 billion.

Miles Davis had surgery to remove polyps on his larynx and was told not to talk for two weeks. During that time, he got into an argument with an executive and heard his voice fade to a croak in mid-tirade, damaging his vocal cords and giving him the raspy whisper he became known for.

Two labor unions, the AFL and the CIO, united to become the AFL-CIO.

Marlboro used to market its 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 increased 3,241 percent in 1 year.

Vladimir Nabakov’s Lolita was published. US publishers were initially reluctant to associate themselves with such a controversial work.

The guitar Marty McFly played in 1955 in Back to the Future wasn’t created until 1958.

Women’s Football (Soccer) was banned in West Germany for 15 years (1955-1970) because the “combative sport is fundamentally foreign to the nature of women”, the “body and soul would inevitably suffer damage”, and the “display of the body violates etiquette and decency.”

In 1955, Hugh Hefner released a short story about straight men being persecuted in a gay world. After receiving numerous hate mail, he released a statement saying, “If it was wrong to persecute heterosexuals in a homosexual society, then the reverse was wrong, too.”

RIP, Scandals, Sad and Odd News

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.

Emmett Till, a 14-year-old, was beaten and lynched in Mississippi in 1955 after ‘flirting’ with a white woman he was friendly with. His killers were acquitted of the crime and later admitted to the murder. Till’s mother had an open-casket funeral to display the injustice, helping spur the civil rights movement.

The producers of The 64,000 Question disliked Dr. Joyce Brothers, and her opponent was coached. They purposely asked her a boxing question, figuring a girl wouldn’t get the answer. She did.

As a young journalist, Dan Rather did heroin and documented his experience.

Mail found among the wreckage of a civilian airliner (El Al Flight 402) shot down in 1955 was forwarded to the intended recipient with a stamp noting that “This piece of mail survived in El-Al airplane that was shot down over Bulgaria on 27.7.1955.”

When James Dean first met (Sir) Alec Guinness, he asked him to take a look at his brand-new Porsche Spyder. Guinness told Dean: “If you get in that car, you will be found dead in it by next week.” This encounter occurred on September 23, 1955, seven days before Dean’s death.

A thunderstorm in Belgium set off 40,000 pounds of buried explosives left over from the WW1 battle of Messines. Luckily, the only casualty was one cow.

Switzerland banned nearly all forms of motor racing after the tragic 1955 Le Mans Disaster, where fragments of a crashed car flew in the stands, killing 83 spectators and injuring 120, the most deadly accident in motorsport history. The driver who caused the accident, Mike Hawthorn (with the Jaguar team), went on to win the race.

When Albert Einstein died in 1955, the physician who conducted his autopsy at Princeton stole his brain and took it home to perform “research,” for which he was ultimately fired after refusing to return the brain. Decades later, he drove to California to return the brain to Einstein’s granddaughter.

John Wayne, Susan Hayward, Lee Van Cleef, Agnes Moorehead, and Dick Powell eventually died of cancer, probably from filming The Conquerer together near a Nevada nuclear testing site.

Celebrity Car Death: James Dean

John Wayne and 90 other people involved in making the 1955 film The Conqueror on location in Utah are believed to have contracted cancer from A-bomb tests that were occurring in nearby Nevada

Firsts and the Biggest Christmas Gifts

Tonka Trucks, Play-Doh (off-white), Bild Lilli dolls (predecessor to Barbie), Pluto Platter Flying Saucer (a frisbee-type item)

The Microwave oven was invented.

Car and Driver began publication

The Habits

Reading Marjorie Morningstar by Herman Wouk
Reading Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Reading The Ginger Man by J.P. Donleavy
Playing the Card Game Canasta.
Watching Lady and the Tramp, To Catch a Thief, The Night of the Hunter, The Seven Year Itch, Guys and Dolls, East of Eden, and Rebel Without a Cause in theaters

1955/56 Biggest Television Shows

(according to Nielsen TV Research)
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)

Popular Music Artists

The Biggest Pop Artists of 1955 include
Bill Haley & His Comets, Bill Hayes, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, The Crew-Cuts, Don Cornell, The Drifters, Eddie Fisher, Fontane Sisters, Four Aces, Frank Sinatra, Georgia Gibbs, Jaye P. Morgan, Joe Turner, Johnny Desmond, LaVern Baker, Les Baxter, McGuire Sisters, Mitch Miller, The Moonglows, Nat ‘King’ Cole, Pat Boone, Perez Prado, Perry Como, Ray Charles, Sarah Vaughan, ‘Tennessee’ Ernie Ford, Teresa Brewer

(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 1955

December 4, 1954 – January 21, 1955: The Chordettes – Mr. Sandman

January 22, 1955 – February 4, 1955: Joan Weber – Let Me Go, Lover!

February 5, 1955 – February 11, 1955: The Fontane Sisters – Hearts Of Stone

February 12, 1955 – March 25, 1955: The McGuire Sisters – Sincerely

March 26, 1955 – April 29, 1955: Bill Hayes – The Ballad Of Davy Crockett

April 30, 1955 – July 8, 1955: PĂ©rez Prado – Cherry Pink And Apple Blossom White

July 9, 1955 – September 2, 1955: Bill Haley & His Comets – (We’re Gonna) Rock Around The Clock

September 3, 1955 – October 14, 1955: Mitch Miller – The Yellow Rose of Texas

October 15, 1955 – October 28, 1955: The Four Aces – Love Is A Many Splendored Thing

October 29, 1955 – November 25, 1955: Roger Williams – Autumn Leaves

November 26, 1955 – January 13, 1956: Tennessee Ernie – Sixteen Tons

Popular Movies

Abbot and Costello Meet the Mummy, All That Heaven Allows, The African Lion, Artists and Models, Bad Dat at Black Rock, Blackboard Jungle, The Court Jester, The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell, Diabolique, East of Eden, Guys and Dolls, Kiss Me Deadly, Lady and the Tramp, The Ladykillers, Lola Montes, The Man From Laramie, The Man With the Golden Arm, Marty, Mister Roberts, The Night of the Hunter, Oklahoma!, The Phenix City Story, Picnic, Rebel Without A Cause, Richard III, The Rose Tattoo, The Seven Year Itch, Summertime, To Catch a Thief, Trial
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