Pop Culture Madness!
Pop Culture Madness!

1955 Trivia, Facts & History

<< - 1954

1955 History Snapshot

  • Dept. of Defense: The Boeing B-52 Stratofortress bomber has been in continuous service April 1955 and with upgrades are 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
  • 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
1955 Books

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


NCAA Basketball Champions

San Francisco

Kentucky Derby


1955's New Faces, Top Stars, Models and Actresses

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 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

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?"

Time Magazine's Man of the Year

Harlow Curtice

Miss America

Lee Meriwether (San Fancisco, CA)

Miss USA

Carlene King Johnson (Vermont)

Scandals, RIP 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 who was 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.

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.

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 this time next week." This encounter took place 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 all 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

1955 Pop Culture News

In 1948, Swiss engineer George de Mestral took his dog on a hike. When he got home, he noticed there were many burrs on the dog. He examined one under the microscope. He noticed that the burrs had small hooks that enabled them to cling to the soft fur. De Mestral patented Velcro in 1955.

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.

Velcro (patent #2,717,437) was invented by George de Mestral. He was inspired by burrs that stuck to his dog's fur.

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.

The Microwave oven was invented.

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 Daniel's 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 famous 1955 movie The Seven Year Itch, Marilyn Monroe's character is never introduced or called by name and is simply credited as 'The Girl'.

Grandma Gatewood, as she became known, was the first woman to hike the entire 2K+ miles of the Appalachian Trail by herself in 1955. She was 67 years old at the time, 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 actually solid gold. It was big, over 5 tons.

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. It is the Wood Pigeon. The fastest bird of prey would be the Peregrine Falcon.

You've been there. Pretty much everybody has visited a McDonalds 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 questioning 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 2 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 giving him his raspy whisper that he became known for.

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 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 hatemail, he released a statement saying "If it was wrong to persecute heterosexuals in a homosexual society then the reverse was wrong, too."

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 Catcha Thief, The Night of the Hunter, The Seven Year Itch, Guys and Dolls, East of Eden and Rebel Without a Cause in theaters

1955's Most Popular Christmas Gifts

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

1955/56's Most Popular TV

(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

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 complied from various 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: Pérez 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 Adrican 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

More Pop Culture Resources

Popular Music in 1955
# 1 Hits of 1955
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