The 1950s is perhaps the most nostalgic period in the history of the United States. The era continues to symbolize conflicting concepts such as ‘normality’ and a quiet life in the suburbs, on the one hand, and youthful rebellion, on the other. In any case, it is always an interesting period to look back on. Here are 25 fun facts about the fifties:
1. The average cost of gasoline was 18 cents per 4 liters at the beginning of the fifties. By the end of the decade, this had already risen to 25 cents. If we convert that to the present time, it’s the same as a price increase from $1.90 to $2.16 per four litres.
2. On January 3, 1959, Alaska became the 49th state of the United States.
3. On August 21, 1959, Hawaii became the 50th state of the United States.
4. Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the beloved Peanuts gang first saw the light of day in 1950.
5. The fifties were an important era for civil rights in the US. On May 17, 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that schools separating black and white children were unconstitutional. Also, on December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give her seat on the bus to a white passenger.
6. The New York Yankees competed in 8 of the 10 MLB World Series of that decade and won 6.
7. TV meals were introduced in 1953 by Swanson. The first warm-up meal consisted of a Thanksgiving-inspired meal of turkey, corn bread stuffing, sweet potato and peas.
8. The first credit card – the Diners Club card – was issued in the 1950s.
9. Disneyland first opened its doors in Anaheim, California on July 17, 1955. It is the only amusement park designed by Walt Disney himself.
10. In 1954, Roger Bannister became the first registered person to run 1 mile in less than 4 minutes.
11. In 1951, Alan Freed, a radio DJ from Cleveland, Ohio, started calling the newly emerging popular music genre of the time ‘rock ‘n roll’. He got all the credit for the name of the genre, but the term already existed for a long time. Rocking and rolling’ was previously used to describe the movements of a boat and fiery worship in African-American churches. It was also used as a euphemism for sex.
12. Dr. Suess published his famous book, ‘The Cat in the Hat’, in 1957.
13. The average annual salary in the U.S. was $3,210 in 1950. This quickly rose to $5,010 in 1959. At this time, that would be equivalent to a salary increase from $34,000 to $43,300.
14. The Minneapolis Lakers competed in 5 of the 10 NBA Finals of the decade. They won 4 of those. Then the team moved to Los Angeles California for the 1960 season.
15. The U.S. presidents were officially limited to serving a maximum of 2 terms in February 1951.
16. The cool guys in the fifties had a ducktail haircut.
17. On May 29, 1953, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay were the first people to reach the top of the highest mountain, Mount Everest.
18. The auto-culture only really started when President Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid-Highway Act in June 1956. As a result, more than 65,000 kilometres of motorway were built.
19. The “baby boom” peaked in 1957. Just under 4.3 million babies were born in the U.S. at that time.
20. Beagles were the favorite dogs of our time.
21. NASA was founded on July 29, 1958. On October 1, in the same year, the organization became operational. The first 2 astronauts – John H. Glenn, Jr. and Alan Shepard, Jr. – were introduced the following year.
22. The ‘Cleveland Browns’ competed in 7 of the 10 NFL championships of the fifties. However, they only won 3.
23. Heywood-Wakefield produced their first famous Home Office Desk between 1954 and 1956.
24. The average car cost $1,510 in 1950 (now about $16,000). In 1959, it was already $2,200 (about $19,000 now).
25. One of the most famous television series ever, ‘I love Lucy’, ran from 1951 to 1957.