1959 Fun Facts, Trivia and History
Quick Facts from 1959:
- World Changing Event: Antarctic Treaty: 12 countries, including the United States and the Soviet Union, signed a treaty that set aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve and bans military activity on the continent
- The Top Song was Mack The Knife by Bobby Darin
- Influential Songs include: Sea of Love by Phil Phillips, Teen Beat by Sandy Nelson, Peter Gunn by Ray Anthony and La Bamba by Ritchie Valens
- The Movies to Watch include On The Beach, Porgy and Bess, Rio Bravo, North by Northwest, The Beat Generation, Compulsion, Gidget, Li’l Abner, Plan 9 From Outer Space and Ben-Hur
- The Most Famous Person in America was probably Elvis Presley
- Notable books include: Hawaii by James A. Michener and Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence
- The first house with built-in bomb shelter was shown, in Pleasant Hills, Pennsylvania.
- Price of Kellogg’s Variety Cereal 10 pack in 1959: 49 cents
- The Fad: Phonebooth Stuffing
- The Disneyland Monorail System opened to the public in Anaheim, California.
- Motown was founded by Berry Gordy Jr. as Tamla Records
- Rodgers & Barer’s musical Once Upon a Mattress premiered in NYC
- The Funny Duo were: Mike Nichols and Elaine May
The Funny Satirist: Tom Lehrer
- The Day The Music Died: On February 3, 1959, rock and roll musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. (The Big Bopper) Richardson were killed in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa, along with the pilot, Roger Peterson.
Top Ten Baby Names of 1959:
Mary, Susan, Linda, Karen, Donna, Michael, David, James, John, Robert
The Hotties and Fashion Icons:
Carroll Baker, Brigitte Bardot, Claudia Cardinale, Doris Day, Angie Dickinson, Anita Ekberg, Annette Funicello, Ava Gardner, Audrey Hepburn, Anna Karina, Gina Lollobrigida, Sophia Loren, Marilyn Monroe, Julie Newmar, Kim Novak, Leslie Parrish, Stella Stevens, Elizabeth Taylor, Mamie Van Doren
Sex Symbols and Hollywood Hunks:
Warren Beatty, Harry Belafonte, Elvis Presley
“There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call ‘The Twilight Zone.’”
– Rod Serling, narrating The Twilight Zone
“Well, nobody’s perfect.”
– Joe E. Brown, in ‘Some Like It Hot’
Time Magazine’s Man of the Year Dwight D. Eisenhower
Miss America: Mary Ann Mobley (Brandon, MS)
Miss USA: Terry Huntingdon (California)
The Scandals & Tragedies:
Airplane Celebrity Death: (February 3rd) Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, Big Bopper. This was the day the Music Died.
Mysterious TV Star Violent Death: George Reeves (gunshot wound – murder or suicide?)
Many people thought that Rock Hudson & Doris Day were an item off camera… Not true! You know what they used to say about all the good ones?
Well, he wasn’t ‘taken…’
In testimony before congress, gameshow contestant Charles Van Doren admitted he had been coached before appearing on NBC’s ’21’ game show in 1956.
1928’s scandalous Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence was officially published in the United States.
D.H. had been dead since 1930.
Pop Culture History:
The BIC Crystal ballpoint pen was first sold in the US in 1959 for $0.19. It is still sold for approximately $0.19 even with inflation.
Integrated Circuit (microchip) forerunner of the microprocessor, was invented by Jack Kilby and future Intel founder Robert Noyce.
25 South African students climbed into a telephone booth, setting a world’s record for the ‘event’ that they had just created. For visitors born before 1990, a ‘phone booth’ contained a large ‘cellphone’ that was connected via wires to other telephones. Originally costing a nickle (5 cents) for a three-minute call.
‘Ben Hur’ won 11 Oscars.
The Rat Pack first appeared, including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, and Joey Bishop.
Russia’s ‘Luna-2’ landed on the moon, the first successful landing by an unmanned craft.
The Conair hair dryer changed the way hair was styled in the American household.
January 3rd – Alaska became state # 49.
August 21 Hawaii became the 50th state.
Everybody watched the biblical epic ‘Ben Hur’ at their local theaters.
1st appearances & 1959’s Most Popular Christmas gifts, toys and presents:
Best Film Oscar Winner:
Gigi (presented in 1959)
Broadway Show – The Sound of Music (Musical) Opened on November 16, 1959 and Closed: June 15, 1963
Popular and Notable Books From 1959:
A Seperate Peace by John Knowles
Advise and Consent by Allen Drury
Dear and Glorious Physician by Taylor Caldwell
Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
Exodus by Leon Uris
Happy Birthday to You! by Dr. Seuss
Hawaii by James A. Michener
Goldfinger by Ian Fleming
Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Mrs. ‘Arris Goes to Paris by Paul Gallico
Poor No More by Robert Ruark
The Ugly American by Eugene L. Burdick
1959 Most Popular TV shows:
1. Gunsmoke (CBS)
2. Wagon Train (NBC)
3. Have Gun Will Travel (CBS)
4. The Danny Thomas Show (CBS)
5. The Red Skelton show (CBS)
6. Father Knows Best (CBS)
7. 77 Sunset Strip (ABC)
8. Wanted: Dead or Alive (CBS)
9. Perry Mason (CBS)
10. The Real McCoys (ABC)
1959 Billboard Number One Songs
December 27, 1958 – January 18, 1959:
Chipmunk Song – David Seville & The Chipmunks
January 19 – February 8:
Smoke Gets In Your Eyes – The Platters
February 9 – March 8:
Stagger Lee – Lloyd Price
March 9 – April 12:
Venus – Frankie Avalon
April 13 – May 10:
Come Softly To Me – The Fleetwoods
May 11 – May 17:
The Happy Organ Dave Baby – Cortez
May 18 – May 31:
Kansas City – Wilbert Harrison
June 1 – June 12:
The Battle Of New Orleans – Johnny Horton
July 13 – August 9:
Lonely Boy – Paul Anka
August 10 – August 23:
A Big Hunk O’ Love – Elvis Presley
August 24 – September 20:
The Three Bells – The Browns
September 21 – October 4:
Sleep Walk – Santo & Johnny
October 5 – November 15:
Mack The Knife – Bobby Darin
November 16 – December 13:
Mr. Blue – The Fleetwoods
December 14 – December 27:
Heartaches – The Number Guy Mitchell
December 28, 1958 – January 3, 1960:
Why – Frankie Avalon
World Series Champions: Los Angeles Dodgers
NFL Champions: Baltimore Colts
NBA Champions: Boston Celtics
Stanley Cup Champs: Montreal Canadians
U.S. Open Golf Billy Casper
U.S. Tennis: (Men/Ladies) Neale Fraser/Maria Bueno
Wimbledon (Men/Women): Alex Olmedo/Maria Bueno
NCAA Football Champions: Syracuse
NCAA Basketball Champions: California
Kentucky Derby: Tommy Lee