When Elvis was king, a look back at 1956

In 1956,

Bach: The Goldberg Variations was released;

Five US missionaries were killed by the Huaorani people of Ecuador;

The Winter Olympics were held in Cortina d’Ampezzo;

Elvis Presley released, “Heartbreak Hotel,”

Doris Day’s released her signature song “Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be),”

Morocco and Tunisia declared independence from France,

The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed over 500 for the first time,

My Fair Lady opened on Broadway,

Marty was named the best film of 1955

Pakistan became the first Islamic republic,

As the World Turns debuted on CBS,

Grace Kelly married Rainier III, Prince of Monaco;

Rocky Marciano retired without losing a boxing match in his career;

The United Methodist Church allowed women to become clergy for the first time,

The first Eurovision Song Contest was broadcast;

Elvis Presley performed a controversial version of “Hound Dog” on The Milton Berle Show;

The Summer Olympics were held in Melbourne;

Gamal Abdel Nasser became the 2nd President of Egypt;

Marilyn Monroe married Arthur Miller;

President Dwight Eisenhower signed the Federal Aid Highway Act;

Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis performed their last comedy show together;

In God we trust” became the US National motto;

Elvis Presley made his first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show;

The hard disk drive was introduced by IBM;

Don Larsen pitched a perfect game in the World Series;

13-year-old chess prodigy Bobby Fischer defeated grandmaster Donald Byrne in The Game of the Century;

Egypt nationalized the Suez Canal;

The Huntley-Brinkley Report debuted on NBC;

Howl and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg was published;

Hungary attempted to leave the Warsaw Pact;

The United States Supreme Court affirmed a lower court ruling in Browder v. Gayle, holding bus segregation in Alabama was unconstitutional;

Dwight Eisenhower defeated Adlai Stevenson for the second time to win reelection as President of the United States;

Floyd Patterson became world heavyweight champ;

The “Million Dollar Quartet” played together in Memphis;

Japan joined the United Nations;

To Tell the Truth debuted on CBS;

Bob Barker made his television debut;

Mel Gibson, Davis Caruso, Imelda Staunton, Bill Maher, Geena Davis, Mimi Rogers, Johnny Rotten, Nathan Lane, Aileen Wuornos, Tim Daly, Bryan Cranston, Dana Delany, Steve Ballmer, Ray Combs, Diamond Dallas Page, Andy Garcia, Lars von Trier, Dan Patrick, Sugar Ray Leonard, Bob Saget, Patricia Cornwell, Kenny G., Joe Montana, Randy Jackson, Anthony Bourdain, Chris Isaak, Tom Hanks, Sela Ward, Tony Kushner, Charlie Crist, Dorothy Hamill, Delta Burke, Jim Neidhart, Bruce Greenwood, Rusty Wallace, Adam Arkin, Joan Allen, Paul Molitor, David Copperfield, Gary Cole, Linda Hamilton, Christoph Waltz, Danny Boyle, Carrie Fisher, Dwight Yoakam, Rita Wilson, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Richard Curtis, Warren Moon, Bo Derek, Dale Jarrett, William Fichtner, and Larry Bird were born;

While Sir Alexander Korda, H.L. Mencken, A.A. Milne, Connie Mack, Fred Allen, Edward Arnold, Jean Hersholt, Jackson Pollock, Bela Lugosi, Alfred Kinsey, Babe Zaharias, Art Tatum, and Tommy Dorsey died.

The following is a list of my ten favorite films released in 1956:

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Before Elvis and his gyrating hips ruined everything, a look back at 1955

In 1955:

Marian Anderson became the first African-American to perform at the Metropolitan Opera,

The USS Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine, launched,

60,000 non-white residents of Sophiatown were evicted as a result of the South African policy of apartheid,

The short-lived Baghdad Pact was signed,

US President Dwight Eisenhower sent the first US advisors to Vietnam which would eventually lead to US involvement in the Vietnam War,

Jim Henson built the first version of Kermit the Frog,

Claudette Colvin and Rosa Parks were arrested in Montgomery, Alabama for refusing to abide by laws regarding segregation of the city’s buses.

The Broadway musical adaptation of Peter Pan debuted on American television,

6,000 people rioted in Montreal to protest the suspension of the Canadiens star player, Maurice Richard,

Eighty year old Winston Churchill resigned his second term as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom,

Richard J. Daley won his fist election as Mayor of Chicago, a position he held for the next 21 years,

The  Salk polio vaccine was approved by the Food and Drug Administration,

Ray Kroc opened the first McDonald’s,

The $64,000 QuestionGunsmokeAlfred Hitchcock PresentsThe Mickey Mouse ClubThe Honeymooners, and Captain Kangaroo debuted on American television.

Ruth Ellis was the last woman executed in the United Kingdom,

Disneyland opened,

Hurricane Diane struck the northeastern US, causing over one billion dollars in damage,

The first edition of the The Guinness Book of Records was published,

Argentinian President Juan Peron was ousted in a coup,

James Dean was killed in a car accident,

Emmett Till was murdered,

Lady and the Tramp premiered,

Vladimir Nabokov’s controversial novel, Lolita, was published,

The world’s population was 2.7 billion people,

Rowan Atkinson, J.K. Simmons, Kevin Costner, Eddie Van Halen, US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, John Grisham, Greg Norman, Kelsey Grammer, Jeff Daniels, Steve Jobs, Penn Jillette, Gary Sinise, Bruce Willis, Moses Malone, Reba McEntire, Earl Campbell, Brendan Gleeson, Michael Rooker, Barbara Kingsolver, Dodi Fayed, Judy Davis, Kate Mulgrew, Donatella Versace, Tom Bergeron, Chris Berman, Mark David Chapman, Jack Morris, Debra Winger, Bill Paxton, Chow Yun-Fat, Dana Carvey, Sandra Bernhard, Tim Berners-Lee, Laurie Metcalf, Jimmy Smits, Willem Dafoe, Iman, Billy Bob Thornton, Wayne Knight, Peter Gallagher, Mike Huckabee, Yo-Yo Ma, Darrell Hammond, Bill Gates, Maria Shriver, Roland Emmerich, Whoopi Goldberg, Bill Nye, Howie Mandel, Billy Idol, and Jane Kaczmarek were born,

While  John Mott, Sir Alexander Fleming, Charlie Parker, Albert Einstein, Cordell Hull, Wallace Stevens, Carmen Miranda, Cy Young, Dale Carnegie, Shemp Howard, and Honus Wagner died.

The following is a list of my ten favorite films released in 1955.

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Dean’s List

Despite only appearing in three major films before his death at age 24, James Dean was ranked the 18th greatest male film star by the American Film Institute.

This is my ranked list of his films.

Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

3) Rebel Without a Cause (1955)

Teenager Jim Stark (James Dean) moves to Los Angeles with his parents and befriends outcasts Plato (Sal Mineo) and Judy (Natalie Wood). When bullies goad Jim into a game of chicken, it ends in a tragic accident, which, in turn, leads to a confrontation with police at the Griffith Observatory.

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