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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Best of the 1930s

All Quiet on the Western Front (1930)

Inspired by a patriotic teacher, Paul Baumer enlists in the first World War, but quickly finds the reality of the fighting much less glamorous than he was promised.

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A Royal Resume

Despite her retirement from Hollywood at age 26 to become the Princess of Monaco, Grace Kelly was ranked the 13th greatest female film star by the American Film Institute.

Because she retired so young, her public image was frozen as a young, beautiful woman and her marriage into royalty created a unique mystique among American celebrities. Add a tragic and unexpected death, and you have a recipe for a legendary career.

This is my ranked list of her films.

High Society (1956)7) High Society (1956)

Successful jazz musician C.K. Dexter Haven (Bing Crosby) remains enamored with his ex-wife, socialite Tracy Lord (Grace Kelly), but she is about to marry George Kittredge. To complicate things even further, she develops feelings for Mike Connor (Frank Sinatra) a tabloid newspaper reporter covering her wedding.

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Best of the 1950s

Sunset Boulevard (1950)Sunset Boulevard (1950)

Faded silent screen star Norma Desmond (Gloria Swanson) steadfastly believes she will regain her former glory and hires writer Joe Gillis (William Holden) to help with her planned comeback, but as the project drags on their relationship becomes dangerously complicated.

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Best of the 1960s

Testament of Orpheus (1960)

In the final film installment of Jean Cocteau’s Orphic trilogy, he encounters characters from his previous films and appears before a tribunal to defend his life and art.

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