20 May 2009

Happy Birthday!

Today is GenerationSwap's 59th birthday! Here, are some fun facts about the 50's that you may or may not remember.

---------------In 1950, the first modern credit card was introduced. The first organ transplant was performed, and the first Peanuts cartoon strip was released. The Korean War began, and Senator Joseph McCarthy begins the communist witch-hunt. United States President Truman ordered the construction of the hydrogen bomb. The average income was three thousand, two hundred sixteen dollars. Milk cost eighty-two cents, gas was twenty cents, and a postage stamp cost three cents. I know what your thinking. "We're getting ripped off. Gas now cost more than my shoelace."
In1951, color television was introduced. South Africans are forced to carry ID cards identifying their race. President Truman signs a peace treaty with Japan, which officially ended World War II. Winston Churchill is again the Prime Minister of Great Britain. A house cost sixteen thousand dollars, and milk cost ninety-two cents. Six bottles of Coca-Cola cost thirty-seven cents. A pound of buttered peanut brittle cost twenty-five cents. The average income was three thousand, five hundred fifteen dollars.
In 1952, car seat belts were introduced. Jacques Cousteau discovered an ancient Greek ship. The polio vaccine was created. Princess Elizabeth becomes queen at the age of twenty-five. A house cost sixteen thousand, eight hundred dollars. Bread cost sixteen cents. A one-pound package of M&M’s cost fifty-nine cents. We would be buying tons and tons of M&M's nowadays if it still cost fifty-nine cents. At Sears, a red “Radio Flyer” wagon cost eight dollars and seventy-five cents. The popular toy, Mr. Potato Head was patented. A brand new Japanese company, Sony, introduces the first pocket-sized transistor radio.
In 1953, DNA was discovered. Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay were the first people to climb Mount Everest. Joseph Stalin, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union’s Central Committee died on March 5. He probably suffered a stroke that paralyzed the right side of his body. Julius and Ethel Rosenberg are executed for espionage. Two brothers-in-law, Burt Baskin and Irv Robbins decide to open an ice cream store together. In the movie, Shrek 2, the popular ice cream store was parodied as Bassken-Robenhood. I found that hilarious, because it went well with the whole enchilada of fairytale business. In 1953, a house cost seventeen thousand, four hundred dollars. The gas price rose to twenty-two cents. Romaine lettuce cost ten cents a pound. The first three dimensional movie, Arch Oboler’s Bwana Devil is shown. The world’s first instant iced tea was White Rose Redi-tea. The first musical synthesizer is invented by RCA.
In 1954, Britain sponsors an expedition to search for the Abominable Snowman. The first atomic submarine is launched. A report says cigarettes cause cancer. Roger Bannister breaks the four-minute mile. Segregation is ruled illegal in the United States. A house cost twenty-two thousand dollars. The average income was three thousand, nine hundred sixty dollars. Gas cost twenty-one cents, unlike today where gas in New York cost almost three dollars. A half-gallon of Clorox Bleach cost nineteen. A twenty-gallon gas water heater cost seventy-five dollars. The first nonstick pan was produced. Harvard physicians perform the first successful kidney transplant in the United States. The patient survived for seven years after receiving the transplant.
On July 17, 1955, Walt Disney opened Disneyland in Anaheim, California. The McDonald’s Corporation was founded. On December 5, 1955, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus. This led to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. forming a boycott against the bus companies in Montgomery, AL. The bus company lost a lot of revenue, so they changed their rules. An African-American person was now allowed to sit on the front of the bus. The Warsaw Pact as signed. A house cost twenty-two thousand dollars. The average income was four thousand, one hundred thirty-seven dollars. Gas cost twenty-three cents. A one dozen package of eggs cost sixty-one cents. A twenty-four pack of Cracker Jack cost one dollar and forty-nine cents. A Mickey Mouse lunch box cost eighty-eight cents. Kids today will be going crazy with those! I wonder how much stickers cost back then? One pint of potato salad cost twenty-nine cents. The Tetracycline and optic fiber were invented. Tappan manufactured the first home microwave ovens. Since the microwave ovens cost one thousand, three hundred dollars, sales were slow.
In 1956, Elvis Presley gyrated on Ed Sullivan’s show. Grace Kelly marries Prince Rainier III of Monaco. In 1956, Velcro was introduced. The television remote was invented. On April 19, 1956, a British driver, Lionel Crabb dives into the Portsmouth harbor to investigate a visiting Soviet cruiser and disappears. On May 2, 1956, The Methodist Church in America decides at its General Conference to grant women the status of full-ordained clergy. The conference also calls for an end to segregation in that area. On May 21, 1956, there was nuclear testing on Bikini Atoll, in the Pacific Ocean. It is the first airborne explosion of a hydrogen bomb. I have good news for all the Yankee fans! On October 8, 1956, Don Larsen of the New York Yankees throws the first and only perfect game in World Series history against the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Yankees won the World Series with four games. A house cost twenty-two thousand dollars. The average income was four thousand, four hundred fifty-four thousand. A ten-ounce package of Carnation Instant Chocolate Drink cost thirty-three cents. Cabbage cost four cents per pound. A Ford car cost from one thousand, seven hundred forty-eight dollars to three thousand, one hundred fifty-one dollars. The first computer hard disk is used. The Los Alamos Laboratory discovers an atomic particle with no electric charge, the neutrino. Betty Nesmith, a secretary, invented “Mistake Out,” which was later renamed, “Liquid Paper.”
In 1957, Dr. Seuss published The Cat in the Hat. The European Economic Community is established. On January 13, the Wham-O Company produces the first Frisbee. On January 22, 1957, George P. Meteskey, the New York City “Mad Bomber” is arrested in Waterbury, Connecticut. He is charged with planting over thirty bombs. The next day, Ku Klux Klan members force Willie Edwards, a truck driver, to jump of a bridge into the Alabama River. (You heard that peer pressure saying, right? If all of your friends were jumping off a bridge would you?) Willie Edwards drowns as a result. On May 3, 1957, Walter O’Malley, the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers decides to move the team from Brooklyn, New York to Los Angeles, California. A house costs twenty thousand dollars. The average income is four thousand, four hundred ninety-four dollars. A Swanson TV dinner costs seventy-five cents, and milk costs one dollar. A twelve ounce bottle of Vermont Maid Syrup costs thirty-three cents. The computer language “Fortran” is invented.
In 1958, Boris Pasternak refused the Nobel Prize. The Hope Diamond is donated to the Smithsonian, and Hula Hoops become popular. Another popular toy, the Lego Toy Bricks were introduced in 1958. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is founded. On January 4, 1958, Suptnik1 falls to Earth from its orbit. On February, 1, 1958, Egypt and Syria unite to form the United Arab Republic. A house cost thirty thousand dollars. The average income was four thousand, six hundred fifty dollars. A postage stamp costs four cents. Tuition at Harvard University for one year cost one thousand, two hundred fifty dollars. Round trip airfare from London to New York City cost four hundred fifty-three dollars. The modem was invented.
In 1959, Castro became the dictator of Cuba. The International Treaty makes Antarctica a Scientific Preserve. The Sound of Music opens on Broadway. Hopefully, this website is alive with good information. (Just joking. I know it is. I mean, thousands of words and how could have you learned nothing?) Quiz shows like Twenty-One, The Big Surprise, Tic Tac Dough, and others were found to be fixed. A house still costs thirty thousand dollars. The average income is five thousand, sixteen dollars. Gas costs twenty-five cents. A Tiny Tears doll cost nine dollars and eighty-eight cents. The internal pacemaker is invented by Wilson Greatbatch.

So, here's to her. Happy Birthday, and hope many more come! I love you.


  1. OHHHHH, my baby girl,how neat this is.Thank you so so much.Times sure have changed. I didn't realize how many things came to be in the 50's that started the things of today.This is the sweetest gift,I love you so very much.Always Granny

  2. Wow, that was a lot of info. I wish we could buy things at yesterdays prices at todays salaries.