facts from 1959




Some statistics from 1959

Oak Park River Forest High School lists class of '59 as outstanding!

US GDP (1998 dollars):  $507.2 billion
Federal spending:  $92.10 billion
Federal debt: $287.5 billion
Consumer Price Index:  29.1
Unemployment:  6.8%

Cost of a first-class stamp:  $0.04

Cuban President Batista resigns and flees (Jan. 1). Fidel Castro assumes power (Feb. 16).

Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev tours the United States, meeting with Eisenhower at Camp David.

Alaska (Jan. 3) and Hawaii (Aug. 21) become the 49th and 50th states.

St. Lawrence Seaway opens, allowing ocean ships to reach Midwest (April 25).

World Series
LA Dodgers defeated Chicago White Sox (4-2)

NBA Championship
Boston defeated Minneapolis Lakers (4-0)

Kentucky Derby Champion
Tomy Lee

NCAA Basketball Championship
California defeated West Virginia (71-70)

NCAA Football Champions
Syracuse (11-0-0)

The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences sponsors the first Grammy Award ceremony for music recorded in 1958.


Rumors of cheating on quiz shows erupt into a national scandal.

Best Picture: Gigi
Best Actor: David Niven, Separate Tables
Best Supporting Actor: Burl Ives, The Big Country
Best Actress:Susan Hayward, I Want to Live!
Best Supporting Actress: Wendy Hiller, Separate Tables
Best Director: Vincente Minnelli, Gigi




hey class of '59 a recap for all of us...............

1956 – President Eishenhower defeats Adlai Stevenson in elections. Allen Ginsberg’s Howl, a voice for the Beat generation, is published. Grace Kelly marries her Prince Ranier III of Monaco, and Marilyn Monroe marries Pulitzer prize-winning author Arthur Miller. Elvis Presley makes his debut on national television; four of his songs become hits in 1956. This is the big year for the birth of rock ‘n roll. Hard disks for computers are now available.

1957 – The Soviets launch their satellite Sputnik, and the international space race begins. Swiss inventor George de Mestral patents Velcro. New-on-the-market items include: Tang, “AA” alkaline batteries (Eveready) and the Edsel. Larry King begins his radio career in Miami. Jack Kerouac coins the words “Beat” and “Beatnik” in his novel On the Road. Jackie Robinson retires from baseball. “Leave it to Beaver” debuts, another idealistic yet much-loved family sitcom.

1958 – Boris Pasternak publishes Nobel prize-winning Dr. Zhivago in the United States, but his book is banned in the Soviet Union, and he is forced to decline the Nobel. American Express introduces its charge card, and Visa (at this time known as BankAmericard) and joins the credit campaign. The newly created NASA launches the Explorer. A first class postage stamp costs 4 cents. Some important inventions of this year include: the computer modem, the laser and stereophonic recordings. The Champs win a Grammy (at the first Grammy Awards) for the Best Rhythm and Blues Performance with “Tequila.”
1959 – and become the 49th and 50th states. Nasa sends space monkeys Able and Baker into orbit, then chooses the crew for the Mercury. This year is the advent of garter-free pantyhose. Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J. P. Richardson die in a plane crash (February 3, now known as The Day the Music Died). Lee Harvey Oswald immigrates to Russia. Barbie is born on March 9, entering the world as a curvaceous eternal 20-something. The microchip’s invention means the electronic age is just around the corner.

Soon the generation that remembers the 1950s will be gone. The days of innocence and tight censorship on TV are past. Gone is the norm of the traditional family, the Cleavers and uncomplicated heroes like the Lone Ranger. Gone are the chrome and brightly colored vinyl barstools, the checkered floors of the diners. Even the imitations, whether it is 1950s furniture or sitcoms based on groundbreaking television shows from the era, can not bring back the wonder and nostalgia of the nation’s favorite decade.

How Much Do You Remember About The 50s?
While rock-n-roll was taking the 1950s music industry by storm, the rest of the country was making history of its own with new inventions, dramatic social changes and creative fashions. Test yourself on
1950s trivia as you take a look at what else was happening during the good ol' days.