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1946 History, Trivia and Fun Facts

<< - 1945

1946 History Snapshot

  • Politics: Winston Churchill's Iron Curtain Speech in Missouri, USA marked the beginning of the Cold War between the West and the USSR.
  • Geography: The United States tried to purchase Greenland from Denmark for $100 million.
  • Influential Songs include: On The Atchison Topeka and The Santa Fe by Judy Garland and Get Your Kicks on Route 66 by Nat King Cole
  • The Big Movies included Song of the South, The Best Years of Our Lives and It's A Wonderful Life
  • Price of Scotts paper towels, 150 count in 1946: 7 cents
  • The World Population was ~ 2,489,000,000
  • The 'Baby Boom' began, and continued until 1954, or 1964 if you look at different statistics.
  • And... Thomas the Tank Engine first appeared in 1946 in the second book in The Railway Series. The TV show began in 1984.

World Series Champions

St. Louis Cardinals

NFL Champions

Chicago Bears

Stanley Cup Champions

Montreal Canadiens

US Open Golf

Lloyd Mangrum

US Open Tennis (Men Ladies)

Jack Kramer/Pauline Betz

Wimbledon (Men/Women)

Yvon Petra/Pauline Betz

FIFA World Cup Soccer

not held

NCAA Football Champions

Notre Dame

NCAA Basketball Champions

Oklahoma A&M

Bowl Games

Orange Bowl: January 1, 1946 - Miami (Florida) over Holy Cross
Rose Bowl: January 1, 1946 - Alabama over USC
Sugar Bowl : January 1, 1946 - Oklahoma State over Saint Mary's (CA)

Kentucky Derby


Westminster Kennel Best in Show Dog

Hetherington Model Rhythm

Time Magazine's Man of the Year

James F. Byrnes

Miss America

Marilyn Buferd (Los Angeles, CA)

Fashion Icons and Movie Stars

Lauren Bacall, Ingrid Bergman, Martine Carol, Cyd Charisse, Joan Fontaine, Ava Gardner, Betty Grable, Rita Hayworth, Jennifer Jones, Veronica Lake, Dorian Leigh, Dorothy McGuire,Alexis Smith, Jane Russell, Gene Tierney, Lana Turner

"The Quotes"

"The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe"
- Albert Einstein

In a letter to his friend Lester Gardner dated August 28, 1946, Orville Wright wrote: "I once thought the aeroplane would end wars."

When asked if he felt upset over what he had done in Auschwitz, Rudolf Höss replied: "I thought I was doing the right thing."

1946 Pop Culture History

Winston Churchill's Iron Curtain speech that first recognized the Cold War was delivered to Westminster College in Missouri in 1946. Mikhail Gorbachev gave a speech there in 1992, declaring the end of the Cold War.

Francis W. Davis patented (#2410049A) Power Steering.

Coca-Cola produced a secret "White Coke" variant of the popular drink. It was made specifically for a powerful Soviet Military Marshall who loved Coca-Cola but needed to hide the fact he was drinking it as it was seen as an American imperialist product.

Spook Busters was a 1946 comedy film about a group of recent graduates who set up a company to exterminate ghosts in New York. #whoyougonnacall?

7-Eleven changed it's name from Tote'm to reflect the company's new extended hours, from 7 am to 11 pm seven days a week.

The 1946 Adventures of Superman radio show revealed the 'secret' codes and rituals of the KKK, making it a laughingstock and drying up Klan recruitment almost overnight.

George Orwell loved a cup of tea so much that in 1946 he published a guide to making it called A Nice Cup Of Tea.

It's a Wonderful Life was considered a box office failure upon release in 1946. A clerical error placed the film in the public domain in 1974 causing many local TV networks to play the film for free, popularizing it as a Christmas classic.

Jacques Heim and Louis Reard designed the first bikini for public consumption, names after the Bikini Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

During a land survey of Sichuan province in China, a forester encountered a tree he'd never seen before, so took a sample. He came to find it was as yet unknown to science, only previously existing as a fossil. It came to be known as the 'Dawn Redwood'.

On May 21st, 1946, a US scientist named Louis Slotin was doing experiments to find critical mass when he let a screwdriver slip and accidentally started a fission reaction.

Kodak customers complained about film developing cloudy. Kodak investigated & found the corn husks used for packing was radioactive. They discovered something that was not public knowledge; the packaging was exposed to fallout from the world's first nuclear bomb explosion.

The United States offered to buy Greenland from Denmark for $100,000,000 but Denmark did not agree to sell.

In September 1939 the last thing BBC television aired before going off the air was a Mickey Mouse cartoon. When broadcasts resumed in 1946, the same cartoon was replayed.

After his 1946 plane crash, Howard Hughes decided he did not like the design of the hospital bed he was laying in. He called in his engineers and had them design a new bed that would allow someone with severe burns to move freely. It became the prototype for the modern hospital bed.

Shemp was an original member of The Three Stooges- before Curly. Curly took Shemp's place in 1932 and Shemp returned to the role in 1946 when Curly left.

Mother Francis Xavier Cabrini became the first American Saint.

Rolls Royce didn't start selling cars with body work until 1946. Up until then, they only sold the chassis and motor with a recommendation to use Barker & Co Ltd to build a customized body and coach.

July 4, 1946 was the Independence day from the United States of America for the Philippines.

The fastest typing speed was 216 words per minute, achieved by Stella Pajunas-Garnand in 1946. The average typist reaches 50 to 80 words per minute today, and she used a mechanical typewriter!.

United Business Company, basically an accounting firm, was founded by Henry and Richard Bloch. The company was renamed H & R Block in 1955, and specialized in taxes for businesses nationwide.

Sept 1, 1946 The first Formula One Race took place in Turin, Italy and was won by Archille Varzi.

During production of the notoriously convoluted 1946 noir classic The Big Sleep, neither the director nor the screenwriters knew if a character was supposed to have commit suicide or been murdered, so they contacted the book's author, Raymond Chandler, and he didn't know either.

RIP, Scandals, Sad and Odd News

In Massachusetts, 57 developmentally disabled children were fed oatmeal laced with radioactive tracers in an experiment sponsored by MIT and the Quaker Oats Company.

A tidal wave hit Hawaii on April 1, 1946. Many ignored the tidal warnings, thinking them an April Fools Prank. The disaster killed 159 people and caused $26 million in damages.

In 1946 the Winecoff Hotel, advertised as "absolutely fireproof", was the site of the deadliest hotel fire in U.S. history. 119 people died, spurring significant changes in U.S. building codes.

The electric chair failed to kill Willie Francis, who subsequently filed suit claiming that he had been executed even though he did not die, and should be a free man based on 'double jeopardy' laws in the 5th amendment.

The Soviet Union presented a wooden replica of the Great Seal of the United States to Ambassador Averell Harriman who hung it in his office. Seven years later, a routine inspection revealed the gift contained a bugging device the Soviets had used to spy on the ambassador.

In 2015, a 91 year old man living in Canada confessed to the shooting of a woman in England in 1946, possibly the longest time between a crime and confession in British history.

Firsts and the Biggest Christmas Gifts

Magic 8 Ball (Syco Seer), Lionel Trains with 'steam', Streater Steam Shovel truck

Fidelity Investments was founded in Boston, Massachusettes.

The first photo from space was taken from a V2 rocket in 1946, almost 11 years before Sputnik.

Treasure Chest of Fun and Facts Magazine (1946-1972)

Holiday Magazine (1946-1977)

SPORT Magazine (1946-2000)

Highlights for Children began publication

The Habits

Reading Baby and Child Care by Dr. Benjamin Spock
Reading The King's General by Daphne du Maurier
Reading Animal Farm by George Orwell
Reading All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren
Watching The Big Sleep, Song of the South, Gilda, Notorious, The Best Years of Our Lives and The Stranger in theaters
They were not watching 1946's It's a Wonderful Life - it was considered a flop until the 1970s.

Popular Music Artists

The Biggest Pop Artists of 1946 include:
The Andrews Sisters,Count Basie and His Orchestra, Tex Beneke, Connee Boswell, Les Brown and His Orchestra, Frankie Carle and His Orchestra, Hoagy Carmichael, Nat 'King' Cole, Perry Como, Bing Crosby, Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra, Helen Forrest, Artur Godfrey, Dick Haymes, Phil Harris, Woody Herman and His Orchestra, Eddy Howard, The Ink Spots, Harry James and His Orchestra, Louis Jordan, Sammy Kaye, Stan Kenton and His Orchestra, Peggy Lee, Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians, Tony Martin, Johnny Mercer, Vaughn Monroe, Pied Pipers, Dinah Shore, Frank Sinatra, Jo Stafford, Margaret Whiting

Charts based on Billboard music charts.

Popular Movies

A Matter of Life and Death, Beauty and the Beast (or La Belle et La Bete), The Best Years of Our Lives, The Big Sleep, Brief Encounter, Duel in the Sun, Gilda, Great Expectations, It's A Wonderful Life, The Killers, My Darling Clementine, Notorious, Paisan, The Postman Always Rings Twice, The Razor's Edge, Song of the South, The Stranger, To Each His Own, The Yearling

More Pop Culture History Resources

Popular Music in 1946
# 1 Hits of 1946
Pop Culture News

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