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1950 History, Trivia and Fun Facts

<< - 1949

1950 70 Years Ago | History Snapshot

  • Economy: The first credit card (Diner's Club) was introduced.
  • Influential Songs include: The Tennessee Waltz by Patti Page, The Third Man Theme by Guy Lomabard (or Anton Karas) and Mona Lisa by Nat 'King' Cole
  • The Big Movies included Cinderella, Annie Get Your Gun and Destination Moon
  • Price of loaf of bread in 1950: 13 cents
    Lunchbox kit with Thermon: $2.59
  • The World Population was ~ 2,579,000,000
  • The Great Brink's Robbery: $2.775 Million was robbed from the Brink's Building in Boston, Massachusetts, and the 11 robbers were caught but only $58,000 was recovered.
  • And... Whataburger (Texas), and What-a-burger (Virginia) both opened this year without the knowledge of each others existence. There was a trademark infringement issue in the early 2000s, but both kept their names.

World Series Champions

New York Yankees

NFL Champions

Cleveland Browns

National Basketball Association Champions

Minneapolis Lakers

NHL Stanley Cup Champions

Detroit Red Wings

US Open Golf

Ben Hogan

US Open Tennis (Men Ladies)

Arthur Larsen/Margaret Osborne duPont

Wimbledon (Men/Women)

Budge Patty/Louis Brough

NCAA Football Champions


NCAA Basketball Champions


Bowl Games

Orange Bowl: January 2, 1950 - Santa Clara over Kentucky
Rose Bowl: January 2, 1950 - Ohio State over California
Sugar Bowl : January 2, 1950 - Oklahoma over LSU

Kentucky Derby


Westminster Kennel Best in Show Dog

Walsong Winning Trick of Edgerstoune

Time Magazine's Men of the Year

The American Fighting-Man (Korean War Troops)

Miss America


Fashion Icons and Movie Stars

Lauren Bacall, Doris Day, Dorothy Dandridge, Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth, Dorian Leigh, Dorothy McGuire, Elizabeth Taylor, Lana Turner

"The Quotes"

"Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted"
- Aldous Huxley

"Fasten your seatbelts. It's going to be a bumpy night."
- Betty Davis, in All About Eve

"All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up."
"I am big! It's the pictures that got small."
- Gloria Swanson, in Sunset Boulevard

1950 Pop Culture History

Corn Pops were originally named "Corn Pops" in 1950, then "Sugar Corn Pops" in 1951, then "Sugar Pops" in 1955 then back to "Sugar Corn Pops" in 1978 and since 1984, "Corn Pops" again, except for a brief time in 2006 when there were just "Pops".

When the Peanuts started in 1950, Charlie Brown was 4 years old, aged to six 1957, and has been about eight since 1979.

If I Ran the Zoo by Dr. Seuss, published in 1950, is the first recorded instance of the word "nerd."

Sean Connery placed third in the 1950 Mr. Universe contest.

The FBI made the first 'Ten Most Wanted' list in 1950. There were others of course. # 11 was Willie Sutton. He was probably the most successful and famous bank robber of all time, although he was caught several times. He was once supposedly quoted by a reporter, when asked why he robbed banks he supposedly said, "because that's where the money is." The Real Story: An articulate man (and snazzy dresser), Mr. Sutton later said that he never said it, although the statement on itself was true. "Why did I rob banks? Because I enjoyed it. I loved it. I was more alive when I was inside a bank, robbing it, than at any other time in my life. I enjoyed everything about it so much that one or two weeks later I'd be out looking for the next job. But to me the money was the chips, that's all."

In 1950, the interior of the Whitehouse was dismantled, leaving the house as a shell. It was then rebuilt using concrete and steel beams in place of its original wooden joists.

Minute Rice appeared on the shelves for the first time.

The Type A/B Personality Theory was actually invented by the cigarette industry in the 1950's to prove coronary heart disease and cancer were risks related to high-stress personality types instead of tobacco use.

Disposable diapers were invented by Marion Donovan.

The 1950 toy lab set "Gilbert U-238 Atomic Energy Laboratory" contained uranium ore, polonium, a Geiger counter and a cloud chamber.

Hurricanes in America were not named until 1950. That year there was Hurricane Dog, Hurricane Easy, Hurricane Jig, Hurricane Item, Hurricane Love, and Tropical Storm How.

These years use the same calendars: 2017, 2006, 1995, 1989, 1978, 1967, 1961, 1950, 1939, 1933, and 1922.

The modern day "pirate accent" we know comes from Robert Newton's portrayal of Long John Silver in the 1950 Disney adaptation of Treasure Island. Before that, there was no universal"pirate accent".

Private Kenneth Shadrick was the first US casualty of the Korean War, on July 5th 1950.

After the Empire State Building opened in New York City in 1931, much of its office space went unrented. It was nicknamed the "Empty State Building" by New Yorkers and didn't become profitable until 1950.

Green plastic garbage bags, made from polyethylene, were invented by Harry Wasylyk.

In 1950, an average of 3.37 people lived in each American home; in 2011, that number had shrunk to 2.6 people.The average size of a new American home in '50 was 983 square feet; by 2011, the average new home was 2,480 square feet.

The first metal lunchbox, featuring Hopalong Cassidy, was produced by Aladdin (the company, NOT the 1001 Arabian Nights hero).

Kathryn Johnston became the first girl to play Little League baseball in 1950, when she tucked her hair under her hat, adopted the nickname "Tubby", and joined the Kings Dairy team, posing as a boy. When she told her coach she was a girl, he said "That's O.K., you're a darned good player."

Since 1950 the United States has lost a total of 8-10 nuclear bombs, that we know of.

When the New York Sun was relaunched in 2002, its first edition carried the solution to the last crossword puzzle that the earlier Sun published before it folded in 1950.

In 1950 Louis Eliasberg completed the first and only complete US coin collection - one of every date, metal, denomination, and mint mark ever struck as of that year. Mr. Eliasberg was presented with a special trophy by Numismatic Gallery Magazine in recognition of his unique achievement.

John Hopps invented the world's first cardiac pacemaker. It was larger than life and had to be used outside the body of the first recipient.

7UP originally contained lithium citrate, a mood-stabilizing drug. It was in the product until 1950.

The The Chinchaga Fire, the largest recorded fire in North American history, produced massive amounts of smoke that was mostly in the upper atmosphere and could not be smelled. Since news of the fire was also sparse, many thought the dark sky was a result of nuclear armageddon, supernatural forces, or alien invasion.

Kent, a major tobacco company, sold unique cigarette filters in the 1950s and advertised their health benefits. The advertised ingredient that set them apart? Asbestos.

In 1894, the London Times predicted that London would be under nine feet of horse manure by 1950.

Racing pioneer C.J. Hart was credited with creating the first commerical drag racing strip on the runway of the Orange County Airport in Sant Ana, California on June 19.

Firsts and the Biggest Christmas Gifts

Little People and the Safety School Bus, Wooly Willy, official Magic-8 Ball, Silly Putty

Galaxy Science Fiction Magazine (1950-1980)

Golf Digest began publication

Prevention began publication

The Habits

Watching Your Show of Shows on television
Playing the Card Game Canasta.
Reading The Cardinal by Henry Morton Robinson
Watching Harvey, All about Eve, Sunset Boulevard The Asphalt Jungle, Annie Get Your Gun, Cheaper by the Dozen and Cinderella in theaters

United States 1950 Census

Total US Population: 151,325,798
1. New York, New York - 7,891,957
2. Chicago, Illinois - 3,620,962
3. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - 2,071,605
4. Los Angeles, California - 1,970,358
5. Detroit, Michigan - 1,849,568
6. Baltimore, Maryland - 949,708
7. Cleveland, Ohio - 914,808
8. St. Louis, Missouri - 856,796
9. Washington, District of Columbia - 802,178
10. Boston, Massachusetts - 801,444

1950/51 Biggest Television Shows

(according to Nielsen TV Research)
1. Texaco Star Theatre (NBC)
2. Fireside Theatre (NBC)
3. Philco TV Playhouse (NBC)
4. Your Show of Shows (NBC)
5. The Colgate Comedy Hour (NBC)
6. Gillette Cavalcade of Sports (NBC)
7. The Lone Ranger (ABC)
8. Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts (CBS)
9. Hopalong Cassidy (NBC)
10. Mama (NBC)

Popular Music Artists

The Biggest Pop Artists of 1950 include
Ames Brothers, Andrews Sisters, Anton Karas, Bing Crosby, Eileen Barton, Esther Phillips, Frank Sinatra, Frankie Laine, Guy Lombardo, Ivory Joe Hunter, Jimmy Wakely, Jo Stafford, Johnny Otis, Lloyd Glenn, Louise Jordan, Lowell Fulson, Margaret Whiting, Nat 'King' Cole, Patti Page, Perry Como, Phil Harris, Red Foley, The Robins, Roy Brown, Sammy Kaye, Teresa Brewer, Roy Brown, Dinah Washington, Weavers with Gordon Jenkins

(Data is complied from various charts including: Billboard's Pop, Rock, Airplay, R&B/Dance and Singles Charts. The Hot 100 is the primary chart used for this list.)

Number One Hits of 1950

November 26, 1949 - January 6, 1950: Frankie Laine - Mule Train

January 7, 1950 - January 13, 1950: Gene Autry - Rudolph, The Red-nosed Reindeer

January 14, 1950 - February 10, 1950: The Andrews Sisters - I Can Dream, Can't I

February 11, 1950 - February 17, 1950: Ames Brothers - Rag Mop

February 18, 1950 - March 17, 1950: Red Foley - Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy

March 18, 1950 - April 14, 1950: Teresa Brewer - Music! Music! Music!

April 15, 1950 - April 28, 1950: Eileen Barton - If I Knew You Were Comin' I'd've Baked a Cake

April 29, 1950 - July 14, 1950: Anton Karas - The Third Man Theme

July 15, 1950 - August 18, 1950: Nat King Cole - Mona Lisa (Nat King Cole song)

August 19, 1950 - November 17, 1950: Gordon Jenkins and The Weavers - Goodnight Irene

November 18, 1950 - December 1, 1950: Sammy Kaye - Harbor Lights

December 2, 1950 - December 29, 1950: Phil Harris - The Thing

December 30, 1950 - March 2, 1951: Patti Page - The Tennessee Waltz

Popular Movies

Abbot and Costello in the Foreign Legion, All About Eve, The Asphalt Jungle, Born Yesterday, Cinderella, D.O.A., Father of teh Bride, The File on Thelma Jordon, Gun Crazy, The Gunfighter, Harvey, In A Lonely Place, King Solomon's Mines, Orpheus, Panic in the STreets, Rio Grande, Seven Days to Noon, Sunset Boulevard, Treasure Island, Winchester '73

More Pop Culture History Resources

Popular Music in 1950
# 1 Hits of 1950
Pop Culture News

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pop, as in 'popular' :(adjective) Pertaining to the common people, or the people as a whole as distinguished from any particular class.
Having characteristics attributed to the common people and intended for or suited to ordinary people.

culture:(noun) That which is excellent in the arts.
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madness: (noun) The state of being mad. insanity, senseless folly, intense excitement or enthusiasm.
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