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1952 History, Trivia and Fun Facts

<< - 1951

1952 History Snapshot

  • Politics: Up to 12,000 Londoners were killed by smog in a 1952 incident that lasted 5 days.
  • Influential Songs include: Heart and Soul by The Four Aces, Tenderly by Rosemary Clooney and High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me) by Frankie Laine
  • The Big Movies included The Greatest Show on Earth, High Noon and This is Cinerama
  • Price of RCA Television, 2 1inch, black & white in 1952: $99.00
  • The World Population was ~ 2,692,000,000
  • Yahtzee (dice game) was introduced in 1952.
  • Patented in 1948, Scrabble became a world-wide hit.
  • And... Hank Williams charged an admission to his wedding, to his second wife, Billy Jean Jones . There had both a 3pm and 7pm 'show'.

World Series Champions

New York Yankees

NFL Champions

Detroit Lions

National Basketball Association Champions

Minneapolis Lakers

NHL Stanley Cup Champions

Detroit Red Wings

US Open Golf

Julius Boros

US Open Tennis (Men Ladies)

Frank Sedgman/Maureen Connolly

Wimbledon (Men/Women)

Frank Sedgman/Maureen Connolly

NCAA Football Champions

Georgia Tech & Michigan State

NCAA Basketball Champions


Bowl Games

Orange Bowl: January 1, 1952 - Georgia Tech over Baylor
Rose Bowl: January 1, 1952 - Illinois over Stanford
Sugar Bowl : January 1, 1952 - Maryland over Tennessee

Kentucky Derby

Hill Gail

Westminster Kennel Best in Show Dog

Rancho Dobe's Storm

Time Magazine's Man of the Year

Queen Elizabeth II

Miss America

Colleen Hutchins (Salt Lake City, UT)

Miss USA

Jackie Loughery (New York)

Fashion Icons and Movie Stars

Joan Davis, Doris Day, Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth, Grace Kelly, Dorian Leigh, Audrey Meadows, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Lana Turner

"The Quotes"

"Lucy, I'm home!"
- Ricky Ricardo, played by Dezi Arnez

"They’re gr-r-r-eat! "
Tony The Tiger, voiced by Thurl Ravenscroft

Finger-lickin’ good!
- Kentucky Fried Chicken

1952 Pop Culture History

The phrase, "the greatest thing since sliced bread!" was first used by Red Skelton in 1952, only 24 years after sliced bread was introduced.

A double-decker bus was crossing London's Tower Bridge when the process to close the gates failed. Driver Albert Gunter made a split-second decision to accelerate the bus, clearing a six-foot drop onto the other side. The passengers received only minor injuries and Gunter won a £10 bonus.

Emil Zatopek became the only person to ever win gold in the 5000m, 10000m and the marathon all at one olympics. He had never even done a marathon before. He ended up setting the new olympic marathon record.

Greenland shark was tagged off Greenland in 1936 and recaptured in 1952. Its measurements suggest that Greenland sharks grow at a rate of 0.5-1 cm (0.2-0.4 in) per year, thus the largest individuals may live about 200 years, making them among the longest-lived vertebrates on Earth.

French writer, Alfred Sauvy, invented the term "Third World" to describe the vast stretches of Africa, Asia, and Latin America whose citizens lived in dire poverty.

Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver recieved the first patents for optical bar codes on October 7.

The British Hypnotism Act prevents the broadcasting of hypnosis procedures due to the risk that people watching the broadcast are hypnotised and cannot be brought back.

The B-52 bomber, which started serving in 1952, isn't planned to be retired until the 2040s. By then, it'll have been in continuous service for almost a century.

Les Paul started selling his classic electric guitar.

Margaret Wise Brown, the author of Goodnight Moon left all of the book's royalties to her 9-year old neighbor, Albert Clarke, in 1952. Since then, Clarke has been arrested dozens of times, had 2 kids with a homeless woman he met on 6th Avenue in NYC, and has squandered most of the millions he has received.

Season Two of I Love Lucy included the most popular and remembered skit from the show - Lucy selling (and drinking) Vitameatavegamin. It had the ingredients you might expect - vitamins, meat, veggies and minerals. It also had a high (23%) alcohol content.

1952 was the year that Tony the Tiger started telling people that Kellogg's Frosted Flakes were "Gr-r-reat!" Thurl Ravenscroft is best know for supplying the voice of Tony. Thurl was the guy who sang "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," in the original How the Grinch Stole Christmas TV special(1966), although many people mistakenly think it was narrator Boris Karloff.

George Stephen designed and sold the first Weber Grill in 1952.

President Harry Truman said of Presidential Candidate Dwight Eisenhower, "The General doesn't know any more about politics than a pig knows about Sunday." In 1960 he called Vice President Richard Nixon "a no good lying bastard."

The Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952 allowed the President to "suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens" who "would be detrimental to the interests of the United States".

Richard Attenborough said that "the wisest business decision" he ever made was taking a 10 percent share in the play The Mousetrap when he was part of the original cast in 1952.

George Reeves, the actor who played Superman (Adventures of Superman 1952-1958) was cautious about his young fans after a boy pulled a pistol on him to test Superman's invulnerability. Reeves convinced the boy to give him the gun by telling him that someone else could be hurt when the bullets bounced off.

American Bandstand, originally called Bandstand, premiered on a Philadelphia TV Station on October 7, 1952 with DJ Bob Horn serving as host.

French race driver Pierre Levegh drove the Le Mans 24 hour race single-handedly for 23 hours straight, before his car suffered an engine failure in the last hour of the race with a four lap lead.

RIP, Scandals, Sad and Odd News

Kent sold cigarettes with an asbestos filter claiming it was healthier than regular smoking, until 1957.

31 inmates known as the 'Heel String Gang' cut their Achilles tendons to protest hard work and brutality at the Louisiana State Penitentiary

"The Great Smog" of London, UK was a severe air pollution event that lasted 5 days and killed an estimated 12,000 people in December of 1952. It led to Parliament passing the first Clean Air Act in 1956.

Charlie Chaplin was banned from reentering the United States, primarily due to speculation that he was a communist.

In 1945 Soviets presented America a gift of the Great Seal of the US at the end of WWII, in 1952 the US finally realized it contained a spying listening bug.

On March 21, the first rock and roll concert, The Moondog Coronation Ball of 1952, also became the first rock and roll concert to be shut down by authorities

When Sammy Davis Jr. took a swim in the pool at the New Frontier hotel & casino in Las Vegas, they drained the pool when he was done.

Polio has existed for all of written human history, but there was never a major epidemic of it until 1907 when 2,700 contracted polio in Vermont, by 1952 there were over 50,000 cases in just the United States.

Area 51, if it existed, at 37°14'20/N/ 115°48'58/W/ (37.239, -115.816), in southern Nevada, would have been started this year.

Firsts and the Biggest Christmas Gifts

Mr. Potato Head (You had to supply your own poatato, plastic bodies were included strtinmg 1964. Mr PH was also the first toy advertised on American TV) , Slinky Dog, PEZ candy dispensers

On May 2, the first commercial passenger jet flew from London to Johanesburg, inaugurating the age of jet travel. The trip carried 32 passengers and stopped 5 times en route.

October, 1952 Mad Magazine began publication

The Habits

Watching I Love Lucy on CBS
Playing the Card Game Canasta.
Reading The Silver Chalice by Thomas B. Costain
Reading Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Watching Singin' in the Rain, High Noon, The Greatest Show on Earth, Money Business, The Miracle of Our Lady of Fatima and The Quiet Man in theaters

1952/53 Biggest Television Shows

(according to Nielsen TV Research)
1. I Love Lucy (CBS)
2. Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts (CBS)
3. Arthur Godfrey and his Friends (CBS)
4. Dragnet (NBC)
5. Texaco Star Theatre (NBC)
6. The Buick Circus Hour (NBC)
7. The Colgate Comedy Hour (NBC)
8. Gangbusters (NBC)
9. You Bet Your Life (NBC)
10. Fireside Theatre (NBC)

Popular Music Artists

The Biggest Pop Artists of 1952 include
Al Martino, B.B. King, The Clovers, The Dominoes, Don Cornell, Doris Day, Eddie Fisher, Eddy Howard, Frank Sinatra, Frankie Laine, Georgia Gibbs, Hugo Winterhalter, Jimmy Boyd, Jo Stafford, Joe Turner, Johnny Standley, Johnny Ace, Joni James, Kay Starr, Les Paul, Liberace, Mills Brothers, Patti Page, Pee Wee King, Peggy Lee, Percy Faith, Ray Anthony, Rosemary Clooney, Tony Bennett, Vera Lynn, Dinah Washington

(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 1952

December 29, 1951 - March 14, 1952: Johnnie Ray and The Four Lads - Cry

March 15, 1952 - May 16, 1952: Kay Starr - Wheel Of Fortune

May 17, 1952 - June 20, 1952: Leroy Anderson - Blue Tango

June 21, 1952 - July 4, 1952: Al Martino - Here In My Heart

July 5, 1952 - July 11, 1952: Percy Faith - Delicado

July 12, 1952 - September 12, 1952: Vera Lynn - Auf Wiederseh'n Sweetheart

September 13, 1952 - October 17, 1952: Jo Stafford - You Belong To Me

October 18, 1952 - November 21, 1952: Patti Page - I Went To Your Wedding

November 22, 1952 - November 28, 1952: Johnny Standley - It's In The Book (parts 1 & 2)

November 29, 1952 - December 26, 1952: Joni James - Why Don't You Believe Me

December 27, 1952 - January 9, 1953: Jimmy Boyd - I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

Popular Movies

Angel Face, The Bad and the Beautiful, The Big Sky, The Golden Coach, The Greatest Show on Earth, High Noon, The Quiet Man, Road to Bali, Singin' in the Rain, This is Cinerama

More Pop Culture History Resources

Popular Music in 1952
# 1 Hits of 1952
Pop Culture News

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