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1958 History, Trivia and Fun Facts

<< - 1957

1958 History Snapshot

  • Politics: China began "Great Leap Forward" modernization program, and an estimated 20 million people died in starvation.
  • The Top Song was At The Hop by Danny & The Juniors
  • The Big Movies included South Pacific, Auntie Mame and Vertigo
  • Price of a RCA Whirlpool refrigerator, 8 cu ft in 1958: $118.00
  • The World Population was ~ 2,943,000,000
  • Super Glue was invented in 1958.
  • The Hula Hoop was invented by Richard Knerr and Arthur "Spud" Melin.
  • And... The word "modem" (first used in 1958) is derived from the words "modulator" and "demodulator" because it performs both tasks in order to send and receive data.

World Series Champions

New York Yankees

NFL Champions

Baltimore Colts

National Basketball Association Champions

St. Louis Hawks

NHL Stanley Cup Champions

Montreal Canadiens

US Open Golf

Tommy Bolt

US Open Tennis (Men Ladies)

Ashley J. Cooper/Althea Gibson

Wimbledon (Men/Women)

Ashley Cooper/Althea Gibson

FIFA World Cup Soccer


NCAA Football Champions

Iowa & LSU

NCAA Basketball Champions


Bowl Games

Orange Bowl: January 1, 1958 - Oklahoma over Duke
Rose Bowl: January 1, 1958 - Ohio State over Oregon
Sugar Bowl : January 1, 1958 - Ole Miss over Texas

Kentucky Derby

Tim Tam

Westminster Kennel Best in Show Dog

Puttencove Promise

Time Magazine's Man of the Year

Charles de Gaulle

Miss America

Marilyn Van Derbur (Denver, CO)

Miss USA

Eurlyne Howell (Louisiana)

Fashion Icons and Movie Stars

Brigitte Bardot, 'Wilhelmina' Cooper, Doris Day, Mamie Van Doren, Anita Ekberg, Annette Funicello, June Ferguson, Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren, Jayne Mansfield, Marilyn Monroe, Julie Newmar, Kim Novak, Donna Reed, Elizabeth Taylor, Lana Turner, Toni Wallace, Tuesday Weld, Jane Wyatt

"The Quotes"

"What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight - it's the size of the fight in the dog. "
- President Dwight D Eisenhower

"Look, Ma, no cavities!"
- Crest toothpaste ad

"Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!"
- Rosalind Russell, in Auntie Mame

Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the Emir of Dubai from 1958 to 1990, said of their oil-centric economy: "My grandfather rode a camel, my father rode a camel, I drive a Mercedes, my son drives a Land Rover, his son will drive a Land Rover, but his son will ride a camel."

1958 Pop Culture History

The internationally recognized peace symbol was designed in 1958 by Gerald Holtom as the logo for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

The guitar Marty McFly played (Gibson ES0345) in 1955 in Back to the Future wasn't created until 1958

On the LEGO model of the Back to the Future time machine, the destination date is set to Jan. 28, 1958, the patent date for the 1st LEGO brick. LEGO bricks are very consistent, with only 18 bricks out of every 1000000 made being considered defective. The design and manufacture of bricks is also consistent enough to allow bricks manufactured today to interlock with those manufactured in 1958.

Bruce Lee was a national dance champion, winning the 1958 Cha Cha Championship in Hong Kong.

The current 50 star US flag was designed in 1958 by Robert Heft as a junior high history project an got a B- for it. The grade was later changed to an A after Heft's design was accepted and adopted by the United States Congress in 1959.

Michael Jackson, Prince, and Madonna were all born in the Great Lakes region within 2 months of each other in 1958.

As an experiment, Bank of America mailed 60,000 residents of Fresno, California a small plastic card with a $500 credit line. BoA figured if it failed, there'd be no media coverage because it was in Fresno. The experiment was hugely successful and the program became Visa.

Crayola's Midnight Blue was originally named Prussian Blue, the change occurring in 1958 when the company realized most kids did not recognize the old nation of Prussia.

It took Boeing 42 years and 1 month to deliver its 10,000 7series aircraft (October 1958-November 2000) and, 42 years and 5 months for Airbus to achieve the same milestone (May 1974-October 2016).

The popular dog name, Fido, which means "faithful one", refers to a real dog in France during WWII that waited for his deceased master every day for 14 years (5,000 times) until his own death in 1958.

Alaska was hit with a Mega Tsunami in Lituya Bay that measured 1720 feet tall. That's taller than the Empire State Building, standing at 1454 feet.

Carl Stalling, the composer behind Bugs Bunny, spent 22 years working with a 50-piece orchestra at Warner Bros. Studios. He ultimately scored in excess of 600 cartoons at the rate of one score per week between 1936 and 1958.

Kitchens were smelling a lot cleaner thanks to the introduction of Mr. Clean in 1958. In 1998 People Magazine called Mr. Clean "one of the sexiest men alive".

Larry King crashed into John F. Kennedy's car in 1958. JFK said he'd forget the whole thing if King promised to vote for him when he ran for president.

Onions are the only commodity banned from futures trading in the United States. The Onion Futures Act was passed in 1958 after two traders cornered the onion market in Chicago controlling 98% of all available onions. #soundslikean80smovie

Commercial domestic jet airline service opened between New York and Miami.

The North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) has continually had an American General and a Canadian Lieutenant General since its founding in 1958.

From 1953 to 1958 the Cincinnati Reds officially changed their name to the Cincinnati Redlegs because they were afraid of being thought to be associated with communism.

Writer/producer Phil Spector's first big hit To Know Him is to Love Him recorded by the Teddy Bears in 1958 was inspired by the epitaph on his father's tombstone - his father had committed suicide in 1949.

Vanguard 1, launched in 1958, is the oldest man made satellite still in orbit.

The country of Andorra declared war on Germany during WWI, but didn't send any soldiers because they didn't have an army. At the Treaty of Versailles, Andorra was forgotten and technically remained at war with Germany, until the two countries declared peace in 1958.

The toy company Wham-O introduced the Hula Hoop which grew in popularity during the summer.

In 1956, Swedish sailor Ake Viking sent a bottled message "To Someone Beautiful and Far Away" that was found in Sicily by a 17-year-old Sicilian girl named Paolina, sparking a correspondence that ended in their marriage in 1958.

During a tour of Germany in 1958, Groucho Marx climbed a pile of rubble that marked the site of Adolf Hitler's bunker, the site of Hitler's death, and performed a two-minute Charleston dance.

Ford created a concept car in 1958 called the Nucleon that would have been powered by a small nuclear reactor

Led by the retired Boston candy manufacturer Robert H.W. Welch Jr., a group of anticommunist activists founded an organization called the John Birch Society that was dedicated to finding and destroying all traces of communism in the United States. The group got their name from John Birch, an intelligence officer killed in China during the Cold War.

World War I News and Information

WWI officially lasted til 1958, because Andorra didn't sign a treaty with Germany

RIP, Scandals, Sad and Odd News

The United States Air Force lost a 7,600-pound (3,400 kg) Mark 15 nuclear bomb in the waters off Tybee Island near Savannah, Georgia, United States. It has never been recovered.

The US Air Force made plans (Project A119) to detonate a nuclear bomb on the moon and wanted it to visible by the naked eye on earth. They hoped it would boost American morale to counter the USSR's advances in the space race.

Walt Disney produced a nature documentary titled "White Wilderness", which featured a segment on lemmings, detailing their tendencies to commit mass suicide. Lemmings do not commit mass suicide, Disney pushed them off cliffs to create the scene.

In Chairman Mao's Chin, millions of sparrows were killed to try and alleviate a 'pest' problem they posed. In 1960 a huge amount of locusts appeared in China and ate all the crops due to the fact that their natural predator had been destroyed. An estimated 20 million Chinese people died.

DJ Alan Freed, inventor of the term "Rock and Roll" was accused of being paid to promote specific shows on his popular radio and live shows. His career ended with his street cred in the PAYOLA scandal.

Alabama tried to ban a children's book, The Rabbits' Wedding, about a white bunny marrying a black bunny, claiming it promoted mixed-race marriage. The author/artist, Garth Montgomery Williams, was surprised, since he'd made the bunnies black and white to look better in the illustrations.

Jerry Lee Lewis married his 13 year old 2nd cousin.

Lana Turner's daughter, Cheryl, saw her mother being beaten by boyfriend Johnny Stompanato, and killed him with a kitchen knife. Some people think that Lana actually did the self-defensive killing.

Firsts and the Biggest Christmas Gifts

LEGOs, Skateboards, Beat the Clock Game , Crayola Crayons '64' with built-in sharpener, Concentration TV Game home version, Hula Hoop (US)

The American Express card was introduced in 1958.

Cracked Magazine (1958-2007)

AARP The Magazine began publication

Famous Monsters of Filmland (1958-1983)

The Habits

Reading Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak
Watching The Vikings, Touch of Evil, The Fly, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Gigi, South Pacific, A Night to Remember, The Blob, Auntie Mame, Houseboat, Horror of Dracula and Vertigo in theaters.
Playing the Card Game Canasta.

1958 Biggest Television Shows

(according to Nielsen TV Research)
1. Gunsmoke (CBS)
2. Wagon Train (NBC)
3. Have Gun Will Travel (CBS)
4. The Rifleman (ABC)
5. The Danny Thomas Show (CBS)
6. Maverick (ABC)
7. Tales of Wells Fargo (NBC)
8. The Real McCoys (ABC)
9. I've Got a Secret (CBS)
10. The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp (ABC)

Popular Music Artists

The Biggest Pop Artists of 1958 include
Billy Vaughn, Buddy Holly, The Chipmonks (David Seville), Chuck Berry, The Coasters, Conway Twitty, Danny & the Juniors, The Diamonds, The Drifters, Elvis Presley, The Everly Brothers, Fats Domino, The Four Preps, Frank Sinatra, Frankie Avalon, Jackie Wilson, Jerry Lee Lewis, Jimmy Clanton, Jimmy Rodgers, Johnny Cash, Johnny Mathis, Pat Boone, Ricky Nelson, Sam Cooke

(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 1958

December 28, 1957 - January 10, 1958: Pat Boone - April Love

January 11, 1958 - February 14, 1958: Danny & the Juniors - At The Hop

February 15, 1958 - March 21, 1958: Elvis Presley - Don't / I Beg Of You

March 22, 1958 - April 25, 1958: The Champs - Tequila

April 26, 1958 - May 2, 1958: The Platters - Twilight Time

May 3, 1958 - May 16, 1958: David Seville - Witch Doctor

May 17, 1958 - June 13, 1958: The Everly Brothers - All I Have To Do Is Dream

June 14, 1958 - July 25, 1958: Sheb Wooley - The Purple People Eater

July 26, 1958 - August 3, 1958: Elvis Presley - Hard Headed Woman

August 4, 1958 - August 17, 1958: Ricky Nelson - Poor Little Fool

August 18, 1958 - August 24, 1958: Domenico Modugno - Volare (Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu)

August 25, 1958 - September 28, 1958: The Elegants - Little Star

September 29, 1958 - November 9, 1958: Tommy Edwards - It's All in the Game

November 10, 1958 - November 16, 1958: Conway Twitty - It's Only Make Believe

November 17, 1958 - November 30, 1958: The Kingston Trio - Tom Dooley

December 1, 1958 - December 21, 1958: The Teddy Bears - To Know Him Is to Love Him

December 22, 1958 - January 18, 1959: The Chipmunks with David Seville - The Chipmunk Song

Popular Movies

Auntie Mame, The Big Country, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Defiant Ones, Gigi, Hercules, Horror of Dracula, I Want To Live!, King Creole, Man of the West, Separate Tables, Some Came Running, South Pacific, Touch of Evil, Vertigo

More Pop Culture History Resources

Popular Music in 1958
# 1 Hits of 1958
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.
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culture:(noun) That which is excellent in the arts.
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