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BOOMERNET Chronicle: 1956

1956

Click to buy at Amazon.com 1956 is a great year for Elvis Presley. With 11 hits in AM radio's Top 40, including 5 at #1, he emerges as the first superstar of rock 'n' roll. Enjoying fame on TV with the likes of Milton Berle, Steve Allen, and Ed Sullivan, he also stars in the first of his many movies, Love Me Tender.

International events dominate the news at the end of the year, as the Suez Crisis and the Hungarian revolution erupt almost simultaneously. In Egypt, Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalizes the Suez Canal after the U.S. withdraws financial support for construction of the Aswan Dam. Britain, France and Israel attack Egypt in response, but U.S. pressure leads to a quick cease-fire. Meanwhile, in Hungary, students revolt against the Communist regime, toppling the government. Soviets troops and tanks, however, crush the revolution. Thousands are killed or wounded and more than 200,000 leave the country.

U.S. elections occur at the same time as the fighting in both Europe and the Middle East. President Eisenhower easily defeats Adlai Stevenson once again, carrying 41 of the 48 states, although Democrats retain control of both houses of Congress. A highlight of the campaign is the convention speech in which Stevenson is nominated by young Senator Jack Kennedy of Massachusetts. Combined with almost winning nomination as the VP candidate that year, Kennedy's political fortunes begin the rise which leads him to the White House 4 years later.


U.S. Facts

  • President: Dwight D. Eisenhower (R)
  • Population: 168,903,000
  • Life Expectancy: 69.7 years
  • Unemployment: 4.1%
  • Average Annual Salary: $5,300
  • Minimum Wage: $1.00 per hour
  • Inflation Rate: 1.5%

What Things Cost

  • Automobile: $2,100
  • Gasoline: $0.30 per gallon
  • House: $17,800
  • Bread: $0.18 per loaf
  • Milk: $0.97 per gallon
  • Postage Stamp: $0.03

Major U.S. Events

  • Eisenhower re-elected President
  • Congress approves Highway Act, to begin interstate highway system

Major World Events

  • Soviet troops invade Hungary to crush anti-Communist revolt
  • Egypt nationalizes the Suez Canal and later blocks shipping
  • U.K., France, and Israel attack Egypt to force reopening of canal

February

  • Communist Party Sec. Krushchev denounces Stalin's excesses

June

  • British troops evacuate Suez base in Egypt, at end of 20-year lease

July

  • U.S. withdraws all financial aid for Egypt's Aswan Dam project
  • Nasser responds by nationalizing the Suez Canal
  • Congress makes "In God we trust" national motto of U.S.

October

  • Don Larsen pitches only "perfect game" in World Series history
  • Hungarian revolution begins; Communist goverment falls
  • Israel invades Sinai peninsula and drives toward Suez Canal
  • British and French bomb Cairo; Egypt blocks canal

November

  • British and French invade Egypt
  • U.S pressure leads to cease-fire; stops British, French, Israeli advances
  • Eden resigns as British prime minister
  • Soviets crush anti-Communist uprising in Hungary

December

  • Castro's rebels defeated by Batista in Cuba; driven into mountains
  • U.N. peacekeeping troops arrive in Egypt to stabilize conditions
  • Bus boycott ends in Montgomery, AL, following Supreme Court ruling

Top Songs

  • Heartbreak Hotel by Elvis Presley
  • Don't Be Cruel by Elvis Presley
  • Lisbon Antigua by Nelson Riddle
  • My Prayer by The Platters
  • The Wayward Wind by Gogi Grant

Other New Songs

  • Blueberry Hill by Fats Domino
  • Be-Bop-A-Lula by Gene Vincent & His Blue Caps
  • See You Later Alligator by Bill Haley & His Comets
  • Hound Dog by Elvis Presley
  • Tutti Frutti by Little Richard

Top Movies

  • Around the World in 80 Days
  • Anastasia
  • The King and I
  • Giant
  • Bus Stop

Top Books

  • Diamonds Are Forever by Ian Fleming
  • Bang the Drum Slowly by Mark Harris
  • The Naked Sun by Isaac Asimov
  • Peyton Place by Grace Metalious
  • The Last Hurrah by Edwin O'Connor

Top TV Shows (1955-56)

  • The $64,000 Question
  • I Love Lucy
  • The Ed Sullivan Show
  • Disneyland
  • The Jack Benny Show

Major League Baseball: World Series

  • New York Yankees d. Brooklyn Dodgers

Pro Football: Championship

  • New York Giants d. Chicago Bears

Ice Hockey: Stanley Cup

  • Montreal Canadiens d. Detroit Red Wings

Pro Basketball: Championship

  • Philadelphia Warriors d. Ft. Wayne Pistons

NCAA Champions

  • Football: Oklahoma Sooners
  • Basketball: San Francisco Dons

Other Champions

  • Winter Olympics (Cortina d'Ampezzo, Italy): USSR
  • Summer Olympics (Melbourne, Australia): USSR
  • Boxing: Floyd Patterson wins heavyweight title
  • Golf: Jack Burke is PGA player of the year
  • Tennis: Ken Rosewall and Shirley Fry win U.S. Open
  • Horse Racing: Needles wins Kentucky Derby
  • Auto Racing: Pat Flaherty wins Indianapolis 500

Note: You may click on the images above to visit Amazon.com for souvenirs of the era


Inventions, Fads, & Fashion
  • Wankel develops the rotary internal combustion engine in Germany
  • 1st transatlantic telephone cable goes into operation
  • Hard disk drive (5 MB) invented by IBM
  • Black-and-white portable TV sets become available
  • More than 80% of U.S. households have refrigerators
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