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Remember when page for the Grand Rapids High School Class of 1961 40th Reunion



While Growing To Young Adults

Miscellaneous Happenings

1943 - 1961


1943:  Most of the class of '61 were born in 1943

  • WWII was still being fought 
  • Eisenhower named supreme allied commander
  • War time rationing begins
  • Radar first used
  • 150,000 German troops surrender in North Africa
  • German army surrenders at Stalingrad
  • Mossolini deposed, Italy surrenders to Eisenhower
  • Rommel routed by U.S. Army at Kasserine Pass
  • Japan withdraws from Guadalcanal
  • The Pentagon, the world's largest office building is completed at a cost of $64 million
  • Roosevelt calls for $100 Billion military budget
  • Canned food and shoes rationed in the U.S.
  • Jefferson Memorial dedicated in Washington D.C.
  • War department says no hard liquor for army personnel
  • George Washington Carver, famed botanist dies
  • Average Income - $2,041
  • New Car - $900
  • New House $3,600
  • Loaf of Bread - 10 cents
  • Gallon of gas 15 cents
  • Gallon of milk 62 cents
  • Gold sold for $35 per ounce
  • Silver sold for 71 cents per ounce
  • Dow Jones Average 134 points
  • Life Expectancy 62.5 Years
  • Miss America was Jean Bartel of Los Angeles
  • Main invention was LSD-25
  • Franklin Roosevelt was President
  • Henry Wallace was Vice President
  • Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup
  • 16th Academy Awards (1943) were moved to a theater setting.  A banquet seemed inappropriate due to war shortages. 

1944:

  • The world is at war...
  • Ration Coupons
  • Jitterbug, Dance Marathons
  • Rosie the Riveter
  • Big Band music ruled the airwaves

1945:

  • Germany surrenders
  • Atomic bomb dropped on Japan
  • Japan surrenders

1946:

  • ENIAC, The first general purpose electronic digital computer.

     

1947:

  • The first tailfin was on the '48 Cadillac, introduced in October, 1947
  • The first Levittown home was occupied.  New housing developments led to the middle-class migration to the suburbs and caused the need for high-speed roads to handle commuters.
  • Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier

1948:

  • Bell Telephone Labs demonstrates the transistor.
  • 4,196,000 electric clothes washers are sold in 1948 compared with 1,892,000 in 1941.
  • Now 75% of all homes had flush toilets; this figure rose to over 90% by 1963.
  • In 1948, only 64% of all homes were had telephones; by 1963, 83% had phones.
  • 33% of all adults had four years of high school education; by 1963 it was 46%; today it's almost 80%.
  • Road & Track, a magazine devoted to sports cars, begins publication.
  • The first jet plane lands on an aircraft carrier.
  • Adidas, the athletic shoe manufacturer, is founded.
  • The Kinsey Report on human sexual behavior is published.

1949:  We entered the first grade.

  • Civil War veterans (16 in number) have their last meeting.
  • Cortisone discovered.
  • Joe Louis retires.
  • Sam Snead wins PGA.
  • Bikini introduced.
  • NATO was formed
  • Minimum wage bill passed
  • Key starters introduced on cars.
  • First 33.3 and 45 rpm records.
  • First Land Rover produced.
  • Hot Rod magazine debuts.
  • Silly Putty debuts; over 30 million Silly Putty 'eggs' are sold over the next five years.
  • Lego building blocks are introduced.
  • The atomic clock is developed.
  • Brylcream ads, "A little dab'll do ya."

1950:

  • The population of the United States as reported by the 1950 Census is 150,697,361. The population of the world is approximately 2.5 billion.
  • There are 1,667,231 marriages to 385,144 divorces (23%). By 1998 there will be 2,256,000 marriages and 955,000 divorces (43%)
  • Median age for 1st marriage is 22.8 years old for men and 20.3 for women. By 1998, it will be 26.7 years old for men and 25 for women.
  • 7,464,000 TV sets are sold at an average price of $300.
  • PaperMate is the first leak-proof ballpoint pen.
  • Haloid Corporation (later renamed Xerox) develops the first xerographic copy machine.
  • Peanuts - the comic strip - makes its debut.The First Peanuts Comic - click for more
  • The first Club Med opens.
  • First credit card is issued by Diners Club.
  • The FBI issues the first Ten Most Wanted Criminals list.
  • Top movies include The African Queen.
  • The first self-service elevator is installed by Otis Elevator in Dallas
  • Paul Harvey begins his national radio broadcast.
  • There are 10,500,000 TV sets in 10,400,000 homes
  • Hank Ketcham creates  "Dennis the Menace."
  • Telephone Answering Machine created by Bell Laboratories.
  • First food processor (the Kenwood Chef)
  • Antihistamines introduced.
  • Color television licensed - average weekly earnings reach $60.
  • First NCAA basketball championship
  • During the 1950's some people built bomb shelters for a living
  • Senator McCarthy begins inquiry to "un-American" activities

1951:

  • Earl Tupper introduces Tupperware.
  • The first heart-lung machine was invented, allowing advanced life support during open heart surgery
  • Eames shell chair is produced from fiberglass-reinforced polyester plastic.Eames chair

 

 

 

  • First videotape recording
  • Topps Company started it's first baseball card series. The series consisted of two individual sets of 52 cards each.
  • 20 year old outfielder Willie Mays joins N.Y. Giants Baseball team, while Joe DiMaggio retires from baseball.
  • Direct-dial, coast-to-coast telephone service began as Mayor M. Leslie Denning of Englewood, New Jersey called his counterpart mayor Frank Osborn in Alameda, California.
  • A.E.C. produces electricity from atomic energy.
  • J.D. Salinger published Catcher in the Rye.
  • American automobile manufacturer Chrysler Corporation introduces power steering.
  • S&H Green Stamps get their start at the Denver store chain King Sooper.
  • Still camera gets built-in flash units.
  • A Crosley automobile with a steering wheel on the right side became the first such vehicle placed in service for mail delivery - in Cincinnati, Ohio.

1952:

  •  sleeping it 
  • Plastic kits of model aircraft are produced and soon model cars.
  • Marilyn Monroe's tight sweaters inspire the 'sweater girl' look.First Mad magazineFirst Mad magazine
  • Teabags introduced into Britain
  • Guiding Light, currently the longest running drama in broadcasting history, premiered on TV.
  • Ronald Reagan and actress Nancy Davis were married in San Fernando Valley, California. It was Reagan's second marriage.
  • First jet airliner (de Havilland Comet)
  • Norman Vincent Peale, publishes his most popular book, The Power of Positive Thinking
  • Telephone area codes begin.
  • Mr. Potato Head arrives!
  • Sony, a brand new Japanese company, introduces the first pocket-sized transistor radio
  • The typical U.S. grocery store now carries about 4,000 different items, up from about 870 in 1928.By the mid-1960s the grocery will be a supermarket carrying some 8,000 items.
  • TV first acknowledges pregnancy on I Love Lucy -  TV still did  not portray married people the same bed.

1953:

  • Chevrolet Corvette becomes the first production car to have an all-fiberglass body.
  • First issue of Playboy magazine is published.
  • New York adopts three color traffic lights.
  • Edmund Hilary and Tenzing Norgay become the first humans to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
  • Playboy Magazine begins publication, featuring nudes of Marilyn Monroe in its first issue.
  • The Church of Scientology is founded by L. Ron Hubbard, a science-fiction writer.
  • University of Minnesota physiologist Ancel Keys points out a correlation between coronary heart disease and diets high in animal fats. 
  • TV Guide is born.
  • The first 3-D movie is shown: Arch Oboler's Bwana Devil, starring Robert Stack.
  • The Academy Awards are televised for the first time.
  • 46.4% of all domestic passenger travel was by railroad; 28.9% by bus; and 21.6% by air.
  • Jacqueline Bouvier marries John F Kennedy
  • Dow Chemical creates Saran Wrap.

1954:

  • Matchbox cars arrive.
  • Miss America Pageant is televised for the first time.
  • Bell Telephone Labs develops a solar battery.
  • Con-Tact paper premieres - cost is 59? per yard.
  • Polypropylene is invented.
  • The World Series is broadcast in color for the first time. NY Giants defeat Cleveland (4-0).
  • IBM announces the development of an electronic brain for business use. 
  • Sports Illustrated is born! 
  • A test program using sterilized males wipes out screwworm flies on the Caribbean island of Curacao in only 4 months. (Just thought you should know this fact.)
  • Baseball legend Hank Aaron begins his career by joining the Milwaukee Braves.
  • Sun Myung Moon founds the Unification Church.
  • Catholic Church declares watching Mass on TV does not fulfill obligations.
  • Ellis Island, the immigration station in NY Harbor, is closed. 
  • Bazooka Joe comics were first introduced.
  • Dr. Roger Bannister of England becomes the first person to run a mile in less than four minutes on May 6. His time is 3 minutes, 59.4 seconds.
  • General Electric introduces colored kitchen appliances.

1955:  We entered  junior high school.

  • President Eisenhower takes part in the first televised press conference.
  • Davy Crockett fad spawns over $100 million in toy and merchandise sales.
  • Play-Doh is created.
  • The Jonas Salk-developed polio vaccine is given to seven million American schoolchildren.
  • Alfred E. Neuman appears on the cover of MAD as a write-in candidate for President.
  • Ann Landers' advice column first appears in newspapers.
  • Disneyland opens for business in California and has over 1 million visitors in 7 weeks.
  • James Dean is killed while driving his new Porsche Spyder at high speed. James Dean
  • Average movie ticket price is 50?.
  • Thunderbird comes to Ford showrooms - just under $3000 without options.
  • 1st automobile seat belt legislation enacted (Illinois).
  • Barbra Striesand's 1st recording "You'll Never Know" at age 13.
  • Congress authorizes all US currency and coins to say "In God We Trust."
  • Johnson & Johnson invents the first ?baby shampoo?. No More Tears!
  • The first home microwave ovens are manufactured by Tappan - cost $1300.
  • Crest introduces the first toothpaste with fluoride.
  • NY psychologist Joyce Brothers won the "$64,000 Question." Her topic? Boxing.
  • The National Review appears, edited and published by William F. Buckley, Jr.
  • First hovercraft.
  • Scrabble released.

1956:

  • Air passenger traffic equals rail passenger traffic.
  • Hamilton introduces the first battery-powered electric wristwatch.
  • The first Midas Muffler Shop appears.
  • Comet cleanser and Pampers disposable diapers make their respective debuts.
  • Elvis Presley, had the number one hit, 'Heartbreak Hotel.' For 25 of 37 weeks, Elvis held the absolute top of the charts with 7 single, million-seller hits.
  • Elvis Presley appears on Ed Sullivan.
  • Mental patients occupy more hospital beds than all other illnesses combined.
  • Last survivor of the Union Army dies (Albert Woolsen)
  • Transatlantic telephone cable.
  • Film actress Grace Kelly marries Prince Rainier III of Monaco.
  • Last Ringling Bros/Barnum & Bailey show under canvas.
  • Pepsodent inaugurates "You'll wonder where the yellow went" ad campaign.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture formulates the four basic food groups.
  • At a Fourth of July family barbecue, Milton Levine dreams up the idea for the first Ant Farm, complete with live ants.
  • Yahtzee is born!
  • As the World Turns and Edge of Night premiere.
  • The first prefrontal lobotomy performed in Washington DC.
  • Wizard of Oz first aired on TV.
  • By now, more than 80 percent of U.S. households have refrigerators. By contrast, only 8 percent of British households do.
  • Clairol introduces the "Does She or Doesn't She" advertising campaign. "Only her hairdresser knows for sure."
  • Certs, the first candy breath mint, is introduced.

1957:

  •  

hula hoopsThe Hula Hoop is introduced in '57; the fad peaks in 1958 (over one million pounds per week of polyethylene plastic is consumed trying to keep up with demand.)

  • The Frisbee is introduced.
  • American Bandstand goes coast-to-coast.
  • Boeing 707 passenger jet makes its inaugural flight.
  • $25 million in Elvis non-record merchandise is sold.
  • Elvis appears in his first motion picture, Love Me Tender.
  • First non-stop around the world flight
  • Rocky Marciano retires undefeated as heavyweight boxing champion.
  • Barry Gordy, Jr. invests $700 to found "Motown Records." 
  • Velcro is patented by George de Mestral of Switzerland.
  • Greyhound inaugurates the "It's such a comfort to take the bus and leave the driving to us" ad campaign.
  • The 13-year-old Bobby Fisher becomes a chess champion.
  • The Pink Flamingo emerged on the lawn.
  • Ed Gein's killing and mutilation spree is over as he is arrested. Gein was the inspiration for Norman Bates in Psycho and Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs.
  • Eveready produces "AA" size alkaline batteries for use in "personal transistor radios."
  • At a Miami radio station, new employee Lawrence Harvey Zeiger abruptly adopts a stage name - Larry King - and begins broadcasting.
  • NYC ends trolley car service.
  • The publication of Jack Kerouac's On the Road introduces the words "beat" and "beatnik" into the American popular consciousness.
  • Americans Clarence W. Lillehie and Earl Bakk invent the internal pacemaker.
  • Theodore Geisel writes Cat in the Hat as Dr. Seuss!
  • Margarine sales take the lead over butter.
  • Better Homes & Gardens prints its first microwave-cooking article.
  • Surgeon General links smoking to lung cancer.
  • Giants leave New York and Dodgers leave Brooklyn.

1958:  We entered high school.

  • The American Express Card debuts.
  • The median U.S. family annual income is just over $5,000.
  • Elvis is drafted into the Army.                                               
  • The sack dress becomes the fashion rage for women.
  • Tropical fish are the most popular pet for Americans.
  • First trans-Atlantic passenger jet service.
  • First heart pacemaker.
  • First stereo records.
  • Pogo stick craze.
  • The price of 1st class US postage is raised to 4? from 3? where it had been for 26 years - only a penny in 26 years!
  • Dodger catcher Roy Campanella is paralyzed when the car he was driving skidded into a telephone pole.
  • The Bank of American introduces the BankAmericard, which will become the Visa card.
  • Eighteen-year-old Frank Carney sees a story in the Saturday Evening Post about the "pizza fad" among teenagers and college students. With $600 borrowed from his mother, he opens the first Pizza Hut in Wichita, Kan.
  • Crest toothpaste inaugurates the "Look, Ma! No cavities!" ad campaign.
  • Nelson Mandela weds Winnie Madikizela.
  • UP & International News Service merge into United Press International.
  • The first ever Grammy Awards!
  • Sterophonic recordings, which use two separately recorded channels of sound to recreate a sense of space, come into commercial use.
  • Japan?s new Datsun (Model 211) cars begin shipping to the U.S. but only 52 will sell. An especially meager number since in 1958 America will import 430,808 passenger cars.
  • The Chevrolet Impala is introduced!
  • Dr Ake Senning installs the first pacemaker.

1959:

  •    '59 CadillacCadillac tailfins were now almost as tall as the car itself. 

 

  • Teflon-coated pots and pans go on sale.
  • Barbie doll appears.                                  
  • The first integrated circuit is demonstrated.
  • The Ski-Doo snowmobile debuts
  • Rock and roll singers are killed in a plane crash in Iowa. Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson the Big Bopper.
  • 21 students at St. Mary's college in Morage, CA crammed themselves into a telephone booth.
  • Pantyhose are introduced.
  • Alaska and Hawaii admitted to statehood.
  • Lady Chatterly's Lover banned by the U.S. Postal Service.
  • "Think Small" campaign from Volkwagon. In 1999 Advertising Age picked this as the number one ad campaign of the century!
  • Maxwell House inaugurates the "Good to the last drop" ad campaign.
  • The BIC ballpoint pen is introduced in America!
  • A banner year for imported passenger cars. Some 668,070 of them. Up from 21,287 in 1950.The trend will reverse itself and by 1961 when there are only 279,437 imports.
  • The microchip is invented by Jack Kilby and Robert Noyce of the U.S. 
  • Vince Lombardi signs on to coach Green Bay Packers, a job he would hold until 1968.
  • Groucho, Chico & Harpo Marx's final TV appearance together - on G.E. Theater with host Ronald Reagan.
  • Giants Stadium is renamed Candlestick Park.
  • Frank Lloyd Wright dies

1960:

  • Etch-A-Sketch debuts.
  • Pentel introduces the felt-tip pen.
  • Movies, Psycho, The Apartment, The Bellboy, Butterfield 8, Exodus, Elmer Gantry, The Magnificent Seven, Ocean's Eleven, The World of Suzie Wong.
  • Elvis leaves the army
  • Charles Van Doren arrested for cheating in quiz show.
  • Birth control pill arrived.
  • First national presidental TV debate.
  • First Playboy club opens in Chicago.
  • The American Football league was formed.
  • Chubby Checker introduces the "Twist"..
  • Civil Rights Bill passes Senate.
  • 16 yr. old Bobby Fischer wins US chess championship.
  • Arnold Palmer defeats Jack Nicklaus in US Open.
  • Gary Power's U2 spy plane downed over Russia.

1961:  High school graduation.

  • John F. Kennedy is sworn in.
  • The Peace Corps is inaugurated.
  • Bay of Pigs.
  • The Berlin Wall goes up.
  • Adolph Eichmann on trial for war crimes against Jews.
  • The $450 IBM Selectric typewriter appears.
  • Slip 'n Slide is introduced.
  • Barbie's friend, Ken, debuts.
  • The drug thalidomide is found to cause malformations in new born babies
  • In May FCC Chairman Newton Minow claims that television is a "vast wasteland." Oh, if he only knew....
  • April 12: Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin is the first man to travel into space, as he circles the earth in 90 minutes in the Vostok I 187 miles above the earth.
  • May 5: Navy Commander Alan B. Shepard, Jr., blasts into space for a 20 minute ride "out of this world" in the Freedom 7. The space race is under way, but the U.S. is behind.
  • Coca Cola introduces Sprite to complete against 7-Up. Another race is under way.
  • Ray Kroc buys out the McDonald brothers and takes control over the hamburger chain.
  • March 29: The 23d amendment to the Constitution is ratified; it provides for congressional representation of Washington, D.C.
  • Joseph Heller's "Catch 22" is published.
  • Johnson & Johnson introduces Tylenol.
  • The New York Yankees win the World Series by defeating Cincinnati in five games.
  • Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle compete to beat Babe Ruth's record of 60 home runs. Maris hits number 61 on October 1.
  • The Academy award for Best Picture goes to "West Side Story," which also wins several other awards.


 

 

Contributions for this page were taken from http://www.fiftiesweb.com/  and http://www.joesherlock.com/fifties.html

Others sites made contributions as well.



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Last Modified Jan. 25, 2003