As the year 1955 begins, I’m in the 5th Grade at Parker Elementary School in Oakland, California. In September 1955 I would begin the 6th Grade. I still collected Topps baseball cards. I used to keep my cards in wooden crates in the garage (these crates were filled with many doubles, triples, etc of many of the stars of the era). Like many of the items we collected as kids, we had no idea of their eventual worth. Most of the cards that I collected as a youth got thrown away but some were still in a box in my parent’s basement when I started to have interest in them again (circa 1980). Card collecting started to become a big hobby in the early 1980’s. The cards that got thrown out were worth more than $2,000 (this is a conservative estimate). Below are some of the card sets that I collected in 1955.
In 1955 the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) was signed in Manilla, Philippines. It’s members were The United States, Australia, France, Great Britain, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines and Thailand. This year would see the merger of two labor unions (AFL and CIO) with George Meaney becoming it’s President. In 1955, President Eisenhower would become the first president to televise a news conference. Also this year-actor James Dean would die in a car crash in September, Albert Einstein would die at the age of 76, President Eisenhower would suffer a minor heart attack, Rosa Parks would stage her protest in Montgomery, Alabama, unemployment was now 4.4% and Hurricanes Connie and Diane would unleash their fury on the East Coast. This was also the year that Rock and Roll would come to the forefront of popular music.
————————————————–Cost Of Living————————————-
A home now cost $9,100, the minimum wage was $1 an hour, the average income was $4,137, milk was 43 cents for a half gallon, a 6 1/2 ounce can of Sunkist Tuna was 25 cents, a 24 pack of Cracker Jack was $1.49, 2 bars of Ivory Soap were 29 cents,a dozen eggs were 61 cents and a pint of potato salad was 29 cents. This item was 88 cents
In 1955, Disneyland would open it’s doors in Anaheim, California on July 18. This was one of the most popular items this year -the Davy Crockett Coonskin Cap (I never had one).
Also new this year was Kentucky Fried Chicken, Kelloggs Special K Cereal, the Ann Landers column in the newspaper, instant oatmeal by Quaker Oats, Birdseye Frozen Potato Patties, Crest Toothpaste, no iron dacron and Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo (no more tears).
—————————The World Of Sports——————————————————-
Rocky Marciano would reign as the Heavyweight Boxing Champion. His record would go to 49-0 and he would retire next year, leaving his title open. In baseball, The Philadelphia A’s would move to Kansas City this year (they would leave Kansas City after the 1967 season and come to Oakland). The World Series was between The Brooklyn Dodgers and The New York Yankees. This time The Dodgers would win 4 games to 3 (they would be aided by a great catch and throw by left fielder Sandy Amoros in Game 7). In the NBA,The Syracuse Nationals would defeat The Fort Wayne Pistons 4 games to 3. In the NFL title game it was The Cleveland Browns 38 and The Los Angeles Rams 14 (this game was held on December 26.
—————————The World Of Television———————————————
The most popular shows on TV would include “I Love Lucy” (CBS, Monday 9:00-9:30 PM), “The Ed Sullivan Show”, formerly known as “The Toast Of The Town” (CBS, Sunday 8:00-9:00 PM), “Disneyland” (ABC, Wednesday 7:30-8:30 PM),
“The Jack Benny Show” (CBS, Sunday 7:30-8:00 PM), “December Bride” (CBS, Monday 9:30-10:00 PM), “You Bet Your Life” (NBC, Thursday 8:00-8:30 PM), “Dragnet” (NBC, Thursday 9:00-9:30 PM), “The Millionaire” (CBS, Wednesday 9:00-9:30 PM), “I’ve Got A Secret” (CBS, Wednesday 9:30-10:00 PM), “GE Theater” (CBS, Sunday 9:00-9:30 PM), “Private Secretary” (CBS, Sunday 7:30-8:00 PM), “Ford Theatre” (NBC, Thursday 9:30-10:00 PM), “The Red Skelton Show” (CBS, Tuesday 9:30-10:00 PM), “The George Gobel Show” (NBC, Saturday 10:00-10:30 PM), “Your Hit Parade” (NBC, Saturday 10:30-11:00 PM), “Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts” (CBS, Monday 8:30-9:00 PM), “The Lineup” (CBS, Friday 10:00-10:30 PM), “The Perry Como Show” (NBC, Saturday 8:00-9:00 PM), “The Honeymooners” (CBS, Saturday 8:30-9:00 PM), “The Adventures Of Robin Hood” (CBS, Monday 7:30-8:00 PM), “The Life Of Riley” (NBC, Friday 8:30-9:00 PM), “Climax” (CBS, Thursday 8:30-9:30 PM), “Fireside Theatre” (NBC, Tuesday 9:00-9:30 PM) and “Lux Video Theatre” (NBC, Thursday 10:00-11:00 PM)). The most popular show on TV this year was a quiz show, “The $64,000 Question” (CBS, Tuesday 10:00-10:30 PM).
Other shows on TV this year would include “The Lawrence Welk Show” (the beginning of this long running ABC show, Saturday 9:00-10:00 PM), “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” (CBS, Sunday 9:30-10:00 PM), “The Life And Legend Of Wyatt Earp” (ABC, Tuesday 8:30-9:00 PM),
“Masquerade Party” (ABC, Wednesday 9:00-9:30 PM), “Sargeant Preston Of The Yukon” (CBS, Thursday 7:30-8:00 PM), “Johnny Carson” (CBS, Thursday 10:00-10:30 PM), “The People’s Choice” (NBC, Thursday 8:30-9:00 PM) and the beginning of a legendary western, “Gunsmoke” (CBS, Saturday 10:00-10:30 PM). 🙂 🙂 🙂
References: The Complete Directory To Prime Time Network TV Shows 1946-Present” by Tim Brooks & Earle Marsh, “Fifties Web”, “What Happened When” by Gorton Carruth and “Chronicles Of America” published by Dorling Kindersley.