1958 Flashback

1958 Flashback

Now we enter the year of the hula hoop. As the hula hoop craze was sweeping the country, transistor radios were becoming very popular. I had my first transistor radio now-you could now take the music with you. I was now in the 8th Grade at Frick Junior High School in Oakland, California and in September I would enter the 9th Grade. I was still collecting cards and these were two of the sets that I collected this year.

———————————————-News Events————————————————

This was the year Elvis Presley went into the Army, the Alaska Statehood Bill passed Congress, school desegregation in the South was still a major issue and unemployment reached 7.7% as a recession gripped the country. January 31 would see the launch of Explorer 1, the first U.S Earth Satellite at Cape Canaveral, Florida.

On March 17, Vanguard 1 (the second U.S space vehicle) was launched at Cape Canaveral. Martin Luther King was stabbed by a Black woman this year (he would fully recover). Charles De Gaulle would become the Premier of France this year. This was a peak year for drive in theaters (4,063 nationwide). Another top news story this year would concern the islands of Quemoy and Matsu, off shore islands next to China. The Chinese Communists wanted control of these islands.

———————————————Cost Of Living—————————————–

In 1958, the average yearly income was $4,650, gasoline was 24 cents a gallon, a gallon of milk was $1.01 and a half gallon of milk was 42 cents, a loaf of bread was 19 cents, a first class postage stamp was now 4 cents, Swiss Steak was 75 cents a pound, a 14 ounce box of Uncle Ben’s Rice was 19 cents, a 5 pound bag of Sunkist Oranges was 49 cents, Nathan’s Hot Dogs were 25 cents a pound, a 15 1/2 ounce can of Chef Boyardee Spaghetti was 19 cents and a Corned Beef was 59 cents a pound.

—————————————–The World Of Sports————————————

This was the year that two of the New York baseball teams headed west. The Brooklyn Dodgers were now the Los Angeles Dodgers and The New York Giants were now The San Francisco Giants. Opening Day featured The Giants against The Dodgers at Seals Stadium in San Francisco (an old Pacific Coast League stadium).

In the 1958 World Series The Milwaukee Braves would battle The New York Yankees in a rematch of last year’s World Series. This time The Yankees would win the series 4 games to 3. In the world of Golf, Arnold Palmer would win his first Masters Title. In the NBA, The St.Louis Hawks would defeat The Boston Celtics 4 games to 2 to win the NBA Title. In the NFL, Jim Brown would win the MVP for the second year in a row and December 28 would see one of the greatest games in sports history. In the NFL Title game, The Baltimore Colts would defeat The New York Giants 23 to 17 in a game that went to sudden death overtime in a very frosty Yankee Stadium in New York.

——————————————-The World Of Television————————————

If you turned your TV to ABC on Thursday evening (8:00-8:30 PM), this is the program that you would be watching.

The era of the TV Western had fully arrived (7 out of the top 10 shows on TV this year were westerns). The Most popular shows on TV this year were “General Electric Theater” (CBS, Sunday 9:00-9:30 PM), “Name That Tune” (CBS, Monday 7:30-8:00 PM), “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” (CBS, Sunday 9:30-10:00 PM), “The Perry Como Show” (NBC, Saturday 8:00-9:00 PM), “The Ann Sothern Show” (CBS, Monday 9:30-10:00 PM), “Sugarfoot” (ABC, Tuesday 7:30-8:30 PM), “The Ford Show(Tennessee Ernie Ford)” (NBC, Thursday 9:30-10:00 PM), “Perry Mason” (CBS, Saturday 7:30-8:30 PM), “Cheyenne” (ABC, Tuesday 7:30-8:30 PM), “Peter Gunn” (NBC, Monday 9:00-9:30 PM), “Wanted Dead Or Alive” (CBS western starring Steve McQueen as bounty hunter Josh Randall, Saturday 8:30-9:00 PM), “The Texan” (CBS, Monday 8:00-8:30 PM), “Father Knows Best” (CBS, Monday 8:30-9:00 PM), “Zane Grey Theater” (CBS, Thursday 9:00-9:30 PM), “The Red Skelton Show” (CBS, Tuesday 9:30-10:00 PM), “The Price Is Right” (NBC, Wednesday 8:30-9:00 PM), “The Life And Legend Of Wyatt Earp” (ABC, Tuesday 8:30-9:00 PM), “I’ve Got A Secret” (CBS, Wednesday 9:30-10:00 PM), “The Real McCoys” (ABC, Thursday 8:30-9:00 PM), “Tales Of Wells Fargo” (NBC, Monday 8:30-9:00 PM), “Maverick” (ABC, Sunday 7:30-8:00 PM), “The Danny Thomas Show” (CBS, Monday 9:00-9:30 PM), “The Rifleman” (ABC, Tuesday 9:00-9:30 PM) and “Have Gun Will Travel” (CBS, Saturday 9:30-10:00 PM). This was the second most popular show on TV this year.

The most popular show on TV this year was still “Gunsmoke” (CBS, Saturday 10:00-10:30 PM). Other shows on TV this year would include “The Lawman” (ABC, Sunday 8:30-9:00 PM), “Colt 45” (ABC, Sunday 9:00-9:30 PM), “The Steve Allen Show” (NBC, Sunday 8:00-9:00 PM), “Cimarron City” (NBC, Saturday 9:30-10:30 PM), “The Adventures Of Ellery Queen” (NBC, Friday 8:00-9:00 PM), “The Thin Man” (NBC, Friday 9:30-10:00 PM), “Trackdown” (CBS, Friday 8:00-8:30 PM), “M Squad” (NBC, Friday 9:00-9:30 PM), “Bat Masterson” (NBC, Wednesday 9:30-10:00 PM), “77 Sunset Strip” (ABC, Friday 9:30-10:30 PM), “The Naked City” (ABC, Tuesday 9:30-10:00 PM), “The Donna Reed Show” (ABC, Wednesday 9:00-9:30 PM), “The Loretta Young Show” (NBC, Sunday 10:00-10:30 PM) and “Northwest Passage” (NBC, Sunday 7:30-8:00 PM). 🙂 🙂 🙂

References: “The Complete Directory To Prime Time Network TV Shows 1946-Present” by Tim Brooks & Earle Marsh, “Fifties Web”, “Flashback 58”, “Chronicles Of America” published by Dorling Kindersley and “What Happened When” by Gorton Carrruth.

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