As the year 1959 begins, I am in the 9th Grade at Frick Junior High in Oakland, California. We were the first class to graduate from the new building (the old building barely survived a strong earthquake a few years earlier) I would graduate from Frick in June of 1959, then it was on to Castlemont High in Oakland (I would start there in September of 1959). Castlemont was also an old building, having been built in 1929. It looked like an old castle, but it also had served it’s time. During my time at Castlemont a new building would be constructed, but I did get to go to the old castle during it’s final year (1959). I was still collecting baseball cards and football cards (anything that had gum packaged with it). These were some of the sets that I collected this year.
This was the year that Alaska became the 49th State and Hawaii became the 50th. This was the year that Vice President Nixon visited Moscow and Russian leader Nikita Khruschev would visit The United States. This was the year that Fidel Castro was recognized as the new leader in Cuba. On April 15 of this year he would visit Washington D.C. This was the year that tragedy would strike the world of popular music.
This was the year that would see the death of Blues Legend, Billie Holiday. Racial problems were still going on in Little Rock, Arkansas and unemployment was now at 6.8%. This year saw a Steel Strike that would last for 116 days and this would also be the year of Able & Baker.
—————————————–Cost Of Living———————————————
The hourly minimum wage was now $1.00 an hour, the average yearly income was $5,016, a gallon of gas was 25 cents, milk was $1.01 a gallon, a loaf of bread was 20 cents,1 pound of coffee was 77 cents, a 1 pound can of Nestle’s Quick was 39 cents, 1 pound of cornmeal was 11 cents, a T-bone steak was $1.09 a pound and two 15 ounce cans of Chef Boyardee Spaghetti (with meatballs) was 45 cents.
——————————————The World Of Sports—————————————
In the NBA playoffs, The Boston Celtics would defeat The Minneapolis Lakers 4 games to 2. In the World Series, it was The Los Angeles Dodgers and The Chicago, White Sox. The Dodgers would win the series 4 games to 2.
In the NFL title game, it was The New York Giants and The Baltimore Colts again. Baltimore would win again, this time it was 31 to 16. Johnny Unitas was the MVP once again. A new professional football league was created this year-it was called The American Football League. The eight original franchises for this league were The Buffalo Bills, The Houston Oilers, The Titans Of New York, The Boston Patriots, The Los Angeles Chargers, The Denver Broncos, The Dallas Texans and The Oakland Raiders.
————————————-Movies And Television———————————————-
Some of the top movies this year were “Some Like It Hot”, “Pillow Talk”, Gidget”, “North By Northwest” and “Ben Hur”. The top shows on TV this year would include “Alfred Hitchcock Presents (CBS, Sunday 9:30-10:00 PM), “The Ann Sothern Show” (CBS, Monday 9:30-10:00 PM), “General Electric Theater” (CBS, Sunday 9:00-9:30 PM), “Zane Grey Theater” (CBS, Thursday 9:00-9:30 PM), “Mr. Lucky” (CBS, Saturday 9:00-9:30 PM), “The Life And Legend Of Wyatt Earp” (ABC, Tuesday 8:30-9:00 PM), “Maverick” (ABC, Sunday 7:30-8:00 PM), “Rawhide” (CBS, Friday 7:30-8:30 PM),
“Cheyenne” (ABC, Monday 7:30-8:30 PM), “Dennis The Menace” (CBS, Sunday 7:30-8:00 PM), “The Lawman” (ABC, Sunday 8:30-9:00 PM), “The Ford Show” (NBC, Thursday 9:30-10:00 PM), “The Rifleman” (ABC, Tuesday 9:00-9:30 PM), “The Ed Sullivan Show” (CBS, Sunday 8:00-9:00 PM), “The Real McCoys” (ABC, Thursday 8:30-9:00 PM), “Perry Mason” (CBS, Saturday 7:30-8:30 PM),
“Wanted: Dead Or Alive” (CBS, Saturday 8:30-9:00 PM), “The Price Is Right” (NBC, Wednesday 8:30-9:00 PM), “77 Sunset Strip” (ABC, Friday 9:00-10:00 PM), “Father Knows Best” (CBS, Monday 8:30-9:00 PM), “The Red Skelton Show” (CBS, Tuesday 9:30-10:00 PM), “The Danny Thomas Show” (CBS, Monday 9:00-9:30 PM), “Have Gun Will Travel” (CBS, Saturday 9:30-10:00 PM) and “Wagon Train” (NBC, Wednesday 7:30-8:30 PM). Once again, the top rated show on TV this year was “Gunsmoke” (CBS, Saturday 10:00-10:30 PM). Some of the other shows on TV this year were “The Untouchables” (ABC, Thursday 9:30-10:30 PM), “Laramie” (NBC, Tuesday 7:30-8:30 PM), “The Many Loves Of Dobie Gillis” (CBS, Tuesday 8:30-9:00 PM), “The Twilight Zone” (CBS, Friday 10:00-10:30 PM), “The Dinah Shore Chevy Show” (NBC, Sunday 9:00-10:00 PM), “Richard Diamond, Private Detective” (NBC, Monday 7:30-8:00 PM), “Fibber McGee & Molly” (NBC, Tuesday 8:30-9:00 PM), “Bachelor Father” (NBC, Thursday 9:00-9:30 PM), “The Deputy” (NBC, Saturday 9:00=9:30 PM) and “Bonanza” (NBC, Saturday 7:30-8:30 PM). 🙂 🙂 🙂
References: “Fifties Web”, “Flashback ’59”, “Chronicles Of America” published by Dorling Kindersley, “The Complete Directory To Prime Time Network TV Shows 1946-Present” by Tim Brooks & Earle Marsh and “What Happened When” by Gorton Carruth.