Media History Project
mediahst@umn.edu

1950-1959 C.E.

  • 1950: More than 3 billion tickets sold at U.S. movie theaters.
  • 1950: On TV: Truth or Consequences, What’s My Line, Burns and Allen, Jack Benny.
  • 1950: Party lines make up 75 percent of all U.S. telephone lines.
  • 1950: Networks knuckle under to Red Channels; blacklists “subversives..
  • 1950: On TV, I Love Lucy. Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca, Your Show of Shows.
  • 1950: Flow-Matic, the first English language data-processing compiler.
  • 1950: The National Book Awards. First winners: Nelson Algren, Ralph Rusk.
  • 1950: Guys and Dolls begins long career on Broadway.
  • 1950: CBS broadcasts in color to 25 television sets.
  • 1950: The FCC adopts the CBS color TV standard, changes its mind three years later.
  • 1950: Vidicon camera tube improves television picture.
  • 1950: Many popular soap operas, prime-time radio shows shift to television.
  • 1950: Nobel Prize in Literature: mathematician and philosopher Bertrand Russell.
  • 1950: Dennis the Menace torments Mr. Wilson in the comics.
  • 1950: CBS sets up TV news bureau in Washington, D.C.
  • 1950: From Earl Hilton, the credit card.
  • 1950: What’s My Line? starts 17-year television run.
  • 1950: John Hersey’s The Wall documents persecution, courage in the Warsaw ghetto.
  • 1950: Playright William Inge, Come Back, Little Sheba; film followed in 1953.
  • 1950: Ray Bradbury’s, The Martian Chronicles expands science fiction themes.
  • 1950: John von Neumann influences design of computer logic.
  • 1950: Eugène Ionesco’s play, The Bald Soprano, a classic of the theater of the absurd.
  • 1950: Changeable typewriter typefaces in use.
  • 1950: Gian Carlo Menotti wins Pulitzer for opera, The Consul.
  • 1950: Kodak Colorama exhibited at Grand Central station, 18 feet wide x 60 feet high.
  • 1950: Oscars (given 1951): All About Eve, José Ferrer, Judy Holliday.
  • 1950: Also at the movies: Born Yesterday, Sunset Boulevard, Harvey.
  • 1950: Nielsen’s Audimeter tracks television audiences.
  • 1950: Children’s programming on Saturday morning television.
  • 1950: English translation from Swedish of Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking.
  • 1950: Xerox photocopiers roll off the assembly line.
  • 1950: Average U.S. home has two radios.
  • 1950: Party lines make up 75 percent of all U.S. telephone lines.
  • 1950: Carson McCullers’ The Member of the Wedding goes to Broadway.
  • 1950: Irving Berlin’s Broadway musical, Call Me Madam.
  • 1950: Soviet Union starts jamming foreign radio broadcasts.
  • 1951: Paint Your Wagon opens on Broadway.
  • 1951: Color television sets go on sale.
  • 1951: Radio program My Favorite Husband moves to TV as I Love Lucy.
  • 1951: Disk jockey Alan Freed introduces the term rock ‘n’ roll.
  • 1951: The Nagra tape recorder adds precision, quality sound to silent cameras.
  • 1951: Edward R. Murrow’s See It Now debuts on television, shows coast-to-coast images.
  • 1951: J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye will become a symbol of adolescent angst.
  • 1951: Todd Storz and Bill Stewart create Top 40 radio music format.
  • 1951: Herman Wouk’s novel, The Caine Mutiny, brings us Captain Queeg.
  • 1951: Marine biologist Rachel Carson, The Sea Around Us.
  • 1951: Truman Capote’s novel, The Grass Harp.
  • 1951: Direct Distance Dialing (no operator for long distance) begins in New Jersey.
  • 1951: Marianne Moore’s Collected Poems.
  • 1951: Isaac Asimov’s novel, Foundation.
  • 1951: On TV: I Love Lucy, Dragnet, Search for Tomorrow, NFL games.
  • 1951: Roger and Hammerstein’s The King and I on Broadway.
  • 1951: Grace Hopper discovers the first computer bug, a real moth.
  • 1951: British film censors add an X rating.
  • 1951: William Buckley’s God and Man at Yale argues conservative philosopy.
  • 1951: Hannah Arendt’s influential book, The Origins of Totalitarianism.
  • 1951: The Ballad of the Sad Café, a collection of Carson McCullers’ short stories.
  • 1951: Nobel Prize in Literature: poet Pär Fabian Lagerkvist, Sweden.
  • 1951: National Book Awards: William Faulkner. Newton Arvin.
  • 1951: Estes Kefauver’s Senate hearings on harmful media influences.
  • 1951: Cinerama will briefly dazzle with a wide, curved screen and three projectors.
  • 1951: FCC approves test in Chicago of Phonevision subscription TV, $1 for a movie.
  • 1951: Still cameras get built-in flash units.
  • 1951: TV version of Amos ‘n’ Andy has all-black cast, but is criticized for stereotyping.
  • 1951: First transcontinental telecast. President Truman addresses the nation.
  • 1951: Oscars (given 1952): An American in Paris, Humphrey Bogart, Vivien Leigh.
  • 1951: Also at the movies: A Streetcar Named Desire, Quo Vadis, The African Queen.
  • 1951: From Japan, a classic film: Rashomon.
  • 1951: Bing Crosby’s company tests videotape recording.
  • 1951: A new beauty competition: Miss World.
  • 1951: CBS presents 4 hours of color TV, but only CBS execs, engineers have sets.
  • 1951: Univac I is the first mass-produced computer.
  • 1951: Comics Bob & Ray buck TV trend, start two-year radio show.
  • 1951: Nicholas Monsarrat’s novel of the North Atlantic in WW II, The Cruel Sea.
  • 1951: Clifford Odets’ play, The Country Girl.
  • 1951: Americans can dial long distance calls directly instead of needing operator.
  • 1951: One and a half million TV sets in U.S., a tenfold jump in one year.
  • 1951: Eric Hoffer, The True Believer, connects psychology of political extremes.
  • 1952: FCC ends freeze, opens UHF band, reserves education channels.
  • 1952: Eisenhower-Stevenson race sharply increases political commercials.
  • 1952: 3-D movies makes the audiences duck.
  • 1952: Sony sells a miniature transistor radio.
  • 1952: Agatha Christie’s play, The Mousetrap, will run for years.
  • 1952: EDVAC takes computer technology a giant leap forward.
  • 1952: National Book Awards: James Jones, Rachel Carson.
  • 1952: Ralph Edward’s This Is Your Life moves from radio to television.
  • 1952: Univac projects the winner of the presidential election on CBS.
  • 1952: Atomic bomb test in Nevada show on live television.
  • 1952: In The Courage to Be, Paul Tillich applies existentialism to theology.
  • 1952: The Revised Standard Version of the Bible.
  • 1952: French playwright Jean Anouilh, The Waltz of the Toreadors.
  • 1952: American Bandstand broadcasts begin.
  • 1952: Richard Nixon’s “Checkers speech” on TV saves VP candidacy.
  • 1952: Television sets in about 19 million U.S. homes.
  • 1952: The Supreme Court gives movies First Amendment free speech protection.
  • 1952: Claude Shannon uses electric mouse and maze to prove computers can learn.
  • 1952: Oscars (given 1953): The Greatest Show on Earth, Gary Cooper, Shirley Booth.
  • 1952: Also at the movies: High Noon, Ivanhoe, Viva Zapata.
  • 1952: British postwar comedy: The Lavender Hill Mob, The Man in the White Suit.
  • 1952: Studio control of stars erodes as James Stewart signs independent contract.
  • 1952: MAD magazine starts a nonsense trend.
  • 1952: John Cage makes Water Music with non-traditional instruments.
  • 1952: RCA’s Bizmac has first computer database.
  • 1952: On TV: Ozzie and Harriet, American Bandstand, Guiding Light, Superman.
  • 1952: Lucille Ball, pregnant, plays pregnant on TV, but can’t say “pregnancy..
  • 1952: The word “anchorman” is used at CBS Television News.
  • 1952: Huge EDSAC computer progr ammed to play tic-tac-toe.
  • 1952: Edna Ferber’s novel of Texas, Giant; will be popular film.
  • 1952: Nobel Prize in Literature: French novelist François Mauriac.
  • 1952: Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, the lonely struggle of an old fisherman.
  • 1952: John Steinbeck’s novel East of Eden, a Biblical tale set in California.
  • 1952: Charlotte’s Web, a tale for children, by E. B. White.
  • 1952: National Association of Broadcasters writes a code of ethics.
  • 1952: Samuel Beckett presents his absurdist play, Waiting for Godot.
  • 1952: Mary McCarthy, The Groves of Academe, sardonic view of faculty politics.
  • 1952: Wise Blood, Flannery O’Connor’s novel of bizarre Southern life.
  • 1952: First Off-Broadway hit, a revival of Tennessee Williams’ Summer and Smoke.
  • 1952: The first magazine-format TV program, The Today Show, with Dave Garroway.
  • 1952: Jackie Gleason’s The Honeymooners starts a two-decade TV run.
  • 1952: Ralph Ellison’s novel of African-American despair, Invisible Man.
  • 1952: Grace Hopper develops the first computer compiler.
  • 1953: TV Guide; initial press run is 1.5 million copies.
  • 1953: Watson and Crick uncover the structure of DNA.
  • 1953: Remington-Rand builds high speed computer printer.
  • 1953: 44 million viewers tune in I Love Lucy for a baby’s birth.
  • 1953: Playboy arrives, with Marilyn Monroe stretched out on the cover.
  • 1953: James Baldwin’s first novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain.
  • 1953: Winky Dink and You on TV offers a kind of interactity to kids.
  • 1953: Also on TV for kids: Romper Room.
  • 1953: Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations.
  • 1953: Color TV set costs $1,157; too expensve for most people.
  • 1953: The pre-recorded reel-to-reel tape at 7 1/2 ips goes on sale.
  • 1953: A book, The Wonderful World of Insects, is phototypeset.
  • 1953: Magnetic core memory is installed in a computer, the Whirlwind.
  • 1953: Hollywood hopes wide-screen CinemaScope will counteract TV.
  • 1953: Nobel Prize in Literature: Winston Churchill.
  • 1953: Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, a parable of the McCarthy witch hunts.
  • 1953: Broadway musical, Cole Porter’s Can-Can.
  • 1953: On TV: Major League Baseball Game of the Week.
  • 1953: FCC adopts NTSC color standard developed by RCA; drops CBS standard.
  • 1953: Conelrad emergency radio system tested across U.S.
  • 1953: Blue Poles, abstract expressionism by Jackson Pollock.
  • 1953: Educational TV station KHUT, Houston.
  • 1953: Paddy Chayesfky’s play, Marty. Even the homely need love.
  • 1953: William Inge’s play, Picnic, drama in a small Kansas town.
  • 1953: : National Book Awards: Ralph Ellison, Bernard Devoto.
  • 1953: Ray Bradbury’s novel of censorship and fascism, Fahrenheit 451.
  • 1953: Voice of America increases broadcasts to Soviet Union, Eastern Europe.
  • 1953: Oscars (given 1954): From Here to Eternity, William Holden, Audrey Hepburn.
  • 1953: First telecast Oscars.
  • 1953: Also at the movies: Shane, Stalag 17, Roman Holiday.
  • 1953: Walt Disney’s True Life Adventures: Bear Country, The Living Desert.
  • 1953: Jacques Cousteau, The Silent World.
  • 1953: The Moon Is Blue uses the word “virgin,” leads to picket lines.
  • 1953: Bill Haley records first rock hit, Crazy Man Crazy.
  • 1953: One American, two Russians figure out how to harness what will be the laser.
  • 1953: Novelist Kingsley Amis’ satire on English academia, Lucky Jim.
  • 1953: CATV system uses microwave to bring in distant signals.
  • 1953: Kinsey’s Sexual Behavior of the Human Female delivers more shocks.
  • 1954: Regular color TV broadcasts begin in U.S. using NTSC standard.
  • 1954: Sporting events are broadcast live in color.
  • 1954: Stereo music tapes go on sale.
  • 1954: On TV: Face the Nation, Lassie, Disney, Father Knows Best, NBA games.
  • 1954: Cha-cha-cha, an offshoot of the mambo, is popular.
  • 1954: William Golding’s novel Lord of the Flies looks at childhood “innocence..
  • 1954: Radio sets in the world now outnumber daily newspapers.
  • 1954: Saul Bellow’s novel The Adventures of Augie March wins National Book Award.
  • 1954: Texas Instruments produces transistors commercially.
  • 1954: Supreme Court rules against separate education for blacks and whites.
  • 1954: U.S. shaken by Edward R. Murrow TV documentary on Sen. Joseph McCarthy.
  • 1954: Kodak introduces Tri-X, high speed black-and-white film.
  • 1954: Academy Awards watched on television.
  • 1954: Oscars (given 1955): On the Waterfront, Marlon Brando, Grace Kelly.
  • 1954: Also at the movies: The Caine Mutiny, Sabrina, The Country Girl, Rear Window.
  • 1954: James Michener’s novel Sayonara, World War II Japanese-American love story.
  • 1954: Agatha Christie’s play, Witness for the Prosecution.
  • 1954: Pre-recorded open-reel stereo tapes go on sale, $12.95, from RCA Victor.
  • 1954: 54% of American homes have television sets.
  • 1954: Frederic Wertham’s Seduction of the Innocent sees meance in comic books.
  • 1954: Nobel Prize in Literature: Ernest Hemingway.
  • 1954: From CBS President Frank Stanton, a network editorial.
  • 1954: Churchill completes 6-volume history of World War II.
  • 1954: Broadway musical Pajama Game spoofs management-union relations.
  • 1954: National Book Awards: Saul Bellow, Bruce Catton.
  • 1954: Army vs. McCarthy hearings televised to captivated American viewers.
  • 1954: In U.S., television revenue surpasses radio revenue.
  • 1954: Tolkien continues his fantasy with The Fellowship of the Ring.
  • 1954: U.S. Senate committee holds hearings on societal effects of televised violence.
  • 1954: IBM writes a computer operating system for the 704.
  • 1954: On TV: The Tonight Show, hosted by Steve Allen.
  • 1954: Made in Japan, a portable transistor radio, the Regency TR-1.
  • 1954: U.S. television revenue exceeds radio revenue for the first time.
  • 1954: Disney ends Hollywood freeze, leads studios in producing television programs.
  • 1955: Movie studios open their vaults for television rentals, sales.
  • 1955: Network affiliation of AM radio stations in U.S. drops to 50%.
  • 1955: Dumont television network gives up.
  • 1955: Radio’s $64 Question becomes TV’s $64,000 Question.
  • 1955: Teletypesetting, using paper tape, diffuses among American newspapers.
  • 1955: William Buckley starts The National Review.
  • 1955: From Esterbrook in England, the felt-tip pen.
  • 1955: On TV: Lawrence Welk, Mickey Mouse Club, Wyatt Earp.
  • 1955: President Eisenhower’s news conference is televised.
  • 1955: William Inge’s play, Bus Stop, followed a year later by Marilyn Monroe film.
  • 1955: National Book Awards: William Faulkner, Joseph Wood Krutch.
  • 1955: : On TV, The Honeymooners.
  • 1955: On TV, the Broadway hit Peter Pan pulls big audience.
  • 1955: TV programs for children: Howdy Doody and Kukla, Fran and Ollie.
  • 1955: Frankfurt School founder Herbert Marcuse writes Eros and Civilization.
  • 1955: Hobbit characters return in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Ring.
  • 1955: Gunsmoke starts along the trail to be longest running TV western.
  • 1955: Vladimir Nabokov’s scandalous novel of middle-age lust for nymphet: Lolita.
  • 1955: Flannery O’Connor’s short story collection, A Good Man Is Hard To Find.
  • 1955: Todd-AO process for musicals continues Hollywood’s wide-screen efforts.
  • 1955: Comic book code censors horror, hurts sales, hits industry hard.
  • 1955: Archaeologists set carbon dating base year; other years: BP (before present).
  • 1955: Nobel Prize in Literature: novelist Halldór Laxness, Iceland.
  • 1955: Tests begin to provide massive digital communication via fiber optics.
  • 1955: Guinness Book of Records publishes.
  • 1955: First rock ‘n’ roll song to top the chart: Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock."
  • 1955: A View from the Bridge, another Pulitzer Prize play by Arthur Miller.
  • 1955: African film-making starts in Paris with Afrique sur le Seine.
  • 1955: Patricia Highsmith, The Talented Mr. Ripley, first of the series about the con man.
  • 1955: Oscars (given 1956): Marty, Ernest Borgnine, Anna Magnani.
  • 1955: Also at the movies: East of Eden, Mister Roberts, The Rose Tattoo.
  • 1955: On Broadway: Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
  • 1955: Research shows TV viewing correlates inversely with education, income.
  • 1956: Chet Huntley, David Brinkley bring star system to U.S. TV newsscasting.
  • 1956: Ampex builds a practical videotape recorder for TV networks, stations.
  • 1956: CBS evening news videotaped on West Coast for 3-hour delay rebroadcast.
  • 1956: Milton Friedman’s study of quantity theory begins modern monetarism.
  • 1956: Bell’s test Picturephone sends one image every two seconds.
  • 1956: Swedish director Ingmar Bergman’s world fame starts with The Seventh Seal.
  • 1956: My Fair Lady begins six-year run on Broadway.
  • 1956: New soaps on TV: As the World Turns, The Edge of Night.
  • 1956: In Japan, Yukio Mishima’s novel, Temple of the Golden Pavilion.
  • 1956: First transatlantic telephone calls by submarine cable.
  • 1956: Zenith sells a cordless remote for TV.
  • 1956: Westerns are popular televised drama.
  • 1956: M.I.T. builds a transistorized computer, the TX-O.
  • 1956: Oscars (given 1957): Around the World in 80 Days, Yul Brynner, Ingrid Bergman.
  • 1956: Also at the movies: Anastasia, The King and I, Bus Stop.
  • 1956: John Osborne’s play, Look Back in Anger.
  • 1956: IBM ships a hard drive, the 5 MB. 305 RAMAC as big as two refrigerators.
  • 1956: Foreign language films get an Oscar category. This year: Italy’s La Strada.
  • 1956: Nobel Prize in Literature: Spanish exile poet Juan Jiménez.
  • 1956: Elvis Presley spreads rock to a world audience with first film, Love Me Tender.
  • 1956: Elvis, but not his hips, shown on Ed Sullivan Show.
  • 1956: Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story combines N.Y. gangs, Romeo and Juliet.
  • 1956: National Book Awards: John O’Hara, Herbert Kubly.
  • 1956: Allen Ginsburg’s poem of beatnik angst, “Howl".
  • 1956: Liquid Paper is created on the kitchen table of a Dallas secretary, Bette Graham.
  • 1956: Peyton Place steams up the bestseller list.
  • 1956: Transistors go into car radios.
  • 1956: The first hard disk random access drive is created at IBM.
  • 1956: The pager. Hospitals are quick to buy.
  • 1956: On Broadway from Voltaire, Leonard Bernstein’s musical, Candide.
  • 1956: John F. Kennedy’s short biographies, Profiles in Courage.
  • 1956: Hush-a-Phone court ruling forces AT&T to allow outside equipment in network.
  • 1957: Supreme Court’s Roth decision sets community standards for obscenity.
  • 1957: Iran bans rock ‘n’ roll music.
  • 1957: On TV: American Bandstand, Bachelor Father, Maverick.
  • 1957: Lawrence Durrell begins Alexandria Quartet, point–of-view novels, with Justine.
  • 1957: Noam Chomsky’s Syntactic Structures pioneers transformational grammar.
  • 1957: John Cheever’s novel, The Wapshot Chronicle, skewers wealthy suburbia.
  • 1957: Nabokov’s witty, erudite novel, Pnin.
  • 1957: CBS-TV asks public to judge Perry Mason.
  • 1957: National Book Awards: Wright Morris, George F. Kennan.
  • 1957: Jack Kerouac’s novel, On the Road, expresses the beat generation.
  • 1957: Isaac Bashevis Singer’s novel, Gimpel the Fool, translated from Yiddish.
  • 1957: Nobel Prize in Literature: Albert Camus.
  • 1957: James Agee’s posthumous novel, A Death in the Family, wins Pulitzer.
  • 1957: Samuel Beckett’s existential play, Endgame, mingles anguish with humor.
  • 1957: Soviet Union’s Sputnik 1 beep-beeps from space.
  • 1957: Sputnik 2 carries a dog, Laika, on a one-way space journey.
  • 1957: FORTRAN becomes the first high-level computer programming language.
  • 1957: A surgical operation is televised.
  • 1957: Idealized American family on TV: Leave it to Beaver.
  • 1957: Oscars (given 1958): The Bridge on the River Kwai, Alec Guinness, Joanne Woodward.
  • 1957: Also at the movies: Peyton Place, Sayonara, 12 Angry Men.
  • 1957: Italians again win foreign language film Oscar: The Nights of Cabiria.
  • 1957: First book to be entirely phototypeset is offset printed.
  • 1957: A computer is part of a movie plot: Desk Set, with Tracy and Hepburn.
  • 1957: In Ghana, effort begins to recover and record African oral tradition.
  • 1957: Sputnik launch sets off alarm about U.S. math and science education.
  • 1957: Many television programs switch to color.
  • 1958: Federal funds voted to improve science, math teaching.
  • 1958: International News Service is taken over by United Press. It’s now UPI.
  • 1958: Videotape delivers color.
  • 1958: Leon Uris' Exodus, novel of the founding of Israel; will become film.
  • 1958: Seymour Cray at Control Data builds a transistorized computer.
  • 1958: Stereo LP records go on sale.
  • 1958: Quiz show fraud rocks U.S. television.
  • 1958: Data moves speedily over regular phone circuits.
  • 1958: Live television drama is replaced by videotaped programs.
  • 1958: Broadcast is bounced off a rocket; it is pre-satellite communication.
  • 1958: First successful U.S. satellite, Explorer I, sends signals about Van Allen Belt.
  • 1958: Noam Chomsky and George Miller co-author Finite State Languages.
  • 1958: 95% of prime-time audiences choose network programs.
  • 1958: Number of drive-in theaters in U.S. peaks near 5,000.
  • 1958: Oscars (given 1959): Gigi, David Niven, Susan Hayward.
  • 1958: Also at the movies: Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Old Man and the Sea, South Pacific.
  • 1958: Foreign language film Oscar: French comedy Mon Oncle.
  • 1958: Cliffsnotes.
  • 1958: In Tokyo, a dramatic structure to relay broadcast signals, the Tokyo Tower.
  • 1958: Early version of Pong uses analog computer, oscilloscope.
  • 1958: The Smurfs, created by Belgian cartoonist Peyo.
  • 1958: Cable carries FM radio stations.
  • 1958: Cinéma verité (also called “direct cinema”) documentary technique.
  • 1958: Playwright Harold Pinter, The Birthday Party.
  • 1958: Experiments begin to create the modem.
  • 1958: Posthumous publication of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, The Leopard.
  • 1958: Billboard’s “Hot 100” chart lists the hits.
  • 1958: From economist, presidential adviser John Kenneth Galbraith, The Affluent Society.
  • 1958: National Book Awards: John Cheever, Catherine Bowen.
  • 1958: Joan Míro completes ceramic murals for the UNESCO building, Paris.
  • 1958: Defense Department creates ARPA, precursor of the Internet.
  • 1958: Churchill finishes 4-volume History of the English-Speaking Peoples.
  • 1958: The microchip; it will enable the computer revolution.
  • 1958: Soviet Union forces novelist Boris Pasternak to refuse Nobel Literature Prize.
  • 1958: Truman Capote’s novel, Breakfast at Tiffany’s; it will become a hit film.
  • 1958: Physicist Werner Heisenberg explains his uncertainty principle.
  • 1958: From Europe, ALGOL, a programming language for math, science.
  • 1958: On TV: Peter Gunn, Donna Reed, The Invisible Man, Concentration, 77 Sunset Strip.
  • 1958: Durrell continues with Balthazar and Mountolive. Clea will arrive in 1960.
  • 1959: Magnetic ink character recognition developed to process checks.
  • 1959: Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments builds an integrated circuit.
  • 1959: The Grammy Awards, starting with 1958 music.
  • 1959: On TV: Rocky and Bullwinkle, Dennis the Menace, Twilight Zone, Untouchables.
  • 1959: NBC offers a western in color; Bonanza will run for 14 years.
  • 1959: Grace Hopper writes the COBOL programming language for business.
  • 1959: James Michener, Hawaii, mixes truth and fiction across the centuries.
  • 1959: U.S. rules D.H. Larence novel, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, not obscene.
  • 1959: Playwright Jean Genet, The Blacks.
  • 1959: Barbie dolls.
  • 1959: Public is shocked to learn that most big-money TV quiz shows are fixed.
  • 1959: Disk jockey payola scandals smear radio broadcasting.
  • 1959: Post Office tries, abandons effort to move mail by submarine-fired missiles.
  • 1959: From Ampex, a mobile videotape recorder.
  • 1959: Boris Pasternak’s Dr.Zhivago; published in Italy despite Soviet pressure.
  • 1959: William Burroughs’ novel about drug addiction, Naked Lunch.
  • 1959: Mordecai Richler’s novel, The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz.
  • 1959: Nobel Prize in Literature: poet Salvatore Quasimodo, Italy.
  • 1959: Local announcements, weather data, and local ads go on cable.
  • 1959: Saul Bellow’s Henderson, the Rain King, a study in alienation.
  • 1959: E.B. White’s The Elements of Style; will be best-selling writing guide for decades.
  • 1959: Princess telephones in 5 colors go on sale.
  • 1959: An all-transistor radio can fit into a shirt pocket.
  • 1959: Xerox manufactures a plain paper copier.
  • 1959: Bell Labs experiments with artificial intelligence.
  • 1959: High speed Ektachrome film.
  • 1959: Ionesco’s absurdist play, The Rhinoceros.
  • 1959: Television sets in more than 46 million U.S. homes.
  • 1959: On Broadway, Stephen Sondheim’s musical, Gypsy.
  • 1959: Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, first Broadway play by black woman.
  • 1959: Oscars (given 1960): Ben-Hur, Charlton Heston, Simone Signoret.
  • 1959: Also at the movies: The Diary of Anne Frank, Some Like It Hot, Pillow Talk.
  • 1959: Foreign language film Oscar: Black Orpheus, France.
  • 1959: French SECAM and German PAL introduced as competing TV systems.
  • 1959: Günter Grass’ novel The Tin Drum is regarded as an immediate classic.
  • 1959: Satirists Bob and Ray are top radio attractions.
  • 1959: 50 million television sets in the United States.
  • 1959: National Book Awards: Bernard Malamud, Christopher Herold.
  • 1959: Philip Roth’s first novel, Goodbye, Columbus, will win National Book Award.